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October 26th, 2002
A Spiritual Break for the Chronically Busy

We each have a breaking point. I reached mine one recent Sunday morning when, just before noon, I realized that I’d been awake for four hours and doing homework for four hours. I was reading about Lectio Divina (spiritual reading)—the practice of reading Scripture and meditating on a passage—and finding myself uninspired. Then came the advice: one should engage in Lectio Divina every day, for half an hour. I considered this momentarily, and then readied my hi-lighter, and wrote, “Ha! Ha! Ha!” in the book’s margin.
Get lostEver felt this way? You’re a student, or parent, or overworked employee, and the endless advice from physical and spiritual gurus drives you to vomit?…

October 25th, 2002
All I Needed to Know About the Eucharist I Learned at Dinner

Eucharist, a word Catholics, Orthodox, and Episcopalians/ Anglicans often use for communion and for the Mass, sounds pretty technical to many people these days. Yet in its origins in ancient Greek (the verb eucaristein…), it was a common way of saying to give thanks, to be grateful. The best synonym for Eucharist would be Thanksgiving.
And so maybe it’s not surprising that one of my most important lessons in Eucharist came at the dinner table of some friends, a table not so unlike the ones that we all spread out for the holiday feasts.
The year before I entered the seminary I had just moved to Northern California for a temporary job, not far from the house my college friend Christine was sharing with her mother

October 18th, 2002
Can John Edward Give Us Peace about the Dead? Do We Need Him to?

Talked to any dead friends or relatives lately?
John Edward says he does it all the time.
You’ve probably heard of Edward, who hosts the syndicated Crossing Over. A self-described “medium,” he stands in a gallery of audience members eager to receive messages from loved ones who have died. Some have been informed of foul play; others are delighted to be assured that their loved ones are aware of a new baby or a new tattoo or old guilt.
There’s no doubt that something is going on with Edward; he seems to know too much about too many people he’s never met. He’s sweet, likable, gracious, and seems to genuinely care about the audience members with whom he communicates. His calm demeanor,…

October 17th, 2002

No one comes running to meet me when I get home from work. The house is disappointingly dark and silent, the loves of my life hours into sleep. Since there’s no one around to talk to, I turn on the television and sigh as I sit in the dark flipping through infomercials and bad late-night movies.
Getting home at one in the morning is something I tolerate, for now, because my prospects of finding similar kind of work, with normal hours, are limited. But I’m waiting for the day I can be one of those nine-to-five lucky people. They may have to put up with rush-hour traffic and eight a.m. meetings, but at least they get to be more or less in tune with the world. I feel so out of synch with the natural rhythm of things, eating…

October 16th, 2002
Falling in Love and Serving the Poor in Latin America

When I first looked into her eyes, I fell harder for her than for anyone I had previously met. She had the most beautiful brown eyes, perfectly complementing her gorgeous smile and adorable features. I found myself constantly wanting to be near her, hold her, appreciate her company. I never expected such ridiculous circumstances to occur. I never imagined that I would travel thousands of miles, leaving my friends and family behind, to fall head-over-heels for a two year old.
Alison, however, embodied everything that made Nicaragua so captivating for me. I left the comforts of Xavier University in Cincinnati during January of my junior year completely clueless of what I had done. From the moment I stepped into…

October 1st, 2002
Ten Spots They'll Never Find Our Secure and Undisclosed Vice President

Any cop will tell you it’s the guilty who run at the scene of a crime.
Believe that and you’ll find Vice President Dick Cheney’s disappearances during recent terrorist alerts puzzling. During last month’s “code orange” terrorist alert Cheney was once again whisked off to what the White House calls “secure and undisclosed” locations, thus leaving the press (and the largely unprotected public) curious as bees.
But not to fret. Following is a list of “secure and undisclosed” locations where no one will ever think to look for Dick Cheney:
1. In Kosovo cleaning toilets for the Halliburton Company. The Dallas-based company Cheney headed for five…

October 1st, 2002
The Legacies of Two Men Who Died Young

My friend Dave Connors was 25 when he died of complications from heart surgery. For as long as I knew Dave, he was hampered by physical ailments, but I never sensed he was in any serious danger—even when his condition became grave. Dave was one of those even-tempered people who never got too high or too low.
Dave almost died when he was 22. He had a defibrillator (much like the one Vice-President Cheney has) attached to his heart and it gave him a few more good years. That was a wake up call for me. Suddenly my friend, my young friend, could die.
Until his life was threatened by his illness, I had wasted a real opportunity to get to know Dave. It didn’t seem possible that someone my own age could die. Fortunately for me,…

