The Feast of Mary’s Assumption into Heaven ~ The Exaltation of Womanhood

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THE FEAST OF ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

AUGUST 15th, 2021

I rejoice heartily in the Lord,

In my God is the joy of my soul;

for he has clothed me with the robe of salvation,

like a bridegroom adorned with a diadem,

  like a bride bedecked with her jewels. (Canticle of Isaiah) 

Through the power of his Resurrection,

Christ has adorned Mary with the robe of his own glory and majesty.

In years past, the image I’ve chosen for Mary on this post was a strong one following her title from Revelations, ” A Woman Clothed with the Sun”, but this year, I’ve selected a softer one that connotes the Eastern Rites’ emphasis on the “Dormition” of our Lady or her “falling asleep”, and then being taken up into heaven.

Here’s a bit about this Feast (or Solemnity, as we call it in the liturgy.)

First of all, it’s a celebration of the body and an exaltation of womanhood.

In 1950 Pope Pius XII declared as a dogma of the church something that we Catholics have believed throughout the church’s history ~ that Mary was taken up into heaven, body and soul,  to sit at her Son’s side for all eternity.

The Blessed Virgin Mary’s bodily Assumption into heaven makes clear to us that there is room for our humanity in heaven. Mary’s Assumption assures us that what Jesus accomplished in rising from the dead was not limited to his own Person—even though we are not divine, we too are meant to be in heaven with the Incarnate Son, in his home with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Thus, the Blessed Mother’s birth into heaven generates in us “ an ever new capacity to await God’s future.” (Saint John Paul II). Just as grace does not destroy but perfects our nature, so the glory of heaven will include our whole humanity, body and soul! “That transformation of our mortal bodies to which we look forward one day has been accomplished—we know it for certain—in her” (Msgr. Ronald Knox).  ~ From the Magnificat liturgical magazine / August 2019 – p. 202.

Everyone was quite startled when the distinguished psychiatrist Carl Jung, who was not a Catholic,  said that this declaration about Mary was “the greatest religious event since the reformation.”  And by the way, Martin Luther believed in the Assumption of the Virgin.

Here’s the entire text of what he had to say.  You ought to read this; what he says is truly amazing coming from a psychiatrist and a non-Catholic!

The promulgation of the new dogma of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary could, in itself, have been sufficient reason for examining the psychological background. It is interesting to note that, among the many articles published in the Catholic and Protestant press on the declaration of the dogma, there was not one, so far as I could see, which laid anything like proper emphasis on what was undoubtedly the most powerful motive: namely the popular movement and  the psychological need behind it. Essentially, the writers of the articles were satisfied with learned considerations, dogmatic and historical, which have no bearing on the living religious process. But anyone who has followed with attention the visions of Mary which have been increasing in number over the last few decades, and has taken their psychological significance into account, might have known what was brewing. The fact, especially, that it was largely children who had the visions might have given pause for thought, for in such cases, the collective unconscious is always at work …One could have known for a long time that there was a deep longing in the masses for an intercessor and mediatrix who would at last take her place alongside the Holy Trinity and be received as the ‘Queen of heaven and Bride at the heavenly court.’ For more than a thousand years it has been taken for granted that the Mother of God dwelt there.

The dogmatizing of the Assumption does not, however, according to the dogmatic view, mean that Mary has attained the status of goddess, although, as mistress of heaven and mediatrix, she is functionally on a par with Christ, the king and mediator. At any rate her position satisfies a renewed hope for the fulfillment of that yearning for peace which stirs deep down in the soul, and for a resolution of the threatening tension between opposites. Everyone shares this tension and everyone experiences it in his individual form of unrest, the more so the less he sees any possibility of getting rid of it by rational means. It is no wonder, therefore, that the hope, indeed the expectation of divine intervention arises in the collective unconscious and at the same time in the masses. The papal declaration has given comforting expression to that yearning. How could Protestantism so completely miss the point?

I was amazed and thrilled when I discovered this text and again when I’ve just now re-read it.

And I’ve always loved to pray and sing these words from the preface of the Mass of the day:

Today the virgin Mother of God was assumed into heaven

as the beginning  and the image

of your Church’s coming to perfection

and a sign of sure of hope and comfort for your people

on their pilgrim way.

