February 25, 2023

Have you ever seen a bird build a nest for its chicks?  It is an intricate process that includes foraging, sorting, weaving, and shaping.  Birds demonstrate great patience and adaptability in constructing, one item at a time, these masterpieces!  I wonder if this is a fitting metaphor for the human soul.  We spend a lifetime gathering memories, ideas, and experiences that, when arranged intentionally, just might form a structure capable of receiving new life.  Let’s therefore slow down during these next forty days and remember how much our Lord respected birds (Mt 6:26).  Let’s be little like a bird and work diligently like a bird.  Let’s allow all of our interior twigs and straw and otherwise refuse to become a place where our beloved may come and dwell (Jn 15:4).  Let’s build this nest, let’s learn to fly!  Ave Crux, Spes Unica!

February 18, 2023

“You have to give it away to keep it” is the trustworthy logic behind any authentic human spirituality.  Situated at the constant nexus point of time and eternity, we human persons are only ever satisfied by such a paradox.  Indeed, the continual process of dying as an ever-expanding gateway to new life is the pattern, or one might say the dance, that allows us to finally experience peace and understand the meaning of life.  It’s no wonder then that Jesus insists that we must lose our lives in order to save them (Mt 10:39), that a seed must entrust itself entirely to the earth in order to bear fruit (Jn 12:24), and that he must in fact surrender his body fully in this life in order to possess it fully in the next (Mk 8:31).  The next time, therefore, we are tempted to become needy, greedy, obsessive, complacent or lukewarm in our spiritual lives, let’s pause to remember that the open hand which gives is the same open hand which receives – that you have to give it away to keep it.  Ave Crux, Spes Unica.

February 11, 2023

I got a tattoo.  It’s a funny thing to have someone holding a needle to your skin, inking your body, using words like “forever” and “permanent” and “indelible.”  I used to think:  No way!  There’s a biblical prohibition against that kind of thing!  My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit!  No way!  But the time simply came to get a tattoo, so my best friend and I sat in a chair and made a memory that will remind us of our friendship from across the geography – and it wasn’t that big of a deal!  Maybe our tattoo will be a part of the resurrection of the body one day, maybe it will be unrecognizable billions of years from now, but maybe we shouldn’t worry about it.  The important thing is to remember that we exist in a cosmic tattoo parlor in which the divine hand is constantly looking for creative ways to keep us still enough long enough so that the words of life may be etched into our hearts (Jer 31:33).  We shall thus greet one another when we meet in the kingdom by exclaiming, “I got a tattoo!”  Ave Crux, Spes Unica.

February 4, 2023

“Snow Day!”  These blessed words have electrified the souls of half-sleeping children across the country for generations.  If we recall our own time in school, we can probably remember the feeling of anticipation of a day-off as the snow storm neared.  Just the thought of going from the stress of homework assignments, tests, gym class, sports practice, and riding the bus to a leisurely day in my pajamas still sends a jolt of excitement through my veins!  I wonder if this is what grace is like: the unexpectedness, the giftedness, and the positive emotions.  Perhaps a snow day approximates the sheer joy and freedom of resurrected life, a shocking revelation after the weight of the preceding days.  We might even compare such a radical shift from tediousness into rest to our salvation which is nothing more than passing over from the drama of this life to the eternal sabbath of the next.  However we choose to celebrate a day off from school, or any other welcomed surprise, let’s not forget to offer a prayer of gratitude for the constant goodness that flows from the divine hand into our human experience.  May we, indeed, have the wisdom to identify daily snow-day-moments and be reminded of the miraculous nature of life.  Ave Crux, Spes Unica!