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Happy Michaelmas!

29 September 2014
Happy Michaelmas!

This dreary, foggy Monday is the “Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels” or, in the old calendar, the “Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Michael the Archangel”. Whatever you call it, the most common name is Michaelmas. It is one of several harvest festivals celebrated throughout Christian Europe. In England this is one of the “quarter days”, which was marked by hiring servants, electing magistrates, and beginning of legal and university terms. This day also marks the...

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Quality of Life

25 September 2014
Quality of Life

What kind of life could the child possibly look forward to? He was born with a cleft palate, cerebral palsy, and spina bifida. In these progressive days, the child very well might have been aborted after the doctor showed the mother her first detailed fetal ultrasound. But the child had the great fortune to be born in 1013, a much less progressive time, and into a devout family in Catholic Europe. They named him Hermann. At the age of...

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The Blood of San Gennaro

19 September 2014
The Blood of San Gennaro

Today at 10:12AM, a small vial of dried blood in Naples turned to liquid, as it has done several times a year since at least the 1380s. A great crowd had gathered to witness this event. The man holding up the vial is Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, the Archbishop of Naples. The announcement is traditionally greeted by a 21-gun salute from the nearby castle. President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy was among the politicians who kissed the vial. The vial contains...

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Seven Sorrows

15 September 2014
Seven Sorrows

Whither is thy Beloved gone, O thou most beautiful among women? Whither is thy Beloved turned aside, and we will seek Him with thee? We begin with the first antiphon of Lauds for today’s feast of The Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Monastic Diurnal. The Blessed Virgin Mary is sometimes called Our Lady of Sorrows – indeed, that is the modern name for today’s feast. This is an ancient title for her, based on Simeon’s...

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Route for 2016?

10 September 2014

Francine and I have been noodling about what our second Camino – our first full Camino together – will look like. First off, we’re going to take it slow. Our initial thought is to fly out of Seattle on Easter Sunday 2016 and in to Barcelona. From there, we’ll catch a Ryan Air flight to Lourdes and spend a day there. Then we’ll take a train from Lourdes to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and spend the night there, hopefully at Beilari, which...

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Requiem Æternam

10 September 2014
Requiem Æternam

On the morning of my first day of high school, the principal swept into my homeroom class. He was an Augustinian friar, and he moved in a precise way, as though every gesture had been planned in advance. I’d never met a friar. I’d never gone to a Catholic school before. I wasn’t even Catholic.

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The Nativity of the Virgin

8 September 2014
The Nativity of the Virgin

Very rarely has today’s feast made much of an impression on me. I did write about it once, three years ago, because I was struck by the convergence of a beautiful dawn with the readings of the day. God is truly a poet to confound the mathematicians and a mathematician to confound the poets.

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Gregory the Great

3 September 2014
Gregory the Great

Only a handful of Popes ever get named “Great”. Today is the feast of one of them, Pope Saint Gregory the Great, confessor and doctor of the Church (540 – 604). Gregory had been born into an ancient and wealthy Roman family. Before he was 30 years old, he had been a Roman Senator and then Prefect of Rome. He gave up his riches and titles to found a small Benedictine monastery in what had been his house, becoming...

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Late Have I Loved You

28 August 2014
Detail from a Portrait of Saint Augustine by Philippe de Champaigne

Urged to reflect upon myself, I entered under your guidance the innermost places of my being; but only because you had become my helper was I able to do so. I entered, then, and with the vision of my spirit, such as it was, I saw the incommutable light far above my spiritual ken and transcending my mind: not this common light which every carnal eye can see, nor any light of the same order; but greater, as though...

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A Prayer to Saint Monica

27 August 2014
A Prayer to Saint Monica

Born of Christian parents about the year 331 at Tagaste in Africa, Monica was reared under the strict supervision of an elderly nurse who had likewise reared her father. In the course of time she was given in marriage to a pagan named Patricius. Besides other faults, he possessed a very irascible nature…

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Pope Francis



Servus Servorum Dei

I Peter 5:8

Fratres : Sóbrii estóte, et vigiláte : quia adversárius vester diábolus tamquam leo rúgiens circuit, quærens quem dévoret : cui resístite fortes in fide.

Brethren, be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith.

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