You my Glance Seeks (Psalm 27)

A deep, terrifying darkness enveloped Abraham. (Genesis 15:12)

The Lord had called Abraham to come to the Promised Land. God instituted a covenant with Abraham. He made promises to Abraham. Then the Lord enveloped Abraham in a “deep, terrifying darkness.”

Many centuries later, the Lord Himself walked the earth. He took His closest Apostles up to the top of a towering mountain. He revealed His divinity to them. Then He enveloped them in a cloud that cast a shadow over them. Peter, James, and John became frightened.

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Pro-Life, Pro-Woman Quote of the Day

It is an insult to the fair sex to put up her case in support of birth-control by artificial methods.

As it is, man has sufficiently degraded her for his lust, and artificial methods, no matter how well-meaning the advocates may be, will still further degrade her.

I urge the advocates of artificial methods to consider the consequences. Any large use of the methods is likely to result in the dissolution of the marriage bond and in free love…Birth control to me is a dismal abyss.

–Mahatma Gandhi

Humiliating Limits

In the original Lent, the Lord Jesus fasted to the limits of human weakness. He was desperately hungry, utterly exhausted. Although He is a divine Person, He relied on angels to give Him strength in His body.

Lent is our opportunity to explore the same depths of weakness. The smallness and debility of our human nature will never cease to amaze us. It is humiliating. We are ridiculously feeble.

The Lord leads us out into the desert to discover our pathetic weakness for a very good reason. He does not humiliate us arbitrarily. He is trying to get us to follow His teaching:

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you…

Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asked for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asked for a fish?

If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him. (Matthew 7)

Father, we are wretchedly clueless! We are pathetically inept! Help us, please!

Angelic Etching

St. Thomas in Sopra Minerva

I am a man of classical artistic tastes.

My favorite image of St. Thomas Aquinas is the fresco by Filippino Lippi in the Carafa Chapel in the church of Santa Maria Sopra Minverva in Rome.

Nonetheless, I have a new second-favorite image of St. Thomas: The sweet etching by Adrien Mastrangelo, above.

It reminds me of my favorite statue in town: Ivan Mestrovic’s St. Jerome on Massachusetts Ave., N.W.

Statue of St. Jerome near Sheridan Circle in Washington, by Ivan Mestrovic

Instructions for Lent

Pretty cool cover of a lovely song:

Here is a homily for the First Sunday of Lent:

In the original Lent, the Lord Jesus spent forty days praying and fasting in solitude. The devil came to tempt Him. Christ rebuffed the devil by quoting Scripture three times.

1. “Man does not live by bread alone.”

2. “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him alone will you serve.”

3. “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.”

Let’s see who is really on-the-ball. When the Lord quoted these words of Scripture, which book of the Bible was He quoting? All three verses come from the same book.

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Double McTwist 1260

Check out American gold-medalist Shaun White:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

…Nine days with the sailboat cufflinks. Still a long way from 70 degrees…

…What can we say about the Wizards? All our old homeboys are gone now. We need a fresh start of course, but this is extreme…

…Perhaps you recall that on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, when there was very little snow on the ground, the Hoyas got themselves whupped by Syracuse.

The re-match is tonight at the Verizon Center. For Lent, we are giving up losing in the Big East.

Goodbye! says the windswept house

More of Holy Father’s Message…

We can detect…a permanent temptation within man: to situate the origin of evil in an exterior cause. Many modern ideologies deep down have this presupposition: since injustice comes “from outside,” in order for justice to reign, it is sufficient to remove the exterior causes…

This way of thinking – Jesus warns – is…shortsighted. Injustice, the fruit of evil, does not have exclusively external roots; its origin lies in the human heart, where the seeds are found of a mysterious cooperation with evil.

“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Ps 51,7).

Indeed, man is weakened by an intense influence, which wounds his capacity to enter into communion with the other. By nature, he is open to sharing freely, but he finds in his being a strange force of gravity that makes him turn in and affirm himself above and against others: this is egoism, the result of original sin.

