General

The Crown | NETFLIX

“The Crown” and the Fundamental Values of Society

***Spoiler Alert*** The Netflix original series The Crown, which has to do with the last months of the reign of King George VI and the first years of the reign of his daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, is just the kind of program that Americans in particular seem naturally to love. It features beautiful photography of palaces, processions, and formal receptions; and […]

The War Between Doing and Being

Unquestionably, my life is full of continuous, often exasperating battles between doing and being. Culture tells us that we are valuable because of what we do. It speaks to our senses, every moment of every day, telling us we need to do more. Our worth is based on what we accomplish, how we achieve, the number of hours we put […]

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.” […]

Photography © by Randy Hain

The Weight of Glory

We can believe we are mere mortals dreaming the dream of immortality, while in fact, we are immortals dreaming the terrible dream of mere mortality. We all know what the weight of glory is, whether or not we have read Lewis’ golden sermon. We know it from the magic words of the poets; or we know it from the wordless […]

Photography © by Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles

Yes, Jesus loves me…

A heavy marine layer fell like a pall over Long Beach, California, bringing colder, damper weather. I had set aside the day to visit my sister and together we were going to visit our mom’s grave in All Souls’ Cemetery, right there on Cherry Avenue, just north of Memorial Hospital. We opened the car doors and began walking slowly to the site. […]

Cultivating Community to Support Mothers

It’s Not Enough To Tell Mothers To Stop Whining And Learn To Love Motherhood, We Have To Cultivate Community To Help Them… In an article entitled How To Stop Whining And Learn To Love Being A Mother, the author, Anna Mussman, addresses a malaise that has settled over the discussion of motherhood via social media. It’s obvious, Mussman claims, from […]

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. […]

"Supper at Emmaus" (detail) by Caravaggio

The Feast that is the Sacraments

Four elements stand out in the traditional Catholic doctrine of what a sacrament is. Fundamentalism is suspicious of all four. A sacrament is “a sign that effects what it signifies, instituted by Christ to give grace.” 1. Sacraments are signs and symbols. Fundamentalism is temperamentally wary of symbolism. It has a plain, “no-nonsense” mentality. Symbols are too poetic for its […]

Photography © by Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Los Angeles

How to to Overcome Sins and Faults of the Tongue

Sins and Faults of the Tongue: To Speak or not to Speak—That is the Question Dear Sister, There is a lot of noise around me—constantly. So much chatter. It seems to me that conversations in general are getting more superficial. I’m reminded of the title of one Shakespeare’s plays. It seems to fit what I am trying to say—Much Ado […]

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 […]