• Reflections

    Beasts Of Hearth And Field

    Yesterday I described a neighbor’s sick bull and asked for prayer for the bull. Tonight I want to ask anyone reading this blog to please pray for our little dog, who is very sick. Dixee is a rescue dog; in fact, all of our animals were rescued from various unpleasant situations. She came to us years ago when a construction worker brought him to my wife and told her that the scroungy, trembling little mutt had been hanging out at a construction site and had apparently been abandoned. She looked to be part poodle and part terrier of some sort, and she was hungry and frightened. My wife brought her…

  • I Never Thought I'd Be In This Situation,  Reflections

    Sixes And Sevens

    If ever a day were designed to make a man want to be back in his cozy home with his wife and animals, today was that day. A Monday, a rainy Monday, a rainy Monday after insufficient sleep the night before, a rainy Monday after insufficient sleep the night before when one’s coworkers are bitter, gossipy, pessimistic, vulgar, and determined to draw one into their simmering cauldron. This was my Monday. The ability to focus so intently on one’s duties that one blocks out all distractions and temptations must indeed be a high spiritual gift. I aspire to lead a life so virtuous that one day before I retire (if…

  • Prayers

    All Wistful Creatures

    I want to ask anyone reading this to pray for a bull. The bull belongs to a farmer who owns the land adjacent to mine. This man does not display kindness nor warmth, especially towards his animals. He once let a cow suffer for days, sprawled in a mud hole in icy rain rather than put her out of her misery. I once rescued a calf belonging to his son, and when I called across the fields to the young man to get his attention, he snapped at me in the rudest way possible, and did not even thank me for saving and returning the calf. Coarse behavior and misanthropic…

  • Reflections

    The Art Of Saturday

    The sunrise looked as if it had been painted by Bob Ross. First, a deep crimson line was stroked across the horizon, behind the trees. By the time I had started the coffee, the unflappable old painter had taken a wide, dry brush and blended in some yellow and turned the eastern canvas into a benign lampshade glow. Ol’ Bob used to astound me with the rapidity with which he wielded a brush or knife to produce startling effects. And so it is with sunrise and sunset and clouds — by the time one fetches a camera with which to record the moment, the entire scene can shift. Each microsecond…

  • I Never Thought I'd Be In This Situation,  Memoirs,  Reflections

    Faith In Exile, Part III – Conclusion

    The Lenten season is upon us, and I am adrift. From what I understand, the majority of people who join the Catholic church are received into her arms during the Easter Vigil. Because of complications in my past life including divorce, along with complete uncertainty about which version of Catholicism I should be following, I have resigned myself to probably never being a real, official Catholic. Yet hope remains. I realized some time ago — gradually, like the sunrise, not an immediate clap of thunder — that I had come to believe the Catholic church is the one, true faith…that the Church truly is the pillar and bulwark of the…

  • I Never Thought I'd Be In This Situation,  Memoirs,  Reflections

    Faith In Exile, Part II

    To continue… I began searching out and reading Catholic blogs and websites, and was soon dismayed at what I read. Well, let me clarify that. I was dismayed at what the articles pointed me towards. All the time I had been circling Catholicism, thinking in terms of doctrine and authority and salvation, I had managed to somehow ignore the fact that I was contemplating the Catholic church during a time of great upheaval. I found myself confronted with scism and sexual scandal and allegations of cover-ups and Vatican II this and sedevacantist that and vacant seats and impious popes and illicit popes and illegitimate popes and angry laypeople and apathetic…

  • I Never Thought I'd Be In This Situation,  Memoirs,  Reflections

    Faith In Exile, Part I

    I’ve never until this moment written the following words down, and I’ve only spoken them aloud to my wife. I consider myself a Catholic. I was raised in a non-religious home, although my mother taught us to believe in the God of the Bible, and in His son, Jesus. She allowed us to attend church with friends if we wished, and she prayed with me at my bedside when I was a little fellow. The doctrines — if they can be called doctrines — that I was taught were standard but elusive. The Ten Commandments, and the Sinner’s Prayer, and Jesus waits to be invited into our hearts. But even…

  • Uncategorized

    After Patrick

    I did not attend Mass yesterday, partly because I suspected there would be some sort of Irishing of the church, with green clothes and eye-rolling jokes from the priest and perhaps a few hung-over attendees, clutching their rosaries with shaking hands and a little too relieved to make use of the kneelers. Every year, I watch the Americans who have convinced themselves that they’re sons of the auld sod as they go to parties and drink green beer and pinch strangers and sing really bad songs, and I feel a little sad because for some of them, this is as close to a national celebration as they’ll ever get. Very…

  • Poems

    Topiary Mendacity

    When I left her months ago in a halo of October fire, I extracted a promise from myself that before the first daffodil intruded into the warming yard that I’d prune her back, shape her limbs into a sphere before her buds began to be about their jostling business, to dress her stage so that her entrance would command both eye and sigh. But I have yet again confessed my status as a liar, and I see her branches ready to unwrap and stun the living air — I’ve tarried much too long and now if shears and loppers sculpt her sides, the rawness of her beauty will drop down…

  • I Never Thought I'd Be In This Situation

    Husbanding Daylight

    The switch back to Daylight Savings Time will be here early Sunday, and I dread it. The coziness of wintertime is at least partly enforced by the long nights and brutal temperatures. Few of us want to spend hours outside working on projects with fingers bereft of sensation, and so we hie to our homes and gather in our quiet little familial groups and occupy ourselves with things that tend towards the soft, the mild, the legato. When the time of increased daylight arrives, the roads and shopping centers will be crammed with people buying plants and trees and sports equipment, and the car stereos will be louder, and the…