Skip to content

Way of Sorrow: Seeing an old path with new eyes

It’s amazing how different something can look when we are willing to see with new eyes, when we cast aside our preconceived ideas and our human need for “progress.”

When I was on retreat at St. Mary’s on the Lake earlier this month, my retreat leader, Paulist Father Tom Ryan, took a few of us on a hike across the beautiful property along stunning Lake George, including a long-abandoned outdoor Stations of the Cross path cut into the woods behind the chapel. I hadn’t even noticed it on my first two trips down to the lake, but there it was — overgrown, falling down, forgotten, sad. At least that’s how it seemed to me at first. And all I could see was potential. Read more

Disconnect, settle in, and just listen

If you missed my latest interview on the Morning Air Show on Relevant Radio, you can catch up by clicking the link below. I’m first up so just hit play. I’m talking about my five-day retreat and the need to disconnect from our devices and just listen to the silence and the Spirit.

What are your favorite retreat spots? How do you feel about sitting in silence for a few hours, or a few days? Some day I’ll do a weeklong silent retreat. For now, it’s bit by bit. Peace.

Give Us This Day: Always Room at the Table

My Gospel reflection from today’s Give Us This Day:

I come from a big Irish-Italian family, one where the food was always delicious and plentiful. On any given night, an entire extra family could show up for dinner at our house unannounced, and no one would go hungry. There would be chicken cutlets or pasta in abundance, and probably a batch of freshly made chocolate chip cookies. My mother wanted everyone to feel welcomed and loved. It didn’t matter whether you had an invitation, whether you were a close relative or the high school boyfriend of the resident teenager, whether you wanted a cup of tea or a three-course meal, she would smile and put out another place setting. Or five. Read more

Summer vacation for the soul

“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile.” Mark 6:31

Today’s Gospel reading reminded me of my fabulous five-day retreat and the Life Lines column I wrote about making sure you take time apart to recharge your spiritual life this summer. I’ll be back in the days ahead with some reflections — and photos — from my stay at St. Mary’s on the Lake in gorgeous Lake George, N.Y. So here’s my column, which is running in the current issue of Catholic New York. Let me know in the comment section what you’ll be doing this summer to recharge. (That photo to the left was taken from my favorite prayer/journaling spot on a cliff overlooking Lake George.) Read more

What are the cravings that throw you off course?

This week I had a great conversation about food, self-acceptance, and spirituality when I hung out on-air with Allison Gingras, host of Reconciled to You. It was such a fun interview, and I loved getting the chance to revisit my book Cravings: A Catholic Wrestles with Food, Self-Image, and God. After talking with Allison for an hour, I think I need to re-read my own book! And make a date to visit with her in person because I think we were separated at birth, even if I’m way ahead of her on the age trajectory.

If you missed the show, you can listen to the podcast here:

A Moveable Feast: I’m heading back to Italy. Join me!

Buongiorno a tutti! That greeting can mean only one thing: I am heading back to Italy on pilgrimage for another fantastic combination of great food, beautiful scenery, and spiritual inspiration. We’ll be hitting some of the highlights from my last pilgrimage, with the addition of some must-see cities we missed the first time around. Here’s the brief run-down of where our Food & Faith in Italy tour will take us between May 15-26, 2016: Rome, Castel Gandolfo, Orvieto, Assisi, Siena, Bologna, the Emilia Romagna region, Padua, and Venice. Read more

Why do I stay in this Church?

“Why do you remain a Catholic?” That was the challenge issued by Elizabeth Scalia (aka The Anchoress) via Facebook this week, calling me (among many other Catholic writers) out by name. Never one to refuse a good challenge, I started to ponder that question as I headed out to meet Dennis for date night at The City Beer Hall in Albany. As we sat at the bar, sipping our Chatham Maple Amber, Dennis reminded me that I had already written my own blog post on this very topic more than a year ago. (I’m glad someone remembers what I write!) Sure enough. I went back and found my own take: “Why Am I Still Here? In this Church, that is.” Read more

Note to my younger self: Don’t pack the Dante books

A former editor, current friend, and perpetually great writer posted an essay — What Fresh Hell Is This? — about the advice he’d give to his 22-year-old self knowing what he knows now. It’s a wonderful weaving of Dante, disappointment, and discovery that will make you think and probably make you nod your head in recognition at least once or twice, regardless of what you and your 22-year-old self have experienced over the course of a lifetime. Read more

Monks, music and musings on monastic life

I came across this video clip via the Morning Air Show on Relevant Radio and clicked on it mainly because I love Gregorian Chant, but it is so much more than an album promotion. It gives you a brief glimpse into monastic life in general and Benedictine spirituality specifically, along with some beautiful views of Italy and hauntingly beautiful music. It’s like a micro-version of the monastic feature film Into Great SilenceIf you have a few minutes, this is sure to bring a little serenity to your day. The album, Benedicta: Marian Chant from Norcia by the Monks of Norcia, is available June 2.

Preach it, Denzel Washington

This is so worth 11 minutes of your time. Denzel Washington gives a commencement address that doubles as spiritual direction. “Put God first,” he told the graduates, and then went on to remind them to “fail big,” serve others, and get down on their knees every morning to thank God in advance for what is already theirs. Powerful talk. Check it out.