John the Baptist & the Hard Truth About Advent

 John (the Baptist) in the Wilderness by Michelangelo Merisi da CaravaggioHe was fierce. Wild, even.And yet, he was strikingly lucid.Oh, he could scare a person. Especially if he made eye contact with you from across the crowd. If he shook his rough hewn staff at you and uttered those words that cut to the core of your complacency, he could scare you. Because what he said was true. John the Baptist didn't come to win friends. He came to shake us.  To peasants and Pharisees, to s … [Read more...]

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“This Night Must Lead to Light”: Father Delp, the Nazis & Advent

He rubbed his wrists. It couldn't be helped.The manacles had been on since Father Alfred Delp's arrest and the hard-edged steel bit into his flesh. Constantly. It was a special torture for all "conspirators" implicated in the July 20th (1944) Plot against the Fuhrer. But Father Delp wasn't a conspirator. He had been asked as a Jesuit and sociology expert to meet with Count Helmuth James Graf von Moltke and a circle of German citizens (later dubbed the Kreisau Circle) in 1942-43 to discuss … [Read more...]

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The Most Arrogant Coronation

 It was extraordinary.In 1804, under the vaulted, holy arches of France's finest cathedral, a coronation was about to take place. Hundreds of choristers and orchestral members nervously found their way to tightly packed quarters and prepared to offer triumphant strains of glory to their sovereign. Notables from innumerable governmental and cultural institutions as well as foreign diplomats arrived in their finery to witness the momentous event. And the military tramped in to lend a … [Read more...]

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God Protect France

  It was a dark time. October, 1940.The French colossus of Napoleon and the proud juggernaut of the Great War had succumbed to the Nazi Blitzkrieg in June of 1940. Now, four months later, the fiery-hearted, passionate French chafed under the humiliating yoke of the Nazis in the rump state of Vichy France. The terrible words of the former French Prime Minister Paul Reynaud echoed in the ears of the citizens."[If HItler won the war] it would be the Middle Ages again, but … [Read more...]

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Scared to Become a Saint

  Once upon a time, not long ago, I prayed that God would make me a Saint.Now, I don't go around divulging the innermost conversations I have with God lightly, but hear me out. In the midst of the topsy-turvy world we live in where one stress replaces or compounds another, there is something heartening not only in the Truth found in our Catholic Faith, but in the Saints who lived it out most fully. St. Thomas More, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Augustine, St. Catherine of … [Read more...]

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On Pilgrimage & Sacramentality – Hilaire Belloc’s “The Four Men”

Author's Note: This piece was written for Joseph Pearce's St. Austin Review (November/December 2015 edition), please link here to peruse and subscribe.Recently, upon reading Hilaire Belloc’s classic The Four Men, I came to a new appreciation: the virtue of “re-reading”. The first read, I have learned, always tells you what happened, but each subsequent read tells you what it means. There is no better work to re-read than a book about a pilgrimage. Especially one described by Hilaire Belloc. W … [Read more...]

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