via crucis

I remember seeing Mel Gibson’s film The Passion of the Christ for the first time at the Arclight Hollywood on Ash Wednesday of 2004. Father Willy Raymond, CSC, had offered to take the staff of Family Theater Productions after the celebration of Mass. So we all processed into the theater with ashes on our foreheads, to the bewildered stares of some. (You could see them working it out in their minds: oh, those must be the Passion groupies. People dress up like Frodo Baggins before a Lord of the Rings premiere, so this must be what the Christians do before seeing their movie…)

(c) 2003 Icon Distribution

At any rate, the film made such an impression on me that I decided to use it as my Lenten meditation: I went and saw the film every Friday of Lent that year, just as I would ordinarily pray the stations of the cross.

I had already planned to host a stations of the cross hike for young adults in the Verdugo Mountains on Palm Sunday. The day before the hike, I realized that I had no text to share with others as we prayed along the way. However, the images from Gibson’s film were etched clearly in my mind and suggested many points of meditation, so I decided to compose my own via crucis based upon the film.

I supplemented my meditations with some of my favorite quotes from various spiritual writers: Dietrich von Hildebrand, St. Josemaria Escriva, St. Ambrose of Milan, (then) Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, St. Leo the Great, Karol Wojytla, St. John of the Cross, Pope John Paul II, an ancient homily on Holy Saturday, and a closing prayer from (then venerable, now blessed) John Henry Cardinal Newman.

I’ve made the resulting text available on my website in multiple formats:

PS – Another multimedia stations of the cross — much more brief (around 4 minutes long, in Flash format) — is still available on my site here. I used some music from Schindler’s List for this one, which somehow seemed appropriate. I am reminded of a quote from Hildegard Brem which the Pope includes in his book, Jesus of Nazareth, Part II: “The Jews themselves are a living homily to which the Church must draw attention, since they call to mind the Lord’s suffering.”

five years since the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI

Today, February 11, 2018, marks five years since Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation. I remember it like it was yesterday.

Recently, the pope-emeritus published a short note to a newspaper in response to an inquiry about how he was faring, a response that radiated with his characteristic warmth and wisdom:

It’s a great grace, in this last, at times tiring, stage of my journey, to be surrounded by a love and goodness that I could have never imagined.

Today, I simply post a link over to the Spiritual Friendship blog, where Ron Belgau has written about the pope emeritus’ writings on friendship with Christ.

May God bless the remaining days of the life of this remarkable disciple.

Jeremy Casella

I haven’t posted in a long while, but one of my favorite artists is in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to fund his new studio album, so I’m putting in a plug today.

I’ve been drawn to the music Jeremy Casella has produced since the time he was working to put together his first album. If you enjoy the music of Rich Mullins, I think you will likely appreciate the melodies and lyrics which radiate with a soulful Christian authenticity: music by a pilgrim, for pilgrims on the way.  I hope you’ll take a moment to listen and maybe support his campaign that is running now through February 17th.

JeremyCasella_Spirit

Update (2/11/2018): The campaign has been fully funded! But there is still an opportunity to contribute to the project until February 17th.

advent calendar 2017

My online Advent calendar is posted once again.

If you’d like to add this Advent calendar to your website, you can copy and paste the code below:

<a href="http://www.doxaweb.com/advent/calendar.asp">
<img src="http://www.doxaweb.com/advent/calendar_thumb.jpg"
border="0" alt="" width="120" height="100" />
</a>

You can change the height and width as needed to make it fit on your site.