The Desolation of the Draggin’

Dragon Statue

The Anchoress wrote last week about her experience of desolation in Penn Station. She was people-watching, a favorite activity, and then everything changed:I wouldn’t presume to say that anything was being communicated to me, but I nevertheless had a glimpse — or an overwhelming “sense” — of something. In that brief flash I knew that hovering over us, near us, within us, all about us, was an awful, unstoppable ache of love and sadness; a sense of “Oh, my people! How often I have wanted to ga … [Read more...]

Taste and See

world of warcraft

For the past several weeks I've been talking about Christian belief: how I came to belief, and the general basis for belief in Christ. In particular, I maintained the following points:God is the creator of the cosmos. He is transcendent, i.e., not part of the cosmos, but also immanent, i.e., He works actively within every part of the cosmos. We can prove through natural theology that this kind of God must exist. Natural theology doesn't tell us very much about Him. Because … [Read more...]

Lumen Fidei: The Vine and the Branches

grape vines

We often speak as though to be a Christian you have to be good—as though being good was a necessary precondition for being a Christian. In fact, the dynamic points the other way: it is through faith in Christ that we can truly become better than we are.The thing about being good is that it takes energy. It is work. And although it is work that we can undertake on a purely human level, given that the natural law is available to everyone, it is not a task that we can complete on our o … [Read more...]

Annunciation: The Mystery of Vocation


I think of the Annunciation as the Mystery of Vocation, the Mystery of Calling. The Lord called Mary to be the theotokos, the God-Bearer. Jesus calls each of us to follow him, each in our own way. Jesus called me to be a husband and father, and much later to be a lay member of the Order of Preachers. It is our part to answer that call as Mary did, with “Fiat voluntas tua.”My April piece for CatholicMom is on the First Joyful Mystery of the Rosary, the Annunciation. … [Read more...]

Why Catholicism?

St Peter status

Two weeks ago I wrote briefly about how I came to be the Catholic I am now; and last week I wrote about objective reasons why I believe Christianity to be plausibly true. Some didn't find them convincing, which doesn't surprise me at all. Outside of mathematics, there's no argument so flawlessly reasoned that it will inevitably and necessarily convince everyone—not that I lay claim to explaining these things flawlessly. Emile Zola famously examined all of the evidence for one the miraculous h … [Read more...]

Called from the Labyrinth

Phone booth

Last week in my series of posts on Lumen Fidei I focussed on paragraph 13, which describes the labyrinth of idolatry we fall into when we lack faith in Christ. We follow this thing for a little and then that thing, and we get nowhere. The solution was to let the light of faith in, and follow Christ: not to wander aimlessly, but to journey in a particular direction, toward a particular goal.But what does that journey look like? It clearly isn't a physical journey; Benedictine, Carmelites, … [Read more...]

Lumen Fidei: Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride through the Labyrinth of Idolatry

Mr. Toad, with Imp

Continuing with my journey through Lumen Fidei, I come to paragraph 13. Here Pope Francis points out that the opposite of faith is idolatry. Faith is trust in God before all created things; and idolatry is precisely faith in some created thing (whether it is a physical idol of stone or wood, or an idea minted in my own head) rather than faith in God. In that sense, whenever I turn to some created thing and give it more importance in my life than God, I have worshipped an idol. (Someone … [Read more...]

Lighting the Path Ahead


We've been talking a lot about faith here at Cry Woof over the last few weeks; and last week in particular I wrote about the "Light of Faith", a light that helps us to see things more clearly.In paragraph 9 of Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis takes it one step farther:The word spoken to Abraham contains both a call and a promise. First, it is a call to leave his own land, a summons to a new life, the beginning of an exodus which points him towards an unforeseen future. The sight which faith … [Read more...]

The Rat Pushes the Button

rats in cage

Leah Libresco has a post about monitoring her "addictions" during Lent: the activities that seem to suck up her time, to verify that they value actual value and aren't simply sucking her into a dopamine loop. I was reminded of experiments I've read about, done on rats.Put a rat in a cage with a button. If the rat pushes the button, he gets food. Rats given this option often keep pushing the button. But if you make it so that the button only sometimes provides food, the rats push the … [Read more...]