Mary is the first disciple of her Son.

She is the one who said Yes!  “Be it done unto me according to Your word.”

Each of us who bear witness to Christ give birth to him in our own way.

May we honor Mary on this wonderful feast day and enjoy this late summer day and exalt the women in our life as well!

On August 22nd, the octave of the Assumption we celebrate a minor feast ~ the Queenship of Mary.  I honor her as my queen.  Now this may sound a bit odd, my friends, but I take her shopping with me.  I thanked her for finding my lovely condo.  I signed the documents for the condo on August 15th, 2008 ~ my home for eleven years as of today.

Now, from ~ and in honor of ~Notre Dame de Paris ~ (may she rise again from her ashes,) here is a the Magnificat sung led by a choir boy with congregation responding.  Click here. And be sure to turn up your speakers and enter full screen.

And here are today’s Mass readings. Click here.

With love,

Bob Traupman

Contemplative writer

The Feast of Corpus Christi ~ Bread-broken and Blood-poured out for you and me!

The Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christ)

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Dear Friends,

This Sunday is our Roman Catholic Feast of Corpus Christi in which we pause to appreciate and give thanks for the wonderful gift of the holy Eucharist.

I’d like to reflect for a moment on what we Catholics believe this wonderful sacrament.

We believe in the Real Presence of Jesus –that the bread and wine are transformed into his Body and Blood. Thus, for us communion is a sharing in divine life, not just as a symbol.

It is stumbling block for many – not only for many Protestants but many a Catholic who never really gets it because they don’t let it transform their life into common-union or a deeper union with Christ.

And, unfortunately, I know some priests who don’t get it or live it either.

I’d like to rely on men who have taught me a lot to help us here. The first is Bishop Robert Barron whom you may have seen quote from time to time.  I enjoyed his article in the Magnificat Liturgical magazine that I use for my daily prayer  (in 2017). . . .

“How strange and wonderful is the Catholic faith! The Buddha offers wise teaching to his followers. Muhammad presents to his devotees a revelation that was once given to him. Confucius passes on to his adepts in an intricate moral system that he has developed. Moses comes down the mountain bearing a Law he received from on high.

But Jesus presents, offers, bears, and passes on . . . his very self. On the night before he suffered at the Passover table, he gathered with his Twelve Apostles. Taking bread in his hands, he said, This is my body, and lifting up the cup, said, This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.

He gave them, not a teaching, a discipline, or a spiritual insight, but his substance—his very own flesh and blood. And this is why the Christian Faith is not a matter of learning or walking a religious path, but of eating and drinking Jesus’ Body and Blood.

From this Eucharistic fact, the Church Fathers derived the splendid teaching of theiosos or deification. We disciples do not just follow Jesus, we become Jesus; we become adopted sons and daughters of the Father in the Son.  And this is the object of our bedazzled contemplation on the Feast of the Lord’s Body and Blood.

And now to William Barclay’s commentary on the holy Gospel according to St. Mark today, that of course is a description of what took place at the Last Supper, which is the gospel reading for today’s Mass. Barclay provides a detailed description for all of the preparation for a Jewish Passover meal at the time and what would have probably preceded the actual words we now know as the holy Eucharist.

He begins by saying that more than once the prophets of Israel resorted to symbolic, dramatic actions when they felt that words were not enough. That’s what Ahijah did when he rent his robe into twelve pieces and gave it to Jeroboam in token that ten tribes would make him king. (1 Kings 11: 28-32) That’s what Jeremiah did when he made bonds and yokes and wore them in token of the coming servitude. (Jeremiah 7).

That is what Jesus did.  And he allied this dramatic action with the ancient Passover feast of his people so that it would be the more imprinted on the minds of his men. He said, “Look! Just as this bread is broken my body is broken for you! Just as this cup of red wine is poured out my blood is shed for you.”

What did he mean when he said that the cup stood for a new covenant? The word covenant is a common word in the Jewish religion. The basis of that religion was that God had entered into a covenant with Israel. The word means something like an arrangement, a bargain, a relationship. The acceptance of the old covenant is set in Exodus 24:3-8; and the passage it is noted that the covenant was entirely dependent on Israel keeping the Law. If the Law was broken, the covenant was shattered. It was a relationship entirely based on law and obedience to law. God was judge. And since no man can keep the law, the people were ever in default.

