ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF MOZART’S DEATH: WHY CATHOLIC?

I frequently get asked “Why Catholic?” by diverse self-proclaimed demographics; Evangelical Protestants, Rad Trads, and that sector of atheists who can be just as either/or in thinking as religious fundamentalists.  I can think of no more apt and meaningful a symbol than Mozart as an initial gateway as a response to that question, although there is more to it than that. My introduction to artmusic was at a young age and while I started off with the standards (i.e. Beethoven and Wagner), by my late teens and early twenties, I was venturing into the more modern terrain of Bruckner, Mahler, … Continue reading ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF MOZART’S DEATH: WHY CATHOLIC?

SEA OF ROSARIES: Black Madonna of Oropa

Aubade-Harlem by Thomas Merton Across the cages of the keyless aviaries,The lines and wires, the gallows of the broken kites,   Crucify, against the fearful light,The ragged dresses of the little children.Soon, in the sterile jungles of the waterpipes and ladders,   The bleeding sun, a bird of prey, will terrify the poor,   These will forget the unbelievable moon. But in the cells of whiter buildings,Where the glass dawn is brighter than the knives of surgeons,   Paler than alcohol or ether, shinier than money,The white men’s wives, like Pilate’s,Cry in the peril of their frozen dreams: “Daylight has driven iron spikes,Into the flesh of Jesus’ hands … Continue reading SEA OF ROSARIES: Black Madonna of Oropa

SEA OF ROSARIES: Black Madonna of Tindari

Proverbs by Thomas Merton 1. I will tell you what you can do ask me if you do not understand what I just said 2. One thing you can do be a manufacturer make appliances 3. Be a Man-u-fac-tu-rer 4. Make appliances sell them for a high price 5. I will tell you about industry make appliances 6. Make appliances that move 7. Ask me if you do not understand what is move 8. First get the facts 9. Where to apply? Ask industry 10. Do not expect to get by without Mr. and Mrs. Consumer 11. Man-u-fic-tion 12. I am … Continue reading SEA OF ROSARIES: Black Madonna of Tindari

SEA OF ROSARIES: Our Lady of Kibeho

“Canticle for the Blessed Virgin” (Thomas Merton) Die, Boreas,And drown your ruins in the gaudy sea,December, clash your cymbals once againAnd put them away.The crops come thronging from the ground.The land is green with strength.The harvests sing like confidenceIn the ascetic earth.Let there be no more patienceWith your iron music, death:Stand, continents, and wear the spring your crown! The ox-eyed land,The muted lakes,The cloudy groves that praise you,Lady, with their blooms,Fuse and destroy their lightsAnd burn them into gold for you, great Virgin,Coining your honor in the glorious sun. The skies speed up to meet you, and the seasSwim you … Continue reading SEA OF ROSARIES: Our Lady of Kibeho

SEA OF ROSARIES: Our Lady of La Salette

“La Salette,” by Thomas Merton It is a hundred years since your shy feetVentured to stand upon the pasture grass of the highAlps, Coming no deeper in our smoky atmosphereThan these blue skies, the mountain eyesOf the two shepherd children, young as flowers,Born to be dazzled by no mortal snow. Lady, it is a hundred yearsSince those fair, terrible tearsReproved, with their amazing griefAll the proud candor of those altitudes:Crowning the flowers at your feetWith diamonds, that seized upon, transfigured intonails of lightThe rays of the mountain sun!- And by their news,(Which came with cowbells to the evening villageAnd to … Continue reading SEA OF ROSARIES: Our Lady of La Salette

MARY AND THE CATHOLIC IMAGINATION: AN IMAGINATIVE GEM

A sublime manifesto. Brief, but no mere trifle. Simultaneously lucid and poetic, Wendy M. Wright’s “Mary and the Catholic Imagination” dips its pen into a desperately needed Sophiastic inkwell. An excerpt from her introduction: “I encountered the fascinatingly polymorphous religious symbol and touchingly intimate presence who answers to the name of Mary…She occupies a generous space in the hearts of those who speak tom look to, identify with, implore, honor, and hope in her. In a conceptual world in which sacred presence is powerfully sensed, she is among those presences most poignantly and deeply felt.” That last line could just … Continue reading MARY AND THE CATHOLIC IMAGINATION: AN IMAGINATIVE GEM

Fr. Justin Belitz O.F.M. Success:Full Relating (Spirituality for the 21st Century and Beyond) Australia Retreat

Fr. Justin Belitz O.F.M.. The above are images from his retreat at the Infant Jesus Parish in Morley Western Australia, April 2010. In March, 2011 Fr. Justin returned to the parish for a follow up retreat. Fr. Justin’s retreat centers around the teaching of his latest book, Success:Full  Relating. This is Fr. Justin’s third book in the success series. It is a guide to successful life goals and relationships. Success:Full Relating is also the most theological of his books, outlining the matriarchal/creation model of spirituality and the patriarchal/ fall/redemption model. Fr. Justin’s approach is lucid, optimistic, and inspiring. Fr. Justin … Continue reading Fr. Justin Belitz O.F.M. Success:Full Relating (Spirituality for the 21st Century and Beyond) Australia Retreat

OUR LADY: CATHOLICISM’S DIAPHANOUS ADAGIO

“Our Lady of the Mermaids.” © 2011 Alfred Eaker When it comes to Mariology, even self-proclaimed liberal, protestant denominations passionately raise objections towards the Catholic tradition of elevating Mary to the level of near goddess, arguing that she is an impossible role model for women (being both virgin and mother) and, understandably, resisting the ultra right’s tendency to use her image as a suppressive, brow-beating weapon. Certainly, Marian symbology has often been used as a correctional tool, something akin to a “What Would Mary Do?” motivational. Mary, in her ever-virginal state, has often been reduced to bumper sticker theology, in … Continue reading OUR LADY: CATHOLICISM’S DIAPHANOUS ADAGIO