Memorial Day

Ft. Leavenworth Military Cemetery

photo credit: William H. Duquette, 2006, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas … [Read more...]

My Road to Catholic Belief

Mountain Highway

Last week I explained why there is no magic bullet for belief, no simple, straightforward argument that will compel belief in the Christian God.  This raises some questions: how do believers come to believe in Christianity?  And how can Christian belief be rational absent such proofs?First, most Christians come to belief experientially.  Some are taught as children, and later reach out to accept what God has for them: they "taste and see that the Lord is good," as scripture has it.  Others co … [Read more...]

What’s Religion Good For?


Recently Patheos had a forum on what Religion is good for, which I did not have time to participate in. But it's an important question, and since I have Views I wanted to write about it anyway."What is Religion good for?" is an important question because it's entirely the wrong question.The word "religion" stems from a Latin word meaning "binding", and in its most narrow sense refers to those practices and actions we are "bound" to undertake in service and worship of the Divine.  In its … [Read more...]

We Are Promises of Goodness

Jacob's ladder

Have you ever gotten stuck while reading a book? I don't mean "stuck" as in "unable to read another word"; I mean "stuck" as in "this paragraph has grabbed me and won't let go."While preparing to lead the formation group for my Lay Dominican chapter this year, I came across this odd little book, published in the 1950's, that identifies itself on the spine as My Way of Life by St. Thomas. The title page proclaims it as My Way of Life: Pocket Edition of St. Thomas, The Summa Simplified for … [Read more...]

Learning Something New: Establishing a Bridgehead

The Explorer Sets Out

Over the last couple of days I’ve been looking through some of the books (and by “books” I mean books, with covers and paper pages) I’ve bought over the last ten years, in an attempt to bring some order to my bedroom and den.  I’ve been using Kindle for most of my fiction reading since the first Amazon Kindle, and so most of the books I’ve been looking at involve my various interests over that period.  I’ve acquired a lot of books about photography (a big interest in the 2005-2006 time frame), an … [Read more...]

Today’s Aquinas: Nobler Beings? Who says?


Last week a reader took issue with Thomas’ use of the term “nobler beings” as being a subjective judgement.  Here is the passage in question: Another consideration: among the various perfections of things, the chief are intellect and will. A sign of this is that they are found in the nobler beings. (Emphasis mine.)  The word “noble” is a fraught one in American usage.  We either associate it with altruistic self-sacrifice (as in “a noble act”) or with the whole European social scheme we left be … [Read more...]

Prayer and the Big Game: Can You Pray Before You Play?


It's so typical a moment that it's become trite: the athlete steps out for his big moment, crosses himself, and goes on to the glory of victory...or, possibly, the agony of defeat. And every so often I hear this kind of thing: "Yeah, like God's going to win the game for him." Last Superbowl Sunday I heard several people talking about praying for their team and then dismissing it, because "Of course, God doesn't get involved in sports."We've got some interesting things going on here: … [Read more...]

Conversion, or Rearranging Your Inner Furniture

This is what we're trying to avoid

Everybody's familiar with what I'll call "Big-C" Conversion, as in, Mr. So-and-so just converted to Catholicism, or Miss Such-and-Such converted to Christianity. Tonight, though, I need to speak to our RCIA group about "Conversion"; and for Catholics there's a lot more to it than simply "I converted to Catholicism". Big-C Conversion is a real and important thing; but then comes little-c "conversion of life", an on-going process that ideally lasts the rest of one's life.The problem with … [Read more...]

Steven Brust on Being at Peace with Yourself

I remember being accosted on Forbes and Murray in Squirrel Hill by a Buddhist who expressed a desire to know if I wanted to be at peace with myself. I didn’t answer him, and I didn’t think much about it until I was reminded, thirty or forty years later, by a rant on the subject in a trashy sci-fi novel I happened to read. In general, I agree with the author of said trashy sci-fi novel: I don’t want to be at peace with myself. I want to be fighting with myself, struggling, looking for answers; I w … [Read more...]