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From Eagle’s Wings to Agnus Dei

When we got into our, um, conversation last week about good vs. bad liturgy, people from both sides of the spectrum chimed in with what they thought would be the remedy, and I appreciate that, I really do, but I’m not looking to go to any “extreme.” In fact, I’m actually quite happy b0uncing back and forth between contemporary and classic, progressive and traditional. It was never a matter of needing one type of perfect liturgy or a perfect liturgical element but rather a matter of just wanting to participate in Mass and feel like I was getting what I need to deepen my relationship with God. I happen to be one of those people who can get that equally well from the often-dreaded “On Eagle’s Wings” or the old-school Latin “Agnus Dei.” In fact, I prefer a blend, which is precisely my problem. Again. I don’t fit into anyone’s “camp.” Read more

Show me how big your brave is

All of my regular readers here at NSS know that honesty is the name of the game. I always try to tell you the truth, even when it’s not easy or pretty. You’ve been to some dark spiritual places with me. And I try to be that way in life — honest. Just ask the prison chaplains who sat through about 90 minutes of honest yesterday. But sometimes, despite all the best attempts at honesty, there’s a sliver of truth that gets left out, something we’re afraid to say because we think hearing the words out loud would shake us to the core.  Read more

Now that I have your attention…

Although I can’t respond to every blog response to my “Losing My Religion”  and subsequent posts, I do want to include the comment I left over on OSV Daily Take this morning because this is my former blog home and because OSV is still family to me. I feel I owe it to them to be sure people see that post and my response to it.  Read more

“Reckless and harmful.” Who me?

“I want to tell you something. What is it that I expect as a consequence of World Youth Day? I want a mess. We knew that in Rio there would be great disorder, but I want trouble in the dioceses! I want to see the church get closer to the people. I want to get rid of clericalism, the mundane, this closing ourselves off within ourselves, in our parishes, schools or structures. Because these need to get out!” — Pope Francis said at World Youth Day, ending his talk with an off-the-cuff-remark reported by AP, “Don’t forget: make trouble.”

And so I am. Consider it tough love. Really, that above quote, and perhaps the reminder that Jesus himself turned over tables in the temple, are all I need to continue saying what I’m saying without fear and without doubt. Read more

Words matter. The Word matters. Especially at Mass.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” – John 1:1-5

Over and over yesterday, in response to my “Losing My Religion” post, many people tried to convince me that a bad liturgy shouldn’t matter all that much in my faith life. Some who don’t know me very well — or at all — assumed (wrongly) that one or two bad homilies had sent me running. All that matters is the Eucharist, they said. And, I’ll give you this, the only reason I stayed seated in that church this weekend is because of the Eucharist. I would have been out the door before the homily was even close to over if not for that, but are we really going to pretend that the Word doesn’t matter? Because it does. Read more

Losing my religion…

Oh, no I’ve said too much. I haven’t said enough…

I almost walked out of Mass in the middle last night. Seriously. And I was not in my own parish so don’t try to figure out where I was. But it doesn’t really matter where I was because, from what I can tell, what I experienced yesterday is a universal problem, as in Universal Church. Read more

Pope Francis and seeing the forest for the trees

As I watched the events in Rio unfold throughout the World Youth Day celebration, I found myself tearing up over photos of three million people crammed on a beach just to be near and hear Pope Francis, over the shot of a little boy breaking through security to whisper into the pope’s ear that he wants to be a priest, over the many beautiful things Pope Francis said that give me renewed hope. And every once in a while I’d think, I should blog on that, but I wouldn’t because a new thing would come along so quickly. But then yesterday I read the one line that made me stop and say, YES! And I knew I had to blog about it, but I needed to let it sink in more fully. Read more

Pope Francis: We are not meant to be “controllers” of the faith. We are meant to open doors.

Pope Francis’ homily today was so good, I had to post about it immediately. Every time I read something this pope says, it’s proof to me the Spirit is alive and well for sure because this Church needed this pope at this moment. And here he is. When I read this homily, I joked that Pope Francis must have visited one of my former parishes because the scenes he describes are right out of Catholic central casting. Unfortunately. Like this story: Read more

My pope crush: He had me at ‘Hola.’

I’ll admit it: It was love at first sight. I have got a crazy pope crush – in an agape sort of way. He had me at “Hola.” Actually, he had me at “Francis.” And so far I’ve still got stars in my eyes. This is new territory for me. Don’t get me wrong. I loved John Paul II, the pope of my youth, and I loved Benedict XVI, the pope of my middle age, but I’m head over heels for Pope Francis. It’s verging on ridiculous, but I can’t help myself. Read more