But Jesus says, “I am introducing and ratifying a New Covenant—a new relationship between God and humankind. And it is not dependent on law, it is dependent solely on love. In other words Jesus says, I am doing what I am doing to show you how much God loves you.” People are no longer under the law of God. Because of what Jesus did, they are forever within the love of God. And today at Mass and wherever there are Processions of the Blessed Sacrament throughout the world, we have an opportunity to express our Eucharistic affection and give thanks for so great a sacrament in our lives!

But Barclay notes one thing more, In the last sentence of the gospel, we note two things we have so often seen– two things Jesus was sure of: He knew he was going to die, and he knew his Kingdom would come. He was certain of the Cross, but just as certain of the glory. And the reason was that was he was just as certain of the love of God as he was of the sin of humankind; and he knew that love would conquer that sin.

For me, the Eucharistic words have sustained me as I experienced my sinfulness, my woundedness, my brokenness and also profound joy, and  also at times, a deep affection for my Jesus.

When I receive our Lord in holy communion I  like to pray:

Lord Jesus, You became — You are still — bread-broken

and blood-poured out for the sake of the world.

As I receive the precious gift of the Eucharist

may I become Your body

and Your body become mine.

May Your blood course through my own blood stream.

I want to be transformed by my communion with you, Lord.

Transformed from my self-centered lusts and angers and petty jealousies

into common-union.

Let me become Your Body-broken

and Your Blood-poured-out

into a world that needs You

now more than ever.

To You, Jesus, be honor and glory and praise

this day and forever!

So be it!  Amen!

Now, before you go, here’s a hymn to go with it for your reflection. It is the custom to have a procession with the Blessed Sacrament (at least in Catholic countries after Mass on Corpus Christi Sunday. That’s what you’ll witness in this video along with the wonderful chant melody composed by St. Thomas Aquinas “Adoro Te Devote”  Click here.

And here are today’s Mass readings  Click here.

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

Advent Day 18: Depressed or lonely at Christmas? Hanukkah Day 3

O come, thou dayspring, come and cheer

Our spirits by thine advent here;

Disperse the gloomy clouds of night

And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

O Antiphons

Thursday of the third week of Advent (Hanukkah Day 3)

There sometimes can be a lot of depression swirling around at Christmas.

People can feel lonelier because we’re expected to be cheerier and we just don’t feel it.

This blog is meant for us to pray and reach out and notice these folks.

Let’s be with folks who have lost a loved one and still miss them.

With kids who are shuffled back from one parent to another to “celebrate” the holidays.

With soldiers far away from home and their families at home without them.

And so, may we pray:

There are sometimes dark clouds in our lives, Lord.
Pierce the gloominess of our lives with Your very own Light.
May we allow You to dawn in us this day.
May we be ready for Your dawning in a new way in our lives this Christmas.
May this celebration of Jesus’ birth bring meaning and joy in the midst of our worries and concerns.
And may we BE the dawning of  your light and love and justice
in our homes, our neighborhoods, our jobs, our world.

And there are dark and ominous clouds over our world right now, Lord.
Pierce our greed and hate, fear and complacence, violence with hope, Lord.
May we pray earnestly for a new dawn for our beloved country and our world.
May we BE the dawning of  your light and love and justice in our land.

Lord Jesus, come!  May we be ready for the dawn of your coming in a new way this Christmas,
May the light of that dawning transform our lives and our land.
We need Your Light and Your Love more than ever.

Now, before you go, here’s an enjoyable music video for you. Click here. Be sure to turn up your speakers and enter full screen.

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

A Prayer for Labor Day 2014

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As we pause this weekend for the last holiday of the summer, may we reflect on the gift of work.

Good and gracious God,

you told us from the very beginning that we would earn our bread by the sweat of our brow.

We are interdependent in our  laboring, Lord.

1822847We depend on the migrant workers who pick our lettuce and our strawberries,

the nurses’ aids who empty bed pans,

the teachers who form our children’s minds.

We thank you, Lord, for the gifts and talents you have given us

that allow us to earn a living and contribute something positive to our world.

We pray, dear Lord, for those who are without work.

Sustain them — us — in your love.

