Monday Music Moment – He Was Despised

by Paul on April 14, 2014

For the beginning of Holy Week, “He was despised” from Handel’s Messiah.

May we watch with Our Lord this week so as to rejoice with Him at Easter.


Wisdom Story – 195

by Paul on April 11, 2014

TR002481Daiju visited the master Baso in China. Baso asked: “What do you seek?”

“Enlightenment,” replied Daiju.

“You have your own treasure house. Why do you search outside?” Baso asked.

Daiju inquired: “Where is my treasure house?”

Baso answered: “What you are asking is your treasure house.”

Daiju was delighted! Ever after he urged his friends: “Open your own treasure house and use those treasures.”



Unless Christians are revolutionaries…

by Paul on April 10, 2014

The Church of Mercy quote by Pope Francis

I wonder how many Christians consider themselves revolutionaries, even if only through grace?

For many of us, the notion of “revolution” brings to mind the barricade scenes in “Les Mis” or photos of Fidel Castro waving a gun or a myriad of other images planted into our brains via the mass media.  Revolutionaries, for the most part, don’t get great press in the First World.

And yet, God clearly sets about a revolution in sending us Jesus Christ. A baby born in a manger in the backwoods of an insignificant province of the Roman Empire is the Son of God. This Son tells us to love our enemies, not to judge others and to trust not in riches but in the Word of God.

If that isn’t revolutionary, I don’t know what is.

Dear God, help me to become a more fervent, grace-filled revolutionary.

Read The Church of Mercy by Pope Francis.


Our Customers

by Paul on April 9, 2014

CAM01396Several of us were recently invited to present how our faith formation resources correlate to the “Lifelong Faith Formation” targets of the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese.

It involved many meetings and rehearsals to get our presentations ready, we had to schlepp loads of materials down there with us, the plane was late, etc.

But it was such a joy to meet more than a hundred catechetical leaders.  Our faith formation customers are, almost without exception, underpaid and undervalued.  And yet they are fiercely devoted to their ministry, endlessly creative and constantly going the extra mile.

Whether at L.A. Congress or at a diocesan gathering, it is always an honor and a privilege to spend time with these extraordinary women and men.

They are a huge blessing to our Church.  Thank God for such generous souls.


Other6 Prays Lent: Finances

by Paul on April 8, 2014

Other6 Prays LentWhere did you find God in… or Where do you need to find God in… finances?

Zoiks!  What a topic for me to have to write on…

Can I find God in my finances?  What finances?  My entire salary goes to the Community and I am given a monthly stipend… which is adequate. So, I need to give thanks to God for that and, therefore, I can find God in finances.

That having been said, I still get stuck on “money is the root of all evil.”

I know a few people who have little money and still manage to be quite content.  I’ve met others who have lots of money and who don’t seem to be imprisoned by their wealth, but for most people, I think, their finances are a source of concern.

Can God be found in the places where we worry?  I certainly hope so.

Do I not profess to try and find God in all things?


I was doing my usual hopscotch around the internet looking for some music I’d like to share with you and I found myself going back to Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.”  Instead of recycling it again, however, I found this new version.  It’s not as polished as Satchmo’s version, of course, but the children’s voices are very sweet and I love their energy.



Wisdom Story – 194

by Paul on April 4, 2014

Chick With Egg ShellsOne Day a scholar came to the court of Emperor Akbar and challenged Birbal to answer his questions and thus prove that he was as clever as people said he was.

He asked Birbal: “Would you prefer to answer a hundred easy questions or just a single difficult one?”

Both the emperor and Birbal had had a difficult day and were impatient to leave.

“Ask me one difficult question,” sad Birbal.

“Well, then, tell me,” said the man, “which came first into the world, the chicken or the egg?”

“The chicken,” replied Birbal.

“How do you know?” asked the scholar, a note of triumph in his voice.

“We had agreed you would ask only one question and you have already asked it” said Birbal and he and the emperor walked away leaving the scholar gaping.



Bonus – We have a winner!

by Paul on April 3, 2014

It has just been announced that Love and Salt: A Spiritual Friendship Shared in Letters, by Amy Andrews and Jessica Mesman Griffith, has won the Christopher Award for Adult Literature.

The Christophers celebrate “writers, producers, directors and illustrators whose work affirms the highest values of the human spirit.”

I am so proud of Amy and Jessica.  Their book is simple, heartfelt and honest.

This is richly deserved.


God Always Waits for Us

by Paul on April 3, 2014

Pope Francis Quote from Church of Mercy - 19

We’re publishing The Church of Mercy – A Vision for the Church. Collected from the Pope’s speeches, homilies, and papers during his first year, The Church of Mercy is the first Vatican-authorized book detailing his vision for the Church. You may or may not have heard that Loyola Press got the North American rights to this book after a fairly robust bidding war. We are enthusiastic about having the opportunity to get the Holy Father’s message out to the world and happy that pre-orders seem to indicate that we will have a best seller.

For the Thursdays of April, I’m going to pull a quote from the book and comment on it.

The above quotation immediately called to mind something written by the wonderful Fredrick Buechner in The Magnificent Defeat. He is talking about the disciples on the way to Emmaus and how they are disillusioned and confused. They flee Jerusalem but it is precisely when they attempt to escape that Jesus comes and walks beside them. Buechner tells us that it is precisely when we try to get away from God that God is closest to us.

I love that idea. It fills me with consolation and I think it is what Pope Francis is getting at in the quote above.


New Jesuit Saint

by Paul on April 2, 2014

José_de_Anchieta_(zincogravura)_1807Today Pope Francis makes it official that Jose d’Anchieta, S.J. (1534-1597) will be made a saint of the Catholic Church.

Often referred to as “the Apostle of Brazil,” he, like Saint Ignatius, came from the Basque country.  He was missioned to the Portuguese colony of Brazil and was one of the founders of both São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. But he was only getting started…

Father d’Anchieta is also known as the Father of Brazilian literature.  He wrote with equal ease in Spanish, Portuguese, Latin and the indigenous language, Tupi. He wrote a poem to Our Lady, and legend has it that he wrote it on wet sand each morning and memorized it until he much later wrote its 4,900 verses (!)  on paper. He was an accomplished musician and dramatist with several published works. He also managed to be the Jesuit Provincial Superior, a historian, naturalist and surgeon.

A very busy man.

I am proud to be riding on his coattails.