Running the race of life: November 2005

Running the race of life

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Signs of Hope, smiles from Janine

I was able to spend some time with my sister Janine today. It was graced! My mom and aunt spent the night there and everybody has been involved to some degree.

Physically, Janine is feeling better and thats an answer to prayer. She smiled today, played a little Uno with me and even laughed a bit. It was great.

We know there will be a long road ahead for some psychological issues she'll have to work through. We had a long meeting with the psychologist and it was very helpful. Maybe the best part of it was that we've been having rough experiences with the doctors and in the meeting we felt listened to.

I'm too tired to get into it more. Thanks for the prayers.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Pray for Janine

My sister Janine has been admitted to the hospital because of GI problems as well as some psychological issues. I spent most of last night with her and my dad in the emergency room. She's doing alright, but we just don't know whats going on. Janine struggles to articulate her thoughts and she is understandably overwhelmed by the tests and the people and being away from home.

When I returned today, I was praying the office and came upon Psalm 10. Its all about praying for the vindication and rescue of the poor. I sometimes don't know what to make of these passages of Scripture- today it made a lot of sense. My sister is one of the poor and so are we (in our lack of understanding of whats going on). "Lord, rescue the poor who call to you!"

Thank you for the prayers for Janine and my family.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Attentiveness in Advent

Happy Advent! Happy New Year (at least liturgically)! I'm somewhat excited to enter into this season of Advent. As one of the friars put it- Advent is a time to prepare for the Lord who comes to us in humility (Incarnation) and in power (Second coming).

As I've been praying about it the word that comes to mind is "attentive". Attentive?! I'm inclined to shake my finger at the Lord: "With three papers left and tons of other stuff how can I be attentive to anything else?" And then the answer I sense is this, "Attentiveness doesn't require much. It is about an awareness that you and all things belong to God."

How does the Lord speaking to you at the start of this Holy Season? May our humble and powerful God bless you in peace.

Harry Potter

I went to see the Harry Potter movie tonight with one of my brothers. I must admit I'm not an enthusiastic Harry Potter fan although I do enjoy the creativity and the English accents! Harry, Herminie and Ron are growing up so there was some teenage romance and even a funny dance with all of them acting like typical wallflowers.

I won't give away of the plot but to say that the action is pretty intense. Yes, I scare easily, but I still would think twice before you take your kids.

In the little theological circles where I run, the question has come up about whether the Harry Potter movies are supporting witchcraft. Not so sure about that. I think that would be to take it too far. Perhaps though we should pause to consider the spiritual realities at play in such movies. Drop me a line if you have a thought on the subject.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanks, Football and Food

We had a blessed Thanksgiving here today in D.C.! It was great to start the day with Mass. It seems to me that here we can truly join our whole selves to the thanksgiving that Christ offers to the Father. The homilist today noted how Jesus was able to give thanks even when he was "on the edge"- knowing he would die the next day. It is incredible to think about how people imitate this example in their ability to be grateful in the midst of impending crisis.

Being thanksgiving, some of us guys had to get out and toss the pigskin. We ended up playing a pick-up game with a bunch of kids in the neighborhood. What an experience! First of all its not everyday you see a bunch of white guys playing with a bunch of black guys (lets be honest). There was definitely cultural differences but its amazing how a game can bring a bunch of boys together. I sort of felt like they accepted us because we took the chance to reach out to them.

Tonight, we had a great meal. I hope I never take a hot meal for granted. Aren't turkey sandwiches the next day just the best?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Turkey that made a difference!

In a bizarre twist of events, a turkey ended up being a life saver.
CNN Video covers this interesting story at
(I'm still working on links to the site, please be patient with this turkey)

This piece of news reminded me of the time where our turkey caught on fire in the St.Andre oven. We were engrossed in a football game when we started smelling smoke. My dad ran to the oven and threw it open. I think it was my brother who proceeded to spray the turkey with our fire extinguisher. All the while my dad's yelling because the turkey's getting sprayed (even though the house might be burning down)! Turns out that the turkey was covered pretty well in a cooking bag and except for some extinguished drumsticks, it worked out okay. It was memorable alright.

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Monday, November 14, 2005

Slacker Blogger

I started with a fervor but fizzled after a bit. Time to break out of my slacker ways and be more frequent in my blogging. I hope to hear more comments and learn to include more things.

Thoughts on T.O.

If you're a sports fan, you know T.O. refers to the amazingly talented and notoriously cocky Philadelphia Eagles receiver Terrell Owens.

Its been very interesting to following the saga of Owens as Coach Andy Reid finally said he'd had enough with TO for this season. Reid suspended the receiver for four games and said he wouldn't be enlisted for the rest of the season. The reason: Conduct detrimental to the good of the whole team (arguments, bashing fellow players on National Television).

The sportswriters have been conflicted on the issue. Last Thursday's Washington Post sports section is a good example. Fantasy football writer Gene Wang says that TO has been vilified for lesser offenses than other players. Wang thinks the Eagles are kissing their season goodbye. Sally Jenkins takes a very different but interesting approach in her op-ed column. She says that TO is a liability from an organization management point of view. Ultimately, Jenkins says, TO would draw the team down through his behavior.

I'm more inclined to agree with Andy Reid's decision. I think that he's made a decision of integrity as well as wisdom. This is bigger than TO and the Eagles. Its about the integrity of the team in team sports. Some will write me off right there. "No, its about Wins and Losses". What about the integrity of the game?

Andy Reid recognized the priority of team over player. Is our culture sliding to a preference for player over team?

I'd love to hear people's thoughts on this.

Prayers from a broken heart

Today's Gospel reading at Mass is the Blind Man crying out to Jesus, "Lord Jesus, have pity on me!" I'm struck by this cry of desperation. There's no saving face, no self-consciousness, just a desperate prayer from a desperate heart.

I have to admit that these often seem like the prayers that the Lord answered but we aren't often able to go to the place of brokenness that such prayers require. I think of the times where I've been struggling and its brought me to cry out to God in absolute surrender: "Okay I admit it, I can't handle this Lord, help me... help me."

When I've done this, the Lord has come through in tremendous and tangible ways by providing sustaining grace. The voice of a friend, a song, a sense of holy presence. It almost seems like he'd answer any prayer at that moment where I'm in such a disposition of childlike dependence. Its getting there thats hard.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Connected to the core

Today we celebrate the commemoration of All Souls. Sometimes we hear the word soul and I think we sluff it off as some medeival word connoting some ethereal reality. But today we remember in a special way the gift of community we have in Christ! In some incredible way through baptism we are drawn up into mystery of Jesus Christ- the mystery of suffering, death and resurrection!

Hearing the Gospel story of Lazarus being raised from the dead, I'm struck by Martha's acknowledgement that Jesus has power over life and death- "If you had been here my brother would not have died." But even more interesting is Jesus' response- "I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life". Present tense! We are invited to live the fullness of life our Lord offers now! Maybe life is about an ever greater appreciation of this reality.