I wanted to post this earlier, but was waiting for Lent to end. Tom Cowell, a British comedian married to an American woman, reflects – in the wake of the news of the split between Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin – on the advantages and challenges of a bicultural marriage. I found the following both amusing and thought-provoking:
Americans are so wonderfully, sincerely down-to-earth, we have trouble believing it. To the cynical British mind, any genuine pleasure in meeting a new person is a sign of potential mental illness. But Americans actually want to make new friends. They want to get along with you, stranger. It makes one’s like infinitely more interesting to have an American around, because you meet EVERYONE. It’s like permanently going through life with a puppy, or the latest iPhone.
To be sure, Mr Cowell is exaggerating for effect, but one of the things I most love about Americans is their openness and sheer zest for life. Let Europe be cynical. Let’s hear it for friendship!
You will know by now that we have just published The Church of Mercy. This is a collection of Pope Francis’ speeches, homilies, and papers presented during the first year of his papacy and is the first Vatican-authorized book detailing his vision for the Catholic Church.
Here’s the deal. At Loyola Press, we want to get the Pope’s message into as many hands as possible and so we’re asking people to please buy this book in its first week of sales. Our hope is that, if enough people order it from Barnes & Noble, Amazon or a major independent bookstore we might just be able to crack the bestseller lists and that would mean many more people becoming aware of the book.
Remember, Loyola Press is a not-for-profit Jesuit ministry, so this isn’t about lining our own pockets with gold but about getting the Pope’s joyful message of God’s love and mercy to as many as possible.
I find myself thinking of John’s Donne’s “Death Be Not Proud.”
Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe,
For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.
“And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.” Alleluia!
For this Good Friday, I want to share with you a reflection done by Daniella Zsupan-Jerome, Assistant Professor of Liturgy, Catechesis, and Evangelization at Loyola University New Orleans. I always find her insights helpful.
Whenever a pastor washes the feet of his parishioners, it always seems a little contrived. He takes off his vestments, does the symbolic washing and then puts on his vestments again and goes ahead with the Eucharist.
I imagine that when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, it was far different. It must have been truly shocking for those who had come to believe in Jesus as the true Son of God, to see him get down on his knees and wash their dirty feet.
There are many reasons that I love Jesus – but the washing of the feet speaks very powerfully to my heart.
I wish you a deeply prayerful and meaningful Holy Week.
In Genesis, we read of Joseph (the one with the “Technicolor Dreamcoat”) who was betrayed by his older brother, Judah, who sold him into slavery in Egypt. Joseph, of course, prefigures Jesus who was later betrayed by another Judas (this one from the town of Kerioth, from which comes his nickname of “Iscariot.”)
Betrayal is always destructive and tragic. But to be betrayed by a kiss must be unbearably wrenching because it is so direct and immediate
I’ll bet that each one of us has experienced some form of betrayal in our lives and has been scarred by it. Many of us would also have to admit that, at some point, we have in some way betrayed others.
Isn’t it good to know that, unlike Judas, we don’t have to commit suicide but, like St. Peter, we can face Our Lord again and accept His love and forgiveness?
Where did you find God in… or Where do you need to find God in… your preparations for the celebration of Easter?
To be truthful, my preparations for Easter have been somewhat haphazard and spread thin this year (like, sigh, almost every other year I can recall.)
I’ve been concentrating more participating in the 19th Annotation Retreat (of the Spiritual Exercises.) Admittedly, we’ve been in the “First Week” for quite some time and its themes tie in well with Lent.
I’ve gotten a new appreciation for how how close God is to me, how I’m created and sustained in love. I guess that means that I have found God. But I’m also very much aware of how much I need to find God. I’m a sinner. I’m a mess.
I’m deeply grateful that Easter is coming regardless of my readiness, or lack thereof. There is nothing I can do on my own. All comes to me through grace and I shall embrace the Resurrection this year with simple and profound joy.
I can hardly wait to start singing “All**uia” again.
The most amazing fact about Jesus, unlike almost any other religious founder, is that he found God in disorder and imperfection—and told us that we must do the same or we would never be content on this earth. — Richard Rohr, O.F.M.