Mercy at least…

I was moved, uncomfortable, sad, and empowered all at the same time last week as many of us stood together on the steps of the Chapel to make a statement about our disgust of racism in general, and the racist acts that took place on our campus in particular.  When I find myself feeling those very divergent feelings all at the same time, I want to pray.  I want to pray to ask God to be with me in my anxiousness; I want to pray to ask God to bless with his grace all who are impacted in whatever way;… Read More

A Life-Changing Event

I was speaking with someone the other day who was describing a powerful time in their life.  He described these weeks of his life and listed a number of challenging things that happened to him and how they had impacted him.  It was impressive to hear how such events can be transformed into goodness.  It strikes me that many of us readily accept that we need to transform bad into good.  But what of good events – do we sense that we are to transform them into something better? Too many are the times when we hear of lottery winners… Read More

A Game-changing Week!

In any area of life, there are game-changing moments that can exponentially make a difference.  The spiritual life is no different.  While there have been a number in my life that I can point to, discovering Holy Week was one early that changed my encounter with Christ and has continued to be a watershed moment for me each year since.  I can’t fully express the potential this week holds. I was a “Christmas kinda guy” until my senior year of high school and some friends talked me into going to a local church for Holy Thursday Mass and I got hooked.  That… Read More

An Oscar Performance?

With the Oscar Awards recently on television, I had to acknowledge once again that I did not recognize a number of the movies up for awards.  Upon further reflection, I realized it had been some time (over a year?) since I had been to the movies.  Not for lack of trying!  Every time I think of going to the movies, none of the titles really grab me and I postpone for some later time when an actor or genre that I like is on the marquee.  Maybe I am getting pickier about such things, but I wonder what is worth… Read More

For this purpose I have come

One of our DCC staffers was showing me some new app on Google Chrome called Momentum that creates a beautiful background photo each time you open the program and it then asks you “What is your main focus for today?”  As powerful as the question is, I wondered what my answer would be.  Immediately the flood of “important” things that I need to do today came flooding to my mind.  While some tasks obviously are more important than others, it is hard to nail down my “main focus”.  I wonder if there isn’t something telling about that. In this Sunday’s… Read More

What do you do?

I have yet to find the correct way to ask someone their occupation.  The traditional “What do you do?” sounds so flat and one dimensional.  It seems like it requires so much qualification, or at least an additional clause: “…when you aren’t having fun?”  “…to put bread on the table?”  “…to keep busy?”  And yet all of those clauses seem so mundane and fail to capture the essence of who the person really is.  While I rarely find myself at a loss for chit-chat conversation with people I meet for the first time, is there ever really a good way… Read More

Trade ya!

A favorite short novel of mine is The 10th Man by Catholic author Graham Greene.  The story line begins in a German POW camp where 10 prisoners are condemned to die, and one trades all his worldly possessions to another prisoner’s family to take his place and die in his stead.  The rest of the novel is the challenge of the family who resents the possessions they now own in place of their murdered son/brother and the released prisoner who resents his purchased life.  It’s a great read and places the question before us of what would we be willing to… Read More

ID photos!

You can’t do much on Duke’s campus (or any other for that matter) without your ID card.  It allows us access to buildings, enables us to print papers, and with available funds allows us to make purchases, all with the swipe of the card.  It is interesting to me that rarely does anyone look at my picture on my ID card (thank God), but are more concerned with the data contained in the magnetic strip on the back.  It is as if what is unseen in the card is more important than what is on the card.  Is this a… Read More

Scraps Please!

As our new Franciscan Friary here in Durham emerges for three diverse ministries (Duke, UNC Chapel Hill, and Holy Cross Parish), we have been challenged to collapse what had been three houses (from the priests who previously staffed those ministries) into our one friary.  Obviously there is a fair amount of duplication of household items, and it took a few days to determine what we could use in the new house and what we would give to the poor (does one house really need 3 toasters????).  The challenge became determining what items would not in fact be accepted by the… Read More

It’s impossible!

I was recently watching a brief television special that highlighted the achievements of young children (ages 8-12) who had been born with birth defects that impaired their abilities in unique ways. Most of the children were born without limbs, or some variation of that challenge, such that one would think that many of the usual childhood sport options would be impossible.  Teamed together by Iraq war vets who had also lost limbs, these children were miraculously playing softball!  Hard as it is to describe the specifics, you really had to see it to believe it.  However, I am sure that… Read More