Help us to realize that we have worth as human beings,

job or no job.

But that’s hard to get, Lord.u11850667

Our society preaches to us that our worth comes from success,

of being better than the Jones’.

But our worth comes because You made us.  We are Your children, no matter what,

job or no job.

You love us and you call us to love and support each other.

We pray, Lord, for those who do the dirty work in our lives, Lord,

those who break their backs for us, those who are cheated out of even a minimum wage,

those who don’t have access to health care,

those who cannot afford to send their kids to college.

Help us to bind together, Lord, as a community, as a nation

because we depend on one another — the garbage men,

the police, the folks who stock our grocery stores,

the UPS driver, the airline pilot, the 7/11 clerk, the ticket-taker on the turnpike, 

the plumbers, the accountants, the bank tellers, the landscapers, the lifeguards,

those who clean our houses, the cooks, the waiters, the steel workers, the carpenters,

the scientists, , our doctors and nurses and yes, the writers.

Help us to realize this weekend how dependent we are on one another, Lord.

We are ONE!  We are family!  We need each other.

May we give thanks for each other this Labor Day weekend, Lord.IMG_0804

Help us to celebrate and give thanks for each other and appreciate

the value, the dignity, the contribution

that each one makes to keep  our country, our cities, our lives going.

And in tough times, help us remember the words of Jesus:

Come to me all you who labor

and are heavily burdened

and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you . . .

for my yoke is easy and my burden light.” (Matthew 11:28)

And, finally, this prayer of Cardinal Newman:

O Lord, support us all the day long

until the shadows  lengthen and the evening comes,

and the busy world is hushed,

and the fever of life is over,

and our work is done.

Then, Lord, in thy mercy,

grant us a safe lodging,

a holy rest, and peace at the last.

AMEN!

P. S. This weekend, think about all the people who’s work makes your life go better.

Tell them you appreciate them.

Two words have great power:  THANK YOU!

If only we would use them often,

we would ease each other’s burden and energize each other.

and we would make trying times just a little bit easier for us all.

We call that: Love!

And before you go, here’s a spirited version of the great Celtic hymn “Lord of all Hopefulness” about the blessing of our work. Click here. Be sure to turn up your speakers and enter full screen.

  Enjoy.  Have a great weekend!

GEDC0103

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer



 

Advent Day 2 — Swords to plowshares / guns to roses

The price of peace paid by the Prince of Peace

Monday of the First Week of Advent

Dear Friends,

If you’re new to this Advent blog,  I recommend reading “Welcome to Advent” Click here. to get a sense of why we want to spend four weeks preparing for our Christmas celebration and how it can help you deepen your (our) spirituality whether you are a Catholic or even a Christian. (If you’re not tech savvy, click on the little arrow on the top left of your browser above the word “Back” and it’ll bring you right back to this page.)

Today, I’m referring to yesterday’s first reading from Isaiah 2:1-5 that you’ll probably recognize:

They shall beat their swords into plowshares

and their spears into pruning hooks.

Nation will not take up sword against nation,

nor will they train for war anymore. (Isaiah 2:4)

All of my adult life my writing and my prayer has been against war —

Viet Nam / the Balkans / the Gulf  War / Iraq / and recently, Afghanistan.

Pope Paul VI, speaking before the United Nations General Assembly made an impassioned plea:

“No more war! Never again war!

And Pope John Paul II said the Iraq war was “a defeat for humanity.”

Dwight David Eisenhower, the great general of Word War II and President of the U.S. said: “When people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war. War settles nothing.”

Advent is a time to wish for peace / pray for peace / work for peace.

The Christmas story is about peace.  One of the titles of Jesus is “Prince of Peace.”

But we become cynical about peace.

Many of us have our private little wars that we engage in every day with a sibling or a friend or co-worker.

Let us “Practice peacefulness,” as a friend put it to me once.  Let’s stop the gossiping.  Give people a chance.  Be kind.

The legend of St. Christopher carrying a child across a stream on a stormy night invites us to greet every human being as if they were Christ himself.

Think thoughts of peace.  Be peace.  At least try it today, the second day of Advent.

The image below is a photo of the last page of the men’s magazine Details.   This image is actually a GAP commercial selling plaid shirts;  those are young women and men making up the peace sign.) Would that they (we) would put their (our)  bodies, minds and spirits to the task of creating peace in our world!



