St. Andrew and the Scots

Today is the feast day of Saint Andrew, who according to tradition was crucified on a diagonal or X-shaped cross, as depicted on the national Flag of Scotland. In addition to being the patron saint of fisherman (and fishmongers), golfers, rope-makers, singers, and spinsters (!), Andrew is probably best known, at least in America, as the patron of Scotland.But here's an obvious question: why would Andrew, a Jewish fisherman, brother of Peter, one of the twelve apostles who went on to be … [Read more...]

The Tyranny of Labels

Several folks have pointed out to me that my response to critical comments left on this blog lately has, to put it bluntly, lacked humility. I've allowed myself to get into a place of defensiveness, and that has colored both my blogging and my commenting. To such an observation, I fear I can only say nolo contendere. At least one person has declared that he will no longer be reading this blog. I'm sorry he feels he needs to go, but I understand why he's been disappointed here. I'm  sorry that my … [Read more...]

On a pleasant bank beside a river by moonlight…

Happy birthday, William Blake. An Angel came to me and said: 'O pitiable foolish young man! O horrible! O dreadful state! consider the hot burning dungeon thou art preparing for thyself to all eternity, to which thou art going in such career.' I said: 'perhaps you will be willing to shew me my eternal lot & we will contemplate together upon it and see whether your lot or mine is most desirable.' So he took me thro' a stable & thro' a church & down into the church vault at the end of … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

For prayer is a supernatural activity or nothing at all; and it must primarily be directed to supernatural ends. It too acknowledges the soul's basic law: it comes from God, belongs to God, is destined for God. It must begin, end, and be enclosed in the atmosphere of adoration; aiming at God for and in Himself. Our ultimate effect as transmitters of the supernal light and love directly depends on this adoring attentiveness. — Evelyn Underhill, Concerning the Inner Life … [Read more...]

Of Atheists and Apophatics…

An interesting article recently appeared in the New York Daily News, by one of the "celebrity atheists," Daniel Dennett: The Unbelievable Truth: Why America has become a nation of religious know-nothings. In this article, Dennett argues that non-believers — agnostics and atheists — are, generally speaking, more knowledgeable about religion than are those who believe.I'm not quite ready to accept the triumphalist way in which Dennett interprets his data. He suggests that atheists know more than … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

If the only prayer you say in your life is 'Thank you,' that would be enough." — Meister Eckhart … [Read more...]

Mysticism and Missing the Point

A reader named William Law (I wonder if he's related to the author of A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life?) has not been shy about attacking the basic premise of this blog. Here are a few quotes from recent comments of his (all made to one recent post): The discussion of mysticism and writing about mysticism as an “object” is specious and misses the point.How words just multiply like rabbits. There comes a point where explaining is too much like a hamster on his wheel. There is real pow … [Read more...]


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