Showing posts from June, 2010

Strangers and Sons

While I was away with the students on retreat this week, I had some time to pray with the parable of of the Prodigal Son. I have always loved this parable, a love that grew only deeper after reading the brilliant work by Henri Nouwen entitled The Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming. Nouwen's meditation takes as its focal point the arresting portrait rendered by Rembrandt of this poignant scriptural scene: the son throwing himself at the father's feet, the loving embrace of the father, the cold abyss that separates the older brother from the scene.

As I prayed this week, I thought back upon this portrait and the parable and saw a new theme emerging for me: Strangers and Sons. If you think upon it, both sons are strangers to the father: the younger son demands his inheritance, effectively telling the father that he wishes he were dead, and then leaves for "a distant country." What the son does there is not important, I reckon, either to us or to the father. The young m…


Over the next two weeks, I'll be spending a significant amount of my time away in retreat. This morning I'll be heading up to Canada with students on the Summer Kairos retreat. I will return on Friday, do laundry, get an oil change for my car, and then start to make my way to Faulkner, Maryland, for my own annual retreat.

After a crazy and grace-filled first year as a teacher, it'll be nice to be able to relax with the Lord...and give thanks.

The Wake of Classes

Except for a few items of paperwork, my first year of regency came to a close yesterday. It's really hard for me to believe that it's over: I remember the first day of classes, homecoming, and the unquenchable thirst I had for the sweet waters of Christmas break as though they were yesterday.

Looking back on the year, I can say that it has been the most protracted experience of grace I've ever experienced. A wise Jesuit told me that, while my job was to teach high school, my mission in the service of the Society of Jesus and the Church was far more important: to learn how to love students even when they would seem to be unlovable. When he offered me this counsel, I sort of scoffed. "I've always liked working with kids," I thought, "so why would it be hard to love them?"

Boy, did I learn that lesson!

When you think about it, one of the major lacunae in the life of a religious is that we (typically) don't have children. I do not have a baby who is…

Catholic Glee

There is a quote - attributed to James Joyce but whose citation I simply cannot find in any text - that "Catholic means 'here comes everybody.'" Whether Joyce said it this clearly or if it is sort of a hybrid phrase (the words "here comes everybody" occur several time in Joyce's Finnegan's Wake) matters little: it is an apt phrase capturing well the plurality of voices that combine to give "Glory to God in the Highest" through the celebration of the Eucharist.

To my mind, one of the better instances of a "Catholic" show is FOX's Glee. Set in Ohio, it is the story of "New Directions," a high school glee club. This may strike some as strange: back in December, TIME magazine writer Nancy Gibbs penned a nice piece entitled "The Gospel of Glee: Is it Anti-Christian". Her article was written in response to a Christian youth minister who thought the show was, indeed, anti-Christian. Gibbs writes:

It is easy to s…