Adam and Eve, seduced by Satan’s lie, snatching the mysterious fruit against the divine command, replaced the logic of trusting in Love with that of suspicion and competition; the logic of receiving and trustfully expecting from the Other with anxiously seizing and doing on one’s own (cf. Gn 3, 1-6), experiencing, as a consequence, a sense of disquiet and uncertainty. How can man free himself from this selfish influence and open himself to love?

…Conversion to Christ, believing in the Gospel, ultimately means this: to exit the illusion of self-sufficiency in order to discover and accept one’s own need – the need of others and God, the need of His forgiveness and His friendship. So we understand how faith is altogether different from a natural, good-feeling, obvious fact: humility is required to accept that I need Another to free me from “what is mine,” to give me gratuitously “what is His.”

May we all humble ourselves, and accept the salvation won for us by so generous and sweet a Savior!

The Food of Truth

Just as man needs bread, so does man have even more need of God. (Pope Benedict XVI, Message for Lent)

Tomorrow we begin our little forty-day journey to Easter.

Lent is our chance to re-initiate ourselves as Christians.

We started off well, when we emerged from the baptismal font. But time takes a toll. We get distracted. We get lazy. We do things shabbily. We do not pray like we should.

We can do better. For forty days, the Church feeds us with the pure bread of the Word of God. The food we need is set before us in church.

Our Mother the Church, who is full of solicitude for her children, knows to what perils they are ever exposed; she knows, on the other hand, what powerful graces of life are given to us through the mysteries of the Incarnate Word…and so she recalls to us each year, at the beginning of Lent, the mystery of the Temptation of Jesus.

She wills that during forty days, we should live like Him in the spirit of penance, retreat, solitude, and prayer. (Bl. Columba Marmion)

…On Ash Wednesday we fast and eat no meat. On Fridays during Lent we eat no meat…

…Many of us are members of families of mixed religion. We can look forward to interactions like the one depicted in the first minute of this clip, when the MacDougals were visiting the Barones for Easter:

From the Whirlwind

Strange, strange winter. Who can make sense of it?

The Hoyas whup Duke and Villanova. Meanwhile, they manage to lose to South Florida and Rutgers. (?!?)

But before we start second-guessing Providence (Almighty God, that is–not Providence College), let’s remember the Lord’s words to Job:

Brace yourself like a fighter.
Now it is my turn to ask questions and yours to inform me.

Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations?
Who decided the dimensions of it, do you know?
What supports its pillars at their bases?
Who laid its cornerstone
when all the stars of the morning were singing with joy,
and the sons of God in chorus were chanting praise?

Who pent up the sea behind closed doors
when it leapt tumultuous out of the womb,
when I wrapped it in a robe of mist
and made black clouds is swaddling bands?

Have you ever in your life given orders to the morning
or sent the dawn to its post,
telling it to grasp the earth by its edges
and shake the wicked out of it?

Have you ever been shown the gates of death
or met the janitors of Shadowland?

Which is the way to the home of the light,
and where does the darkness live?
You could show them the way to their proper places,
or put them on the path to where they live!

Has the rain a father?
Who begets the dewdrops?
What womb brings forth the ice,
and gives birth to the frost of heaven,
when the waters grow hard as stone
and the surface of the deep congeals?

Have you grasped the celestial laws?
Could you make their writ run on the earth?
Can your voice carry as far as the clouds
and make the pent-up waters do your bidding?
Will lightning flashes come at your command
and answer, ‘Here we are’?

Does the hawk take flight at your advice
when he spreads his wings to travel south?
Does the eagle soar at your command
to make her eyrie in the heights?

Is the Lord’s opponent willing to give in?
Has God’s critic thought up an answer? (Job 38-39)

…Please say a prayer for the repose of Monsignor Michael Farina–a kind, gracious gentleman of a priest, who lavished a lot of love on your humble servant when I was a seminarian.

Be Mine

Listen:

I know you love me. I know you are thinking of me. I know you are sweet on me.

But before you run out to the Hallmark store–

Before you scour the aisles trying and find an appropriate card for your beloved blogging priest…

I just want to show you my favorite Valentine that I ever received: