It is the book that somehow surfaces when you need it most — manna for the multi-tasker, solace for the stressed. It is the book you stock up on to give to others, to slip in Christmas stockings, to pay it forward. It is the book that spiritual directors recommend again and again: Father Jacques Philippe’s tiny paperback with the nondescript cover, the one that delivers everything its title promises: “Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart.”
There is no scrapbook of Kathy Webb’s life as a Dominican sister. No picture frames or friendship bracelets, no nun memorabilia perched in a closet or buried in a trunk. The only artifact from her convent days is the long apron she wore to protect her white habit, bearing her former identity on a tiny tag sewn onto the back: “Sister Cora Marie 558.”
I’m reading a book that speaks to me as a journalist, Brian Grazer’s 2015 release “A Curious Mind: The Secret To A Bigger Life.” In it, the 64-year-old Emmy-winning movie producer recounts his practice of conducting “curiosity conversations” twice a month for the past three decades to fill up his knowledge reserve and walk in someone else’s head.
The mention of booze generates a look of horror among many of the non-drinkers living and working alongside Michael P. Foley in Waco, Texas, where the Catholic dad teaches at a dry Baptist college. There’s a “skittishness,” he says.
On Sunday night the email landed in Mike Foss’ inbox: He had been named to Forbes’ “30 Under 30,” the business magazine’s annual list of rising stars younger than 30.
One of the ironies of our age of excess is how the littlest among us come with such outsized equipment. And then there is the strange reality that Americans pay to store the things we cannot fit in our homes, driving demand for more than 78 square miles of rentable self-storage – more than three times the size of Manhattan.
Belinda Monahan has analyzed more than 100,000 animal bones in Armenia dating back from the Early Bronze Age (1200 B.C.) to the Medieval period.
It had an echo of Nicholas Sparks to it, but it was real life, and the story went viral: An Ohio couple married for 73 years died just 28 hours apart. But the part that wasn’t reported, the part that the Catholic reader might have sniffed out based on the names, the location or the family size, was the Catholic faith that undergirded Helen and Joe’s union.
Despite its reputation for deprivation, our Catholic faith is a celebratory one. We are drawn into thanksgiving with incense and bells, candles and wine. We mark feast days and holy days. We celebrate the Mass. Every act of celebration, however simple, can be a spiritual exercise, affirming life and honoring the Creator.