September 30th, 2002
Wherever You Go, Longing for Somewhere Else

I cried in the frozen foods aisle last night.
I lived with my parents in Cincinnati for two years while I finished my master’s degree and could not wait to leave. This is not to say I don’t respect and love my parents, both fine people in their own rights, or that I don’t love and respect Cincinnati, the Bengals not withstanding. However, when you and nearly everyone you know has grown up within a fifteen-mile radius of where their great-great-grandparents first stepped off the flatboat, at some point you begin to seek out other, less bowling-alley-intensive vistas.
I was in Florida working for NASA within four months of graduation. People schlep school buses and Radio Shack warrantees for entire…

September 28th, 2002
An Old Movie Scopes Out War's Impact on the Soul

What do a vintage Warner Brothers cartoon, a classic war movie, and a caution about how we see ourselves have to do with one another? They are my way of trying to untangle the flag-waving emotions of our day by raising some fundamental questions. Are we going to war with Iraq? The question a Christian needs to ask is: should we?
Arriba, arriba across the lines Let’s look at the vintage cartoon. In the story Speedy Gonzales (the very fast mouse) is recruited by an army commander; his mission is to deliver an important message across enemy lines (the cat). As the brave mouse accepts, we see the numbers on the wall indicating his fallen brothers. Speedy finally delivers the letter, which turns out to be a birthday card,…

September 26th, 2002
Simple Reasons I Chose the Jesuit Volunteers

At the end of the first semester of my senior year at college, during the month of December, 2001, I was visiting with Tom, my Jesuit Scholastic friend who, on occasion, dropped by Gonzaga University where I was attending college. We were at the corner diner on Sharp and Hamilton having milkshakes and catching up on the past year.
Tom introduced the subject of JVC into the conversation. I knew about the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) from former members speaking at Masses, had spent time with the Spokane Jesuit Volunteers, and had been urged by Tom to join JVC on previous visits. My answer was prepared. I had briefly thought about participating in JVC, but dismissed the idea after coming to the conclusion that I had already…

September 26th, 2002

The movie Barbershop is a nightmare for people like the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Black leaders have taunted the creators of Barbershop for remarks that disparage the reputation of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jesse Jackson, and Rosa Parks by “Eddie,” the character played by Cedric the Entertainer . The sad thing is that while the character of Eddie is somewhat of a social misfit, he has more class and dignity than many of those who are shouting him down. This could have been the creator’s intent all along.
Eddie is the symbol of dignity in this movie (believe it or not). While he doesn’t speak clearly, has an “old-school afro,” and seems to be the “teller of tall tales,” Eddie…

September 22nd, 2002

The leader of our organization (Jesus) always was a savvy marketer, a marketing God, if you will. He knew his audience, he knew how to reach them, and he wasn’t afraid to go up against the competition to gain His fair share of the market (in His case, of course, he relentlessly pursued heart, mind, and soul, as well).
In the days when he roamed the earth in the flesh, he made the most of the media that was available to him: the spoken word. It’s amazing to realize that He got us where we are today by simply starting with his voice. If there were a Word-of-Mouth Hall of Fame, he would certainly have his tunic hanging up in the rafters, as a symbol of his greatness when it came to delivering his message to his audience.…

September 17th, 2002
Springsteen Finds Music for Our 9/11 Grief in "The Rising"

<img src=”http://www.bustedhalo.com/pictures/homePhoto.jpg” alt=”” border=”0″ class=”picright”>
<blockquote>”Coffee cups on the counter / jackets on the chair
Papers on the doorstep / but you’re not there
Everything is everything / Everything is everything
But you’re missing.”
—”You’re Missing”</blockquote>
Though the biggest fan of the Boss in my family is my 62-year-old mother, I still came to Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising” predisposed to like it. I was not disappointed.
What is it with this guy? His voice always sounds like he just woke up. Song…

