The Best Human Being EVER! (OR: What Pope Francis has to offer)

He’s done it. He’s done it! He’s DONE IT AGAIN! That unassuming basterd, that humble cosmic force that disguises himself as a turtledove, that ineffable Holy Spirit has DONE IT AGAIN! Once again I far underestimated the Third Person’s ability to kick ass. I thought: Surely, the Holy Spirit has given us enough good Popes this last century to last a millennium  Surely our time is up; surely the good streak can’t go on forever. Surely after such heroes as Pope Leo XIII and Pope John XXIII, the Church needs a bad Pope to keep it humble. 

Surely after the towering legend of Pope John Paul II (if Padre Pio is the Catholic Chuck Norris, then Pope John Paul II is the Catholic Jet Li), surely after such terrible awesomeness, the world deserves a breather

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The Valleys and Mountains of Advent

I cannot help but follow up on yesterday’s post since there is nothing better than writing about Advent. Advent is the preparation for the battle, but in a “young hero learns from wise old wizard way,” not the “Black Hawk down!” chaos of Christ’s Passion. Advent is the gentlest season in the way it teaches us. We don’t even try to learn, and yet it teaches. We wake up Christmas morning to find God in a manger, and somehow it doesn’t surprise us as much as it should since we’ve been quietly prepared for it the whole time. Continue reading

The Deep Breath Before the Plunge (revised script)

Advent is my favorite time of year, bar none. Christmas is awesome, but I admit that I’m one of those people who likes waiting for gifts and wrapping them more than getting them. It’s the same thrill-chasing mania that makes me drool over roller coasters or hang over the edge of a cliff in Capri with 300 feet and a tree between me and the ground.

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Pope Julian’s Arch

As I write this post, I am sitting with my back to a column of the Vatican colonnade, with St. Peter’s square and Basilica before me. I wasn’t supposed to be here right now. I set out promptly at 6:00 for the general area of the Spanish Steps in search of the Anglo-American bookstore. Google Maps said the walk would take 30 minutes. After 50 minutes of veritable speed-walking, I was still only approaching my destination. The store closes at 7, so I turned back and crossed the Ponte Sant’Angelo. Continue reading

The First Lady Into Space

Ladies and gentlemen, let all the Earth rejoice, for on this day we remember a historic moment that has profound implications for the entire human race. As we gather together today, we call to mind a very special lady, a woman who made history and expanded the borders of the human frontier.

No, I am not talking about Valentina Tereshkova, although the world does right to remember her accomplishments.

Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space. Sorry, America, she was definitely Russian.

No, the woman I am speaking of didn’t even need a helmet:

“The Assumption of the Virgin” by El Greco, 1577

Yes, I am speaking of The Assumption of the Virgin Mary into Heaven. Continue reading