The Indispensability of Fairy Tales

cs-lewis reading

And so she fell asleep...and had dreams. Wonderful dreams. Clara had spent a magical Christmas Eve with family and friends. But perhaps most marvelous were the games played and stories woven by her godfather Drosselmeyer. His games delighted Clara, but  his tale of the toy, oh the toy - the gallant Nutcracker. The tale insinuated itself into young Clara's mind so as to bring her sweet dreams to life: a toy-become-man, a dazzling sugar-plum fairy, a land of sweets, a nefarious Mouse King with his … [Read more...]

The Most Beautiful Thing I Saw at the Nutcracker


"Which do you like, Dad, the boots or the shoes?" My six year-old posed a fashion query to me. A cute black dress with leggings and a purple cardigan sweater begged for the right footwear. I was the closest (in distance) authority on the issue. I looked at my scuffed slip-on dress shoes, thought strategically and asked, "Which do you like? They're both beautiful." Kindly, and with a wearying indulgence, she asked me again as it made "no difference" to her. I gambled on shoes. She wore the … [Read more...]

Almsgiving & Pope Francis – The Person of the Year

Bergoglio washing feet

"Only charity can convert the soul, freeing it from unworthy motives.”  - St. Bernard of ClairvauxAnd so Time Magazine has spoken. Pope Francis is the 2013 "Person of the Year". Years ago, when I had an insatiable appetite for the news, I would gleefully snatch up each year's iconic anointment of the man (or woman) who earned the hallowed title of "Person of the Year". Presidents, despots, innovators, and iconoclasts have merited the accolade. However, Time Magazine has become increasingly i … [Read more...]

God’s Call: Of Golden Strings & Fisherman’s Lines


"Vocation does not come from a voice out there calling me to be something I am not. It comes from a voice in here calling me to be the person I was born to be, to fulfill the original selfhood given me at birth by God.”  - Thomas Merton It was the morning of the Rite of Election, a special step of affirmation in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). And I was eager. After all, I was one of five candidates for conversion to the Catholic Faith being warmly sent from my parish ch … [Read more...]

Old Friends

NPG 3654,Conversation piece,by Sir James Gunn

"And we must look far deeper into the soul of man for the thing that produces friendliness." - G.K. ChestertonIt seemed quite simple. They hoped to become new friends. A summer day in 1908 found Henry and William stopping to say hello to their new neighbor, G.K. Chesterton. And Chesterton was a nervous, but thoughtful host. Renting a vacation home in the small town of Rye in East Sussex, the thirty-four year old journalist and author anticipated spending time with his wife, Francis, and … [Read more...]

The Vital Necessity of Advent


   "Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless." - G.K. Chesterton.   Dear Jesus, do I need Advent. I just do. Living in the upper Midwest during the melancholic waning days of fall, begrudging the early arrival of snow flurries and enduring the bone-chill that summer had (mockingly) made me forget, I need Advent. You see, I am predisposed to what Winston Churchill once called "the black dog". The black dog is an ill-defined woefulness that can gnaw at you at … [Read more...]