Paolo Veronese, The Crucifixion (16 Century)

Today, he is pierced for our transgressions.

Today, is is crushed for our iniquities.

Today, the punishment that brings us peace is placed upon him.

Today, by his wounds, we are healed.

We are the ones that hurt him, the ones that put him on the cross, and yet he forgives us, and in his hurt he heals us.

He dies for us out of love for us, and his love is the glue that repairs our brokenness.

Water and blood, flowing from his side, filling and binding every wound, every break, and every crack that sin ever opened. Closing them and healing them forever.

For in the midst of death, we are in life. The tomb cannot contain him, and at Easter we shall be made new.

Today, I know that my Redeemer lives!

M. Grunewald Resurrection

Matthias Grünewald, Resurrection (c. 1510-15)

For he is the Resurrection and the Life.

Five Minute Friday



The Gate is Never Closed

Pope francis


“(Jesus) is the gate. He is the gateway to salvation. He leads us to the Father. And the gate that is Jesus is never closed, this gate is never closed, it is always open and open to everyone, without distinction, without exclusions, without privileges. Because, you know, Jesus does not exclude anyone. Some of you might say to me, ‘But Father, surely I am excluded, because I am a great sinner. I have done so many things in my life.’ No, you are not excluded! Precisely for that reason you are preferred, because Jesus prefers the sinner, always, in order to pardon him, to love him. Jesus is waiting for you, to embrace you, to pardon you. Don’t be afraid: He’s waiting for you. Be lively, have the courage to enter through His gate. All are invited to pass through this gate, to pass through the gate of faith, to enter into His life, and to allow Him to enter into our life, because He transforms it, renews it, the gifts of full and lasting joy.”

—Pope Francis. Sunday Angelus (Aug. 25 2013)

Bloggerhood Etc. 5/27/13

The snow-covered mountains and punctual trains of Montreux, Switzerland, summon childhood train sets, and the daydreams that accompanied them.

Photo: Harold Cunningham/Getty

Last week, I departed from my normal best-of format to highlight a cross section of Apraxia Awareness Day posts. This week I return to my usual format, but with a special expanded link-o-rama. There was just too much good stuff to leave anything out, so here goes . . .

Best Travel Essay—International. “How Learning a Foreign Language Reignited My Imagination” by Ta-Nehisi Coates in The Atlantic. Coates is perhaps my favorite essayist currently writing. When I read his work, I alternate between being inspired to write better myself, and contemplating quitting because I can’t ever imaging writing this well.

Best Travel Essay—Regional. “Visitors take the bait on Bandon crab dock” by Melissa Hart in the Eugene Register Guard. Unlike Coates, Melissa Hart always inspires me to write better. Not because her work isn’t just as wonderful in its own way, but because she’s a personal friend and a great teacher.

Best Letter to My Former Parish. “Dear Parents with Young Children in Church” by Jamie Bruesehoff on I am totally *that* mom. It’s a long story (which appears in my book with names change to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent), but this is exactly what a former parish of ours needed to hear.

Best Parenting Essay. “and to dust you shall return” by Nish Weiseth on her blog. Short and stunning. Wow!

Best Mission Statement. “Pursuing the Truth in Love” by Matt Malone SJ in America. A Catholic statement for a Catholic magazine.

Best Reminder of What We All Need to Say From Time to Time. “Forgive Me” by Rachel Held Evans on her blog. Especially on the Internet, we all need to apologize from time to time. I know I do.

Ring over The Capitol

Image: Ron Miller

Most Mind-Blowing. “If Earth Had a Ring Like Saturn” by Ron Miller on io9.
Awe inspiring pictures like the one above.

Best Reply to an Faux Controversy. “Yes, Pope Francis said ‘All are redeemed.’ Is that news?” by Terry Mattingly on GetReligion. Someone needs to calm “The Huff and Puff Post” down every so often, or at least counter their SCREAMING HEADLINES!

Best Defense of Good Writing. “The Lost Symbol and The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown’s 20 worst sentences” by Tom Chivers in The Telegraph. If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.

