November 22, 2005


After the first two Hail Mary’s, my brother joined me, saying the second half of each prayer. The words of his prayers were slurred and hard to decipher. I just began the next prayer when he stopped. We kept going despite several interruptions. After the rosary I said some other prayers and then I sang, "Come Holy Ghost." My brother smiled and he wept a little. I stopped singing and he said, "Don't stop." So I sang again and then he said sweetly, "I can smell incense." Oh! How wonderful the Lord is! "Did you know," I said, " that the fragrance of incense is a sign of the presence of Christ?" This time the Lord was calling my brother –and me – to the kind of faith that surrenders all things. It is a gift to be truly helpless because at that level of helplessness we have no one to turn to except God Almighty and to be in his presence. - Mary Herboth, at the beside of her dying brother

She told me that the monastery had saved her life; that her life fell apart completely eighteen months ago; that she had been a school teacher but was somehow forced to leave her job; that she had spent much of her time since this mysterious catastrophe at the monastery, attending services, staying at the retreat house, trying to find God and to put her life back together again....Her life fell apart. And where do you go when your life falls apart? When your heart is pierced with an impossible grief? You turn to the Cross and make tracks for a monastery...The Christians of the world don't have time for you, or else they are too unforgiving. - Jeff of "Hallowed Ground"

I may longer go where I want to go. I may no longer do what I want to do. I may no longer say what I want to say....Yet ever since the moment of profession I have known a freedom like I have never known before. - Br. James Dominic Brent, OP, on joining the Dominicans. Via Disputations

If you think government is primarily a matter of putting “good people” in leadership, you’re not going to properly limit their powers. - Camassia

While Father McBrien claims the middle-of-the-road, Father Rolheiser takes the label-transcending approach of Jim Wallis - "The importance of what's being said here stuck me recently as I read an interview in Sojourners magazine. A young woman, an Episcopalian priest, was being interviewed. She had just published a book with a very strong message challenging us all to be more respectful of nature and was about to set off on a book-promotion tour." Thus the trees that went into the book, Soujourners, and the Catholic Herald did not die in vain. - Terrence Berres of "The Provincial Emails"

I was downstairs putting the finishing touches on dinner (meat loaf, winter squash, vege pasta with artichoke pesto, and home made refried beans). John was upstairs finishing reading something on the computer. He called out to me, "Hey, have you been over to Video Meliora today?" me: "not yet - why?" him: "You're mentioned in the same sentence as Amy Welborn. And it comes from an article in First Things." Since I was downstairs, I grabbed the print edition of First Things out of todays mail pile and proceeded to read God on the Internet by Jonathan V. Last. It's an interesting article, and I was somewhat bemused to have been the first blog actually mentioned by name. Blogging midwives are somewhat of an anomaly anyhow (last time I googled it I only found 4 of us) and a Catholic midwife blog is probably hen's teeth. - Alicia of "Fructus Ventris"

A good debater is not necessarily an effective vote-getter: you can find a hole in your opponent's argument through which you could drive a coach and four ringing jingle bells all the way, and thrill at the crystallization of a truth wrung out from a bloody dialogue--which, however, may warm only you and your muse, while the smiling paralogist has in the meantime made votes by the tens of thousands. - William F. Buckley

"One of his contemporaries recalls that John would frequently scrape his knuckles against the wall while he was conversing with others so that he could keep his attention on the matter at hand and not allow himself to become rapt in prayer." Oh what a gift--to have to distract myself to keep me OUT of prayer. - Steven of "Flos Carmeli" concerning St. John of the Cross

A Dominican priest of our common aquiantance has a theory that the doctrinal and theological sophistication of a Christian sect is inversely proportional to the strictness of its moral codes on drinking. It does seem to be a pretty accurate predictor. In vino veritas and all that. - commenter Marc on Disputations

I holding back on this blog because I just don't feel like dealing with the comments. - Amy Welborn

Outside the Earth There is No Life... and Outside the Church There is No Salvation? The answer, of course, is simple: [Astronauts] didn't leave the earth; they just brought it with them. While they slept and walked on the moon, they were eating earth's food and breathing earth's air. Everything they had came from back home. So when we say 'outside the earth there is no life,' we are saying that all of the means for survival are found on this planet. And when we say 'outside the Church there is no salvation,' we mean that all of the means of salvation -- doctrines, sacraments, and so on -- are found here, uncorrupted by error. Some of these means can exist outside the visible bounds of the Church. For example, Protestants have most of the Bible, along with two of the seven sacraments. Nevertheless, these things are like the food and water on the Space Shuttle: they're life-giving, but they came from a place where they're far richer, more abundant and complete. - Kevin Knight via Rich Leonardi

I'm #1700 in the ecosystem with 129 unique links ... look out Flos Carmeli, with 130! Drat! I just gave you an extra link! - Speculative Catholic

Let me share with you a moment a list of my own discontents: I didn't beat Mary Shelley to the publishing punch, I haven't published my first novel or first book of poetry, I'm not as wildly popular as Stephen King and Michael Crichton, I'm not as cool and as obscure as James Joyce, I don't have the voice of William Faulkner, I can't express the joy of Gerard Manley Hopkins, I am not living on St. John, or better yet my own Carribean island, I didn't achieve sanctity and sainthood at the age of 24, I didn't write the new Summa, I haven't discovered a new form of prayer, I haven't uncovered a new Catholic Doctrine, heck, I haven't even been able to come up with a new sin. If I were of a mind to, I could wander around and recite Ecclesiastes all day long, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." "There is nothing new under the sun." And boy is the latter true--particularly when it come to discontents--none of them are new--only new to us. - Steven Riddle

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