September 17th, 2002

A priest and a rabbi walk into a bar.
The rabbi buys the first round, but the priest is not stingy either and buys the next. They spend a few hours telling priest and rabbi jokes, and then compare notes on pastoral problems. At closing time, they bid one another good night. The good rabbi heads off to his family, the good father to his rectory. Nobody tried to convert anybody else.
It’s no joke.
On August 12, a joint Catholic-Jewish statement hit the presses, “Reflections on Covenant and Mission ,” which declared to all the world that, in the words of Rabbi Gilbert Rosenthal, “neither faith group believes that we should missionize among the other in order to save souls via conversion. Quite…

September 14th, 2002
9-11

Marion’s off this week. So I’d like to dedicate this week’s column to my college friend, Susan Cullen, and her soul mate, Thomas Cullen.
Tom Cullen was killed in the September 11th disaster. He was a member of an elite rescue squad in New York City.
Tom always wanted to be a firefighter. I think that’s all he ever wanted to be. I remember our freshman year at Fordham University when we met. There was a rash of fires set in our dorm by a mysterious person whom we could never seem to catch. One night the building was evacuated because of one of these fires. I remember standing in the courtyard and the resident assistant read a roll of names to make sure everyone had gotten out. Not everyone was present.…

September 14th, 2002
Why I Am a Catholic by Garry Wills

Garry Wills was shocked. After the publication of his best-selling book Papal Sin , which documents recent papal shortcomings, Wills not only received the expected letters from angry Catholics demanding he leave the Church, but he also received letters from confused Catholics interested in how to remain faithful despite a flawed Church authority. Readers, it seemed, weren’t content with the Vatican but worried about being critical. Could they be critical? They asked for Wills’ insight.
Why I Am A Catholic is Wills’ response. It’s a three-pronged discussion that acts as both a memoir and follow up to Papal Sin . Wills reminisces about his Catholic upbringing, offers a papal history…

September 11th, 2002
A Sampling of Saints for the 9/11 Anniversary

Saint Francis of Assisi is up for bid on eBay . Several of him, actually. There’s Saint Francis in terra cotta or hand-painted ceramic, and also a lovely and practical Saint Francis birdfeeder . And he’s not alone. All over the internet you can get same-day shipping of pretty much any saint you want. Medals, statues, pictures—just a click and a credit card away.
Maybe I’ll get myself one of those saints. Maybe Saint Lucy , a patron of writers. She might be a comfort, perched serenely on top of my computer monitor. Really, I wouldn’t mind her face peering down at me. I like that about being Catholic, getting to have all those famously holy people around. It was actually the impending anniversary…

September 11th, 2002
Choosing Not to Be at Work 9/11

I will not be going into work on September 11th.
I did not work in the Towers, or anywhere in the World Trade Center complex. I do not work for the FDNY or NYPD, and neither does anyone in my family. Neither my wife nor I directly knew anyone who died on September 11th last year.
All in all, my wife and I were very lucky last year. So why am I taking off work on the first anniversary of the terrorist attack? Because even though none of the above scenarios apply to me, I was nonetheless closely affected by the events of that day, and still am.
You see my office is about a mile or so north of the WTC site. I watched it all unfold from the relative safety of my office—the
explosions, the fire, the debris, and eventually the collapse of…

September 11th, 2002
A 9/11 Holiday Is Not What We Need

A year ago September 11, Lisa Beamer was a media nobody�practically a stigma in today’s American Idol Real World Funniest Home Videos Bachelor Dating Contest Survivor world. Of all the people whose lives were changed on that day, perhaps hers was changed the most.
Lisa Beamer, who has since been publicly applauded by the President, the Congress, and the media, is Todd Beamer’s wife… Todd Beamer, a United Airlines Flight 93 passenger who recited the Our Father along with a cell phone operator and then said “Let’s roll” to his fellow passengers as they overpowered their captors, protecting sacred national monuments, saving lives. The terrorists in control of the plane,…

September 11th, 2002
Reaching Out Since 9/11

We’ve noticed that many people seem to want to form connections since the tragedy of September 11th last year. Even in everyday encounters when we’re running errands, people want to talk more. Folks have more time for each other, rather than the usual self-involved way we used to run around and do the ordinary, mundane chores of life.
The horrific events of September 11th have provided a wake-up call for many people in regard to the attitudes they have toward other people.
September 11th provided us with one lasting question: w hat types of people do we want to spend our valuable time with?
Marion: I’ve found that I can sense when someone has a vengeful streak in them, or has a bad attitude, or is simply…

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