Ways to Celebrate Mardi Gras

Venetian Mask

Tomorrow is Mardi Gras. Here is a link to art, music and poetry inspired by the festival preceding Lent, which is also “Pancake Day,” as the great Victorian poet Christina Rossetti reminds.

For many Catholics, the special significance of the day before Ash Wednesday is overlooked, except for the Mardi Gras celebrations enjoyed by some. But Shrove Tuesday is much more than just a famous party in New Orleans. Shrove actually means “to obtain absolution.” There are wonderful ways, both divine and delicious, to faithfully celebrate this day, deepening its significance through ancient tradition. Choose which ones suit you best this year.

Becoming Veronica

Two Angels Presenting the Holy Face - Claude Vignon

As we begin our Lenten walk with Christ, let’s prepare ourselves to be ready to comfort Him along the way, as St.Veronica did. There’s a prayer for that – a beautiful way to bridge the end of Ordinary Time with the start of Lent is the Alpha Omega Novena of the Holy Face and, though it can be experienced at any time of year, it’s just begun for 2018. Continue reading “Becoming Veronica”

St. Andrew’s Day

San Andrés - François Duquesnoy

Today is St. Andrew’s Day and thus, many faithful begin to pray the poetically beautiful St. Andrew Christmas Novena, that vividly transports one, through prayer, to the very moment of Christ’s birth. Just listen to the word-music of the opening lines: “Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born Of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold…” Continue reading “St. Andrew’s Day”

Quo Vadis? Feast of St. Pope John Paul II

Crucifixion of St Peter - Caravaggio

Where are you going?

“Not all are called to be artists in the specific sense of the term,” St. Pope John Paul II said, “Yet, as Genesis has it, all men and women are entrusted with the task of crafting their own life: in a certain sense, they are to make of it a work of art, a masterpiece.”  This past Sunday was the feast day of Saint Pope John Paul II and it was a joy to spend the day teaching my Desert Bread class, sharing time with all the participants and exchanging the food of faith and the arts… Continue reading “Quo Vadis? Feast of St. Pope John Paul II”

The Shelter of Your Arms: Feast of St. Therese of Lisieux

Oyster Shell painted by St Therese of Lisieux

“The world is thy ship and not thy home,” St. Therese of Lisieux reminds, lest we forget that we are, naturally, always longing for “a country we have never yet visited,” to borrow a phrase from C.S.Lewis, on this earthly journey. In St. Therese’s words, we hear an echo of Augustine: “You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” Today I presented the first of Desert Bread’s ongoing series of workshops on faith and the arts. It was a joy to share time with all the Desert Bread participants and exchange the food of faith and the arts. Continue reading “The Shelter of Your Arms: Feast of St. Therese of Lisieux”

St. Michael the Archangel, Gabriel, Raphael: Alarming Beauty

Three Archangels with Tobias - Francesco Botticini

We are not talking about your stereotypical greeting card angels. You know the type: round-cheeked, smiling among the rhododendrons – or the lace-winged Victorian angels embroidered on gift-shop pillows; doubtless lovely, yet un-intimidating.

On the Feast of the Archangels, we are are reminded of the arresting power, strength, and intimidating beauty of angels as described in scripture &emdash; not your garden-variety cherubim! Continue reading “St. Michael the Archangel, Gabriel, Raphael: Alarming Beauty”

Don’t Worry: Three Birds for Saint Padre Pio

Herons and Lilies, 1862, Frank W. Benson

“Pray, hope, and don’t worry,” said Padre Pio. If we pray and truly have hope, we can indeed learn to keep worry at bay.  So to honor Padre Pio, today’s music, art and poetry is all aimed at doing just that. Bob Marley’s “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” assures in its lyrics, “Three little birds pitch by my doorstep/ Singin’ sweet songs/ Of melodies pure and true/ Saying’, (this is my message to you): don’t worry.” This Trinity of birds heralds hope and reminds of the great passage from scripture that teaches us to let go of worries Continue reading “Don’t Worry: Three Birds for Saint Padre Pio”

A Library for Augustine

St. Augustine - Sandro Botticelli

This coming Monday, August 28th, is the feast day of St. Augustine. I am celebrating it a few days early, in order to bring attention to a worthy cause. Today’s art by Sandro Botticelli depicts Augustine sitting among books and treasures in a library-like setting. Today’s music is Sam Rocha’s “Late to Love,” inspired by Augustine’s Confessions and his famous words, “Late have I loved you, beauty so ancient and so new!” Continue reading “A Library for Augustine”