Alcohol and Augustine

On a light-hearted note, I was talking with one of our Parishioners today about the Pints with Aquinas program.  Basically, you get together over beers and discuss the thought, writings, sayings, of St. Thomas Aquinas.

One of his buddies wants to start a chapter so he looked into it and found you have to pay to start a chapter, which immediately turned him off to the idea of actually starting a chapter.  “I can start my own group for free,” he said and started bandying about names.  “Brews with Bernard.”   “Manhattans with Martha.”  “Wassail with Wenceslaus.”

The brainstorming went on until he settled on “Alcohol with Augustine” which, I thought, was hilarious.  I cackled and laughed and basically proved the point that you can’t take me anywhere at times. But it does hit the nail on the head because you’re basically just getting together over alcohol and discussing holy matters of some sort.

“Pints with Aquinas” is a successful cottage industry and exposing worlds to the thought of Aquinas, which is great.  But if you’re already studying and discussing Aquinas, then it’s also true that you don’t need to pay to start a program to discuss him over beers with buds.   And do we really need another excuse, as Catholics, to drink?   We’re not puritans, but Good Lord.  At times it’s as if the hallmark of being a Catholic gentleman is booze and cigars.  (That being said if Matt Fradd is working the P with A program and helping people to know Jesus – more power to him.  I go full Gamaliel when it comes to the Apostolates of others; Acts 5:34-40.)

Real Men Drink Tea


Like Broken Glass

Getting back to the point of this post and the picture above. This morning the power flicked on and off a few times, then went out for good for well over an hour, as happens out here in the woods.  It led to the opening of windows and curtains all over town on this beautiful, sunny, cool fall day.  I was pondering the little pile of broken glass up top as I got ready.  Hopped in the shower, brushed my teeth, walking around in my towel as one does when one lives alone and the curtains are all closed.

Except the curtains weren’t closed, which I realized as I stepped away from the bathroom sink and looked directly across the hall, through the kitchen, and right into the Lutheran fellowship building next door.  Those poor souls.  I only pray that they weren’t in the building at that point.

But I dutifully set about to photograph this little pile of glass because it struck me as so odd.

You know how when you knock over a glass, it either breaks or it doesn’t?  And when it doesn’t you breathe a sigh of relief.  At other times, you drop a glass and it hits the floor in such a way that it shatters into about a zillion pieces.  Well, that’s what happened with this one.

Here’s a whole glass next to the broken one. Looks like it holds about a pint.

It’s a large amount of broken glass, compared to a relatively small and lightweight whole glass.  I had swept it together and had to run off.  And when I came back and saw it shining in the sun, it was so beautiful;  sparkling and reflecting the light from deep within.

And on this First Sunday of Advent, what came to me is that at times we appear to be whole and unstained, in great shape and all is fine and well.  At other times we’re broken and shattered and spread out all over the place.  Yet, even in the brokenness, we’re still beautiful in the eyes of the Lord.  He sees us as beautiful, created in his image and likeness – the glory of his creation.

In His light, no matter our brokenness, woundedness, no matter what we’ve been through, we radiate his light and goodness when we simply acknowledge that He is Lord, and ask him into our hearts.


glass no sun


Without the sun – the light shining from within – it’s a pile of broken glass.  (That admittedly I scraped up and placed onto a piece of white marble I own because I love white marble, despite the fact that no one else in these parts does. I actually use it sometimes, it’s a pastry thing.)

Let the Lord into your heart that you may glorify Him in all you do!  And please pray for me, that I may do the same.  I am more like a broken glass than I’d care to imagine at times, which is no doubt why the Lord has called my attention to it.

St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Agustine, Sto Monica – pray for us.

Happy Advent.






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