I will hear what the Lord God has to say,

a voice that speaks of peace,

peace for his people and his friends.

and those who turn to him in their hearts.

Mercy and faithfulness have met;

Justice and peace have embraced.

Faithfulness shall spring from the earth

and justice look down from heaven.

The Lord will make us prosper

and the earth shall yield its fruit.

Justice shall march before him

and peace shall follow his steps.

Psalm 85

Dear Friends,

Be sure to follow our Advent Blog as we go along. I will publish most days until Christmas.  You can make yourself a five-minute-a-day mini-retreat and have the best and most meaningful Christmas ever!

It’ll relieve your stress.  Calm your nerves.  Put a bounce in your step and a smile on your face.  And it’s free!

And I always spend a lotta time selecting the right photo.  And I search the web for the perfect music video to accompany the theme.

Before you go here’s a real treat for you: Angelina singing St. Francis’ “Make Me a Channel of your Peace,”  filmed right in Assisi.  Click here, Be sure to turn up enter full  screen and turn up your speakers.

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

We need a rush of the Spirit

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Dear Sisters and Brothers,

This coming Sunday is the feast of Pentecost, a word which means “fifty days.”  We’ve been celebrating Easter for that long.

We’ve been trying to wake up to the world around us. Trying to become conscious and aware. Both to our surroundings and to what’s going on inside of us — paying attention to our feelings that are indicators of the health of our body, mind and spirit.

I’ve been writing my  reflections on my life as a priest.  I began my 44th year today.  And I am very thankful for every day of my priesthood. 

My prayer is looking forward as I reflect on these years: We need a New Pentecost in
the Church these days.  We need to have the windows flung open once again, as
Pope John XXIII did fifty years ago and let the mighty wind of the Holy Spirit shake
us up.

We very much need a rekindling of the fire of love in our church, in our country, in our world.

The story of the radical and remarkable transformation that grabbed hold of the first disciples of Jesus is dramatically told in the Acts of the Apostles 2:1-11.

I pray for that continued transformation for me, each day of my life.

When I celebrated Eucharist this morning on my anniversary, I was caught up with memories of my first Mass.  My parents and my aunt and uncle, who sat in the first pew, are gone now.  I prayed to them.  I also prayed to my best priest-buddy Phil who died at age 46 and left me without the friend I loved so much.

For all of you who have been part of my journey at one point or other I say with Dag Hammarskjöld . . .

       For all that has been Thanks,

                For all that shall be, Yes!

Come Holy Spirit,

fill the hearts of your faithful

and enkindle in them

the fire of your love

and they shall be created

and you shall renew the face of the earth!

Here is “Come Holy Ghost” in its chant form “Veni Creator Spiritus” Click here. Be sure to enter full screen.

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer 

P. S. This my 199th post.

Advent Day 12 ~ Mary’s Song of Justice

an image of Vladimir’s famous icon “Our Lady of Tenderness” in my home

This is a feast of Mary for us Catholic’s. In today’s gospel, we read the story of Mary’s Yes to God, her consent to bring Jesus into our  world.

I offer for your reflection the Song of Mary that Luke places upon her lips ~ the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) , sung or recited everywhere in the church throughout the world each evening of the year.

And as you’ll see, it has a pretty radical message ~ if you allow yourself to think about it.

And Mary said: 

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;

my spirit rejoices in God my savior.

For he has looked with favor on his lowly servant;                                                                        

from this day all ages call me blessed.

The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

His mercy on those who fear him in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast  down the mighty from their thrones and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel,

for he has remembered the promise of his mercy,

the promise he made to our fathers [and mothers]

Abraham [and Sarah and Hagar] and [their] children for ever.

+ + + +

The song speaks of lowliness ~ humility. Yet it recognizes what God does in our lives.

Look with favor on ME too, Lord.

Please ~ I need Your favor, Your grace.

Let my soul proclaim Your greatness.

Let me see (and accept) that you do good things for me, too.

Let me cry out every day:  Holy is Your name, my God!

Let your mercy be on us and our world.

Show your strength, Lord, the strength of Your justice.

Scatter the proud, the arrogant ones who control so much of our world, our country, our congress.

