Br Christopher O’Brien, LC
Guests who visit our chapel almost invariably mention the kneelers. Yes, the kneelers. And not because they’re particularly comfortable. Actually, the contrary. You can see the deep indentations caused by the knees where brothers in prayer have knelt year after year after year. In some of the front-most pews, the cushions have almost completely disappeared, leaving only hard wood. It gives them a character of their own.
When a guest mentions these kneelers, he always points them out as evident signs of the piety of the brothers here. Perhaps so. Still, I always chuckle, at least interiorly. Just because we’re in the chapel doesn’t mean we’re in ecstasy. Au contraire. All too often as I kneel in prayer, I find myself daydreaming, thinking about my next class, or wondering what dinner holds in store. “The habitual difficulty in prayer is distraction” (Catechism 2729). And I don’t think I’m much of an exception to the normal experience in this case.
Br László Erffa, LC
How long would it take you to write a book with 445 pages? Consider the ideal circumstances: You can dedicate most of your day to your project, have a constant flow of inspiration and write up to five pages a day. But even at that pace, you would not be done in less than three months. Does that seem long to you?
This article is basically about a book with 445 pages. But it is not a normal book, and what it contains was definitely not written in just three months: We are talking about the complete bibliography of Joseph Ratzinger’s works until he became Pope. “Das Werk” (roughly translated that would mean “The Opus”) is the title of this book that was edited by members of the “Ratzinger Schülerkreis,” a group of former students of his. At present it is only available in German.
Br Stuart Mast, LC
I stood with my relatives, waiting for the hearse to arrive. When it pulled in, the pallbearers took their positions, marched the casket over, and set it on a metal bridge above the grave, before lowering it down. Taps began to play and two Marines began to unfurl the American flag slowly, with great reverence and piety, knowing that their older brother had been willing to lay down his life for his country in a time of tyranny, poverty, and moral persecution.
My grandpa on my mother’s side fought in the Pacific during World War II. Before he left, he had a series of medical exams that needed to be done, showing that he would be a strong and healthy soldier. One of them was a swim test. My grandpa didn’t know how to swim, but that didn’t stop him. He switched dog tags with a friend to pass the test. Within a few weeks my grandpa was off to the Pacific.
Br Joseph Mernagh, LC
Have you ever picked up a computer chip and wondered how that microscopic maze of wires works? Or have you ever sighed in exasperation over a simple toy or game that you couldn’t figure out how to fix? If you’re like me, in some forgotten corner of your house there’s a pile of screws, plastic pieces, and assorted toy parts that were taken apart… permanently.
That’s because while technology is off and away, soaring to new heights and tackling new challenges, you and I stay rooted here on earth in ignorant bliss of these complexities. Read more
Br Eric Gilhooly, LC
Quick! Buy a cabin out in Wyoming; cut yourself off from the rest of civilization and start growing your own food. The dollar and euro are failing fast and there’s not much time to make sure your family is set for the future. In Europe countries are talking about going back to their own currency and leaving the Euro…
Br Luke Rawicki, LC
In my family, video game time was thirty minutes per day, only on weekends. My brothers and I cherished this half-hour and looked forward to it all week. But as a younger brother, I looked up to my older brother, so much so, that I would offer to him my meager portion of gaming. All it took was the assurance that with this extra time he could defeat the boss, or get to the next level, and I would hand over the controller, confident in him and excited to aid in his success.
Br Christopher O’Brien, LC
Wearing a Roman collar in New York City is perhaps comparable to suddenly growing horns at a formal wedding reception. You won’t go unnoticed. In fact, if you’re one to look for attention, I might suggest trying it –the Roman collar thing, I mean.
It’s true. A Catholic seminarian strolling through Central Park will get a glance, a double-take, and then an outright stare. With some people I’ve tried gazing right back into their eyes with as pleasant a smile as a grouch like myself can pull off. Invariably the onlooker doesn’t flinch, much less look away. And he sure doesn’t smile back.
I bet if I stepped onto the NYC subway in swim trunks and scuba gear I wouldn’t get as many stares. Read more
Br Jared Loehr, LC
The acronym which most boggled me when I worked at a hospital was OTA. The indication was so obvious that it seemed a waste of ink. Recently I have realized that OTA reveals a great deal about who we are and how we are made. OTA means “Open to Air.”
When we get a gaping wound on our chest, like the patients I had with gunshot wounds, we first react by covering up the tender spot. Naturally this protects the weakness, prevents further injury, and puts up a barrier so we can seek help. This strategy works fine up until the point when the blood stops flowing. At that point, covering the wound only harbors bacteria, fosters infection, and prevents professional wound specialists from healing the hole. OTA truly becomes a matter of life and death.