Thursday, August 26, 2010

Below is an expression of why Audrey Assad, a new music artist who I am growing to love, loves attending Mass, why she finds Catholicism beautiful. This has been encouraging to me, her knowledge that worship is not so much experience, but moreover, it is simply and wholly... worship.

I did and do take solace in the Church, as a sparrow makes a nest in an old, solid oak; the Church’s very age and wisdom speak quietly for themselves, silently drawing in wanderers like me. Jesus loves wanderers and prodigals; and the Church must welcome them with open arms–in my case, she did, and warmly at that. I find it beautiful about Catholicism that worship, in her way, is not so much an experience as it is an act of the will; yes, the senses are engaged by the sweet, thick smell of incense at the altar, the soft flickering of candles, the otherworldly melodies of chant; but ultimately, as a Catholic, I go to Mass to worship–to give Jesus the honor and glory He is worthy of; I go to Mass because I love Him. [taken from]

May we be reminded, when the temptation to choose brighter skies and greener fields ("polished" worship music and ultra-moving sermons), that we shall worship because we love Him.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

the Magic Hour at the river

He once spoke of the Magic Hour, that dusky burst of color, all magic and such. You can see it on hillsides, on trains, on rooftops, but have you ever seen it from the perch of a rock, resting on the shores of the Mississippi?

She's a mighty river, it's true, but none is more perfect for watching and waiting and breathing in the wet air of the Deep South. None is more perfect, on this night anyway, for the Magic Hour. Though sweet serenity might sing through the hillsides, a swiftly pacing barge drifts right past you, the backdrop on this particular night. It's of no matter - who can spoil the Magic Hour? Even clouds and rainstorms only spread a veil over this happening, yet still it is there.

You've not known a good evening until you known an evening on the banks of the Mississippi, breezes and voices from the north, all gathered together for this Hour... and once it's passed, the lingering begins. For who can turn away so quickly? "Ah, it is gone so soon!"

But tomorrow it will return. The Magic Hour at the river.

Here at the magic hour
time and eternity
mingle a moment in chorus
Here at the magic hour
bright is the mystery
plain is the beauty before us
Could this beauty be for us?
["The Magic Hour" from
Counting Stars, Andrew Peterson]

Monday, August 9, 2010

He first loved us.

Everyone wants to change her, but does anyone love her?

She passes by their front porch day after day, towards the convenience store, or headed home with no utilities and a stench that keeps unwanted guests away. She sleeps on a mattress, on the floor, that, thankfully, hasn't been used as a bathroom by the dog yet. She lives here with her boyfriend.

And they want her to live somewhere else; she needs a change.

After all, the baby is coming. Don't they have to think about the baby? The innocence. Yes, they've got to get her in another house.

And so they do.

But before long, she's back to her old house, says it just wasn't what she wanted. But the baby, there's still the baby. She's growing out of her clothes; yes, she needs new clothing, or better yet, they'll clean out their closets for the gently used items that have hardly been worn before.

Yes, let's get her cleaned up; she needs a change.

But she doesn't wear the clothes; they're not her taste. She's happpier with what she's already got, with what she already knows. Thanks, but no thanks.

She's gone; she just walked out. She had a fight with the father of her child and left the only person who cares for her unborn baby, someone who might even care more than she does. Where did she go, they ask. She's over on Millford Station, that's where she always goes.

He's so tired of this; with another man's dime, he goes to buy a drink to drown out his anguish of being left again (so many times that he stopped counting).

But they know she'll be back; she always comes back. And this time, they might not be waiting around to help. They just might be finished with this. They can only reach out so much. She has to choose to respond.

You want to change her, but have you loved her?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

how to know your neighbors

I'm not great at knowing my neighbors, actually. I'm consumed with busyness, just like the rest of us, much to my disdain sometimes. But what I do know has been put to the test.

How do you know your neighbors? Cook some food.

Not just any food, though. Hamburgers and barbecue balogna (Ba-lone-ee). Hot fries and brownies. Those are the foods that we all, errr... that most of us like.

The humidity and the heat index of 115 may threaten to keep us away, but alas, the will to be neighbors overcomes the desire to stay inside where the air conditioner runs strenuously.

Of course, I don't know my neighbors after just one cookout, but I do see some familiar faces, meet some new ones, and learn some good facts: "Oh! You live in the little blue house on the south side of the street?" And so it begins.

Let us be neighbors!