Ruminations from Deacon Hank Lyon

How Lovely are Your Dwelling Places


84 How lovely are Your dwelling places,

O Lord of hosts!

My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the Lord;

My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.

The bird also has found a house,

And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young,

Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts,

My King and my God.

How blessed are those who dwell in Your house!

They are ever praising You. 



In the Face of a Fragile World

Boy, a lot has certainly changed in our lives and rather quickly too. It’s all too much at some moments to really fathom the effects the virus has had on the entire world. Sports! Sports are gone. I never would have seen that one coming. Taking sports as an example, it is always the guaranteed entertainment that would be around. Perhaps here and there a rain delay occurred or a game is postponed, but the entire sporting enterprise is cancelled. Unreal.


Mater Dolorosa



Mater Dolorosa is a title for Our Lady; it is Latin for Mother of Sorrow. Moving further into Lent, we will soon come into Holy Week when we will walk with Our Lord through the darkest moments of His life on earth. I offer this aid to help intensify our prayer in preparation for and during Holy Week: the Seven Sorrows of Mary.


Deacon Cook What?


Missing meat on Fridays? That classic Catholic crisis when we realize it is meal time and it is Friday and it is during Lent…"Oh shoot, that is right it is Lent…ugh". Classic. Friday meals can be creative and strangely more delicious than maybe we first thought. One of my favorite recipes to cook during Lent is close to something like a burger. It is not a tofu burger, or what not. It is very filling. Try making Quinoa patties. I highly recommend them.



Conscience is a Gift - Vox Dei

The conscience is connected with the Vox Dei, the voice of God, within us all. Victor Hugo recognizes this connection in his great novel, Les Miserables. St. John Henry Newman wrote essays on this wonderful truth of our being. Conscience is a gift. It directs our Will to what is truly good, beautiful, true, lovely and excellent for our flourishing. We know all too well, however, from our lives that we can have some serious wrestling matches with our conscience. This too is part of the human experience: our inner deliberations over what is good and what is evil.


So that He may continue to walk with His people...

After years of going to Mass, learning to actually say Mass presents it in a completely new way. It is indeed familiar, but it carries a whole different weight to it. It is a good and holy weight. In Hebrew, the word for “weight” or “heaviness” is kavod; it is also used to describe, “the Glory of God.” Think of a rich dessert, after one bite you say, "woah, that is too rich for me."


Taking Time For Jesus



Taking time. It is a curious phrase, "take time to…". The phrase, "take time" is most often followed by good advice. Take time to rest. Take time to think it over. Take time for yourself. It is a funny expression, because time cannot be taken. Time is given. Time is always in front of us. It is usually our schedules, or daily routines, that segment time into increments which allow for the greatest productivity in our day.


The Roman Missal

I look at my desk as I write this rumination. I try my best to keep clutter off of my desk. Some weeks are better than others. Right now, I have an array of books on my desk. Books on top of books. Have I read them all? No. Is it all required reading? No. Anything pertaining to class? Some. Books and I have had a love-hate relationship. Before seminary, I did not care much at all for reading, let alone sitting down and reading a book. Since entering seminary, I have a hard time sticking to one book, because there is so much good material out there on theology and the spiritual life. So, what is sitting on my desk right now?


Basketball @ Mundelein

This last weekend at the seminary we had our annual basketball tournament, the Father Pat O’Malley Invitational. This year marked its twentieth anniversary. It is an awesome weekend to say the least. Sixteen seminaries from across the United States send teams to Mundelein Seminary to play in our tournament. We had guys from Nebraska, Washington D.C., and Wisconsin, to name a few.


Faith Formation Is Never Ending

So begins the last semester of my seminary career. It has been a total of six years in seminary formation. These six years of preparation for the priesthood of Jesus Christ have consisted in study, prayer, adventure and fraternity. The many hours spent in a classroom have left me with the conviction that the study of our faith is never-ending.


Focus 2020

Two weeks ago, I was in Phoenix AZ, attending a FOCUS conference, SLS 20. This was my first time going to a FOCUS conference. FOCUS is largely a college campus missionary group, but they also put on national conferences. SLS (Student Leader Summit) is intentionally for students who want to learn how to bring others into the faith. Going into the trip, my focus was on the adventure of going to Phoenix AZ. The group I traveled with consisted of two priests, two other Mundelein seminarians, two college seminarians from St. John Vianney, and three men thinking about the priesthood. We had an epic road trip out there and back.



How the Grinch Stole Christmas

How the Grinch Stole Christmas, is a classic movie to watch around this time of year. My favorite version of this film is the classic animated one. The title can be very alarming…how could a person actually steal Christmas? Sorry for any spoilers, but despite the Grinch’s best efforts he can’t steal Christmas; he can’t keep it from coming, nobody can. Through the reprehensible actions of the Grinch, he, without intending to, revealed the true spirit of Christmas. The true spirit of Christmas is revealed to be immaterial and not dependent upon the material goods at all. This was a delightful surprise to the Grinch. It makes me wonder if the Grinch really did hate Christmas from the beginning, or if he only hated the materialism of Christmas. He certainly thought Christmas was about all the material goods in his whimsical litany of, “packages, boxes, or bags.” But those Who’s down in Whoville, revealed their true joy from which came their desire to decorate and feast and make merriment in gift giving.