Tied to the Ocean

Off Connecticut Newport - William Trost Richards

Who wraps up the oceans in his cloak? -Proverbs 30:4

It’s the first week in August, prime beach season here on Long Island, leading me to contemplate the pull of the ocean on the spirit, and how it can feel like the tides of one’s soul often come to simultaneous rest and rejuvenation when in the presence of the ocean, that untamed aqueous beast of beauty. Continue reading “Tied to the Ocean”

Not Wanting to Leave: Staying in the Tent

Moses Blesses Joshua - Marc Chagall

Lectionary Reading 1: Ex 33:7-11; 34: 5B-9, 28

In the first reading for today from Exodus, we read of the time Moses spent in “the meeting tent,” outside his camp. When Moses entered the tent “a cloud of smoke would come down and stand at the entrance of the tent” while the Lord and Moses spoke. “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one man speaks to another. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young assistant, Joshua, son of Nun, would not move out of the tent.” Continue reading “Not Wanting to Leave: Staying in the Tent”

To Give and Not Count the Cost: St. Ignatius and the Good Soldier

Ignatius of Loyola - Peter Paul Rubens

A touching moment in today’s news: the Medal of Honor award was given to one James C. McCloughan, a former army medic who saved the lives of ten members of his platoon in Vietnam and risked his life in “acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty.” At one point he ran 100 meters through heavy fire to carry an injured person to safety. With complete disregard for personal safety, he kept rescuing soldiers even after he himself was wounded. It was recounted that while he was carrying his comrades in arms to safety, McCloughan prayed. He promised God that if it was God’s will for him to live through that trial, the first thing he would do as soon as he was able, was to tell his father that he loved him, a promise he fulfilled again and again throughout the rest of his father’s life. Continue reading “To Give and Not Count the Cost: St. Ignatius and the Good Soldier”

Our Lady of Sorrows

September 15 is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. Most of all this day is a reminder that sorrow, however deep, can offer great and noble purpose, even beauty, if transformed into compassion and resolve.

In W.B. Yeats’ poem, “The Cloak, The Boat and The Shoes,” the speaker asks,

‘What do you make so fair and bright?’
‘I make the cloak of Sorrow:
O lovely to see in all men’s sight
Shall be the cloak of Sorrow,
In all men’s sight.’

Continue reading “Our Lady of Sorrows”

The Passion of St. John the Baptist

Earlier this summer, Desert Bread paid homage to the birth of St. John the Baptist. Today’s post honors his passion.

There is no work of art depicting John the Baptist that is more compelling than today’s featured art by Caravaggio, and Peter Gabriel’s “Washing of the Water” is a profoundly fitting song for today’s theme.

The featured poem is one of my favorites that I have ever written and it imagines how Salome, whose dark request sentenced the Baptist to death, might have been transformed by John’s death the way others were transformed by his life. Continue reading “The Passion of St. John the Baptist”

True Hospitality

What is true hospitality? Cooking, cleaning, and serving are important, but most important is listening: making a guest feel heard.

Today is the feast of St. Martha, who labored while her sister listened to Christ. How often we relate to Martha! And yet Christ guides Martha, summoning her to choose “the better part,” as Mary did. Continue reading “True Hospitality”

National Parent’s Day

Today is a national holiday that many people simply haven’t heard of – Parent’s Day (also, International Children’s Day!)

Held on the fourth Sunday of every July, Parent’s Day’s roots are an outgrowth of Korean Confucianism, where respect for one’s elders is a cherished ideal.

My recent article published by Motherly describes some fun ways to celebrate Parent’s Day, and the parental journey — a pilgrimage that truly can be a great act of faith. Continue reading “National Parent’s Day”

Walking the Way Wherever We Are

Today is the feast of St. James, Apostle. One of the “Sons of Thunder,” along with St. John, this son of Zebedee is the patron saint of Spain.

St. James’ remains are interred at Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. The pilgrimage by foot or bicycle to Santiago de Compostela is known as “the way”. A symbol of St. James is the scallop shell, and this has also become a symbol of the pilgrimage to Santiago. Continue reading “Walking the Way Wherever We Are”