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”

The Coronation of Mary

The Coronation of the Virgin, from the Oddi Altarpiece - Raphael

Dedicated In Memory of Dominic J. Guerriero, who shone with the light of faith.

One might find it challenging to ground the Coronation of Mary, depicted in Raphael’s masterpiece, to relevance in our own earthly lives of light and shadow. How can we feel more of the impact of the fifth Glorious Mystery, this high heavenly coronation? What if were possible to attain a crown of our own through authentic and abiding devotion to Mary? St. Teresa of Avila would have us believe such a thing is possible. Continue reading “The Coronation of Mary”

An Epic Home

The artist's garden at Vétheuil - Claude Monet

August: for many, the season of “getting away” and going on vacation. But what if you aren’t going anywhere? Perhaps it’s because you are not able to, for whatever reason. But maybe you just love being home.

I do savor the many joys of travel, of pilgrimage. Today’s featured poem was written shortly before an unforgettable trip to Venice. But while I have had my own share of odysseys, I also have a deep shire-like appreciation of my home, and relish returning there, even after the greatest adventures.

A particularly exciting and potentially limitless journey is creating a home that is epic Continue reading “An Epic Home”

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”