St. Thomas More, Richard Rich & Chasing the Surrogates for God

  It’s hard to say how many times I’ve seen it, but this time it struck me. It was a scene from A Man For All Seasons. I watched it, paused, rewound and watched it again. Thomas More had just returned from a long night on a boat. The Lord Chancellor Cardinal Woolsey summoned this Catholic lawyer, scholar and friend of the King late on the day before to inconvenience him and concentrate his mind. The purpose of the call was... Read more

“Dear Ms. O’Connor”: On Writing Letters to Flannery

  “If you want your faith, you have to work for it. It is a gift, but for very few is it a gift given without any demand for equal time devoted to its cultivation.” – Flannery O’Connor, writing to college freshman, Alfred Corn Alfred Corn was nineteen at the time. A freshman ostensibly majoring in French literature, Alfred found himself in a spring semester English class at Emory University. Along with his classmates, he was intrigued, if not entranced,... Read more

The “Bright Side” of Funerals for the Young

  It was nearly time. Chuck’s funeral would start in a few hours and it wouldn’t be easy. The circumstances that brought me to this day were described in my previous post (Late Flowers for a Friend – Lamenting Chuck’s Death). Now the reality was setting in. The funeral for a forty year-old. With a fiance and two children. With a living father, mother and stepmother. With a younger sister – now become an only child. It was nearly time.... Read more

Late Flowers for a Friend – Lamenting Chuck’s Death

It came to me in a series of texts. Three classic Iphone beeps to be exact. Clearly, someone had a longer message for me, but it would have to wait. At the time, I was roomed with a patient removing sutures from his foot. The sutures were deeply buried and required that I pull them a bit harder to access the loop that needed to be cut. Going deep can be painful. But if you don’t go deep, you risk... Read more

God’s Extras

Extras. That’s what it was called. It was a simple enough title and premise. Between 2005 and 2007, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant (the bright minds behind the original British series, The Office) created, wrote and acted in this clever and discomfiting series about a pathetic actor, his dim-witted actress friend and his hapless agent. The aspirations of these three were simple and naked. They wanted to make it big in the acting industry. They wanted to strike it rich.... Read more

The Bittersweet Life in the Trenches

  “Remember, Tod, life is in the trenches.” – Dad I remember it quite clearly when he said it. And it hit me hard. My dad was sitting across the table from me at a Burger King. My stepmom was sitting next to him. We had just walked away from a Sunday church service that was the culminating event of a weekend non-denominational retreat known as “Teens Encounter Christ”. While I had always heard good things about this retreat, my personal... Read more

A Lullaby from God: My Lunch with Bruce Springsteen

Lunch was about to begin. And I was hungry. Working in an internal medicine clinic, I cherish the opportunity to leave the stresses and concerns of patient care behind for an hour and commune with my dearest friends. Within ten minutes, three or four of us are packed in a car en route to our regular haunt to eat. Our initial conversation is peppered with towel-snapping humor and self-deprecating stories. However, within a short time we invariably find ourselves exploring... Read more

Manning, Brady & the Little Secret of the Big Game

“Say, I’ve been thinking…” That’s how it began…To all my married male friends out there, you know what it means when your wife utters these four words. Something big is about to happen. Perhaps what follows the pause is something like, “It’s time to start looking for a new house” or  “Let’s undertake a major landscaping enterprise” or “We need to purge our house of the junk that you, dear husband, have kept for too long.”. Yes. When my wife... Read more

Not Missing the Sacramental Journey: Hilaire Belloc’s “The Four Men”

“And I said to myself , inside my own mind: ‘What are you doing? You are upon some business that takes you far, not even for ambition or for adventure, but only to earn. And you will cross the sea and earn your money, and you will come back and spend more than you have earned. But all the while your life runs past you like a river, and the things that are of moment to men you do not heed... Read more

G.K. Chesterton & The Impotence of Nightmares

  “It is not always wrong even to go, like Dante, to the brink of the lowest promontory and look down at hell. It is when you look up at hell that a serious miscalculation has probably been made.” – G.K. Chesterton It was simply an essay written for the Daily News. It really could have been routine. Yet nothing G.K. Chesterton ever wrote was “routine”. This essay was terrifying. It was called, “The Nightmare”. It was dusk and Chesterton... Read more
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