Friday Five – Volume 105

Friday Five-Mere Observations

— 1 —

Last Saturday and for the second year in a row I attended the Daddy/Daughter dance at our Catholic school. It is an annual opportunity for myself and the other dads to relive our memories of many a junior high or high school dance. In other words, we stand against the walls, sipping punch and talking sports while the girls dance. Only these are OUR girls. And dance they do. On the eve of her ninth birthday my own daughter relished the chance to show off the moves she’s been practicing in her bedroom while listening to the local pop station and watching music videos on her tablet (yes, approved by yours truly).

She relished the opportunity. I, having witnessed her so-called moves, resolved on the spot to chaperone all remaining dances between now and her graduation in 2025.

In the end, she did come to ask me to dance to the last song, the ever-popular Butterfly Kisses. We danced together, arm in arm, except for the 3-4 times she insisted “Twirl me, daddy”…and so I did.

I want to also note the moment when, dancing with his two daughters, my friend Jeremy heard the line “She’ll change her name today” and hollered “No she won’t!”

Those possible events await us down the line. For now it was just us and our little girls. I soaked as much of those moments as I could into my memory sponge in order to squeeze a few drops out as an oasis when we travel through the inevitable arid teenage desert.

Nothing against Bob Carlisle or his song Butterfly Kisses, but I much prefer Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman.

PS: As her favorite pop music station and the DJ at the dance play a lot of Top 40 stuff and Sophie loved dancing to Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and many more artists I do not know, I decided it was time to allow her to graduate from her Frozen and ABBA CDs, gulped hard, and bought her a copy of Taylor Swift’s 1989. I’ll probably regret it as it took me six months to flush Shake It Off out of my brain and Welcome to New York has been bouncing around between my ears ever since that dance…but it was worth it to see her smile and shriek as she ran off to her room to play it.

— 2 —

Whether you practice the sacrament of Confession as Catholics do or prefer to do so in a more personal manner, you may be interested in reading Ashley Osmera’s story The Confessional: A Treasure Unlocked. Of the seven sacraments Confession was the biggest stumbling block for me as I transitioned from Protestantism to Catholicism. In time it became perhaps my favorite other than receiving Christ in the Eucharist.

“Ummm,” came the mumbled response, as Steven looked at the locks. “I don’t know which one goes where…wait, I suppose I have the instructions in my shoe or something, right?” Steven shot back, rolling his eyes. Instead of being offended, the man simply shrugged. In disbelief, Steven looked down to see a small scroll of paper at his feet. He unrolled it and read, “One key to expose that which is hidden, and one to bow and then rise again. One key to boldly state one’s fault, and one to see the wounds of sin.” Glancing back at the keys in his hand, Steven saw that each of them had an inscription: Humility, Courage, Sincerity, and Simplicity.

— 3 —

While I am not sharing any photos from the Daddy/Daughter dance I do want to give you a glimpse of the face I see every morning before I go to work. Our beagle has taken to hopping onto my lap and joining me for Morning Prayer each day. Buster will usually sit at attention during the Invitatory and Psalm 95, and then curl up to listen to the rest.

A beagle and his breviary

A beagle and his breviary

— 4 —

Why do we love words? Why do we even use words? What’s language and human speech all about, anyway? In his response to these questions B.A. Lewis reveals three reasons. The third is my favorite. It’s a very short article so I won’t paste anything here but instead encourage you to read it.

— 5 —

My quote o’ the week is actually several quotes. The first comes from a favorite saint, not just because we recently celebrated St. Valentine’s Day, but because of the depth contained within these forty-five words. St. John of the Cross in his brevity said more than many modern self-proclaimed wordsmiths who prattle endlessly on but with all the depth of a sidewalk rain puddle. At times, yours truly is counted among them. It is followed by two more that deserve more than a cursory mention. There is much meat on them bones. Do not pass them over lightly. The final quote fits with the previous in the overall theme of a Christian and his or her “human condition” while we, the Church Militant, live on this earthly plane.

And I saw a river over which every soul must pass to reach the Kingdom of Heaven, and the name of that river was suffering … and then I saw a boat which carried souls across the river, and the name of that boat was Love. – Saint John of the Cross

“He submits to pain, because it is inevitable, to bereavement, because it is irreparable, and to death, because it is his destiny.” – John Henry Cardinal Newman, on ‘the gentleman’

“A religious man is a person who holds God and man in one thought at one time, at all times, who suffers harm done to others, whose greatest passion is compassion, whose greatest strength is love and defiance of despair.” – Abraham Joshua Heschell

God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools…and He has not been disappointed. Devout Christians are destined to be regarded as fools in modern society. We are fools for Christ’s sake. We must pray for courage to endure the scorn of the sophisticated world. If I have brought any message today, it is this: Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world. – Antonin Scalia


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