Cast down the mighty.

Lift up the lowly.

Fill the hungry.

Send the rich empty away like the poor, Lord.

Come to the help of Your people in our time.

We, too, are descendants of Abraham ~ Jew / Muslim / Christian.

We are all Your children, Father.

To You be glory and honor and praise for ever.  Amen!

Dear Reader,

Luke places these words in the mouth of Mary at the very beginning of the story of Jesus.  It is the “Magnificat,” the Canticle of Mary, sung or recited by priests and nuns and monks all over the world every single day of the year at Evensong.  So, it’s a pretty important text to reflect upon.

I would like you to notice how radical this message is: “Cast down the mighty.” “Raise up the lowly.”  “Send the rich away empty.”

Sounds like a pretty political message, don’t ya think?

People have been thrown into prison for saying things like that.

But these words are two thousand years old!

An essential and enduring part of the Christmas story as told in the first chapter of  Luke.

It’s a Song about Justice from the lips of Mary, the Mother of God.  About Justice entering our world.

I have sung Mary’s Song every evening for 30 years with spontaneous melodies arising from the mood of my soul of the moment.

And in that, I try to live the song!

How do you respond, dear friend?

How do you respond?

P. S.  I wonder what is implied here about universal health care and so much more. . .

Now to thrill you and inspire you, here’s introduction to Bach’s Magnificat on You Tube.  If you scroll down the right side of the page, you will find other segments of the concert as well.  Or you can Google “Magnificat videos” and have an amazing choice, including Shubert and Mozart and Michael Talbot. Be sure to enter FULL SCREEN.  ENJOY!

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

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Advent Day 2 — Swords to plowshares / guns to roses

The price of peace paid by the Prince of Peace

Monday of the First Week of Advent

Dear Friends,

If you’re new to this Advent blog,  I recommend reading Welcome to Advent 2009 to get a sense of why we want to spend four weeks preparing for our Christmas celebration and how it can help you deepen your (our) spirituality whether you are a Catholic or even a Christian. (If you’re not tech savvy, click on the little arrow on the top left of your browser above the word “Back” and it’ll bring you right back to this page.)

Today’s reading from Isaiah is a famous one:

They shall beat their swords into plowshares

and their spears into pruning hooks.

Nation will not take up sword against nation,

nor will they train for war anymore. (Isaiah 2:4)

All of my adult life my writing and my prayer has been against war —

Viet Nam / the Balkans / the Gulf  War / Iraq / and now Afghanistan.

Pope Paul VI, speaking before the United Nations General Assembly made an impassioned plea:

“No more war! Never again war!

And Pope John Paul II said the Iraq war was “a defeat for humanity.”

And Dwight David Eisenhower, the great general of Word War II and President of the U.S. said: “When people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war. War settles nothing.”

Advent is a time to wish for peace / pray for peace / work for peace.

The Christmas story is about peace.  One of the titles of Jesus is “Prince of Peace.”

But we become cynical about peace.

Many of us have our private little wars that we engage in every day with a sibling or a friend or co-worker.

Let us “Practice peacefulness,” as a friend put it to me once.  Let’s stop the gossiping.  Give people a chance.  Be kind.

The legend of St. Christopher carrying a child across a stream on a stormy night invites us to greet every human person as if they were Christ himself.

Think thoughts of peace.  Be peace.  At least try it today, the second day of Advent.

The image below is a photo of the last page of the men’s magazine Details.   This image is actually a GAP commercial selling plaid shirts;  those are young women and men making up the peace sign.) Would that they (we) would put their (our)  bodies, minds and spirits to the task of creating peace in our world!



I will hear what the Lord God has to say,

a voice that speaks of peace,

peace for his people and his friends.

and those who turn to him in their hearts.

Mercy and faithfulness have met;

Justice and peace have embraced.

Faithfulness shall spring from the earth

and justice look down from heaven.

The Lord will make us prosper

and the earth shall yield its fruit.

Justice shall march before him

and peace shall follow his steps.

Psalm 85

Dear Friends,

I will be posting each day of Advent, (God willin’ n’ the creek don’t rise.)
You can subscribe to the blog and it will come directly to your inbox and look like the box above.
Just scroll down to the bottom of the page, enter your email address.  You can un-subcribe at anytime.

