Gandolf… the Prophet?



I WAS passing by the TV as my children were watching “Return of the King”—Part III of The Lord of the Rings—when suddenly the words of Gandolf leapt straight from the screen into my heart:

Things are in motion which cannot be undone.

I stopped in my tracks to listen, my spirit burning within me:

…It’s the deep breath before the plunge……This will be the end of Gondar as we know it……We come to it at last, the great battle of our time…

Then a hobbit climbed the watchtower to light the warning fire—the signal to alert the peoples of middle earth to prepare for battle.

God has also sent us “hobbits”—small children to whom his Mother has appeared and charged them to set the fires of truth ablaze, that light may shine in the darkness… Lourdes, Fatima, and more recently, Medjugorje come to mind (the latter awaiting official Church approval).

But one “hobbit” was a child in spirit only, and his life and words have cast a great light across the entire earth, even into the dark shadows:

We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church . . . must take up.  —Cardinal Karol Wotyla who became Pope John Paul II two years later; reprinted November 9, 1978, issue of The Wall Street Journal

    WE must learn to see every imperfection as just more fuel for offering.’ (Excerpt from a letter from Michael D. Obrien)

FROM a song I never finished…

Bread and Wine, on my tongue
Love become, God’s only Son

A remarkable reality: the Eucharist is the physical form of pure Love.

Divisions Beginning



A GREAT division is occurring in the world today. People are having to choose sides. It is primarily a division of moral and social values, of Gospel principles versus modern presumptions.

And it is exactly what Christ said would happen to families and nations when confronted with his presence:

Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three… (Luke 12:51-52)

WHAT the world needs today is not more programs, but saints.

Each Hour Counts

I feel as though each hour counts now. That I am called to a radical conversion. It is a mysterious thing, and yet incredibly joyful. Christ is preparing us for something… something extraordinary.

Yes, repentance is more than penitence. It is not remorse. It is not just admitting our mistakes. It is not self-condemnation: "What a fool I've been!" Who of us has not recited such a dismal litany? No, repentance is a moral and spiritual revolution. To repent is one of the hardest things in the world, yet it is basic to all spiritual progress. It demands the breaking down of pride, self-assurance, and the innermost citadel of self-will.(Catherine de Hueck Doherty, Kiss of Christ)

The Bunker

AFTER Confession today, the image of a battlefield came to mind.

The enemy fires missiles and bullets at us, bombarding us with deceptions, temptations, and accusations. We often find ourselves wounded, bleeding, and disabled, cowering in the trenches.

But Christ draws us into the Bunker of Confession, and then… lets the bomb of his grace explode in the spiritual realm, destroying the enemy’s gains, reclaiming our terrorities, and re-outfitting us in that spiritual armor which enables us to engage once again those "principalities and powers," through faith and the Holy Spirit.

We are in a war. It is wisdom, not cowardice, to frequent the Bunker.

EVERY moment here,

Should be a parable of the eternal one.

THE words of St. Elizabeth Anne Seton continue to ring in my head:

Be above the vain fears of nature and efforts of your enemy. You are children of eternity. Your immortal crown awaits you, and the best of Fathers waits there to reward your duty and love. You may indeed sow here in tears, but you may be sure there to reap in joy. (From a conference to her spiritual daughters)



PERSEVERANCE. O Lord, how I lack it.

Why do I so quickly collapse beneath the smallest weight of my flesh? I am so tired and saddened by my distractions, silly pursuits, and wasted time. I am exhausted by the perpetual dance with my frailty.

Lord I have fallen. Forgive me. I am no better than the one who thinks nothing of you. Perhaps he is further ahead in that he does his duty with fortitude, even though his end is not for your glory. I, on the other hand, knowning well the end of all things and that to which the heart should be directed, piddle away the moment, drifting from one impluse to the next like a kite in the wind.

I am ashamed, Lord, ashamed of my lack of resolve. The bile of sloth, avarice, and self-indulgence is rising in my throat. Why you bother with me is truly a mystery! Could it be really be Love? Could Love be this patient? Could Love be this forgiving? If so, I cannot comprehend it! I stand condemned—guilty—deserving to be tossed out with those who strike at your cheek, crucifying You all over again.

But I would be guilty of a greater crime if I were to remain in this despair. It is, after all, a condition of wounded pride. It is the place of Judas to run away in self-deprecation and depression; it is the domain of the unrepentant thief to persist in self-righteousness and blindness to your mercy; it is above all the tragic mindset of that fallen angel, that prince of darkness, to dwell in pride and self-pity.

And so Lord, I come to you again… as I am… broken, frail, wounded… filthy, hungry, and tired. I come—not as a faithful son—but as the prodigal. I come with my prepared confession, my imperfect penitence, and my pocket full of nothing but hope.

I come in poverty. I come, as a sinner.

…Behold! What do I see? Is that you, Father, running toward me….!