It certainly has been a while - I almost forgot the password to log in to my own blog.
We're snowed in today. The sky is shedding goose feathers in a waltz like movement. KDM is busy putting out hay; dogs have been invited into the screened porch. Speak of which, we have total of five furry companions as of today, two having been dropped off while we were on vacation.
And the vacation is still on my mind. Travels always energize me: sights and sounds outside the usual, coy and comfy ruts, even if just for a while. A Chinese proverb likens travel to reading a thousand books, I prefer college courses on account of the dynamics. Reading is a solitary affair, while travel propels you into the living, breathing stream and odors of life.
The highlight of the trip came when we discovered that the Church of Our Savior, the one Father George Rutler pastors, was only four blocks from our hotel, on the same avenue in the heart of Manhattan, NYC. All details aside, during the five days in the Big Apple, amongst busy sightseeing and dinning out, we managed to attend Mass celebrated by Father two days in a row, met and spoke to him in person. One of these days was the feast day of Saint Thomas Aquinas. I simply envy the parishioners who get to listen to this amazing priest preach daily. I don't want to give the impression that Father Rutler is just some celebrity clergyman. What I saw during the simple, mid-day, well-attended, liturgy, was a quintessential parish priest leading and feeding his flock, in the heart of the most bustling city in the world. Of this impression I will share in more details later.
My most cherished "souvenir" from this multi-legged trip are the two books I bought at Our Savior, The Crisis of Saints: the Call to Heroic Faith in an Unheroic World, and The Cure D'Ars Today: Saint John Vianney, both by Fr. Rutler, who graciously autographed both at my request. I'm about half way through the latter, and taking as a penance of putting it down. Father's writings, like his sermons, always have this effect of lifting my mind and heart to another dimension, wherein it is not the persona of Fr. Rutler your thoughts dwell, rather it is the goodness, beauty and grandeur of God that inflame your aspirations. In imitation of our Lord, he doesn't just appeal to your intellect, he "speaks heart to heart," the instrument of knowing, which, in the words of Blaise Pascal, "knows Reason which Reason does not know." To say it simply and directly: he points you to the ultimate source of happiness such that you feel the longing and urgency to live a holy life.
I urge you to read The Cure D'Ars Today, Father Rutler's exposition of the Saint's life. I'm truly grateful that as Catholics, we have the Saints for timeless examples as well as for antidotes to the toxins we're amply exposed to in our own times.