Archive for March 2008

He Is Risen!

March 24, 2008

Rejoice, Heavenly Powers! Sing, Choirs of Angels!
Exult all creation around God’s Throne!
Jesus Christ your King is Risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!
Rejoice, O Earth, in shining splendor,
Radiant in the brightness of your King.
Christ has conquered, glory fills you,
Darkness vanishes forever.

Rejoice, O Mother church! Exult in glory!
The Risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
Echoing the mighty song of all God’s people.

–Easter Proclamation


Good Friday

March 21, 2008

O my dying Jesus, I kiss devoutly the cross on which Thou didst die for love of me. I have merited by my sins to die a miserable death, but Thy death is my hope. Ah, by the merits of Thy death, give me grace to die, embracing Thy feet and burning with love of Thee. I commit my soul into Thy hands. I love Thee with my whole heart; I repent of ever having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt.

—Stations of the Cross by St. Alphonsus Ligouri

Text and illustration, courtesy of

Adoration Meditation

March 21, 2008

Last night I completed my first ever hour of silent Eucharistic Adoration following the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper. I wish I could say that I was transformed by holy zeal for the Eucharist and that my attention was rapt as I contemplated the awesome reality of Jesus Christ, really present, body, blood, soul, and divinity under the species of bread and wine. I wish I could say that I didn’t almost nod off three or four times (now I see why Jesus warned and begged the disciples not to fall asleep as they prayed with him in the Garden of Gethsemane that night). I wish I could say that my mind didn’t wander to my latest fiction project or to what I wanted for dinner or whatever other silly, vapid thoughts filled my head. Christ’s warning about the dangers of being lukewarm (Rev. 3:15-16) flashed through my brain, and I would snap back to attention–until the next time. I tried to pray, honest! I wish I could say it was a transcendent spiritual experience. If it wasn’t, whose fault was that?


I’m not a particularly extravagant or public sinner. I’m not an ax murderer, a child molester, or a drug dealer. I daresay, however, that if you were to run through the old list of Pride, Envy, Wrath, Sloth, Lust, Avarice, and Gluttony, I can think of a few occasions where I’d have to plead guilty to each. My sins tend to be quieter and more garden-variety: giving in to selfishness, arrogance, laziness, and pettiness; indulging in unkind thoughts and words about others; being to quick to take offense, too long to hold a grudge, and too slow to forgive; visiting websites that are best avoided, if you catch my drift. In short, being a mediocre sinner and an even more mediocre Christian.

And yet, I thought, isn’t that one of the paradoxes of Easter? That the Lord of the Universe, the Creator of All That Is–entered into his creation, became part of it, struggled with it and for it, and transformed it through his suffering, death, and resurrection–all for the sake of a little nebbish like me. In that suffering he experienced everything that his creatures can experience, including hunger, thirst, fear, rejection, failure, abandonment, and a humiliating, painful, and public death. God himself offered to die for my sake, to atone for all those sins great and small, that keep me from loving him and knowing him as I should–as I want to. God didn’t come into the world to reward us for being perfect little ladies and gentlemen who always ate our vegetables, said please and thank you, and had our ducks in a row. No:

For Christ, while we were still helpless, yet died at the appointed time for the ungodly.
Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die.
But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

(Romans 5:6-8)

Graham Greene put it this way in his brilliant novel The Power and the Glory:

Man was so limited he hadn’t even the ingenuity to invent a new vice: the animals knew as much. It was for this world that Christ had died; the more evil you saw and heard about you, the greater glory lay around the death. It was too easy to die for what was good or beautiful, for home or children or children or a civilisation–it needed a God to die for the half-hearted and the corrupt.

I am one of those half-hearted and corrupt people, but Christ still reaches out to me–from the cross and from the altar at every Mass. I cannot possibly deserve such an invitation or be worthy of such a tremendous gift, but I can accept it with faith and gratitude and take the advice of the psalmist: “ Today if you shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Ps. 94:8, Douay-Rheims Version).

America’s Newest Super-Heroine

March 7, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen, feast your eyes on:

The mystical warrior maiden Celtica and her faithful avian companion Branwen.

Click on the image for a slightly larger version. As you can plainly see, I discovered that there is a way to capture screen shots on a Mac and convert them to GIF or JPEG files.

Image created with HeroMachine 2.5.

I Have Just Discovered . . .

March 6, 2008

the coolest website ever! If you like comic books and superheroes, that is. HeroMachine 2.5 is a website which allows you to design your own superheroes from the ground up, even if you can’t draw to save your life (I can’t). You choose the body type, gender, and other characteristics of your superhero from a menu of preset options and watch your creation take shape on the screen before your very eyes. You design the costume, choose the weapons, select a backdrop, and name your newest super with a just a few mouse clicks and keystrokes. Think of it as a Mr. Potato Head for the electronic age, only cooler. Want your super-heroine to be a tall willowy redhead? No problem. Or maybe you’re a gentleman who prefers blondes. We can do that, too. And what’s a superhero without super-villains to fight? Any super worth his salt needs a good rogues gallery. In just a few hours (too many) I created a superhero (The Gryphon), and a super-heroine (Celtica), inspired by my love of all things Irish and by seeing one too many episodes of “Wonder Woman” and “Xena, Warrior Princess.” Somebody help me, I’m such a geek! I also created Draxon, an armor clad, ray gun-wielding baddie, Big Tony, a musclebound machine gun-toting thug, and Dr. Frost, a nerdy scientist type who can go either way. Story ideas are already percolating.

My one regret (and it’s a big one) is that as a Mac user I cannot save my brilliant creations as JPEG or GIF files. Windows users, however, can save their heroes and villains (It’s discrimination, I tell ya!) The best I can do is save the parameters for my characters as lines of code, go back to the website, paste them in, reload the characters into the HeroMachine, and print out hard copies. (Sigh). I’ve posted a comment on the creator’s blog calling attention to this grievous error. I suspect I’m not the only Mac user to complain.

Until next time, superfriends!