Monday, March 18, 2013


The L.A. Marathon, which goes straight through my neighborhood and makes driving impossible, took place yesterday. I'd been out of town, saw the signs Saturday and, as usual, thought bitterly, Thanks for trapping me in my home all day. Then I walked to 8:00 Mass down Sunset. Boulevard and within minutes was  weeping at the sheer beautiful humanity of it all: a guy in a kilt playing bagpipes, punksters, infants, old people such as myself....Mother-and-daughter teams set up shop on the sidewalk with sunscreen, Snapple and snacks. Platoons of volunteers manned huge tables stacked with paper cups of water. DJs blasted, depending on the block, 70s rock, house music, and Bonnie Raitt. People looked each other full in the face and smiled. The drunks who'd been up all night emerged from the clubs bleary-eyed: crashing into each other, sucking on cigarettes, their fists raised aloft in shaky cheers.

Everyone wants to be part of something greater than themselves. Everyone appreciates nerve. Everyone recognizes heart.

It's a long, hard lesson to learn that you just can't go around screaming in people's faces that abortion, or euthanasia, or war is wrong. You have to show them a human face. Again and again, we need to be brought back to the glory of a single human being.


  1. Just what I was thinking yesterday at mass.

  2. Wonderful! And that last picture packs a real punch.

  3. "we need to be brought back to the glory of a single human being" Exactly. Once we realize this, that will be the death knell of abortion.

  4. A marathon drains you (says he, who has completed, at turtle-like pace, 2 half-marathons in his life). But yes, any runner who finishes (nay! who ATTEMPTS) the darn thing deserves all the cheers, shaky and otherwise, that she or he might receive. Marathon running has always been one of my favourite sports, because it IS athleticism: not pugilism on ice-skates, or 350-lb men in shoulder pads & helmets colliding on the gridiron. Marathon runners (in large part because I can't do what they do) and gymnasts (for much the same reason!): these athletes merit my undying admiration!

    There was a gal a few years back named Zoe Koplowitz, who walked with two canes, who did the Boston Marathon, accompanied by medical assistants, in about 24-30 hours. Why? Why not!? So she could say she did it! I found her on the course route, and gave her a one-man standing ovation (this was a full day after most other runners had finished).

    And about "the glory of the human face" -- with tangential reference to the Catholic Church's new universal pontiff -- I now know why Cardinal Bergoglio loved taking the subway to work. It really is a small chapel! The faces are something akin to icons of the living Christ!

  5. The first photograph brought tears to my eyes! Beautiful!
    Although I was an athlete in high school - a swimmer and runner - I am sometimes bothered by the way humanity puts such an emphasis on sports. Sports are all that seem to matter at times. But then, as you did here, I sometimes step back and can see the beauty of it all - beside the wonder of the human body's movement, strength, and endurance - sporting events bring people together as you said, for something greater than themselves. Sports give us the opportunity to set aside differences and enter into unity in cheering for athletes.
    Thanks for sharing your change in outlook on the marathon. It was a much needed reminder to again look for the good in something - this case being sports.

  6. I am guilty of this. Thank you for reminding me I must be the face of Christ to others, nothing else will do. And your reflection on the eve of the solemnity of St. Joseph was beautiful.


I WELCOME your comments!!!