The other day I read a beautiful conversion story, a witness story of a woman I have long admired, Kirsten Powers. She is a Fox News Commentator. And while I do not always agree with her political perspectives, she is a solid journalist, she gives fair consideration to all issues, and is, to my mind, a very classy lady.
But it's the following words that caught my eye in Msgr. Pope's piece:
I pray that Kirsten Powers will grow strong in faith and deep in conviction that Jesus is Lord and the lover of her soul.
“But Father, but Father….!” I hear some of you saying, “She did not become Catholic! How can we praise this!?” Well, all I know is that we are all on a journey. And the Lord has surely led some of the best Catholics through the Evangelical denominations ultimately to the Catholic Church.
And I will add that their time there (in the Evangelical denominations) was not a detour or wasted. In fact some of the greatest converts to the Catholic Church bring many gifts from their time as Evangelicals: Love for Jesus, the understanding of a personal and intimate walk with the Lord, a love for Scripture, and a zeal for souls.
At a personal level I would love for Ms. Powers to one day find herself in full union with the Catholic Church. For now I am joyful she found Jesus and I trust Jesus to lead her. Rejoice with me, rejoice with her, Jesus is joy, he is Lord and Shepherd. He shepherds us rightly.
Well Msgr. Pope, that one day has apparently arrived:
Stargazers are in for a treat Sunday when a supermoon combines with a lunar eclipse for the first time since 1982.
The supermoon eclipse will last 1 hour and 11 minutes, and will be visible to North and South America, Europe, Africa, and parts of West Asia and the eastern Pacific, according to NASA. Weather permitting, the supermoon will be visible after nightfall, and the eclipse will cast it into shadow beginning at 8:11 p.m. ET. The total eclipse starts at 10:11 p.m. ET, peaking at 10:47 p.m. ET.
A rare phenomenon, there have only been five supermoon eclipses since 1900 (in 1910, 1928, 1946, 1964 and 1982). After Sunday, the next supermoon eclipse will occur in 2033.
Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command held a re-designation ceremony at Stone Bay, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., June 19, 2015. The ceremony was held to officially adopt the name Marine Raider, carrying on the heritage and legacy passed along by the Raiders of World War II. During the ceremony, the units' colors were cased and their new colors were unveiled. (Emphasis mine)
"Before he became immortalized as the “Lone Survivor,” a Navy SEAL who escaped a 2005 Taliban ambush on a mountain slope in Afghanistan, Marcus Luttrell was a broken man in search of a haven.
He found it one day in the spring of 2007 when, struggling to recover his body and mind and with the horrors of war still raw, he showed up unannounced at the Texas governor’s mansion and asked to see Rick Perry.
Over the ensuing months, a virtual father-son relationship blossomed, the two men said. The governor and his wife, Anita, helped bring Luttrell back to health"
He was an unlikely assistant basketball coach. To be sure. Wilbur “Shooter” Flatch was a savant when it came to the game of basketball. Shooter would even confidently quip, “I know everything there is to know about the greatest game ever invented.” And so it seemed. He knew the game of basketball, but he was an unlikely assistant basketball coach. That was because Shooter Flatch was an inveterate alcoholic – some would even deride him as “the town drunk”. But in small town Hickory, Indiana, a controversial coach with unorthodox methods saw something in Shooter – something that Shooter couldn’t even see in himself. This struggling drinker would help Coach Norman Dale coach basketball. But only if he stayed sober.
The Hickory team and its fans had to adapt to a new style in Coach Dale. Despite a rough start, the team developed a successful winning style with a bright postseason future anticipated, if only they could make it. And so it would come down to a pivotal last home game against rival Dugger. There was less than a minute remaining and the score was 58-58 when Coach Dale did the unthinkable. He stormed up to the referee after a particular call, dressed him up and down and then, in sidelong and secretive fashion, asked to be kicked out of the game. Mystified but recognizing that the coach must have his reasons, the ref assents. Coach Dale is tossed out of the game. Sheepishly, amidst a roar of supportive boos, Coach Dale walked back to his bench, leveled his eyes at Shooter and said,
“I’ve done it again…It’s up to you now.”
It was extraordinary. Coach Dale’s eyes widened and seemingly smiled at Shooter. And then Dale walked off the court. The game, the season and the future of the Hickory basketball team rested uncertainly in Shooter’s hands. If you have seen the 1986 movie, Hoosiers, then you don’t need me to explain what happens next. But I will.
He does... but he does more than that and it's in the more that makes a story already worthy all the more worthy.
I have watched a lot of sunrises in the past 8 months while sitting my mom’s back porch. Being the first one up in the morning, I would typically go out there with a cup of coffee and pray while watching the sun come up over the mountains. What a magnificent and meaningful way to spend time with God! The porch on my new place faces north, so I haven’t been keeping the same morning ritual lately. This morning, on the advice of a friend, I decided to go walking early. So instead of repeatedly hitting my snooze alarm, as I have recently gotten back into the bad habit of doing, I got up, threw on a pair of blue jeans, sneakers and a jacket and headed out to try to catch the sunrise. I figured a change of routine would do me some good, since I have also recently been failing worse than usual in my efforts to quit smoking.
About a mile up my usual trail, there is a gate to nowhere, attached to nothing…just a gate. I chose this as my stopping point thinking the sun would be rising in all its glorious splendor right before my eyes. Not thinking to check what time sunrise would actually occur, I had really gotten out there far ahead of time and so I started looking around. Living in the Tularosa Basin, we are surrounded by mountains on all sides. I was surprised to see that the mountains to the west were starting out the day once again silhouetted in purple (purple mountains majesty!), as they were when they last appeared the night before at sundown. I kept checking over my shoulder back to the east, but the sun, though rising, was still hidden behind the mountains. But then I realized I was witnessing the most beautiful, amazing thing, as the light ahead of the sun itself started shining on the mountains to the west. The peaks and valleys started to appear, coming into focus, more and more visible as I watched the sunlight begin to spread from the mountains, then over Alamogordo, towards the east! What occurred to me was that as magnificent as the physical rising of the sun is, seeing the effect of the sun rising with its light illuminating the mountains and then the city as this light spread back to itself is just stunning! I then had the small epiphany that if I substituted the Son for the sun – this description would even more beautiful - and still be absolutely true. As magnificent as the physical rising of the Son is, seeing the effect of the Son rising with His light illuminating the mountains and then the city as this light spread back to itself is just stunning! I love it when an analogy comes together like that!!
After being out for over an hour, I finally needed to head back home in order to embark upon my Monday (ugh). I still haven’t seen the sun actually rise over the mountains at my new place, so I guess I’ll try to leave a little later tomorrow morning when I try again. I’m good with that though. The truth and beauty I saw this morning was the best start to a Monday morning I have had in a long, long time.
P.S. My friend told me that in the desert, flowers can be not there, there, and then gone again from one day to the next and even from one time of day to another. I saw these this morning on my way back to the house and did not remember seeing them yesterday afternoon, so I took a picture of them as a memento of my morning.