As the Shadows Lengthen…

Memorial of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious

January 4, 2020

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CoverImage_Behold_the_Lamb_of_God

Today, in Mercy, our Gospel invites us to stand chatting with John the Baptist and a couple of his disciples. Jesus passes by us, on his way home for the day. John points to him and says to his two friends, “He’s the Guy…don’t miss this chance to learn from him.”


When I picture myself in this passage, it is the late afternoon. The shadows, even my own, have begun to lengthen across the landscape. There is a sense that time, and with it opportunity, may be passing by. 

It is a time of day like that described by Emily Dickinson:

There’s a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons –
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes –

Heavenly Hurt, it gives us –
We can find no scar,
But internal difference –
Where the Meanings, are –

None may teach it – Any –
‘Tis the seal Despair –
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the Air –

When it comes, the Landscape listens –
Shadows – hold their breath –
When it goes, ’tis like the Distance
On the look of Death –


We, like these disciples, are not neophytes. We have our lives; we’ve made our choices. Is it possible a New Call could come so far into the day? Is it imaginable that God could walk fresh right across the shadows falling around us, just as he did for the brave Elizabeth Seton?

Blog-Say-Yes-to-Splits-300x200

Our Gospel says Yes! Yes! Yes! Every single day – Yes!

Let’s go and stay with Jesus a while in prayer to see, like Peter, what new name he might call us today, even as the shadows lengthen.

Prayers and love to you, dear Friends!

Music: Shadowlands Suite – George Fenton

This glorious music video contains slides of the great movies for which Fenton has written scores. I fear they may be a bit of a distraction from prayer, but I couldn’t resist. You may want to watch some in the New Year. (Highly recommend Shadowlands with a box of tissues.)

Come and See

Friday, January 4, 2019

Click here for readings

Jn 1_39

Today, in Mercy, we celebrate the Feast of St. Elizabeth Anne Seton, the first American born saint.

Elizabeth Seton was born on August 28, 1774, of a wealthy and distinguished Episcopalian family. She was baptized in the Episcopal faith and was a faithful adherent of the Episcopal Church until her conversion to Catholicism.

She established her first Catholic school in Baltimore in 1808; in 1809, she established a religious community in Emmitsburg, Maryland. After seeing the expansion of her small community of teaching sisters to New York and as far as St. Loius, she died on January 4, 1821, and was declared a saint by Pope Paul VI on September 14, 1975. She is the first native born American to be canonized a saint.

(from CatholicCulture.org)


In our Gospel, we find the first disciples encountering Jesus. They are curious about him because the Baptist has just described him as “the Lamb of God”.

We can picture Andrew and his unnamed buddy trailing behind Jesus, watching him, listening to him. Finally they hazard a question, “Rabbi, where do you live?”

It’s kind of a loaded question. What it might really mean are things like these:

  • Where did you come from all of sudden?
  • Could you possibly be the Messiah if you’re walking around looking just like us?
  • Do you go back to heaven at night or are you really one of us?
  • Can we just hang out and find out more about you?

Their faith is tentative, hopeful and maybe just a little bit suspicious. Does your faith ever feel like that? 

When we pray, are we convinced that God hears us? When we suffer, do we believe God abides with us? When we choose, act or respond, do we trust that God cares about our actions? Do we believe, in these and all circumstances, that the power of God is present in our lives?

To have that kind of faith, we have to “learn” Christ, to become as close and comfortable with him as with an intimate friend. In our Gospel, Jesus tells us how to do that: “Come and see.” 

In other words:

Spend time with me.
Talk with me about ordinary things.
Watch sunsets and sunrises with me.
Tell me your secrets.
Let me tell you mine.
Laugh with me.
Be silent with me.
Trust that you are never separate from me.

If we do these things, even slowly and steadily as the first disciples, we will eventually say with Andrew, “l have found the Messiah” – and he is living right within my life!

Music: Come and See – Bob Bennett