Between the Sundays

A Blog by Joannie Watson

Reclaiming Carnival

We are in the midst of the season of Carnival right now.  It will culminate next Tuesday on what various cultures call Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday. Like another upcoming holiday, St. Patrick’s Day, this is a festival of the Church which has been stolen by our secular culture that’s obsessed with eating, drinking, and making merry.  To say […]

Love Your Enemies

I was reading a book about the parables the other day, and a statement by the author struck me – not because I didn’t know it, but because I realized that it had ceased to be revolutionary for me: “Only Jesus insists on loving the enemy … He may be the only person in antiquity to have given this instruction.” […]

Confessionals

Moments of Grace

Bob Ross came up in conversation the other day, as cultural icons are wont to do, and I quoted his famous quip, “We don’t make mistakes, we have happy accidents.”  I pointed out that while it sounded nice, it wasn’t very theologically correct.  Of course I make mistakes—sins—and they’re not so happy. One of my priest friends came back with St. […]

The Theology of Bob Ross

What is the deal with Bob Ross?  A cultural icon from the 80s and 90s, Bob Ross is a painter best known for his fro, pet squirrel, and crazy ability to turn a line of paint into a pine tree.  How does a guy who paints landscapes on public television gain a cult following? I remember my sister watching him […]

"The Crowning of the Virgin by the Trinity" (detail) by Velázquez

The Church’s Weighty Call to Women

It is an odd time to be a woman.  Never before have women had the freedom and opportunities that I have; at the same time, never before has the identity of woman been so confused.  It is no surprise, then, that Pope Francis has called for a “theology of woman.” The purpose of the Women’s March on Washington still remains […]

The New Home Prepared for Us

Most of my musings about theology and spirituality come in the middle of ordinary tasks, and the story behind this post is nothing different. One morning over the Christmas holiday, my sister’s husband and I were emptying the dishwasher from the night before and putting all the dishes away in the cabinets.  I realized that Patrick knew exactly where everything […]

Father Scanlan, Rest in Peace

Another pioneer in Catholic education has gone to his much-deserved reward. News came last Saturday morning that Father Michael Scanlan, T.O.R., President Emeritus of Franciscan University, has passed away. As an alumna of both Christendom College and Franciscan University, when I received the news, I thought back to the moment I found out that Christendom’s founder, Dr. Warren Carroll, had died […]

"The Adoration of the Magi" (detail) by Jan de Bray

The Courage of the Magi

January 6 is the traditional feast of the Epiphany, twelve days after Christmas.  I’ve always been intrigued by the Magi.  Their story forms the majority of Matthew’s account of the birth of Jesus Christ, and yet there remain so many questions about these mysterious figures. Where did they come from? How did they know to follow the star? What did […]

Good King Wenceslaus and Christmas’ Call to Holiness

Most Christmas carols are about that first Christmas night or the celebration of Christmas today.  But one stands out as something different. In a way, the carol “Good King Wenceslaus” isn’t as much about Christmas as it is about what Christmas requires of us. “Good King Wenceslaus” always gets stuck in my head on two days: September 28 and December […]

"Adoration of the Shepherds" (detail) by Balestra

St. Januarius, Christmas, and our response

Last week, the Italian Catholic church was given a shock—not because something miraculous happened, but because it didn’t happen.  Three times a year, a reliquary holding the blood of San Gennaro, or Saint Januarius, is removed from the case where it is held, and in the hands of the abbot of the chapel, the dried blood in the vial turns […]