Tagged: Paige Byrne Shortal

Stop! Look! Listen! Someone is trying to tell you something

Oh, that today you would hear his voice: Harden not your hearts.—PSALM 95:7–8

Reading has clicked for my little granddaughter, and she is very proud of her new skill. She reads everything—cereal boxes, ads that come in the mail, road signs. This morning I was pondering this column as we drove through town, and as we approached the railroad tracks, she startled me by shouting, “STOP! LOOK! LISTEN!” I did. And then I explained to her the dangers of shouting at the driver.

The Grace of Growing Up: The eighth gift of the Holy Spirit

As regular readers know, my husband and I are guardians of our three grandchildren, ages seven, four, and two. They are fun, delightful, sweet kids, and we love them to pieces. They are also needy, demanding, outrageously self-centered, and drive us to distraction. In other words, they—and we—are normal.

Sometimes I can only laugh at their timing. Like when the seven-year-old insists that I show her “right now, Nana, please!” how to do something on the computer while I am up to my elbows in the poopy diaper of her squirming, equally impatient little brother. A gentle “Honey, what am I doing right now?” is the best I can manage. (Sometimes I’m not so gentle.)

The Need to Read: Christian authors who inspire and entertain

There are also many other things that Jesus did;  if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. —John 21:25

The last verse of Saint John’s Gospel is rather curious. Surely the events of the life of one man—even the God-Man Jesus—could be contained in a couple of thick volumes. Unless…the story continues?

May the Force Be With You: The Holy Spirit at work

A year ago I spent some time in India. One evening my hostess invited me to watch The Bucket List with her. Try to picture us: two women, one Hindu and one Catholic, unknown to each other until a month earlier, watching a movie about two men with terminal cancer who spend their last six months doing things they always wanted to do before they “kick the bucket.” Poonam and I sat late into the night discussing our own “bucket lists” and found we had much in common.

Holy Week 101: A lesson in simplicity

My initiation into the Catholic Church was unusual. No RCIA. Not even much instruction. I was a seeking girl/woman traveling with all I owned in a duffle bag and found myself in St. Louis under the influence of a Jesuit who introduced me to the Gospel. Within days, he baptized me.

Lenten Discipline: It’s more than giving up chocolate

Last year my Lenten discipline was to listen at Mass. I mean really listen—with my whole person. I made myself sit or stand very still, feet flat on the floor, hands at rest, back straight, eyes fixed on the reader. I was much more attentive, and my husband mentioned that my concentration helped him listen better too. This Lent, I want to continue to listen like that and also let each Sunday Gospel suggest a discipline for the week. Perhaps you’d like to join me.

Let There Be Peace on Earth

I wanted to be a writer when I was still a little girl. Dad was a newspaperman and, longing to imitate him, I learned to type on his old manual Royal typewriter. I still cannot set down a drink to the right of my keyboard because, as I learned the hard way, the carriage return would send it flying. (I can just hear my children: “Carriage return? What’s that?!”)

I’ll Be There in a Minute

A friend, widowed and with no children at home, has a house that’s too big for her. She dreams of a small, economical apartment, but she won’t move. Why? Too much stuff. Her attic and garage and basement are full, her closets and drawers heaping with old clothes and handbags, dishes, tools she never uses, and books she’ll never read.

Turning Burdens Into Blessings

I remember very lonely Christmases, when I was too old for a child’s Christmas and too young to have a family of my own. Then in my early twenties I happened upon The Wounded Healer by Father Henri Nouwen, which inspired me to consider what was missing in my life as the very source from which I could be a blessing to others. I talked to a friend who was also without family, and we decided to spend Christmas providing meals to shut-ins who lived in our downtown parish.

Appreciating Firsts and Lasts

Iwas thirteen when The Byrds released their recording of Pete Seeger’s song “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season).” It was a hard time in our family, and I sang this song with little understanding. I thought I’d always be sad.

All Life Is Good… Even when it’s not

October is Respect Life Month. I’d like to avoid this subject. I’d rather write about something we all agree on—like the beauty of fall foliage or the importance of regular exercise or the sweetness of my growing grandchildren (ages five, three, and one, thank you for asking).

The Middle May Always Be the Middle…

We adopted our sons from Guatemala. First, Philip; when Philip was two, his baby brother, Nate; and six months after that, Dan, a ten-year-old I met at the orphanage. And so it was that Philip, once an only and for a brief time the oldest, became our middle child.

Perfecting a Vision, Pursuing a Dream

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”—Matthew 11:28Reading these words of Jesus during July, the month we celebrate American Independence Day, I’m reminded of Emma Lazarus’ poem “The New Colossus,” which is inscribed on the Statue of Liberty:...

We Are All One Body

[On Pentecost] devout Jews from every nation…gathered…and each one heard [the others] speaking in the native language of each.—ACTS 2:5–6We adopted our sons from Guatemala. Two of them came into our family as tiny babies, and I find it amusing when people ask if they had trouble learning English (they...

Time to Clear the Clutter

Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?­—LUKE 24:32 In my part of the world, April is not a time to think about self-improvement and other interior matters. We do that in January, in...

Homeward Bound: Our hunger for God’s word

Every year on the first Sunday of Lent, we hear about Jesus preparing for his ministry by going into the desert and arguing with the devil. One of my sons, upon hearing that Jesus was offered the power to turn stones into bread, mumbled under his breath that Jesus should...