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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.

Manic Monday: Family, friends and feeling blessed

These are busy, crazy times here in the Poust House, and things only promise to get a bit crazier as we head toward the Triduum and Easter. That photo on the left is from last night’s Palm Sunday Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany. Serious palm there, people. No scrawny little stalks but full fronds, complete with the entire congregation processing in. Check it out next year if you’re nearby.  Read more

Manic Monday: Our main goal is staying warm

It’s a Lenten Manic Monday, and it’s going to be a cold one. We’re starting at 12 degrees and working our way down to -11 by end of today. That’s -11 without any windchill. Why did we leave Texas again? It will be a busy week here at the Poust House both personally and professionally, but here’s what went down over the past few days. Hint: It included lots of sledding, as you tell by the photo over there on the left. That’s me coming down the big hill near our house. Read more

Music Monday: When You’ve Got Trouble

My new favorite song, discovered on The Coffee House on Sirius/XM, for your Music Monday listening pleasure. Simple, beautiful, spot on. This one goes out to Dennis, my sweetheart. “When You’ve Got Trouble” by Liz Longley:

“All my heart is tangled all around you
When you’ve got trouble I’ve got trouble, too
All my life is arm in arm with you
When you’ve got trouble I’ve got trouble, too” Read more

What did Mary know, and when did she know it?

Earlier this week another Catholic blogger decided to do a line-by-line dissection of the popular Christmas song “Mary, Did you Know?” Nothing he said was new to me; I’ve heard it all before from other writers who have harped on the misguided theological aspects of this pop-culture take on Mary and Jesus.

All I can say is this: If we don’t understand that people are moved by songs that make them feel some sort of spiritual stirring (even if the songs are theologically incorrect or not theological at all), then it’s no wonder our pews are empty. People respond first to the tug of the spirit. Then we get to theology. Read more

The Catholic Worker and the Quiet Beatle

Today we honor two of my favorites: Dorothy Day and George Harrison, a seemingly unlikely pairing on the surface but not such an odd couple when you dig a little deeper. Day died on this day in 1980, and Harrison died on this day in 2001, forever linking the gritty would-be saint and the decidedly sage-like musician. At least in my book. Read more

Manic Monday: Rocking the Bronx. And Syracuse.

How is it possible we have already hit mid-July? I would find that totally unbelievable except for the fact that I’m looking out at my yard as I write this, and it is clearly mid-July out there. It’s like a jungle, with plants run amok and weeds the size of small trees. This is what happens when summer starts to get away from me, and it almost always does. (It just so happens that as I was looking out at my jungle yard, Cari Donaldson posted this wonderful essay  about this very thing. Please go read it when you’re done here.) With everything on our calendar for the coming week (including another trip to NYC with my sister and brother and our families), I suspect things aren’t going to get any tidier any time soon.

Before we get on with the rest of Manic Monday, just take a look at that beautiful July sunset over the Stewart’s Shop near our house. Don’t forget to look for God’s beauty in unexpected places — like when you’re at a gas pump a mile from home.  Anyway, away we go with the rest of Manic Monday…

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Manic Monday: On the edge of summer

Summer vacation STILL hasn’t started for us. A few more days of school before the kids are free and we sit down to make our annual Beach Bucket List. Noah is taking a Regents exam as we speak and still has his big final oral presentation and a Latin final to go. Olivia is hoping thunderstorms don’t wash out the eighth-grade trip to the Great Escape tomorrow. Chiara is waiting for her last (half) day on Wednesday and her big end-of-year gymnastics performance that night, which will include a triple back-handspring and an aerial cartwheel, I’m told. From what I’ve seen in the backyard, I know she’s serious. And we’ll cap off the school activities with Olivia’s eighth-grade graduation on Thursday morning. Good week behind us, good week ahead of us, lots of good all around us. Here’s our Manic Monday menu: Read more

Wisdom Wednesday: ‘Go back to blue’

I’ve decided to continue our Lucinda Williams theme by choosing her song “Blue” as our Wednesday Wisdom. One of the few “poems” I’ve written in my life is titled “Blue,” so more Lucinda connection for me there.

Here are the lyrics and then a YouTube video of her performing the song live from a show in 2009. Enjoy.

Go find a jukebox and see what a quarter will do 
I don’t wanna talk I just wanna go back to blue 
Feed’s me when I’m hungry and quenches my thirst 
Loves me when I’m lonely and thinks of me first  Read more