Knowing the Shepherd

A friend and mentor of mine sent me this recent 20-minute talk by Rabbi YY Jacobson, and what a gift! Highly recommend listening to the whole thing but if I were to sum it all up in a few words, I might choose: passion over perfection! Continue reading “Knowing the Shepherd”

Palm Sunday & Paralipsis

Photo: Palm Sunday Mass at St. Peter’s Square in Rome in April 2015

Like many people around the world, I’m participating in the mass to the extent that livestream and personal intention makes possible. Today, my friends and I watched a live broadcast of Bishop Barron’s Sunday mass for Palm Sunday. And as usual, Bishop Barron gave a wonderful homily about the Passion narrative we heard in today’s gospel. While it’s a long gospel that offers us much upon which to reflect, I found it striking that Bishop Barron did not discuss the pandemic at all. Continue reading “Palm Sunday & Paralipsis”

You-are-there-reading

I’ve never equaled the sensory verisimilitude of my friend Adam, who once read the ninth book of the Odyssey, in Greek, in what is believed to be the Cyclops’s cave, a Sicilian grotto Homerically redolent of sheep turds. But I have read Yeats in Sligo, Isak Dinesen in Kenya, and John Muir in the Sierras. By far my finest You Are There hour, however, was spent reading the journals of John Wesley Powell, the one-armed Civil War veteran who led the first expedition down the Colorado River, while I was camped at Granite Rapids in the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

– Anne Fadiman, Ex Libris

Five years ago, in the early days of April 2015, I was in Rome with my friend Crystal in anticipation and then celebration of Holy Week. Continue reading “You-are-there-reading”

The day John Paul II died

On this date, fifteen years ago, Pope John Paul II died. I remember this time well because I was 14 at the time and the news of his death was, paradoxically, also the biggest news to me of his life. Before his death, I’d heard his name my whole life but I hadn’t really gotten to know much about him or his remarkable biography. But then, in 2005, every magazine cover had his face on it and it seemed that there was unending coverage of this Catholic leader whose life had made a profound difference not only in the Church but throughout the whole world in the drama of the twentieth century. Continue reading “The day John Paul II died”

Suffering without flinching

Viktor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning, also wrote a book titled The Doctor and the Soul. In the introduction, Frankl argues that life has meaning as long as we have the capacity to suffer: “For the possibility of realizing values by the very attitude with which we face our unchangeable suffering—this possibility exists to the very last moment. […] The right kind of suffering—facing your fate without flinching—is the highest achievement that has been granted to man.” Continue reading “Suffering without flinching”

Why does God harden Pharaoh’s heart?

Today, I spent a little time reflecting on Exodus 7:3 which says, “But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and I will increase My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.”

And of course I had the obvious question that people have had for millennia which is: Why would God need to harden Pharaoh’s heart since he was already obstinate? Continue reading “Why does God harden Pharaoh’s heart?”