Adlai Stevenson and the Triduum

Slide1An unlikely pairing, yes?

Yes. But give me a chance to explain.

I teach a couple of dual enrollment courses at a local high school and often admire the collection of inspirational quotes that have painstakingly been hand-painted on certain walls. This particular quote attributed to Adlai Stevenson faces the last hall before I get to my classroom.

I’ve read that quote dozens of times as I race down the hall toward my classroom. In fact, I’ve seen that quote so many times that I barely notice it anymore.

Today was a little different. I was still in a hurry to get to class, but for another reason. Today begins the Paschal Triduum, marking the end of Lent.

I had a few things on my mind — mostly planning my schedule for the next three days as I endeavor to attend the special liturgies that begin tonight with the Mass of The Lord’s Supper  and lead to the Easter Vigil.

I look forward to this every year. In spite of being a crazy busy several days, time seems to slow down for me. It’s a gift that I don’t question. So today I found myself standing in front of Stevenson’s quote when I’d ordinarily zip right past it.

As I stood there reading it for the hundredth time, it occurred to me that I could substitute one single word in that statement and it would encompass every challenge I’ve faced this Lent:

Faith is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.

I was struck with the simplicity of it. I like shiny things and am distracted easily by anything that is new and promises to be different. Because of this, I think I have missed a great deal of opportunity for growth in my spiritual life. I want to have the epic religious conversion. I want to get, as I often tell my close friends, a memo from God that spells out everything in black and white. In short, I want to be knocked off a horse like St. Paul.

Instead, I get opportunities to wait. To practice patience. To wait some more.

I missed that I could have, should have been doing something while waiting. While I continue to wait.

I’ve come to understand that there’s a certain peace in the long haul, the daily grind of faith.

because this was pretty

The beauty of creation

reflects the infinite beauty of the Creator


341 The beauty of the universe: The order and harmony of the created world results from the diversity of beings and from the relationships which exist among them. Man discovers them progressively as the laws of nature. They call forth the admiration of scholars. The beauty of creation reflects the infinite beauty of the Creator and ought to inspire the respect and submission of man’s intellect and will. ~ from the Catechism of the Catholic Church

no soup for you! …just kidding


I missed the first week of this exciting series at The Practicing Catholic because I was on the road, but it’s never too late to jump on board and get started. I have to say, typical Lent for me…I can’t get my act together until Holy Week, and then it’s Easter and…well…enough about that.

Lisa Schmidt explains the concept at her blog, where she’s hosting 40 days of soup recipes, and stories to go along with them. What a great idea, right?

I mean, who doesn’t love soup? And who doesn’t love a story.

I don’t want to steal her thunder, so click on the logo and read her explanation, catch up on the few posts you might have missed, and check back here in a few weeks, cuz guess who’s got an entry coming up?

That’s right, lil ole me.

today is “give a compliment day”

No. Not really. I just totally made that up.

But do it anyway.

I had a little fun on Facebook yesterday which turned into a weird and awkward (for me, anyway) incident of fishing for compliments, which wasn’t my intent, but oh well, who can control what happens on those status updates. You know what I’m talking about — the deep and prosaic stuff gets crickets — the reckless inane crap get a bazillion likes and comments. And food. And babies. And puppies.


Yesterday, in two totally unrelated incidents, I was told I was awesome by two totally different people. By totally, I mean, the only thing they have in common is their humanity. Which is a lot, let me tell you, but that’s not the point. Or maybe it is.

It got me thinking about Pope Francis and his message to stop gossiping. Have you been following that? I’m loving it — he’s asking us to love our neighbor, and tearing them down isn’t very loving, now, is it?

Guilty as charged. Boy, I’m feeling his kindly eyes on me telling me to watch my tongue.

So back to awesome yesterday. I think the reason I was so tickled by it is because I know the persons well enough to be secure in their sincerity. It meant something to me.

What would happen if instead of tearing people down (and ourselves, by the way) with a sharp tongue and ugly gossip, we spread around a compliment or two? Make sure it’s authentic. Make sure the person on the receiving end knows you mean it.

You I might create a better habit.