Category Archives: Culture

Snow-Bound [The sun that brief December day]

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by John Greenleaf Whittier


The sun that brief December day

Rose cheerless over hills of gray,

And, darkly circled, gave at noon

A sadder light than waning moon.

Slow tracing down the thickening sky

Its mute and ominous prophecy,

A portent seeming less than threat,

It sank from sight before it set.

A chill no coat, however stout,

Of homespun stuff could quite shut out,

    A hard, dull bitterness of cold,

That checked, mid-vein, the circling race

Of life-blood in the sharpened face,

    The coming of the snow-storm told.

The wind blew east: we heard the roar

Of Ocean on his wintry shore,

And felt the strong pulse throbbing there

Beat with low rhythm our inland air.

Meanwhile we did your nightly chores,–

Brought in the wood from out of doors,

Littered the stalls, and from the mows

Raked down the herd’s-grass for the cows;

Heard the horse whinnying for his corn;

And, sharply clashing horn on horn,

Impatient down the stanchion rows

The cattle shake their walnut bows;

While, peering from his early perch

Upon the scaffold’s pole of birch,

The cock his crested helmet bent

And down his querulous challenge sent.


Unwarmed by any sunset light

The gray day darkened into night,

A night made hoary with the swarm

And whirl-dance of the blinding storm,

As zigzag, wavering to and fro

Crossed and recrossed the wingèd snow:

And ere the early bed-time came

The white drift piled the window-frame,

And through the glass the clothes-line posts

Looked in like tall and sheeted ghosts.

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As night drew on, and, from the crest

Of wooded knolls that ridged the west,

The sun, a snow-blown traveller, sank

From sight beneath the smothering bank,

We piled, with care, our nightly stack

Of wood against the chimney-back,–

The oaken log, green, huge, and thick,

And on its top the stout back-stick;

The knotty forestick laid apart,

And filled between with curious art

The ragged brush; then, hovering near,

We watched the first red blaze appear,

Heard the sharp crackle, caught the gleam

On whitewashed wall and sagging beam,

Until the old, rude-furnished room

Burst, flower-like, into rosy bloom;

While radiant with a mimic flame

Outside the sparkling drift became,

And through the bare-boughed lilac-tree

Our own warm hearth seemed blazing free.

The crane and pendent trammels showed,

The Turks’ heads on the andirons glowed;

While childish fancy, prompt to tell

The meaning of the miracle,

Whispered the old rhyme: “Under the tree,

When fire outdoors burns merrily,

There the witches are making tea.”

The moon above the eastern wood

Shone at its full; the hill-range stood

Transfigured in the silver flood,

Its blown snows flashing cold and keen,

Dead white, save where some sharp ravine

Took shadow, or the somber green

Of hemlocks turned to pitchy black

Against the whiteness at their back.

For such a world and such a night

Most fitting that unwarming light,

Which only seemed where’er it fell

To make the coldness visible.

Jewish Youth Antagonize Friars in Jerusalem

OFMs walking.jpgOur sensibilities are heightened,our sense of peace is frequently threatened. Violence erupts so easily these days that it’s hardly news anymore. Being spat on would likely enrage me and I would hope that I could remain calm. But who knows. I pray for peace in my morning offering, at Mass and whenever I hear a news report revealing any insane act of violence (which is a million times a day). How do we engage pugnacious youth to to live in peace? Do we turn the other cheek? How and why? How do the Franciscan friars live in the Holy Land day after day in the middle of violence and remain at peace with their vocation?

A recent incident is reported by one of the friars.

Happy Thanksgiving


Max thankful relatives.JPGHappy Thanksgiving and God’s Blessings!

Krakow prayer meeting in 2009 sponsored by Sant’Egidio

Sant Egidio peace.jpgOn November 21, Andrea Riccardi, the founder of the international Community of Sant’Egidio announced that the next international inter-religious encounter, in 2009, will be in Krakow, Poland, honoring the memory of the Servant of God Pope John Paul II and to recall the terrible tragedy of Auschwitz, where evil manifested its ugly face.




World leaders, religious and political, have met for prayer periodically since 1986 when the landmark event was first lived in Assisi.

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The H2O News video report.


The Community of Sant’Egidio has been in the United States since 1990, more info is found here.


The Wiki article is here.

“Christ without Culture” is untenable for Christians

First Things editor-in-chief Father Richard John Neuhaus puts his finger on a persistent topic that concerns me at this time: Christ and culture.  In “The Deadly Convenience of Christianity Without Culture” Neuhaus briefly explores what it means to be an engaged member of the Church, the Body of Christ. He identifies what the Church is and how she is to act.


What I am seeing, and you may be seeing a similar thing, is that Church (clergy and laity alike) are giving into the pressure from the radical secularists to remove the Christian proposal from the public platform. A good example is the South Carolina politician who wanted to refuse a local Catholic Church from expanding because the Catholics were against abortion, women priests and held “ideologies” (i.e., theology) that conflicted with Unitarian Universalist “freedoms.” Of course, it is not only the outside world that is becoming more and more reticent toward the Church, it’s those who make the claim of being Catholic who are speaking less of Christ, the Church and true Christian living that makes me unnerved and thus becoming biege, even engaging in spiritual malpractice. 


Christians seem to be accepting that belief in Christ and the flourishing of faith in world is irrelevant. Can it be that Christians are willing to absent themselves more and more from a public discussion of what it means to live morally, or the exploration of how faith and reason intersect, or the reality of life issues which holds to a principle of human dignity, or the need for a sensible national security plan, or the requirement of just immigration policies, or an adequate distribution of natural resources which feeds the hungry, clothes the naked and give drink to the thirsty? Do we not see the face of God in the world around us? How can it be that some of us call ourselves Christians and yet shy away from actually living the Gospel? How is it that professed Christians, clergy and laity alike, are ashamed at being identified as Christian in the public square? Are these questions above your pay grade? Is virtue that shameful that it can’t be spoken of or demonstrated? Is faith in Christ truly a mere private affair that one’s engagement in culture (art, politics, economics, romance, religion, friendship, etc.) can actually thrive without Christ?


I am hopeful that Catholics will begin to see that the notion of “Christ without cultural” is an impossible way to live, that is, bankrupt, and therefore pick up the shovel and starting digging a new foundation for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be built upon. We are baptized into a communion, a Church, not a social club. We need to do more than just show up for “church.” Either is Christ King of heaven and earth, or we’re in trouble. How will our lives different this week?

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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