Rejoice in suffering

Salvador Dali’s Christ of Saint John of the Cross

Back in 1951 (I had to look that part up), Salvador Dali painted a view of the crucifixion called Christ of Saint John of the Cross (that’s the painting at the beginning of this post). This was unique among art depicting the crucifixion of Christ because it was presented from the perspective of God looking down on the cross rather than the worshipper looking up at the cross. It actually seriously offended some people so much that one man, angry at the idea of usurping God’s perspective, hurled a brick at the painting while it was on display in Scotland at it’s permanent home. Now I can certainly see where this objection could arise, but I also think that it is overstated. Such a point of view can lead to some real reflection, and I tried to spend some time on that earlier this week. God was, obviously, looking down on the events as they unfolded. Even though God, in His Eternal Now, was already living those same events at all points in history – indeed, each time we celebrate the Mass, those events unfold again in the sacrament. From a human perspective, that bloody sacrifice happened once so that it could have a lasting effect. I don’t want to go wandering into that theology at the moment, though. I’m more interested at this moment in the events of the actual crucifixion in human history and how those events were perceived by God. Continue reading “Rejoice in suffering”

Teach me to love like you love

Jonny Diaz released a song on “More Beautiful You” called “Love Like You Loved.” While neither this post nor the prayer that I said early last week were inspired by his song (sorry, Jonny), it is a great theme song for the point of this reflection. If you haven’t heard the song, I encourage you to go have a listen. Honestly, there’s a lot from him that’s worth listening to, but I digress. (No, I do not work for Jonny Diaz or even know him. Save for meeting him once at one of his concerts as a lowly fan-boy, I’ve not even met the man. He is from my hometown, though, which gets him some bonus points.) Continue reading “Teach me to love like you love”

Reflections inspired by Archbishop Hughes’ Penance Service

It seems appropriate that I’m looking back and writing these reflections today. Several of my brother seminarians, some dear friends, and a few of my kids are in Washington DC for the March for Life. It is appropriate that we reflect on penance and repentance as we look back on what is one of the darkest “rights” to ever have been granted citizens in the United States, a “right” that, at the same time, negated the most basic right of another group of people. Continue reading “Reflections inspired by Archbishop Hughes’ Penance Service”

My first retreat as a seminarian

Well, I went on a retreat last week. It was a different retreat than I’ve ever been on before. This was a preached retreat, but, other than the preaching itself (and Mass, Office, etc), the retreat was in silence. So I was basically in silence from Tuesday evening until Saturday night. That was a challenge at many points, but it was also illuminating. It proved a wonderful transition into the deeper spiritual life of the seminary. In this post, I want to share some of my thoughts and a few excerpts from my journal on the retreat. It may be a bit disjointed. I’m not sure there’s an elegant way to weave all of them together without wasting piles of space trying to artificially link things together. Continue reading “My first retreat as a seminarian”

A Revelation

I hope this post doesn’t come across as particularly emo, but it probably will.

First off, to understand where it is coming from, you have to understand that the last few years have been some of the darkest spiritual time in my life, and they came to a head the end of last year. In the last half of December, I was in a pit that felt like there was no way out. Continue reading “A Revelation”