Busted Halo

Practical tools for your personal spiritual life from Phil Fox Rose.

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June 21st, 2012

The pope has made several comments concerning vacations, which were highlighted in a piece on the Vatican Radio website. Whether he’s your spiritual leader or not, he touches on some powerful ideas, so let’s take a look.

Pope Benedict offers two basic goals for our vacation besides relaxation:

  • spending time with others
  • spending time with God

It’s one thing to spend an hour or two with a person, or to be with family or a partner all the time in the daily routines of life, but there’s something special (and sometimes challenging) about travelling together. Quality time is a great thing, but the hours of non-quality time during a vacation — in cars, waiting at airports, between events — create a different kind of intimacy.

And as far as what vacation to choose, are you challenged by the pope’s suggestion to spend time with others? Is there a visit to family that you could do instead of that beach vacation which will yield greater fruit in the long run? Maybe not. And not every vacation should be about visiting family. Getaways are valuable too. But it’s worth asking yourself.

It’s obvious how to spend time with other people — bring them along or go to them — but how do we spend time with God while on vacation? The pope offers three ideas, and we’ll explore each one a little…

June 19th, 2012

I’m a guy who needs breaks.
Take this article, for instance. Before typing this sentence, I checked Facebook, Twitter, Google News, and strolled by Time magazine’s website, which I haven’t done in ages. Then, on a whim, I decided to try and make iced coffee out of regular drip coffee, which, after tasting it, made me really appreciate places that do that professionally. Then I thought about making a Pinterest account, decided against it, and paid some bills instead — which of course required my downloading a bill-organizer iPhone app. Which required reading up on the best bill-organizer iPhone apps.
Actually, that sounds more like procrastination than break-taking.
But that’s how I operate.…

June 12th, 2012
A story of conversion and lessons learned from living in a suffering community

This year I am a full-time volunteer. I work at a soup kitchen in Scranton, Pennsylvania, as part of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC), a program that allows recent college graduates to live together in spiritual communities and explore the broken spaces of our society. A woman was sitting outside the soup kitchen once. I knew her; she was a regular client, a drug addict, and chronically homeless. She was also educated, with a searching vocabulary, and — a mark of a certain kind of intelligence — a capacity for sarcasm. This time her eye was cut and bleeding, and she had a bruise over her cheekbone. I said, “Should I call somebody, or can I get you something?”
She looked at me and threw out her arm theatrically,…

June 8th, 2012

Religion and faith have always played an important role in my life, shaping my views of the world and informing my career path in human rights and peacemaking. Attending religious education as a child and young adult exposed me to the views and teachings of the Church. There, I learned the importance of loving your neighbor as yourself and doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. The emphasis on loving all of God’s creatures and respecting humanity significantly shaped my view of the world. Little did I know, the solid foundation of peace and justice in Catholic social teaching would contribute so much to my future career and passion for human rights and peacemaking.
As a child, I wanted to be a writer…

June 7th, 2012
Nourishing your soul with regular creative outings

In my column about nonnegotiables, I talked about Julia Cameron’s concept from The Artist’s Way… of the “artist date” — where you make a playdate with yourself to do something creatively enriching. While she was suggesting it specifically for people in creative professions, this is a powerful spiritual tool for everyone. I want you to consider making a weekly date with yourself to do something creatively stimulating — two hours a week for a museum, show, or hike in nature, a stroll in a new neighborhood, a subscription to a local concert series.
It can be so easy to go from home to work to gym to home, dividing time between job and chores and other people, looking after the maintenance

June 5th, 2012

I have a few images of God. I’ve imagined God as a parent or a friend. I’ve thought of God the Artist when I see the beauty around me or a sky painted with the setting sun. I’ve also considered Jesus the Traveller when I’m on the road or the rails, imagining Jesus by my side as I travel from place to place. It’s kind of nice to think of him keeping me company as I explore new places and encounter new situations. Not a bad travel companion, I say.
But my favorite image of God is Jesus the Bartender. Have you forgotten the wedding at Cana? Jesus made the drinks! It was his first miracle.
Mary: They’re just about out of wine.
Jesus: Is that any of our business, Mother — yours or mine? This…

May 30th, 2012

I learned how to pray the rosary with the help of a nun. A Zen Buddhist nun. During my final year at seminary I was privileged to take a class in Zen Meditation. We gathered early every morning to sit in complete silence and stillness on the floor of the Social Hall.

