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Mar. 23rd, 2009 | 02:50 pm

When Andy and I identify animals, we usually also imitate the sounds they make.
"Who's that?"
"A duck!"
"What does the duck say?"
"kWHAt kWHAt"
Occasionally I get stumped. I don't really have a good answer as to what the crocodile says or what the hippopotamus says. This morning brought a particularly interesting inquiry. As we were discussing a variety of animals and their respective sounds, Andy looked up from the pictures in front of him to ask: "What Rebecca say?"

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Hagiography, continued

Mar. 10th, 2009 | 05:07 pm

Eliza, confused and examining my medallion: He doesn't look like Paul.

Perhaps it has been my lack of long, flowing beard and first-century, Mediterranean garb that has been standing between me and canonization all this time.

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More Hagiography with Andy

Feb. 16th, 2009 | 03:02 pm

This morning, I was wearing a T-shirt that features St. Michael. This archangel is depicted in Renaissance style: bright colors, classical armor, big sword, but it was the wings that really interested Andy. "Tweet, tweet!"

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Another story about a cute kid and a pig:

Feb. 10th, 2009 | 10:21 pm

Andy's vocabulary is blossoming. Sometimes he likes to exercise it-- just to show that he can. He walks about the house naming things: "A wall." "A car." "Bottles." Today, I wore my St. Paul medal, as usual. I also wore my 2005-2006 honors program t-shirt, which sports the silhouette of a moose on the front. Andy pointed to one, then the other and identified: "See-Pau." "A pig."

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...and there HE was.

Jan. 12th, 2009 | 06:12 pm

So, liturgically, the Christmas season ends on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which was yesterday. I stopped in at St. Al's late this afternoon. The poinsettias, the creche and whatnot were still there. I'm sure that they would have been taken down more promptly had a significant event been planned for that space for today. Yet, as it turned out, I, a lone, unscheduled, Monday pilgrim, found a baby Jesus there to meet me. I thought that was fitting given the eschatological, the-kingdom-will-come-like-a-thief-in-the-night overtones to the passing season.

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Natural order

Dec. 30th, 2008 | 07:57 pm

Little disasters breed little acts of charity. Recent snow has brought a lot of great examples. Much good is done in the world on a mundane, regular basis, but there is something very different about immediate need meeting immediate help and meeting face to face. It reminds us of who and what we are before God and eachother. We all need help. We can all give help. May we never forget either reality.

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Form versus Content

Dec. 18th, 2008 | 01:06 am

When faced with a question, I tend to either offer the best answer I have or simply say "I don't know" rather than waffling through a series of conceivable responses cited by a series of authorities. This evening, faced with an unresolved quandary and less than confident in an answer on my own authority, I found myself resorting to just that waffling strategy:

"I'm just going to pull and Aaron Brown here and say: 'I don't really know, but Augustine would say X. The Congregation for Divine Worship would say Y. Pope Pius XII would say Z.'"

Then I realized that while the form of the argument was characteristically Aaron's, the instinct to appeal first to those particular authorities probably wasn't.

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Happy Birthday

Oct. 19th, 2008 | 07:32 pm

This morning, after examining, discussing and singing about the wonders of God's creation, the kids had some time to do some creating of their own. Under young, guiding hands, form emerged from clay and created wonders came to populate the land (green paper) and sky (blue paper). It was, indeed, wondrous to behold.

Me: Caitlynn, what did you make?
Caitlynn: A birthday cake.
Me: That's exciting. Whose birthday is it?
Caitlynn: Yours.
Me: Thank you for celebrating with me. How old am I today?
Caitlynn: 40.

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"The poet reads his crooked rhyme/ Holy, holy is his sacrament"

Oct. 12th, 2008 | 08:14 pm

Discernment is not really something that one does once, figures it all out and then is set to go. Discernment has to be an ongoing, ever-unfolding endeavor. That said, it sure seems like there are points in time when discernment is a much more immediately pressing, at-hand sort of task and it seems like there are times when the more immediately pressing, at-hand task involves putting one foot in front of the other until this, too, passes. Nearing the end of my undergraduate studies, it seems that I should be getting some of the hard-core, making-visible-progress kind of discernment done. Should be. Seriously, guys, what am I going to do with myself?

It's not that I'm not getting any clues. There are things to which I am definitely drawn, but these things that draw me are on the nebulous and conceptual side and could end up pulling me in any number of concrete directions. There are words, phrases, images and concepts that are captivating and inspiring. I believe that these ideas are somehow going to play into the work to which I'm being called, but I don't know how. "Be with." "Listen to their stories." "Proclaim the Gospel." "Celebrate." "Heal." "Sacramental life of the Church." "In community."

There is something tantalizing about the idea of a formal, vowed vocation in the Church-- especially while "Sacraments," "Gospel" and "community" keep ringing in my ears-- but that's not the only way to serve the Church on earth. There are increasingly numerous places for lay ministry and even lay leadership in the Church. Also, not all ministries that further the life of the Church on earth are, strictly speaking, under the direct supervision of the formal structures of the Church. The Gospel isn't-- and oughtn't be--spread only from the ambo. There are also places for teachers, artists, social activists &c. There's definitely work to be done. The vows are tempting, comforting, something to lean on. It seems to simple, which scares me. Simplicity, in my experience, tends to indicate either profound truth or gross reductionism.

Vocationally speaking, the problem with the quotation in the subject line (from Paul Simon's "Bleeker Street," by the way) is in the second pronoun. Sacraments don't properly belong to the poets-- at least not in the way that they belong to the Church. That said, Sacraments do belong to the poets in a very real sense, but not in the most real sense. Good sacramental poetry and poetry on the Sacraments are precious. The ministry of the poets is vital. It can be reflective, illuminating, celebratory, even liturgical, but not Sacramental in the strict sense. That's probably why Simon doesn't capitalize "sacrament," even though he uses it as a noun. Tricky Simon.

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Yes, this is the doctor's kid.

Oct. 8th, 2008 | 12:11 pm

Eliza and I were playing with glue and construction paper yesterday. There were no kiddie scissors to be found, so I was cutting out a bunch of shapes and Eliza was left to the task of applying the glue, a charge she carried out with a generous spirit. I cut some stars, some hearts and some spirals. I thought that the spirals would be the most fun because you can pull on them and make them go *sproing!* but, as it turns out, the spirals went untouched. (Well, more properly, Eliza didn't play with them.) The stars were received with glee. When Eliza found the hearts, she picked one up, examined it for a moment, then held it flat against the left side of her chest and said "bump-bump, bump-bump."

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