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News flash: Pope Francis isn’t saying anything new

I’ve kept quiet through a lot of the ridiculous stuff that goes on out there in the media world lately. To be honest, I just don’t have it in me anymore to bang my head against the wall of the blogosphere, but today I just can’t keep quiet. One word: EVOLUTION. Why, why, WHY is this breaking news? Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Pope Francis. (See that photo over there on the left? I took it when I was THIS CLOSE to the pope two weeks ago. If I’d been just a little bit unhinged, I could have jumped that barrier and been in his popemobile. But I digress…) I love Pope Francis. (Remember my post from when he was elected, “My Pope Crush: He Had Me at Hola”? Oh wait, I’m digressing again.) So, anyway, I love Pope Francis, and I appreciate the fact that he wants to get the truth out there, but the truth is that his statements on evolution and the Big Bang theory are not new, not even close. The fact that the press — and a good chunk of the world, I guess — don’t seem to realize this and thinks the pope is making some landmark statement is just mind boggling to me. Read more

Pilgrimage: A journey of the heart and soul

It’s easy to romanticize the idea of a pilgrimage, to turn it into something larger than life, something we think we can experience only when have the money, time and stamina to travel to a far-off country to see one of the great spiritual sites. We imagine Lourdes, the Holy Land, Rome, Assisi, and file our pilgrimage plans away on some sort of spiritual bucket list.

But the reality is that true pilgrimage doesn’t require a passport. In fact, it doesn’t really require any travel at all. True pilgrimage is as much an interior journey as a geographical one. If we approach our entire lives with a pilgrim mindset, we can find places that will feed our hearts and spirits just about everywhere we turn – from the little shrine in the next town to the cathedral in our diocese to that historic church near our favorite vacation spot. Read more

“Learning to Pray in Scripture” a practical prayer tool

Author Stephen Binz combines the ancient practice of Lectio Divina with theology, history, and Scripture as it relates to the Catholic Mass in a comprehensive new book that can be used by individuals or groups. Using the lectio practice of listening, understanding, reflecting, praying and acting, Binz takes readers through key Scripture passages, offering reflection points to get readers thinking about familiar Scripture scenes in new ways and offering practical suggestions for putting those words into action in daily life. Read more

Wisdom Wednesday: Heart of Darkness

Today’s Wisdom Wednesday is brought to you by Thomas Merton:

“At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will. This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us… It is like a pure diamond, blazing with the invisible light of heaven. It is in everybody, and if we could see it we would see these billions of points of light coming together in the face and blaze of a sun that would make all the darkness and cruelty of life vanish completely…I have no program for this seeing.  It is only given.  But the gate of heaven is everywhere.” – Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

 

Marriage: It’s hard work, if it’s done right

In honor of Sister Anne Bryan Smollin, CSJ, who died last week, I thought I would run this Life Lines column from last July. It was sparked by the marriage workshop she offered in the Albany Diocese. The column also ties in nicely with my chat this morning on the Morning Air Show on Relevant Radio. I was talking about marriage and faith. At the end of this column is a link to a follow-up piece I wrote called “Prescription for a Better Marriage: Start dating.” Read more

Give Us This Day: Always, always

My reflection from today’s edition of Give Us This Day:

This past summer, when my family spent a week at the New Jersey shore, I hopped out of bed every morning to run down to the beach with my camera and capture the sun as it came up. My husband thought I was a little bit nuts to get so excited about the same sun rising every day, but I would stand there in awe over the never-changing and yet ever-changing sun. I marveled at the way it could be bold and brilliant one morning and soft and subtle the next but always, always there, even when I couldn’t see it behind the clouds. Read more

The Song: An honest, soulful look at this beautiful, messy thing called marriage

Marriage is hard, even under the best of circumstances. Add in some problems, and marriage can feel beyond hard, maybe impossible, as evidenced by the soaring divorce rate. But marriage is also beautiful, a calling to go beyond yourself, if it’s done right. Read more

It’s about the journey, not the destination

My latest Life Lines column, running in the current issue of Catholic New York:

I’m a wannabe hiker. And a wannabe camper and kayaker, for that matter. Although I’ve done a little of all of those things, I’m no expert.

A writing colleague who knew I was clamoring for a hike messaged me one night and asked if I wanted to join her for a beginner trip to Huckleberry Point in the Catskills. With a little appointment juggling and a lot of assistance from my husband, Dennis, I said yes, packed a lunch, and dusted off my hiking boots. Read more

Wisdom Wednesday: 5 ways to fine tune your life

I love to read about how other people have transformed their lives into something more manageable, less stressful, more satisfying. What steps did they take? How do they maintain it? I’m always curious, hungry for information. Even if I’m not going to go off the grid, live in the mountains, sail around the world, homeschool my kids, start canning my own food, whatever the particular path might be, I can learn from every single person. There’s always a morsel of magic to be obtained, a nugget of spiritual gold hidden in every story.

So when I came across this post yesterday on the Tiny House page (I dream of living in a Tiny House some day when the kids are grown), I knew I had to share it today. So much goodness, even if you live in a big house crammed with stuff or a city apartment amid the noise and smog.  Read more

Foodie Friday: Hollow chef kicks it up a notch

When we were planning our date night this week, there was only one place on my list of suggestions: The Hollow Bar & Kitchen on North Pearl Street in Albany. I was craving the eggplant stack, which I’d had the first time we visited. I don’t care if you think you don’t like eggplant, you will love this. Trust me. It. Is. Incredible. So off we went, in search of eggplant and gnocchi and craft beer and wine.  Read more