Author: Byron Miller, CSSR

Lord of the Dance

When was the last time you danced? That was the question posed in an Easter Vigil homily this year. For some, it was during Roosevelt’s administration—Franklin’s, not Theodore’s—when jazz and jitterbug were the cat’s pajamas. Although I had asked this question in a health-care facility—primarily to priests and brothers in...

The Hurtful Sin of Pride

Attributed to Tennessee Williams, who adopted New Orleans as his home, is a version of this quote, “America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.” In a similar biased opinion, after journalist Lafcadio Hearn moved from Ohio to New Orleans in the...

What Hath We Wrought?

Some sayings capture the flavor of a city: “Paper or plastic?” (Berkeley, CA, before a 2012 ban on plastic grocery bags) “Frozen or ‘on the rocks’?” (anytime in New Orleans) Some sayings capture the signs of the times: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” (President Ronald Reagan, West Berlin, June...

A Virtuous Life

In 1916, architect John Lloyd Wright invented Lincoln Logs. These sturdy, delightful toy sets used to create model log cabins were especially popular in the 1920s and again in the 1950s and sixties. As I recall the distinctive scent that wafted from the cylindrical storage tin containing the interlocking, stained-wood...

Responsible Dominion

Did you know the three-second memory span for goldfish is a myth? As a youngster, I invested in a tank of bug-eyed goldfish after the loss of my faithful one-eyed Pekinese companion. That’s when “the boy and his inseparable dog” tried to become “the boy at one with his goldfish.”...

Just “Desserts”

For years, I retained an ordinary linen handkerchief as though it were a sacred relic. Unlike the crass, mercenary online postings that offered Britney Spears’ used pumice stone or Arnold Schwarzenegger’s chewed cough drop, this cloth possessed no biological history except tears of elation and no value other than sentimental....

Destiny and Destination

In the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Stephen Douglas called Abraham Lincoln two-faced. Lincoln turned to his audience, asking, “I leave it to you, my friends. If I had two faces, would I be wearing this one?” But Lincoln was far less tongue-in-cheek about a two-faced reality in his day: “All men are...

Sunday-morning Satire

“Welcome to our parish, Father. Do you have the Mass this morning?” grumbled the woman in the sacristy. “Yes. I’ll be taking your good pastor’s place at all three Masses today,” the replacement priest replied. “Anything I should know?” “Well, Father, we prefer no incense; it sets off the smoke...

Our Sharpest Tool

Children know thirty to forty offensive words by the time they enter school, suggests data from psychology professors Timothy Jay and Kristin Janschewitz, though no one knows if kids are aware of what the words mean. Likewise, children may not fully understand all the words they use in prayer. I’ve...

Let Us Firmly Resolve

May all your troubles in the coming year be as short-lived as your New Year’s resolutions,” quipped an anonymous realist. Recall the ambitious list of resolutions often created with good intentions at the beginning of each year—intentions to start walking, stop smoking, floss more, fuss less, lose weight, gain indulgences…you...

A Communion of Memories

Meet Liguori Publications new President, Fr. Byron Miller, CSsR. November, 2015 marks Fr. Miller’s first “From the President” column. I hadn’t heard from Vernon in decades—until an email last summer made a sacred trinity of time—past, present, and future—converge at midlife. As it turns out, his daughter and my sister’s son...