Thursday, August 28, 2008


What condescension
Of God. Resurrected Flesh
In a crumb of bread.

The Passion of St. Augustine

When he finally surrendered to the embrace of Christ, Augustine was never the same. As he reflected on his life in his autobiography, he penned one of the most tender expressions of love I have ever read. Since I, like Augustine, was converted late in life (age 31), his words express the depths of my own love and gratitude to Jesus:

“ Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new! Late have I loved you! And behold, you were within, and I abroad, and there I searched for you; I was deformed, plunging amid those fair forms, which you had made. You were with me, but I was not with you. Things held me far from you—things which, if they were not in you, were not at all. You called, and shouted, and burst my deafness. You flashed and shone, and scattered my blindness. You breathed odors and I drew in breath—and I pant for you. I tasted, and I hunger and thirst. You touched me, and I burned for your peace” (St. Augustine, Confessions)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"Never, Never, Never Give Up..."

These words were spoken by Winston Churchill during the darkest days of World War II. Churchill, for many reasons, is one of my favorite historical personalities. Though certainly flawed, as are we all, I have always admired his great tenacity.

And today, the Church celebrates the feast day of St. Monica (d. 387AD), whose tenacious and unyielding prayer gave us the great Saint we celebrate tomorrow, St. Augustine. I have written of St. Monica before. She is the model for contemporary parents who have children that have strayed from the fold; children who have surrendered to the "sex, drugs and rock and roll" culture that has subsumed our American life.

Augustine was the playboy/hippie of his day. Sin was no stranger to this fourth century bon vivant. For 17 years, Monica wept, fasted and prayed for his conversion. She sought the counsel of others to help her convince Augustine to follow Christ. After beseeching Bishop Ambrose of Milan for days and days, he said to her, " My dear, go home. Surely the child of so many tears will never be lost."

You see, she never, never, never gave up on Augustine or God, for that matter. And we need to do the same. I have 8 children that are on, shall we say, various paths. Some paths good...others, not so good. But I take great comfort from St. Monica. It is my role to pray them to the "Gates of the Kingdom," so to speak. Certainly, as a fruit of my prayer, God will give the grace that brings each of them to that heavenly door...but,it will ever be the personal responsibility of each to willingly walk through the threshold. And so,my children.....I am never, never, never giving up!!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Queen Mother

O Heavenly Queen,
Monstra te esse matrem.**
Be thou my Mother.

**Prayer of the ancient Church

The Home

If we live long enough, each of us will be faced with the one unfortunate consequence of longevity: being placed by our "caregivers" in The Home. Having had the experience of daily visiting my Dad for the last 3 months at St. Joseph's Care Center, I can tell you that I have seen my future and it is frightening, indeed.

During the time we are healthy and aging like fine wine, we never give this prospect a second thought. But medical science is denying the Grim Reaper his share of early retirements, prolonging the dying process just long enough so that those interred in The Home can bequeath their assets to the health care system. However, putting asset transfers aside, the mere fact that the dying process has been changed from the blazing glory of Niagara Falls to the drip, drip, drip of Chinese Water Torture, should be enough to scare the 'bejezus' out of everyone.

My Dad is fortunate. On September 13th, he is coming back home. His roommate, however, a very bright and alert former sculptor, will not ever leave except through death. He sits in his chair looking out of the window, watching visitors come and go...none of whom will be finding their way to his room. Mr. Miller's predicament has caused me great anguish and the sad thing is, his experience is not unique.

Dyda has fared pretty well. The caregivers at St. Joseph have been wonderful.
But being in the presence of so many sick and infirm senior citizens has taken its toll. Last night during our visit, he suddenly began to count "54, 55,56,57..." I said, "Hey, Big Guy, why are you counting over and over again?" He looked at me with a slight grin and said, Hell! I gotta do something!" Let us pray fervently for cardiac arrests while sleeping.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


We're made for Thyself,
And our heart is most restless
'Til resting in Thee.

St. Augustine- Confessions

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Moment of Grace

Road rage!! I read about it all the time. Incredible crimes have been committed by people suffering from "Road Rage." And, though no violent crimes have been committed by me to date, I suffer from the dreadful malady.

I remember the time I was angered by my nephew, Chuck. I can't remember the incident that occurred in the church parking lot, but there I stood in the rain, with my hands on the hood of his truck, to prevent him from leaving while I read the "riot act." Now get this picture: He is in a truck, safe and dry. I am standing in the rain, cold and wet, trying to keep a 4 ton truck from moving, using my bare hands. We all eventually dissolved in laughter over the incident.

There have been other occasions that are too numerous to mention. There was the time I was hit in the rear by a guy in a traffic circle. I jumped out of the car and was furiously flinging epithets that would make a sailor blush. My anger was quickly abated, however, when the driver, a 7 foot tall, three hundred pound black dude emerged from the driver's seat. I am not sure what I said, but it was probably something like, "Gee, I'm sorry I pulled out in front of you so suddenly..." Road rage can sometimes be hazardous to your health.

I can't count the times that I have given an offending driver the universal hand salute of disdain. Not to mention the things that I have shouted to motorists, while my young brood of children sat fearful and puzzled in back seats. Having provided such a great fatherly example over the years, I realized that I had to change. I was no longer going to be dominated by road rage.

I was listening to a radio preacher expounding on this topic. What kind of witness are we giving when we have "I love Jesus" stickers on our bumpers and we are shouting and giving others solitary finger salutes. And so, I resolved to change. He suggested we give the peace sign instead. To say words of blessing to the offending party. Yes, Yes. It made so much sense. I resolved to try it out and the opportunity for redemption and grace sharing quickly presented itself

Last Thursday, as I was leaving my neighborhood on my motorcycle, I accidentally pulled in front of a young lady in a Honda Accord. At the next "Stop" sign, she pulled up next to me and shouted, "Hey, Old Man, why don't you learn how to drive that thing?!" Oh joy!! Here was my opportunity. My grace filled moment. My chance to redeem all of the years of rage and fury. The radio preacher's counsel was running through my brain. So I looked at that sweet young face, staring at me through the open car window and prayerfully said...."AWW, go to Hell!!" and roared off. Oh Lord, be merciful to me a sinner!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Manly Virtues

Even though it enrages feminists, it is a fact there are virtues that are associated with manliness and virtues that are associated with femininity. For example, justice is a manly trait. Mercy is feminine. Command is a manly trait, obedience is a feminine.

Now men and women are a combination of both masculine and feminine traits. A mentally healthy male must balance justice with mercy. A good mother administers just punishment when it is called for. However, there seems to be dreadful imbalance in many of today's males. Men have been so feminized by the culture, that they feel awkward manifesting manly virtues. They are quite honored to be called "metro-sexual."

During this time of the presidential campaign, I am carefully observing the two candidates to see which manifests the manly virtues that are required, in my mind, to forcefully lead this nation in these troubled times. I have observed both McCain and Obama and have been most disappointed in what I have seen.

What qualities must the candidate possess? How about firmness. I want a candidate who kicks a*& and takes names. One who calls a "spade a spade." One that "tells it likes it is." Who can control the spouse and family, even disclosing failings and foibles of family members, who don't measure up to standard. Yes...After much thought and observation, I am convinced that America needs....... Michelle Obama.


In my soul's blindness
I cried out: Lord, let me see.
His Word gave me sight.


Let me see Your face,
Though I die. Not seeing it
I die from longing.

St. Augustine

Friday, August 1, 2008


Bikers are gathered.
Mechanical steeds growling.
The joy of a ride.