by Paul on September 2, 2014

I came across this rather trippy but gorgeous animation the other day.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


I’m giving opera another bash with the Triumphal March from Act 2 of Verdi’s Aïda.  This version is from the BBC Proms of 2013 and is conducted by Xian Zhang.


Wisdom Story – 212

by Paul on August 29, 2014

sufiTony de Mello hits another one out of the ballpark:

A Sufi of forbidding appearance arrived at the doors of the palace. No one dared to stop him as he made his way right up to the throne on which the saintly Ibrahim ben Adam sat.

“What is it you want?” asked the King.

“A place to sleep in this inn.”

“This is no inn. This is my palace.”

“May I ask who owned this place before you?”

“My father. He is dead.”

“And who owned it before him?”

“My grandfather. He is dead too.”

“And this place where people lodge for a brief while and move on—did I hear you say it was not an inn?”





Seeing More – 7

by Paul on August 28, 2014

I think I spend inordinate amounts of time trolling the internet for things to share with you, but Nikolaas Sintobin must be up all hours of the day and night.

Here he suggests a video which is, in fact, an ad for Carlsberg beer but which has a wonderful message for us all.


Why Pray?

by Paul on August 27, 2014

Joe, who gave me the quote I used yesterday, also sent this very short video clip my way from the film, Shadowlands. I found it very powerful when I first saw the movie and it hit me again this time around.


Why Love?

by Paul on August 26, 2014

128px-Richard_AttenboroughMy friend Joe and I were discussing the recent death of the wonderful British actor and director, Sir Richard Attenborough and he told me that, although Attenborough is probably best remembered for his role in Jurassic Park and for having directed the film Ghandi, the favorite film he made was Shadowlands (about C.S. Lewis and the death of his wife, Joy.)

In the film, Lewis is played by the incomparable Sir Anthony Hopkins and, at the end, Lewis is walking with his stepson, Douglas, and we hear these lines in voice over:

Why love, if losing hurts so much?

I have no answers anymore: only the life I have I lived.

Twice in that life I’ve been given the choice as a boy and as a man. The boy chose safety, the man chooses suffering.  The pain now is part of the happiness then.

That’s the deal.

As I type this, I have a lump in my throat.

(Image by Towpilot under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.)


Monday Music Moment – Laudate Dominum

by Paul on August 25, 2014

I mostly find myself singing hymns from the ecumenical Taize Community when I am in Europe although, on occasion, I encounter them here in the U.S.  Their hymns tend to be simple, serene and — because repetitive — quite conducive to contemplation.

We’ve had one before in 2010, Ubi Caritas, so it seems like a good time to have another. This one, Laudate Dominum translates quite simply as: “Praise God, all peoples. Alleluia!”



Wisdom Story – 212

by Paul on August 22, 2014

Teacher giving LectureThis story by Harvey Mackay from The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World is in Philip Chircorp’s Wisdom Stories To Live By.

The professor stood before his class of 30 senior molecular biology students, about to pass out the final exam. “I have been privileged to be your instructor this semester, and I know how hard you have all worked to prepare for this test. I also know most of you are off to medical school or grad school next fall,” he said to them.

“I am well aware of how much pressure you are under to keep your GPAs up, and because I know you are all capable of understanding this material, I am prepared to offer an automatic ‘B’ to anyone who would prefer not to take the final.”

The relief was audible as a number of students jumped up to thank the professor and departed from class. The professor looked at the handful of students who remained, and offered again, “Any other takers? This is your last opportunity.” One more student decided to go.

Seven students remained. The professor closed the door and took attendance. Then he handed out the final exam.

There were two sentences typed on the paper: “Congratulations, you have just received an ‘A’ in this class. Keep believing in yourself.”



Heightened Awareness

by Paul on August 21, 2014

FlyMost of the time, I bumble and stumble through life with barely more consciousness than a fly. Recently, however, I have had some experiences of the exaltation to which humanity is capable and, at the same time, a growing horror at the cruelty and depravity into which too many of our fellow humans can sink.

Think of the loving service that hundreds of medical personnel have been giving to victims of Ebola, the stunning brilliance shown by architects, musicians and other artists throughout history, the everyday kindness of so many people we encounter.

And, yet, we also have a tendency to wage war upon each other to an alarming extent, the physical and sexual abuse of children continues, there is widespread corruption in business and politics and — to speak only for myself – I do nothing much but impotently watch as it all happens before my eyes.

I sign petitions for or against this or that, but the last time I actually rallied for a cause was against the Second Gulf War… and that was a long time ago.  These days I feel so tired when I get home from work that I can barely keep my eyes open through Mass and dinner.

Where will I stand at the “Last Judgment”?  Will I be among the blessed who’ve helped release captives or will I be sent to join those who would not feed the hungry, clothe the naked or visit the imprisoned?

I wish I knew.


Seeing More – 6

by Paul on August 20, 2014

Another brilliant video from Seeing More, the website organized by the prodigious Nikolaas Sintobin. You may well have seen it before. If so, I bet you haven’t seen this extended version. If you are new to it, prepare to be surprised!