April 29, 2023

“When uncertain, do nothing.”  This maxim has been helping people to take ownership of their spiritual lives for centuries.  While we tell ourselves that we do not have time to discern and that we must simply issue a decision in the midst of pressure-filled circumstances, our restlessness and dissatisfaction with the outcome are sure signs that our process remains distant from the ground of being who cannot but bring clarity, certainty and stability to our lives.  It is probably the case that our impulsive actions are rooted in fear.  Do we really believe in the living God?  Do we really accept our creatureliness?  Do we really desire to make lifegiving and durable choices?  The next time we are faced with a complicated situation, therefore, let’s resist the urge to act without first listening to the voice of the beloved.  Indeed, the great winds, the earthquakes and the fires will all pass, and, when the time is right, that “still small voice” will speak and make us sure-footed on the one true path that leads to life (1 Kings 19:11-18).  Ave Crux, Spes Unica


April 22, 2023

Have you ever been in a fist fight? It’s a surreal experience that lays bare millions of years of evolution that we all carry around in our psyches and cells.  Indeed, beneath our easy-going personalities and the daily masks we wear is an insecure and fragile human person who is desperate to survive.  While we may feel guilty about trying to punch somebody’s lights out or ashamed of having someone knock us around in front of a crowd, at least a fight is honest.  Let’s therefore admit our dissatisfaction with the false sense of safety that a tax bracket or a zip code or a social status affords us. Let’s end the practice of redirecting these uncomfortable instincts toward some socially acceptable outlet like alcohol or pornography, and instead feel this deep primal identity within. Let’s look to Jesus whose willingness to recognize the tension within himself (Mt 10:34-35) allowed him to be reconciled with his own existence (Mt 26:39).  Let’s pray for hands that serve other people precisely through the clenched fists of our creatureliness. Ave Crux, Spes Unica.

April 15, 2023

The number “6” has been considered an evil number since ancient times.  In the Jewish mind, it is a tragic reminder of imperfection, lacking completeness and failing to achieve wholeness (symbolized by its neighbor on the number line, seven).  From a theological point of view, the problem is divorcing those rigorous and all-consuming six days of work (Gen 1:1-31) from the deep sabbath rest which grounds them and gives them meaning (Gen 2:2-3).  How often have I lost the forest for the trees?  When have I gone down the proverbial rabbit hole of intellection at the expense of an enduring and transcendent telos?  Have I ever actually trusted enough in the eternal sabbath to experience a peace that lasts?  Let’s spend the week meditating upon the mystery of the one who works on the sabbath without contradiction and without apology (Jn 5:17), and in doing so become people whose active engagement in the life of the world actually leads to rest.  Ave Crux, Spes Unica.

April 8, 2023

The word Easter is based on the fact that the sun rises in the east.  Considering that we are treated to a glorious and beautiful dawn each morning, it’s as if the natural world is just begging us to soften our skepticism and become increasingly attuned to the miraculous nature of life.  Let’s therefore treat this solemn and holy feast not as some other-worldly in-breaking, but as a friend reminding us that the grace which constantly abounds (Rom 5:20) is our destiny.  May every morning and every moment of every day thus be a resurrection, and may we, through the act of faith in the resurrection, come to know the fullness of life (Jn 10:10).  Ave Crux, Spes Unica!

“Easter” by Gerard Manley Hopkins

April 1, 2023

Making sauce is a sacred ritual in Italian-American homes across the country.  Olive oil, onions, garlic, salt, hot pepper seeds, tomatoes, fresh basil, sausage, ground beef, and a little sugar to cut down on the acid.  No recipes allowed!  Just a relationship with each of these ingredients and a desire to extend love and hospitality to our families on easy Sunday afternoons.  Let’s entrust all of the various elements of our complex human lives to the hands of the master chef who will spend as many years as it takes to make of us a perfect sauce capable of nourishing others and creating family wherever we go (cf. Jer 18:6).  Ave Crux, Spes Unica.