May 28th, 2012
Class is in session! We’re answering questions of faith about the Sacraments, Catholic beliefs, Church teaching as it relates to modern living, and much more!

Over the next four weeks Busted Halo is headed into the classroom for a session of summer school. In the tradition of the Busted Halo Question Box, we’ll answer questions about the Sacraments, Catholic beliefs, Church teaching as it relates to modern living, and much more. You’ll be learning, doing a little homework (don’t worry — it won’t be too difficult), and digging deeper into your faith. This will probably lead to more questions!

Each day, that day’s link in the Summer School calendar will start working, leading to a question of faith and its answer. There’s also a form to submit your own question of faith, and each week during Summer School we will give away an Amazon Kindle to the person who submits the best question of faith, as determined by the Busted Halo staff.

May 25th, 2012

Sarah had hit rock bottom. She was 31 years old and had been charged with her second DUI. A mother of two and engaged to be married, she was separated from her family and spent 20 days in jail before entering treatment.
“I went into treatment May 31, 2011,” Sarah said. “I was thinking of that last night as my last hoorah. Hoorah it wasn’t. I was given the breathalyzer when I got there and went straight to detox for two days before even starting the program.”
Sarah, who has alcoholism on both sides of her family received treatment from Campus for Hope, a program of Catholic Charities of Omaha. The program provided her with a sense of support for all that she was going through.
“I didn’t ask for this addiction,…

May 24th, 2012

The beginning of Acts 2 reads like a breathless passage from a Hollywood screenplay:
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.
Like so many well-known passages from scripture, I thought I knew this one until I read it closely and repeatedly, and with a group. What emerged in the reading and was clarified for me is that this Pentecost story has a perspective distinct from the passages in John and 1 Corinthians that also talk about the Holy Spirit.
While other passages offer long or short lists of spiritual gifts, the focus here and in some other places in Acts is…

May 18th, 2012

Let’s face it. We live in a loud world. Not the kind of loud that breaks the stillness of a bucolic spring day. This loudness emits upward through our iPhones and electronic tablets. It is the glowing screen showing off a friend’s party or Nicholas Kristoff’s Twitter feed announcing his latest column in The New York Times on Anheuser-Busch and Indian Reservations. Or how about the split second it will take to check in to that trendy lounge wine bar where your friends are headed.
We are easily tempted by the social networks that purport to connect us to friends near and far. Not only has it become a need to connect with people via Facebook, Foursquare, or Twitter but it comes seconds after we greet our friends with…

May 16th, 2012

Easter is a liturgical time when we celebrate the Resurrection of the One who “makes all things new” and anticipate the descent of the Holy Spirit, through whom God creates and “renew[s] the face of the earth,” at Pentecost. While bodily resurrection and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit clearly impact the human person, the Easter Season extends to and includes all of creation.
As I’ve prayed the Liturgy of the Hours this Easter Season, I have been reminded of the intimate connection between Easter and God’s call to care for creation. Building on the ancient Jewish rhythm of daily prayer, the Liturgy of the Hours follows a four-week cycle of psalms and canticles. The canticle…

May 15th, 2012

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. — 1 Corinthians 12:12…
Farmers have a hard life. All that work, and a dry summer or a plague of locusts or a freak hailstorm destroys the entire crop. What’s brilliant about CSAs is that the community takes the hit along with the farmer. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, but to anyone under the age of 12, you’d think the word was a synonym for “farm.” Farms offer a number of shares every year, and members of the community buy these shares, then show up once a week to gather their part of the produce.
I first encountered CSAs through my great aunt Sally,

May 14th, 2012

I’ve been stressed out. A full-blown, out-of-my-mind, can’t-think-straight stressed out.
I’m 22 and one year out of college. People keep telling me that this is the best time of my life. I have no kids, no husband, and no real geographical constraints besides the fact that I have an unhealthy addiction to the sunny beaches of Southern California.
The road of my life stretches endlessly in front of me in so many directions. I find myself terrified to start moving.
‘Let go and let God’
I took off to Germany right after I graduated last June, telling myself that I would figure it all out when I was there. I would blow off some steam in legendary Berlin night life, get some distance from Stanford, and hopefully…

