Seventeen Proud Years

The Israelites marched into the midst of the sea on dry land, with the water like a wall on their right and their left.

Where your unworthy servant was baptized

We Christians are marching to the holy mountain, where it is always springtime.

To outfit us to march forward, the Lord initiates us through the sacraments. We must be washed, anointed, and fed.

Easter is a good time for us to recall and thank God for the sacraments that have made us Christians.

On October 18, 1970, I was baptized by a well-meaning non-Catholic, non-priest at New York Avenue Presbyterian church. My parents were kind enough to carry me to the font, and they saw to it that I was in church every Sunday for the next 17 ½ years. I am grateful.

But there was still some unfinished business. On Holy Saturday night, 1993, I was confirmed and given Holy Communion for the first time by Father Ed Ingebretsen in Dahlgren Chapel at Georgetown University.

Seventeen years ago this morning, I woke up washed, anointed, and fed for the first time in my life.

It is good to be Catholic.

No one—not the Washington Post or the New York Times, not CBS News or CNN, not Geraldo Rivera or Sinead O’Connor—no one is going to tell me that it is not good to be Catholic on Easter Sunday.

We Catholics hate it when people do evil. We hate it that priests have done great evil and hurt innocent young people. We hate it that some bishops have failed to discipline their clergy like they should have.

But we know this, too: The world needs the mercy of God that comes to us through His Church.

As Norman MacLean put it in “A River Runs through It,”

When you pick up a fly rod, you will soon find it factually and theologically true that man by nature is a damn mess.

We need God. We need Christ. We need the Church. We need the sacraments. We need to be washed, anointed, and fed, so that we can march toward the goal.

Where your unworthy servant was Confirmed a Catholic

…How badly do I want Butler to beat Duke?

I wanted the Giants to beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. But not this much. I wanted N.C. State to beat Houston in 1983. But not this much. I wanted Delpo to beat Federer, but not this much.

Pumpkin Carriage for Butler, Paean for Mary

The Spanish Steps, the heart of Roman Christmas shopping

Cinderella never even got a glass slipper yesterday.  She couldn’t make her lay-ups. And Greg Monroe kept getting the rebound.  Hoyas 7-0!!!!!

…The Holy Father gave a beautiful talk yesterday at the Spanish steps about the Blessed Virgin Mary. Please read.

…Now the Redskins are cutting Shaun Suisham for missing ONE field-goal. He was basically the whole offense for the first half of the season. He is the most reliable kicker the Deadskins have ever had.  Not fair, not fair…

Immaculately Quiet

The Church greets Mary, the Mother of God, as “Star of the Sea,” Ave Maris Stella.

Human life is a journey. Toward what destination? How do we find the way? Life is like a voyage on the sea of history, often dark and stormy, a voyage in which we watch for the stars that indicate the route.

The true stars of our life are the people who have lived good lives. They are lights of hope…Who more than Mary could be a star of hope for us?

With her “yes” she opened the door of our world to God himself.

–Pope Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi 49

…I am a neat man. Neat and clean in my environs, I mean. Some people say I am kind of a Nazi about it.

On the rare occasions when I have guests in my private quarters, they invariably say, “Father, your room is immaculate!”

The immaculateness of my room can be perceived by the senses. You can see, smell, and feel that the room is clean and orderly. You could even try to taste the cleanliness, but that would be kind of gross.

Our Lady’s soul is immaculate. Its immaculateness cannot be perceived by the senses. Its cleanliness and orderliness are invisible. In the things that she said and did while she was on earth, we see signs of the invisible immaculateness of the Blessed Virgin’s soul.

What about hearing? How do you hear immaculateness?

Wouldn’t it be the absence of all noise? Wouldn’t it be the perfectly clean sound of silence?

Our Lady was preserved from sin on December 8. On March 25, fourteen or fifteen years later, her silent soul was listening attentively.

We can be sure that when the Archangel Gabriel came to our Lady, he spoke very quietly.

She heard every word, contemplated every word, and said yes.

…Some people call Butler the “Cinderella” of the NCAA.

Call me an evil stepmother, but here’s hoping that midnight comes early tonight.