You can make yourself a five-minute-a-day mini-retreat and have the best and most meaningful Christmas ever!
It’ll relieve your stress.  Calm your nerves.  Put a bounce in your step and a smile on your face.  And it’s free!

And I always spend a lotta time selecting the right photo.  And I search the web for the perfect music video to accompany the theme.

So, what are you waiting for?  Come on board!  Put your email address in the hopper and you won’t have to think about it again.

Before you go here’s a real treat for you: Angelina singing St. Francis’ “Make Me a Channel of your Peace,”  filmed right in Assisi.  Click here, Be sure to turn up enter full  screen and turn up your speakers.

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

Catching beauty on the “drive-by”

From time to time, I will offer a new topic to my blog role:  “My (adopted) hometown — Fort Lauderdale.

Homeward and westward bound, on Oakland Park Boulevard is usually a quite  uninteresting experience.  But once in a while — if one is Aware enough to notice — good things can happen.  A photographer knows that you have to be right there with slit-second timing to catch the right light on your subject.   Photography is about dancing with the light and the shadow, whenever and wherever they seem, um, unusual.  I love to capture such images that invite introspection and reflection. (or at least to try because this photographer also has Parkinson’s;  the sometimes unsteady hand results in sometimes quite unique images   I captured this particular moment on March 30, 2009 at 7:02 pm.  My iphone was nearby; I was probably listening to “Us and Them” on the same device; this Pink Floyd favorite  times perfectly to get me home from downtown if I leave after rush hour. I  steadied it firmly on top of the steering wheel.  The rays of the sun pierced the clouds above and sent a single glance toward us drivers on the ground.

Was that Awareness just for me?  Or did others experience it too?  Are we  (am I?) ready to “catch” beauty on the fly or on the “drive-by”?  Ready for the natural world to dialogue and dance with us?  Ready when it desires to reveal itself?   To surprise us / lift us out of ourselves / connect us with something beyond our self inflated (or deflated) worlds?  This, of course, wasn’t the most awesome sunset I’ve ever experienced.  (I do like to experience them rather than just observe them.) And surely  a couple of green lights, and incongruent light poles made for a less than idylic image.  Nevertheless, it  lifted me out of my homebound / self-bound thoughts and feelings  (whatever they were) into a moment of connection and contemplation with that little part of the cosmos that one humble / connected man, Francis of Assisi 900 years ago greeted as a Person: “Brother Sun.”

Just a thought:  There’s beauty everywhere in every place at every time for those who have eyes to see.  How ’bout you?
With love,

Bob Traupman

priest / writer

Advent Day 18: Depressed or lonely at Christmas?

O come, thou dayspring, come and cheer

Our spirits by thine advent here;

Disperse the gloomy clouds of night

And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

O Antiphons

Wednesday of the third week of Advent (Hanukkah Day 6)

There sometimes can be a lot of depression swirling around at Christmas.

People can feel lonelier because we’re expected to be cheerier and we just don’t feel it.

This blog is meant for us to pray and reach out and notice these folks.

Let’s be with folks who have lost a loved one and still miss them.

With kids who are shuffled back from one parent to another to “celebrate” the holidays.

With soldiers far away from home and their families at home without them.

And so, may we pray:

There are sometimes dark clouds in our lives, Lord.
Pierce the gloominess of our lives with Your very own Light.
May we allow You to dawn in us this day.
May we be ready for Your dawning in a new way in our lives this Christmas.
May this celebration of Jesus’ birth bring meaning and joy in the midst of our worries and concerns.
And may we BE the dawning of  your light and love and justice
in our homes, our neighborhoods, our jobs, our world.

And there are dark and ominous clouds over our world right now, Lord.
Pierce our greed and hate and fear and complacency and violence with hope, Lord.
May we pray earnestly for a new dawn for our beloved country and our world.
May we BE the dawning of  your light and love and justice in our land.

Lord Jesus, come!  May we be ready for the dawn of your coming in a new way this Christmas,
May the light of that dawning transform our lives and our land.
We need Your Light and Your Love more than ever.

And now for your listening enjoyment The Many Moods of Christmas Robert Shaw conducting.

With love,

Bob Traupman

priest / writer