Love means being dependent on something that perhaps can be taken away from me, and it therefore introduces a huge risk of suffering into my life. Hence the express or tacit refusal: Before having constantly to bear this risk, before seeing my self-determination limited, before coming to depend on something I can’t control so that I can suddenly plunge into nothingness, I would rather not have love. Whereas the decision that comes from Christ is another: Yes to love, for it alone, precisely with the risk of suffering and the risk of losing oneself, brings man to himself and makes him what he should be…. I think that that is really the true drama of history.
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Salt of the Earth
A tender soul,
making itself my captive,
as it walks into the cell,
locks the door behind it, eagerly,
and, reaching its arms through the iron bars,
throws the key far out of reach.
The little souls –
some are quite impulsive –
throw their keys with all their might.
They remind me of mother,
which isn’t surprising…
she taught me to throw when I was a child.
the great economist of the heart,
I learned that keys are made
to be thrown away.
Of course, she learned it from Father.
Father was the first to lock himself in,
to throw His key away…
with His back to the door
and a grin on His face,
He launched it over His shoulder.
He was so proud of mother
when she threw away her key.
“That’s my girl,” he said.
“That’s my girl.
Have you ever seen such an arm?” he asked me.
“Where did you get such a mother, anyway?”
This business of throwing keys away –
it wasn’t my idea, really,
though Father and Spirit like to say
that is all began with me.
It’s a conspiracy of praise on their part,
to which I willingly submit.
Father knew what He was doing
when He invented keys,
and when He sent me among men
to show them how to throw.
throwing away a key
is not such an obvious thing to do.
Having been a man,
I understand this.
Now there are many souls
throwing their keys with eager haste
and I throw with them.
Side by side
and throw away the keys.
From a collection of poems entitled Only Say The Word
I have two movies to recommend this month, both very appropriate for October, the month dedicated to the rosary. I have personal connections with the creators of both films, for full disclosure, from my years in Hollywood.
Today, I’ll post about a documentary on the life and work of Father Patrick Peyton, CSC, the Irish-born priest who initiated a worldwide movement of family prayer. The film Pray opens in theaters this weekend.
When I lived in Los Angeles, I worked for Father Peyton’s non-profit in Hollywood: Family Theater Productions. I helped to digitize a massive collection of vinyl recordings of his popular weekly radio program, Family Theater Presents, which began airing on the Mutual Broadcasting System at the end of World War II.
“Utilizing radio, films, outdoor advertising and later television, with the help of celebrities, artists and advertising practitioners, Peyton was one of the first pioneers of evangelism using mass media. He would also pioneer in conducting public rallies to bring families to pledge to pray the Rosary as a unit. These Rosary rallies attended by millions would become the most significant event where Peyton could be best remembered.” (source)
I had a chance to participate in an advance online screening this past summer, and can vouch that it’s a very inspirational look at a tireless contemporary apostle of family prayer. While it’s a timeless message, in the current social climate of radical individualism, identity politics, and the decimation of family life, it seems especially relevant as a healing balm for the culture and a sign of hope.
For theater locations and showtimes, visit https://www.praythefilm.com.
On Tuesday, I’ll post about the second movie I’m recommending for October.
Dad made his passage to the next life at 1:18 am this morning, with Mom, Katy & Jeff & I present. It was a peaceful, awe-inspiring time. His breaths became shorter and less pronounced, in the way that the lapping waves on the shore — after the wake of a passing ship — become less pronounced and then fade entirely. His ship is now creating a wake in other waters.
If you’re looking for a thoughtful, accessible and engaging read on the subject of contraception and natural family planning, you may want to pick up a copy of Patrick Coffin’s book entitled Sex au Naturel: What It Is and Why It’s Good for Your Marriage, or Christopher West’s recent book, Eclipse of the Body: How We Lost the Meaning of Sex, Gender, Marriage, & Family (And How to Reclaim It).
I heard Patrick speak on this topic when he was our guest catechist in the RCIA Hollywood program. You can listen to Patrick’s presentation here:
His book has received positive reviews from Kimberly Hahn, Cardinal George Pell, and others. There are also a couple of useful reader reviews on Amazon’s website. One reader writes:
Patrick Coffin’s book is a friendly and accessible introduction to the Church’s teachings on sexuality, especially contraception, and how living those teachings improves marriage. It is funny, down-to-earth, easy to read, comprehensive.
I highly recommend it for anyone who has questions or doubts about the Church’s teaching, or for anyone who has a friend or family member with questions or doubts. I thought I was well-versed in this material; but even I was able to gain from Coffin’s perspective and learned a few new facts as well as some new ways of presenting the information….
Above all Coffin presents all of these teachings with love and mercy and not with an attitude of bashing the infidels. The book is an invitation to a cordial discussion, one that says: “Hey, even if you disagree you might at least hear me out and understand why I hold the position I do.”
If you want a better understanding of the Church’s teaching, or want to help others understand it, this books sounds like a great resource.
See also my post from 2008 on the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae.