Worms, foul-smelling liquids, and filthy shreds of cloth

The Christian is hooked on either side and stretched between two disparate statements about his death: "Remember that you are dust" -- muttered by Catholic priests as they draw a cross of ashes on the believing brow -- and "Remember, O Christian, your dignity" -- the mighty words of Pope Saint Leo the Great, extolling us to marvel over the fact that we are destined to live forever, sharing "in God’s own nature.""...and to dust you shall return," the priests finish, pushing us into the deep da … [Read more...]


Son: Why bother with the boring reading, the difficult thinking, the never-ending study and the tortuous editing -- why bother with work when a cup of coffee, a little luck and the right mood produces the best writing I've written?Father: Work is compost. It cannot make you great. It can only make you ready. It stinks, but in its stinking you'll become fertile soil for the seeds of inspiration contained in your coffee, your good mood and your rare moments of luck. … [Read more...]

Popes Should Resign More Often


There is an tendency amongst many Catholics to view the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI as a quirk, a historical aberration, something wild and crazy -- now let's get back to a "till death do you part" papacy, thanks. This, at least, was my attitude towards the whole affair for quite some time. But I wasn't listening to Benedict. The man didn't resign for personal reasons that may or not be repeated. He resigned for reasons that created a norm, an example to follow, an expectation -- a … [Read more...]

Notes Regarding Sin, to be Read Sharply and Mockingly to Myself in Times of Desolation

"I cannot pray after so great a sin." And are you too ill to see a doctor? Too thirsty to drink? Too dirty to take a shower?*It is better to risk being seen as a hypocrite by praying after sin than to risk growing cold in God's arms by refusing to.*From the perspective of despair, sin is the end of prayer. From the perspective of hope, sin is the beginning. Christ stands on the side of hope when he describes the just prayer: "God, have mercy on me, a … [Read more...]

Facts, Facts, Facts!


"You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them.”  - Charles Dickens, Hard Times That human beings long to fly tells us far more about humanity than the fact that they walk on two legs. That teenagers daydream about the anarchy of a “zombie apocalypse” is a greater insight into their essential disposition than the fact that they use Facebook. A man is best known, not by what he has, but by what he dreams of having, for what he has is … [Read more...]

The Difference Between a Hashtag and a Hail Mary


We are more aware of evil than any generation before us. We receive news-stories of illnesses we've never heard of breaking out in countries whose names we cannot pronounce. We are updated -- between cat-videos -- with terrorist bombings, genocides, hurricanes, shootings, and rapes. We are daily informed of suffering we cannot relieve.Though the mode of the Internet tends to level tragedies into objects of interest -- nestling images of the crucifixion of Christians in Syria alongside … [Read more...]

Netflix and Good Ol’ American Despair


If freedom is an exploding horizon of possible options and a friendly butt-tap of encouragement to "go, choose one," I'll take some mild form of oppression -- thanks. The eternal possibility of "another option" isn't a space to stretch my arms and sing the national anthem -- it is the paralysis of the human person into grotesque inaction. This is best shown by Netflix.To sit down and choose "any movie" out of the massive expanse of options Netflix offers is nearly impossible. Every choice is … [Read more...]

Lent is for Everyone


You -- assuming you are a person, not a corporation or a spam-bot -- are a source of action. You do not merely react to stimulus, respond to other events, or receive the motion of some prior reality into yourself and express its power out of mechanical necessity -- you also do. Your actions originate in you. In this sense, you are an uncaused cause -- an unmoved mover.This is evident in the experience of responsibility. To be responsible for something is an existential acknowledgment of your … [Read more...]

To My Readers in Europe

You have better things to do than read my cranial excretions, such as eating Milka bars, going to Church in the undoubtedly gorgeous cathedral at the center of your city, or watching soccer. But since -- by the edict of some strange and masochistic god -- you are instead reading this blog, I have a request.I am currently studying in Europe, and I plan to travel quite a bit. Your food is delicious and cheap, but your hotels are neither -- and your hostels are often full.If any of you … [Read more...]

God and gods


It seems apparent to me that, if the atheist wishes to disprove or otherwise snub his empirically verifiable nose at the idea of God, he ought to be sure that knows what the word "God" refers to. David Bentley Hart makes this one of the central propositions of his book "The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss," where he contends that "the more scrutiny one accords [the God Debate] the more evident it becomes that often the contending parties are not even talking about the same thing; … [Read more...]