Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Quick Word..Closing Day

Hey everyone! Sorry for the lack of updates in recent days. Clare and I have been preparing, albeit at what sometimes seemed a glacial pace, for closing on our house, moving in, and renovating it, all at the same time.

So even though this day often felt like it would never come, when it finally did come, it went as fast and smooth as could be asked for, thanks be to God.

So, yes, we're homeowners now. Big Dogs. Now we have just have to open up a bottle of Wild Turkey, walk around with a couple of shot glasses in our hand and introduce ourselves to the rest of the neighborhood.

Some other good news is that everything in the house works more or less. The bad news is that the floors need some love and attention, which is hard to give when you are being distracted by 5 other things that also need your love and attenion..

We're just happy to have a place of our own, finally. Hope all is well with you. More later.



Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Pilgrim's Journey

Well, today is so special for so many reasons, one of which is that I was able to attend His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI's papal mass at the new National's Stadium in Washington, D.C. The last I heard, some 46,000 excited Catholics were in attendence, which made for an extremely powerful experience.

The Pope said the Mass of the Holy Spirit in anticipation of Pentecost and consonnant with his trip theme of "Christ Our Hope." His homily was beautiful, but tough to understand at times because of his German accent. Indeed, his Spanish feels far more comfortable than his English. All hispanics in attendenance were thrilled that he addressed them in their native tongue, and so smoothly at that.

His preaching alighted on the theme of interior conversion from the frequent reception of the sacrament of reconcilliation, which produces an effect--holiness--that it both "inspires and accomplishes." It is the fruit of this conversion, joy, hope and love, that becomes leaven to our confused and increasingly secular society that inspires others to take up Gospel message.

The Pope also had frank and sweet, healing words of compassion regarding the grave evil of the sexual abuse scandal in the U.S. In case you missed it, the Pope had a private, unscheduled meeting with some of the victims of sexual abuse at the Apostalic Nunciature in D.C. You can read about this moving event here.

I am gladdened that the Pope has been so forthright and direct in his dealings regarding the scandal. I am presently reminded of his words (then Cardinal Ratzinger) from the 9th Station during the Papal Stations of the Cross on March 24, 2005: "How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him!" To be sure, one reason Pope Benedict has come to America and D.C. is to bring healing and hope the Church for this great evil. It is my feeling, and that of those around me, that his words and example are having their intended effect.

The Pope has many messages and insights for us to be sure on this trip, more definitely than I am able to give justice to here. I just want to say, due to a lack of some time to really update, that I love Pope Benedict. He is the total bomb!

Viva el Papa!


Monday, April 14, 2008

Some Spiritual Thoughts

Hey everybody! It's another Monday, and so it's time for another update.

Today's post, I thought, should take into account some spiritual thoughts, especially since Pope Benedict XVI leaves tomorrow morning for his historic trip to the United States.

Before Easter, I went to confession. It is a requirement of the Church that Catholics go to confession once a year during Lent. I was fortunate to go to a confessor who exuded that sense of holiness you long for when you go to confession--a man passionate about souls, someone who seriously takes into account your journey and others,' the quest to get to Heaven.

It is honestly a huge boon to go to a confessor who you know cares about you and understands, if only intuitively, your troubles and the burdens of both daily and spiritual life. At just the right moment, a holy confessor can turn the tables for you with the right words and directives. Your soul has to be willing, of course, too, to do what it must, which can be painful if you are trying to grasp and hold onto undue pride.

Anyway, I hit a turning point for myself when, on following my confessor's urging, I right then and there decided to really make every effort to say a daily rosary again in earnest. That is to say, a daily rosary approached with the mindset that I am actually going to pray because I need to to be holy, not because it's a routine I do.

Since then, I have noticed a major difference in myself and the world. Just by being really sincere in saying the rosary every day, my family and I have benefitted tremendously. For example, I am less of a jerk and way more happy. Moreover, I have been brought back to the truth that we really do come to Jesus through Mary. This isn't just a Catholic saying, but a physical and spiritual reality. In fact, my whole conversion began through the Discalced Carmelites, an austere order devoted to the due honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Anyway, I just wanted to sound off about that. Do not under estimate the power of the rosary. And do not under estimate your need to say it. St. Padre Pio, a holy and stigmatic priest, called it 'the weapon.' You can read more about the benefits of the rosary here.

I used to have a bumper sticker that said "A rosary a day keeps the devil away." If you pray it faithfully, it will. Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us!

Over and Out,


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The first & the last

...cups of coffee today.

So, this morning, before getting pegged with an Orange via my cell phone, I brewed a pot of some amazing Intelligentsia Coffee. Intelligentsia on Broadway in Chicago is my favorite coffee shop of all time, hands down. I am a bit biased, of course, being from Chicago and all, but there are many other coffee enthusiasts nationwide who would agree that the shop's sophisticated ethos and name aptly reflects the sheer magnificence of their coffee and espresso, not to mention the decision to drink it.
Indeed, there are many on whom Intelligensia's greatness would and will be lost. I honestly don't mind, first, because those people really don't care anyway, and second, that means more stupendous Intelligensia Coffee for me.
This evening, Clare and I took a jaunt into D.C., admittedly to purchase a kitchen table off Craig's List. After the exchange, we took a detour to check out Tryst, a centerpiece of D.C.'s happenin' coffee scene. Though it's seemingly more a night time hang-out and Adam's Morgan social institution, their coffee and espresso was not disappointing. Perhaps not the amazingness of other coffee places, but still cool nonetheless.
So no sooner than we checked out of D.C. than we hit some traffic delays. Good thing we were well caffeniated to handle the situation. I even called WTOP to let them know of an additional delay. I talked to the traffic person, who was really cool, and she announced my update on the radio! How sweet is that?!
Anyway, that wraps up the update, albeit a day late. Watch out for oranges.
Over and Out,