Sermon: Dominic

About the image: Meeting of St. Francis of Assisi with St. Dominic, Josep Benlliure y Gil.

A man curious about Catholicism approached a Dominican monk.

He asked the Dominican about various subjects and eventually the conversation turned to religious orders. “So you are a Dominican?”


“What can you tell me about the Dominicans?”

“Well, in short, we were founded by St. Dominic in the 13th century, in part to counter the Albigensian heresy.”

“I see. What about the Jesuits I keep hearing about?”

“They were founded by St. Ignatius of Loyala in the 16th century, in part to counter the Protestant Reformation.”

“Hmmm … so which is the greater order?”

The Dominican pondered this question for a moment and then replied: “Well, when was the last time you met an Albigensian?” Continue reading “Sermon: Dominic”

Sermon: Thomas à Kempis

Information regarding the image: Title – Thomas à Kempis on Mount Saint Agnes – (1569). In the Our Lady’s Basilica in Zwolle there is a painting on which Thomas van Kempen is pictured, with in the background the building complex of the Agnietenberg monastery. Also on the painting Arnold Waeyer (1606-1692), the archipelago of Salland can be seen. He led an important part of the church life of the Zwolle Catholics in the shelter period. The painting contains a comprehensive Latin text.

If the text is reliable, the painting would date from 1569 and be painted on behalf of Johannes Cuperinus, the last prior of the Agnietenberg monastery. He said, adding the text and self-portrait in 1654. In the Stedelijk Museum Zwolle, a virtually identical painting hangs. (source)  I’ve tried to locate the Latin text, but have not been successful.

The library at Nashotah House is something to behold. Two stories and a basement, wall-to-wall books and periodicals, almost all of which pertain to God and the Church. In addition, in the basement along one wall is a must visit at least once per week section. This is where they have the books that they are giving away. Duplicates, out of date, a bit to worn, etc. copies. It wasn’t every week that you will find one, but occasionally you will come across a gem. And I believe it was in my Junior year that I came across this one: My Imitation of Christ, published by the Confraternity of the Precious Blood. It is The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis. Continue reading “Sermon: Thomas à Kempis”

Sermon: Mary Magdalene

The Book of Judith can be found in the apocrypha, which means, according to Article 6 of the 39 Articles, “the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine.” Which is kind of interesting, given that, in the end, Judith beheads her enemies and is celebrated as a hero, but I’m getting ahead of the story.

The book begins, “It was the twelfth year of Nebuchadnezzar who reigned over the Assyrians in the great city of Nineveh,” which rabbinical scholars state is the equivalent of, “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” In other words, it is historical fiction. That said… Continue reading “Sermon: Mary Magdalene”

Sermon: St. Benedict of Nursia

In our reading to the Philippians, Paul said, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” So, if I was to ask you, how would you say that you are working out your salvation?

Some may have a pretty good plan, while others take the Hail Mary approach. Not the Hail Mary prayer, but the Hail Mary play in football, when you are at the end of the game and behind, so you make one last play and hope you come down with a score. I suspect most fall somewhere in-between, but it was Benedict of Nursia who worked out his salvation with a very specific Rule. You know it as the Rule of St. Benedict, which was written about the year 530 a.d. Continue reading “Sermon: St. Benedict of Nursia”

Sermon: Edward, King and Martyr

Early sources state that St. Edward “was a young man of great devotion and excellent conduct. He was completely Orthodox, good and of holy life. Moreover, he loved above all things God and the Church. He was generous to the poor, a haven to the good, a champion of the Faith of Christ, a vessel full of every virtuous grace.” He was martyred for good old fashioned greed. Greed of power and greed of wealth.

Around 963 Edgar the Peaceable was King of England. Prior to the birth of his first son, he had a dream which was interpreted for him: “After your death the Church of God will be attacked. You will have two sons. The supporters of the second will kill the first, and while the second will rule on earth the first will rule in heaven.” The first son was Edward, but the queen died shortly after giving birth. Edgar married again and gave birth to the second son, Ethelred, and Ethelred’s mother had great ambitions for her son. Citing some technicalities in the birth of Edward, she claimed that her son should be heir to the thrown, which set off divisions throughout the kingdom. Continue reading “Sermon: Edward, King and Martyr”

Sermon: The First Book of Common Prayer (1549)

I confess, I love reading Stephen King, enough so that when I’m not satisfied with other things that I’ve been reading, I’ll go pick up one of his books that I haven’t read for awhile and read it again. I also like reading about how he writes and what sparks the ideas for his stories and books. In several of these stories, he actually writes about a writer, and in the case of the short story, The Body (the movie Stand by Me is based on the story), he writes about Gordie LaChance, an author who is telling the story of when he was twelve. On writing, Gordie says, “The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of because words diminish them – words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller, but for want of an understanding ear.” Continue reading “Sermon: The First Book of Common Prayer (1549)”

Sermon: Finding the Holy Cross

If you weren’t here last Wednesday, you missed the warning, but last week I had just come back from my trip to Washington D.C. and so I told them that it was likely to pop up in a few more sermons. Guess what? Yeah…

As I travelled through the various monuments, I always wanted to find something to remember the place by, a souvenir of sorts, but as it turns out, most of them were a bit kitschy or too expensive for what they were. When I visited Arlington National Cemetery, I was determined to find something, but even there, it was less than desirable. However, my friend knew my search and so, when we got back home, she handed me this bag. It is labeled “Grass froIMG_0977m Arlington National Cemetery, April 2017”. You may find this exceptionally strange, but I will never throw this away. It is a part, although small, of something very significant. Continue reading “Sermon: Finding the Holy Cross”

Sermon: Wednesday in Holy Week


As a kid growing up I was a Boy Scout. I don’t think I ever progressed much further than Second Class, but I really wasn’t in it to progress through the ranks. I was in for getting to do all the fun stuff: camping, canoeing down the rivers, jamborees, etc.

I recall one time we went somewhere – I think it was in Arkansas – where we had the opportunity to go on a guided spelunking trek through one of the caves. The guide was very much a comedian and clearly enjoyed his job. At one point he told us as we entered one of the larger caverns, not much bigger than this room, that if you placed your ear to the rock and listened closely you would hear music. Of course we all got quiet, placed our ears to the rock, and listened intently. After a minute with none of us hearing anything, he said, “Really? It’s called ‘hard rock’”. About half way through it came time to turn off all the lights so that we could experience absolute darkness. The darkness was perfect. Continue reading “Sermon: Wednesday in Holy Week”