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Friday, July 15, 2016

St. Bonaventure

I don't know much of anything about St. Bonaventure, if I'm being honest. I do have an aspiring religious friend who likes him, if for no other reason than to get away from St. Thomas! [He needs to know that there's no way a Doctor of the Church can be overrated.--ed.] I agree.

We can always count on Father to say, "We gather to celebrate the life and the faith witness" of whomever it is. Even the priest's little quirks in speech like this become part of what you grow to expect.

I think St. Bonaventure would be pleased that, weather permitting, we have made this same journey hundreds of times. Not that merely being present has any merit, but the hope that we will be moved by the glorious grace of Christ for some good end.

We had been talking about grace having possibly come to a notorious mass murderer. We both agreed that we wanted to be the sorts of men who rejoice at stories like that. Easy to say, from a distance.

And I had Sister Helen on my mind yesterday. I think one of the things I most admire about her is that she has never minimized evil that is done. If you can look straight into the face of evil and sin in all its ugliness and say, "Nevertheless, Christ loves you, and offers Himself for you," that is credibility; that is holiness. If we don't believe this, we'd better get out of the church business, if you will.

St. Bonaventure, pray for us!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

My Yoke Is Easy

Frankly, I always thought Jesus was crazy in saying this, at the risk of impiety. Surely having been tempted, he knows this isn't true, right?

But consider that other Scripture, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me."

It is an impossible task, that virtue I haven't acquired. The idea of holding it together until the next Eucharist. We need to stop trying so hard.

Who is Jesus? Do I want to know, and go where he goes, or do I have something else going on?

It doesn't say, "I will fear no evil, because it's not that big of a deal." No one is saying that the valley of the shadow of death is a stroll on a spring day in Palo Alto.

For you are with me.

My Lord, the truth is, apart from you, I can do nothing. If you still want me with you, I'll go with you. Please stay with me.

No. Just No.

There's this. And I said to no one in particular, "What a pile of s***." If you lose readers, you lose readers. And if you're being an intemperate jerk who should stay away from politics, no amount of passionate defenses of your work changes all that. The funny thing about charity is, it's the ultimate proof that you can be right, and still lose. Is there no one Catholic who can say, "Our social teaching bids us go in some interesting directions"? Is it that hard to say that grudging acceptance of Pope Francis is not obedience? Is impugning the motives of those who have faults in reasoning now considered "pruning"?

I get it. When you write and opine for your daily work, you're gonna make someone mad. And maybe you should. But I never felt edified, reading Mark Shea's Facebook feed. I stuck it out, because I knew he's right most times. But what good is it to gain the whole world, and forfeit your soul?

The Register can find someone better, to say the same things.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head

Actually, I have stayed inside. St. Louis weather is like that one friend who makes bad decisions at the last second all the time. I'm barely one hundred yards from my apartment, and it might as well be ten miles.

At least I made it to Mass.

What if our spiritual life is like a guy looking out at a stormy day? You might think, "Well, there goes this day, and I don't feel like much." Suppose the smallest faithfulness however pleases God the most? Don't just mail it in. You never know how much one victory means.

But Seriously

These are hilarious. You can sense the camaraderie here. Part of the reason they have been so successful is their friendship. Timmy helped create that. I do think the team will notice a void. Like many Spurs fans, I am alternately joyful, thankful, sad, and even shocked. In the end, though, everything is good.

How good do you have to be to make Coach Popovich cry? Tim Duncan good.

The team will not want to embarrass him, but I think the fans have more appreciation to give.


Monday, July 11, 2016

An Emotional Half-Hour

I started with spiritual reading, and I was greatly consoled by mediating on this text from the Gospel: "As the Father has loved me, so I love you." I think we think of "Christianity" as a system much of the time. We have books, conferences, and symposia on "Christianity's Impact On X, Y, and Z" and so forth. That's fine, as far as it goes. Try never to forget though that the Holy Trinity--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--made you and loves you. The Holy Spirit is Himself the fruit of the love between the Father and the Son, so if God wants to share that love with you and me, there is a very good chance we have no idea the life we could be living now, or in the world to come. I tried to simply stay there in the moment. The saints are the saints because their lives became one long moment of remaining with Jesus.

And then it game to my mind again that Tim Duncan retired today. I admit, I got a little choked up. Timmy is the Spurs. He makes them go. I tried to put it in terms that people would understand, and I realized that Tim Duncan is the Derek Jeter of basketball. Annoyingly consistent, maniacal work ethic, face of the franchise, almost a player-coach. Duncan's nickname is "The Big Fundamental." There are bigger stars, but not greater ones. One of the reasons the Spurs are so great is that perhaps the two greatest Spurs came back-to-back, and briefly overlapped. "The Admiral" himself embodied that professionalism and class, and Timmy just carried it on.

There is a fleeting quality to professional sports; one season bleeds into the next, and we are aware that this isn't the most important thing in the world. And yet, the amazing consistency and longevity--and the emotional bond created by the whole endeavor--seems to require acknowledgment.