The Season of Advent: Facing Reality is the answer to all our earthly woes

The Season of Advent: Facing Reality is the answer to all our earthly woes

The season of Advent is lyrically beautiful if one is willing to engage the realities it teaches: Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. The alternative is to create a parallel universe, partying in a faux Christmas confection of jingle bells, dancing elves, self-conscious bonhomie, and ignoring the Incarnation of God. T.S. Eliot belabored the obvious in saying,…

Be Prepared, Be Vigilant, Be True to Our King and Shepherd

Be Prepared, Be Vigilant, Be True to Our King and Shepherd

These days I am frequently asked if we are living in the “End Times.” As the grace of Holy Orders does not make me a seer, I defer, as is prudent, to the King of Universe: “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:42). So, the answer simply…

The Unimaginable Desire of Divine Love to be Loved in Return

The Unimaginable Desire of Divine Love to be Loved in Return

Some of those dining before the gilded statue in Rockefeller Center in fair weather and skating there in the winter may not know that the glistening figure is Prometheus, one of the Titans who preceded the gods of Mount Olympus. He stole fire from Zeus, who then condemned Prometheus to everlasting torment by an eagle…

Christ, the Morning Star

Christ, the Morning Star

Of the many scientific contributions made by priests, including Father Copernicus’s heliocentrism and Father Lemaître’s “Big Bang” theory, some would rank higher the invention of champagne by Dom Pérignon.    Something close to champagne had already been invented by monks near Carcassonne in the Abbey of Saint Hilaire in 1531. They were Benedictines like Pérignon,…

The Beauty, Depth and Meaning of the Holy Mass, including Incense

The Beauty, Depth and Meaning of the Holy Mass, including Incense

“And now for something completely different,” as the entertainment industry is wont to say. Some aspects of liturgical worship are used for reasons that express the psychology of praise. For instance, there are vesture, candles, bells and, especially, holy water. The more that worship is confined to cerebral edification, the less attention is given to…

The Holy Cross, Medicine of the World

The Holy Cross, Medicine of the World

In our days of widespread inarticulateness, the word “awesome” is so overused that it loses its power. It is rooted in the Old English “egefull,” which means causing profound reverence. So, to call a good dinner or a new dress “awesome” is overkill. Only in the nineteenth century did its equivalent, “awful,” come to mean…

Discerning the Truth in our times is critical

Discerning the Truth in our times is critical

In our city, accustomed to protest demonstrations of all sorts, a recent one was particularly dismaying and even frightening. The anarchistic chants were bad enough, but the frightfulness was in the glazed eyes of the expressionless marchers, like the “pod people” in the 1956 cult film “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” Carrying signs supplied for…

Chivalry, Courtesy, Honor, and Merciful to the Absurd

Chivalry, Courtesy, Honor, and Merciful to the Absurd

It may not be long before “Ladies and Gentlemen” ceases to start a speech, as the result of blurring the distinction between man and gentleman, and woman and lady. We may not hear at banquets, “Gentlemen, charge your glasses,” or understand the Victorian-era ballad: “My mother was a lady like yours, you will allow.” Putting…

The Bottom Line Remains the Same

The Bottom Line Remains the Same

July waves Old Glory and Le Tricolore. Jacques-Louis David based the French flag on the cockade of the Marquis de Lafayette, who had been urged to help the American colonists by the Duke of Gloucester, in a funk because his brother, King George III, disapproved of his marriage. At least there was no Reign of Terror…

Christian, Remember Your Dignity

Christian, Remember Your Dignity

Robert Gould Shaw was born into an abolitionist Unitarian family in Boston in 1837. When he was ten, they settled on Staten Island. An uncle who became a Catholic priest paid for his tuition at what is now the Fordham Preparatory School.   As a somewhat distracted student, Shaw never completed his studies (who does?)…