Of Lions and Pipers: The Indispensability of Symbols

Of Lions and Pipers: The Indispensability of Symbols

At times, men can be symbols. And symbols matter. Today, two men - two symbols - come to mind. Let us begin with the first. It was May, 1940. A vicious Nazi war-machine had conquered Poland, Norway, Denmark, and began an unprecedented Blitzkrieg attack on Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and France. The Nazi victories were the fruits of a crafty megalomaniac, a German population hungry for revenge, and a passive international community who grievously underestimated Adolf Hitler. The British … [Read more...]

On “The Central Event of History”

"We know that [the Birth of Christ] celebrates the central event of history; the Incarnation of the divine Word for the redemption of humanity." - Pope Benedict XVIAn Extraordinary Thing has happened. And we celebrate it every year. But do we really? Surely there is plenty of discussion about Christmas each year. First, we consider the tasks we must perform before we can truly enjoy the season - shopping, cooking, card-writing, and traveling. Next, we consider how nice it will be to have … [Read more...]

On Reading “A Christmas Carol”

On Reading "A Christmas Carol"

"Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it...Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail." - Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol     So begins, arguably, the most famous literary Christmas tale written in the last two hundred years. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens has been printed and reprinted countless times. It has made its appearance on st … [Read more...]

Sacrifice, Freedom, and The Nutcracker Suite

It all looked so simple. Last Saturday afternoon, my wife, two young daughters, and I ventured to the local performing arts center for the Academy of Russian Ballet's 2012 rendition of  "The Nutcracker Suite". It was delightful. The experience was unforgettable thanks to a spacious auditorium with (mercifully) copious legroom, nostalgic sights and sounds of Tchaikovsky's masterpiece, and most importantly, the rapt attention of my three and five year-old daughters. It was a joy to watch my own … [Read more...]

Rudy, Notre Dame, and Three Plays

     Three plays. Three defensive plays. That was all. The game was already effectively won with an insurmountable lead and two dozen seconds left to play. The three plays came and went. And that's all there was to it. This was the sum total of playing time for an otherwise forgotten young man in the history of college football. It is the story of Daniel Eugene Ruettiger (Pictured in #45 jersey). But we all know him as "Rudy".Rudy was made known to us in the 1993 heart-warming tale of a yo … [Read more...]

Man of the Year – Why the Pope Matters

It was a long ride home. Four hours to be exact and this time I was the passenger. It was an icy mid-December, college finals were over, and Christmas break had begun. As the frigid Minnesota farmlands rolled by, I eagerly anticipated family time, sleeping in, and intellectual endeavors that had nothing to do with biology or organic chemistry. Reaching into my overstuffed bag of books, magazines, and articles, I pulled out Time Magazine's annual "coronation issue": The Man (or Person) of the … [Read more...]