Washing His Feet

He limped in off the street, leaning on a wheelchair that had “2nd Floor Pain Clinic” written on the seat. On the back, it just said “PAIN” in large letters. We had just endured twelve days of subzero temperatures in Kansas City, with lows in the negative teens. At Morning Glory Ministries, a social outreach…

When the Good News Seems Grim

If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23 This is a frightening prospect. To be entirely dispossessed of everything that is not Christ, leaning more and more on him, entering every more deeply into the suffering of others: the sick, the…

Is hope possible?

I went to bed with a heavy heart last night. War, violence, and terror, once again. I remember watching the towers fall on live TV, my senior year of high school. I remember my college experience shaded by the war on terror, the destruction of Iraq and the long quagmire in Afghanistan. When I graduated,…

A Jesus Prayer

Jesus My life, my love, and my hope I am beset by many anxieties as I walk the well trod path behind you. Jesus You asked me to follow youa long time agoand I havethrough times of bitter painand searing fearto delightful oases of rest,and peace,and joyful service. Jesus Help me not to lose hopeor…

In the Sight of Such Love

“You are my beloved . . . with you I am well pleased.” I find, even among people of faith, a certain reticence to being told they are God’s beloved. We often sidestep the issue: “Well, God only loves Jesus like that, not me.” Even now, as you’re reading this, you might be squirming a…

Ocean of Love

“One day while I was praying, I lost all sense of God’s presence,” he said, and I could hear the pain in his voice. “It was just me, alone, talking to an empty room. Just talking to myself.” We were at coffee, talking about faith, and about how sometimes spiritual growth can feel more like…

Our Beloved Dead

For All Souls’ Day, 2021 The souls of the just are in the hand of God,    and no torment shall touch them.They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;    and their passing away was thought an affliction    and their going forth from us, utter destruction.But they are in peace.For if before men,…

A Quiet Luminosity

When I was young I was attracted to power, and to powerful people: pro football stars, wealthy superheroes, politicians, business owners, and world leaders. Real or fictional, I loved the idea of people who could make things happen, who could get what they wanted out of life and affect change, people who could “leave their…

Teresa of Jesus

“Let nothing disturb you,Let nothing frighten you,All things are passing away:God never changes.Patience obtains all thingsWhoever has God lacks nothing;God alone suffices.” For many, the word MYSTIC can conjure up images of stained-glass saints and ragged ascetics, or some VIP class of Christian who claims to have exclusive spiritual experiences of God, Christ, or Mary….

A Listening Church

“The Synod offers us the opportunity to become a listening Church, to break out of our routine and pause from our pastoral concerns in order to stop and listen. The Synod offers us the opportunity to become a Church of closeness, that does not stand aloof from life, but immerses herself in today’s problems and…

An Evening Prayer

May He support us all the day long,till the shades lengthen and the evening comes,and the busy world is hushed,and the fever of life is over,and our work is done.Then in His mercy may He give us a safe lodging,and a holy restand peace at the last.Amen. —John Henry Newman (1801–1890) “Hail Mary, the Jesus…

Growing Pains

From the Fall 2021 Catholic Key Magazine: https://catholickey.org/2021/09/09/growing-pains/ A season of transition has descended on our family. My oldest boy is starting kindergarten, I’m changing jobs, and the whole family is moving. It’ll mean some big changes for all of us, and the end of a really wonderful chapter in our life together. Often, when…

The Soul Knows

I will be celebrating my birthday this week and well, dear friends, it’s been a year. A new baby, a new job, a new house, an old pandemic, and on and on and on. On the bright side, I am now well into my late 30s, and I have finally discovered that life does not…

Pilgrim Parents

It’s 3 a.m. and I wake to screaming. Bleary-eyed, I fumble around for the baby monitor. I can’t see a thing in the sunbright display, so I close my eyes and listen: “Waaaaaaa!” Which baby is that? “WAAAAAAAAA!!!!” I still can’t tell. Was that a raspy and sweet cry, or a shrill and loud cry?…

Stations of the Cross for the Pandemic

I wrote these Stations of the Cross with the Covid Pandemic in mind, as both a way to pray for those suffering but also to connect their suffering, and ours, with that of Christ. Each station recognizes the suffering of Christ at his passion, and connects that with a group that is suffering particularly during…

The Great Letting Go

At some point in my mid-thirties I realized I was holding on a little too tightly. It manifested as an unshakeable anxiety about having control over my life, about what I thought I was supposed to be doing. This eventually led was a very Dante-esque experience: Midway through the journey of my life, I was…

A 2020 Epiphany

The births of our first two children were laborious, frantic affairs. Due to long labors and deliveries, the babies were quickly hustled away by the doctors and nursing staff, and we were left too shell-shocked to really cherish the moment. So when our third arrived relatively quickly, smack dab in the middle of the pandemic,…

They can’t touch my soul

Like many Americans, I experienced a fair bit of anxiety over the course of the election. The morning after election night, when the election was still undecided, I headed into Morning Glory Ministries to help with emergency assistance. I was greeted by Carol, a longtime volunteer with a quick wit and lots of hard won…

Keeping the Vigil

They didn’t teach me audio engineering or cinematography when I got my Masters in Theology. Maybe they should have, I thought, as lightning flashed through stain glass windows, the transcendent Exsultet echoing through the empty Cathedral. I was desperately attempting to keep a livestream going through a ramshackle conjunction of cameras, cords, blackboxes and an overheating laptop…

Hide and Seek

One thing that struck me in reading the multitude of resurrection narratives is the fact that Jesus rarely appears to large groups, and to those he does appear to he remains, in some mysterious way, still hidden from view. They either don’t recognize him or, when they do, he disappears quickly from their site. And,…

A Good Friday Prayer for a Pandemic

Jesus never stopped praying. Even as he hung on a cross, desperately trying to breathe, his lungs filling with fluid, he never stopped praying. In his most desperate moment, he offered his suffering humanity, our suffering humanity, as a prayer to God. But prayer can be hard, especially if we are feeling stressed or overwhelmed….

Flowers are Everywhere

It has become a sort of rallying cry: “Flowers are everywhere!” “There’s a dandelion growing in the sidewalk!” “There’s a purple tulip!” “There’s a white and orange one!” Suddenly my son William is obsessed with flowers, pointing out every one he knows, and given that he’s grown up in a flower shop, he’s fairly adept…

The Stable of the Human Heart

St. Bernard of Clairvaux speaks of Three Advents. The First one we are familiar with, it prepares us for the birth of Christ at Christmas. The Second is Christ’s return at the end of history, or the Second Coming. But the Third Advent is less known, and points to the arrival of Christ to dwell…

Five Ways to Survive (Yet Another) Church Crisis

The current crisis in our church has left many Catholics feeling emotionally and spiritually drained, and despair or cynicism may sound like very tempting options. But there are some alternatives to packing it up or going full nihilist. Here’s five tips for spiritually surviving (yet another) Church crisis. Find Some Spiritual Shelter As in all…