May 10th, 2012
Why we do it and the harm it does

Gossip seems like the main form of entertainment these days. We’re bombarded with the ups and downs, the personal embarrassments, of entertainers, politicians, and a whole swath of people on pseudo-reality shows whose only reason for fame seems to be self-promotion. People have always been attracted to lurid news. In the Middle Ages, instead of Perez Hilton, its purveyors were roving minstrels — the medieval French term for a minstrel, jongleur…, actually means “gossip.” I think it’s worse now because of the information age — the obsessive focus on information to create an illusion of control. We substitute having an opinion about Kim Kardashian’s swimsuit

May 9th, 2012

For many Catholics, the mystery involved with receiving Holy Communion remains a distant reality. The language that the Church uses to define the mystery of the Eucharist is heavily philosophic, thus making it perhaps even more difficult to understand. Yet, we cannot ignore the fact that the Eucharist is at the heart of the Catholic Church.
Understanding bread, wine and community
The reality of this Sacrament can be unlocked for us if we allow the bread and wine to communicate to us what is actually taking place. These sacramental signs,… or the “stuff” that is transformed into Christ’s body and blood, don’t just appear out of nowhere. In every Mass, the bread and wine are the gifts presented

May 8th, 2012
Young adult volunteers at Holy Wisdom Monastery in Wisconsin connect with God through nature and community

Connection. It is something everyone desires and in today’s world it seems to happen 24/7 through the Internet and social media.
But there are people who yearn for a different, deeper connection — with God, with nature, and with each other. Sara Jo Emmerich, a 30-year-old who lives in Washington, D.C., found that connection at Holy Wisdom Monastery in Middleton, Wisconsin.
It was there, as part of the Volunteer in Community program, that Emmerich discovered a solution for the breakdown between her spirituality and the rest of her life that she was experiencing.
“I was in seminary at the time and feeling a real disconnect between the academic study and the actual living out of my faith,”…

May 7th, 2012
A look at how young evangelicals approach faith and politics today

Politically speaking, what’s up with young evangelicals? Evangelicals are 26 percent of the U.S. population, a quarter of them under 30, and, as the Pew Forum on Religion and Public life reports, “Not since 1972 has generation played such a significant role in voter preferences as it has in recent elections. Younger people have voted substantially more Democratic,” a pattern that “may well continue in 2012.”
For starters, evangelicalism is an approach to Protestantism that can be practiced in many denominations. It emphasizes a renewal of faith toward an inner, personal relationship with Jesus; the mission to bring others to that relationship; the cross as a symbol of salvation…

May 4th, 2012
A month of lessons in doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly in her footsteps

The first time my now husband came to lunch in my tiny studio apartment he looked with puzzled amusement at the statues and icons of the Blessed Virgin Mary that dotted my closet-sized dwelling and noted that I was “a very strange sort of Protestant.” Long before I became Catholic I loved Our Lady. Her strength and beauty have endeared her to me ever since my grandmother (an ardent and lifelong Presbyterian) gave me a holy card with a picture of Our Lady of Grace on the front and the Hail Mary printed on the back as a souvenir from our visit to a church in Niagara Falls. When I asked her what it was, she said, without so much as a pause, “a Catholic baseball card.” It has survived my downright legendary ability to misplace…

May 2nd, 2012
Reflections from a college graduate one year out

I can still remember the feeling of numbness that hit me when I hung up the phone one afternoon last September.
I’d been slated to go to Vietnam for six months with a friend of mine, and there were 12 days before we were scheduled to take off. Problem was, most of those six months were still unplanned and important things like, oh, lodging and vaccinations and visa issues were still completely up in the air. I liked the idea of living in the moment and taking each day as an adventure, but not as much as I liked the idea of avoiding malaria or getting in trouble with Vietnamese government officials.
A friend with connections in Vietnam had been planning the trip, and with 12 days left, I figured he’d dropped the ball. I decided…

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