Favorite Virtual Exhibit. “Dangerous Decibels” at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). Educational and fun. Now I want to go to OMSI again.

And the grand finale . . .


Photo: LEGO

The Largest (and Quite Possibly the Coolest) Thing Ever Built With Lego. “This 23-Ton, 5.3-Million-Brick X-Wing Is the Biggest Lego Model Ever.” Story by Angela Wattercutter in Wired. So geeking out right now!

First Pangs of Conscience

Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket

Uncredited art inspired by Walt Disney.

My daughter Anna took a big step yesterday, and I am very proud of her.

She had acted out a lot on Sunday. She got into trouble and lost her computer for the day. But as long as she behaved in school and didn’t get any reminders for bad behavior, she would get her computer back yesterday afternoon. So when she came home, I asked her the same question I do everyday.

“How did school go.”

“Good,” she said. “No reminders.”

“Good job.” I turned her computer back on, and she played a few games on it that afternoon.

Later that afternoon, Julia and I were in the bedroom chatting when Anna came in. She was crying.

“Mom, Dad, I fibbed. Please turn off my computer.”

“What was that?” I asked. Neither of us quite understood what she was saying.

“I got a reminder today and I said I didn’t.” More tears flowed. “I hid it at school so you wouldn’t see.  I’m sorry I fibbed.”

We could tell that she knew she did wrong and she was genuinely upset about it. I turned off her computer and we discussed her punishment.

“Anna,” Julia said. “You know you did wrong in school, and that lying about it was wrong too.”

Anna sniffed and nodded.

“But you also did the right thing in telling the truth.”

The reminder slip would have cost her another day without the computer. Lying would have made it a full week, but since she confessed to lying on her own initiative, we decided to cut her punishment in half.

“Three days, Anna.” Julia said. “You can have it back Friday afternoon.”

Anna nodded again, wiped her eyes, and hugged us both. We reminded her that their nothing she couldn’t tell us and it was always better to tell the truth.

And we were both impressed that she was genuinely moved by her conscience to  admit she lied. It was a big step, and we are very proud of her.

She is learning right from wrong, and becoming a moral and compassionate person in the process.

The Saint and the Sinner

"Sinners Welcome" banner over church door.

Photo: Mary Karr

This photo reminds me of a story. I heard it years ago and don’t remember the details, but here it is to the best of my recollection:

There was this church—in Russia, let say—a big, beautiful Orthodox church with an extraordinary icon wall and stunning mosaics. It was always full of devout worshipers at every celebration of the Divine Liturgy. One of the parishioners was an elderly hermit—a very holy man, admired by everyone in the community—another one was a young man and a notorious sinner. The young man hadn’t been to the Liturgy in many months, but he came one Sunday.

Before long, the whispers began. “Why is he here?” “How dare he set foot in this sacred place!” “He should be outside in sackcloth and ashes begging the community for forgiveness and instead he comes here in his Sunday best as if nothing had happened?”

The priest sensed the tension and just before he entered the sanctuary to begin the liturgy, he walked over to the young man. They spoke for a few minutes and the man left.

The priest returned to the sanctuary and in a few moments the procession stepped out in front of the icon wall. But as the priest swung the censer, no one was watching him. Instead they turned and watched the hermit as he walked to the door, made the sign of the cross and left the building. It wasn’t until the priest gave the homily that he noticed the hermit was gone.

After the liturgy, the priest walked across the garden to the hermit’s cell, which was on the far end of the church’s property, and knocked on the door.

“O Holy Abbot,” the priest asked with his head bowed. “Why did you leave during the liturgy?”

“Well, father, I saw you asked the young man to leave,” the hermit replied.

“But he is a notorious sinner,” the priest responded. “Certainly you’ve heard.”

“I have. But as Saint Paul wrote ‘Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the first,’ and, since sinners are no longer welcome at your parish, I left as well.”

At that point the priest dropped to his knees and begged the hermit to forgive him. He did. And the priest visited the young man that very afternoon, heard his confession, and welcomed him by name the following Sunday.

Five Minute Friday