The Human Wisdom of St. Thomas, by Josef Pieper

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In 1948, Josef Pieper published a selection of short texts from the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, specifically, those texts he wanted to bring to the attention of his friends so that they could come to understand the character and thought of St. Thomas. The texts (often no more than a sentence) are arranged in a particular order by topic, so as to lead the reader through the philosophical thought of the saint. The book is entitled The Human Wisdom of St. Thomas.Beyond a short … [Read more...]

Woof Guide to Obscure Catholic Music: The Conventional Friars

The Conventional Friars are a Catholic novelty band started by six sophomores from the Franciscan College of Sts. Bonaventure and Gussie in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho in the fall of 1992. The ensemble first came together for a school talent show, to a strong response from the assembled students. Despite this, they continued to appear at campus events, wearing their signature chicken suits and performing songs like "Make Me An Omelette of Your Peace" and "They'll Know We Are Chickens By Our … [Read more...]

Bootstrapping the Interior Life: Feelings

When you embark on the interior life, you'll find that feelings come with it. Sometimes you'll feel that God is so close you can practically touch him. Sometimes (alas) you'll feel so bored you'd rather do anything else—almost. Sometimes even more than almost.The thing is, the interior life isn't about feelings; it's about an objective relationship with Jesus Christ. It's about knowing Christ and loving Christ, which is to say it's a matter of the intellect and of the will. It's about c … [Read more...]

On Being a Conduit of Love

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Receiving God's love is kind of like tuning in on a radio signal. God's love is always there: fifty-thousands watts straight out of paradise, and you can catch the signal anywhere on earth. And we're natural receivers, we men and women; God designed us to pick up on the signal with high fidelity. But we're almost all of us badly out of tune with that signal: we pick up it fitfully, now and then, here and there.Now, love is naturally expressive of itself, says St. Thomas, and it seems to … [Read more...]

The Touchstone of Obedience: Medjugorge and Other Apparitions

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I am not an apparitions kind of guy. I'm aware of Fatima and Guadalupe and Lourdes, and find them somewhat interesting, but they don't form a significant part of my daily spirituality. Thus, I have no particular dog in the fight over the apparitions in Medjugorge; but this week's statement about Medjugorge from the CDF (i.e., don't assume the apparitions are real) led me to reflect on obedience and humility, which I regard as perhaps the most important touchstones for the behavior of living … [Read more...]

Sixtus A Capella

In response to this post, the geographically named Joe Washingtoncatholic pointed me at a genuinely real and truly obscure Catholic Musical Group made up of seminarians from Washington DC: Sixtus A Capella. They are surprisingly good, and more than a little goofy.Here, for example, is an obviously lip-synced, gymnastically goofy, truly low budget video to a really good rendition of "A Man of Constant Sorrow":And here's a neat piece by another group called Breath of Soul, which I … [Read more...]

Woof Guide to Obscure Catholic Music: Deacon Greg and the Dalmatics

New York cover band Deacon Greg and the Dalmatics is a regular sight on the charity benefit circuit, bringing their low-key mix of contemporary pop tunes and doo wop classics to galas and telethons up and down the east coast. The members of the band, Catholic deacons all, bring a straight-ahead aesthetic to their covers that makes the best use of their combined talents while respecting the source material. On particularly popular tunes the Dalmatics will occasionally add a topical reference or … [Read more...]

The Pony Principle

Digital image courtesy of the Getty's Open Content Program.

Many years ago I formulated what I call the Pony Principle, which is this: if you really want a pony for Christmas, ask your parents for a pony. You probably won't get it—but if you don't ask for a pony, you certainly won't get it.Or, to put it less colorfully: ask for what you really want, even if it seems unreasonable. Of course, you have to ask cheerfully, and you have to be willing to take no for an answer; and when you get "No!" for an answer you have to take that cheerfully as well. … [Read more...]

The Dogmat Sez

When you're a layperson, the world is your cloister. … [Read more...]


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