A few items at random, just to feel like a blogger again for a few minutes.

  • We had to read Night for a theology class, so as to confront the strongest argument for the death  of God. I've always thought of Elie Wiesel as an atheist therefore. I somehow missed the fact that Night was part of a trilogy: Night, Dawn, Light, and that Wiesel was a devout Jew. Does everyone know this but me?  Discovered this because of an article from Wiesel's son about what kind of father he was
  • As Instapundit would say, "Faster, please." Apparently a doctor in Cambridge is on the verge of a cure for MS.  But what is this throw-away line in the story about loads of people with MS in the UK going without treatment? I thought single-payer medicine was the bees knees? 
  • Why did no one tell me about Wallace Stegner? Someone chose his Crossing to Safety for book club and the writing is exquisite. Crossing was his last novel, written in old age. I'm now reading his first novel, Angle of Repose. Both are an exploration of the dynamics of marriage and friendship quite unlike anything I've ever read, and beautifully expressed. He can capture a tone of voice or the look on someone's face just so.  Stegner taught at U. Wisconsin and Harvard before settling at Stanford, where he founded its creative writing program and taught a number of prominent writers. I liked this from when he was doing his book tour for Crossing: 
Mr. Stegner said he finds himself rereading the work of his former students Wendell Berry, Robert Stone, Larry McMurtry and Ernest Gaines - ''old writing fellows who have become effective writers. I had a sense as they were coming through my class that I was seeing American literature before it was in print.''

Tomatoes in Ground, 2017

For the second year in a row May was rainy and strangely cool. Just looking at the jungle that is my back yard after a month of rain has been making me think, eh, maybe I'll just let the vines take over and not plant this year.

But then yesterday, sunny and strangely cool -- a mere 68F in June-- I said to myself, only a Sith deals in absolutes and only a total loser fails to plant tomatoes. So I did. Went out in the dwindling sunlight after dinner and double dug the garden plot and put in marigolds, three varieties of tomato, and a little basil just for caprese salads later on.  (Oregano, thyme and mint are perennial in my little plot of earth and I never have to plant them; I have to do battle w/ them). 

Couldn't find any yellow varieties in tomatoes this year (I think yellow fools the squirrels), so I'm trying black/purple varieties with cool names like Cherokee Purple and Black Prince in addition to Early Girl (because: "early"). 

I was thinking this was the latest and lamest summer planting ever, but turns out I planted on June 9th last year, too. So we're holding steady. 

Fatima at 100


It's the 100th anniversary of Our Lady's appearance at Fatima, and Pope Francis is on pilgrimage there. The picture above is from last night's prayer vigil: every light is a person with a candle. Today he canonized two of the three young visionaries -- the first children to be canonized without being martyrs. His homily for the occasion is lovely.

...in the Gospel, we hear Jesus say to his disciple, “Here is your mother” (Jn 19:27).  We have a Mother!
Dear pilgrims, we have a Mother, we have a Mother! Clinging to her like children, we live in the hope that rests on Jesus.  As we heard in the second reading, “those who receive the abundance of the grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:17).  When Jesus ascended to heaven, he brought to the Heavenly Father our humanity, which he assumed in the womb of the Virgin Mary and will never forsake.  Like an anchor, let us fix our hope on that humanity, seated in heaven at the right hand of the Father (cf. Eph 2:6).  May this hope guide our lives!  It is a hope that sustains us always, to our dying breath.
Confirmed in this hope, we have gathered here to `1`give thanks for the countless graces bestowed over these past hundred years.  All of them passed beneath the mantle of light that Our Lady has spread over the four corners of the earth, beginning with this land of Portugal, so rich in hope.  We can take as our examples Saint Francisco and Saint Jacinta, whom the Virgin Mary introduced into the immense ocean of God’s light and taught to adore him.  That was the source of their strength in overcoming opposition and suffering.  God’s presence became constant in their lives, as is evident from their insistent prayers for sinners and their desire to remain ever near “the hidden Jesus” in the tabernacle.
Getty images has a collection of good photos of the festivities. 

Here are some other links for the occasion. 
  • I especially liked this reflection from Joanne McPortland about being a Fatima Resister. I can't relate to her experience of anti-communism and the Cold War, but I definitely relate to her experience of the oddness of some Fatima devotees and how off-putting that is. I relate her experience of Fatima to mine of Lourdes

2nd Sunday of Easter, Feast of Divine Mercy, 2017


He is the One who covered death with shame and cast the devil into mourning, as Moses cast Pharaoh into mourning. He is the One who smote sin and robbed iniquity of offspring, as Moses robbed the Egyptians of their offspring. He is the One who brought us out of slavery into freedom, out of darkness into light, out of death into life, out of tyranny into an eternal kingdom; who made us a new priesthood, a people chosen to be his own for ever. He is the Passover that is our salvation.It is he who endured every kind of suffering in all those who foreshadowed him. In Abel he was slain, in Isaac bound, in Jacob exiled, in Joseph sold, in Moses exposed to die. He was sacrificed in the Passover lamb, persecuted in David, dishonored in the prophets.It is he who was made man of the Virgin, he who was hung on the tree; it is he who was buried in the earth, raised from the dead, and taken up to the heights of heaven. He is the mute lamb, the slain lamb, the lamb born of Mary, the fair ewe. He was seized from the flock, dragged off to be slaughtered, sacrificed in the evening, and buried at night. On the tree no bone of his was broken; in the earth his body knew no decay He is the One who rose from the dead, and who raised man from the depths of the tomb.
~St. Melito of Sardis, Homily on the Passover

Easter Saturday, 2017


"Doubting" Thomas is the Gospel for tomorrow. It always seems a bit unjust to me that Thomas alone is singled out for lack of faith by this nickname --and by a billion scolding homilies whenever his story is read at Mass. Yet Thomas' doubt was not more than that of the the other apostles upon first hearing of the Resurrection. None of the others believed on the strength of witness alone either. It's not as if anyone one said, in response to Mary Magdalene's witness, "Alleluia!" Thomas just had the misfortune of not being present when He first appeared to the others. He should be called Tardy Thomas instead.

Paintings always show him, as here,  with his fingers in the Lord's side, which is likewise not quite right. It's true he told his fellow apostles that he wouldn't believe unless he put his fingers in Christ's side, but that was just big talk. When Christ actually appeared to him, proffering his wounds, Thomas didn't touch, but immediately cried out with simultaneous recognition, humility, and wonder: "My Lord and my God!" (Which is likewise what we are doing when the host is elevated at Mass and we, recognizing Christ in the Eucharist, cry silently, "My Lord and my God!") So he could also be called Eucharistic Thomas. 


Easter Friday, 2017

Federico Barocci, Cristo e la Maddalena (Noli me tangere)

Also, for no particular reason except it's exuberant, and therefore I declare it to be the work of "an Easter people," whose song is Alleluia: behold this random Church in San Luis Potosi. 

 Shamelessly pinched from the FB page of Andrew R. Moore

Easter Thursday, 2017


Easter Wednesday, 2017