Wisdom Story – 208

by Paul on July 25, 2014

CFVol1-49917ThOne day a young, newly ordained priest, was having a conversation with a member of his congregation when the parishioner said, “You priests and preachers talk a lot about  ‘do unto others,’  but when you get right down to it, it comes down to basin theology.”

The young priest, now very curious, asked, “Basin theology?  What’s that?”

The insightful parishioner said, “Remember what Pilate did when he had the chance to acquit Jesus?  He called for a basin and washed his hands of the whole thing.  But Jesus, the night before his death, called for a basin and proceeded to wash the feet of the disciples.  It all comes down to basin theology.”



Master Hands

by Paul on July 24, 2014

My colleague, Tom, suggested this video about Korean ceramics.  I found it meditative and deeply moving.  I hope you do, too.


Seeing More – 2

by Paul on July 23, 2014

Today I’d like to share with you a short Pixar animation, For the Birds, that Nikolaas lists under the the heading of “Pride.”


A Litany of Thanksgiving

by Paul on July 22, 2014

A Basket of FlowersThis is from the 1979 edition of the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer

Let us give thanks to God our Father for all his gifts so freely bestowed upon us.

For the beauty and wonder of your creation, in earth and sky and sea. We thank you, Lord.

For all that is gracious in the lives of men and women, revealing the image of Christ, We thank you, Lord.

For our daily food and drink, our homes and families, and our friends, We thank you, Lord.

For minds to think, and hearts to love, and hands to serve, We thank you, Lord.

For health and strength to work, and leisure to rest and play, We thank you, Lord.

For the brave and courageous, who are patient in suffering and faithful in adversity, We thank you, Lord.

For all valiant seekers after truth, liberty, and justice, We thank you, Lord.

For the communion of saints, in all times and places, We thank you, Lord.

Above all, we give you thanks for the great mercies and promises given to us in Christ Jesus our Lord; To him be praise and glory, with you, O Father, and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.



I don’t quite know from which deep recess in my brain this week’s choice emerged.  Perhaps it is because of the World Cup?  No matter.  It is a classic.



Wisdom Story – 207

by Paul on July 18, 2014

tigerIt was this very first class on a Monday morning. The wise teacher, a couple of years shy of retirement, started the day by asking her class of high school students: “Here is a quiz for you. You are sleeping. You are dreaming. A big tiger is chasing you. You try to run away and you see a tiger coming in front of you. You turn sideways, but every side you turn to, you find a ferocious animal coming after you. How can you escape?”

There was silence in the classroom. No one dared a response.

So finally the teacher said, “There’s only one answer: Wake up!”



Trapped Beauty

by Paul on July 17, 2014

Blue MorphoThis is from the wonderful Canadian Jesuit website, Orientations.

One day I was walking through an open field and in the distance my eye caught sight of something in the pasture grass, some movements. As I approached nearer and nearer I noticed a great, big monarch butterfly fluttering its wings frantically. It was caught, but the sad and strange part about it was that its beauty — its wings — were holding it down, captive. Three long strands of grass loosely connected at the top enclosed it, but because the wings were so huge these three tee-pee forming blades of grass were enough to keep the butterfly from escaping into the open spaces and using its most beautiful attributes. If it would only calm down and slowly walk away from this very loosely knit cage it could fly away forever and be free. Calm down, butterfly.

It is your beauty that is keeping you captive, your beautiful large wings.
Calm down…and walk away…then fly, fly, fly …

Written on July 13,1986 by the late Ray Desgroseilliers, S.J.


Seeing More – 1

by Paul on July 16, 2014

My friend, Nikolaas Sintobin, is highly talented. Not only has he published a book on Jesuit Jokes, he hosts a reality TV series on Dutch TV where celebrities go on silent retreats and he has put together Seeing More, a website that uses “secular” videos to expound spiritual themes.

I’m going to borrow liberally from him and the first video I want to share with you is this simple but profound reflection called “Small Pleasures.”



My World Cup

by Paul on July 15, 2014


In 1966, when England last won the soccer World Cup, the head of the Football Association in Northern Ireland was one of our neighbors.  Somehow or other, he got to bring the World Cup home for the night.

He allowed each of us to take the World Cup into our hands and raise it above our heads.  There were dozens and dozens of us crowding into that suburban house to touch the “sacred object.”

I don’t know if any photographs were taken that night.  I certainly didn’t ever see one.

My closest brush with fame… and not a trace of it anywhere.



Monday Music Moment – La Marseillaise

by Paul on July 14, 2014

Happy Bastille Day!  For all those who love France, there is never enough time to celebrate her beauty, her charm, her seductive allure.

Because the holiday falls on a Monday this year, it seems only right that we should have La Marseillaise.  Of the dozens of versions available, I have chosen the famous scene from Casablanca. Stirring music plus Bergman & Bogie.  Does it get any better?