The Pony Principle

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...]

Thomas Aquinas, by Denys Turner

Thomas Aquinas, by Denys Turner, might be the best book on Thomas Aquinas that I've yet seen. It's a book about Thomas the man, Thomas the saint, and only secondarily about Thomas the philosopher and theologian. The author says,It is a profile sketched out in thin strokes of the pen, exaggerating a few features out of all proportion and omitting many more altogether. It is therefore a caricature. But caricatures do not always distort. At best they reveal the prominent features of a … [Read more...]

Bootstrapping the Interior Life: Cooperation

Looked at one way, the interior life is a long series of repairs. We are broken people in so many ways, we fall so far short of the perfection God has in mind for us; and as we grow in the interior life these things slowly get fixed.I wrote this post in the middle of a long kitchen remodel; and perhaps not coincidentally, it occurred to me that growing in the interior life is less like being a handyman and playing Mr. Fix-It in your own home, and more like hiring a contractor to remodel … [Read more...]

Mere Catholicism

So Elizabeth Scalia welcomed me to Patheos on her blog a couple of days ago, and quoted my post "Righteously Bad Theology." One of her readers left a rather cryptic comment on her post:wonderful selection, I'm Catholic patheos is taking the progressive approach...I'm assuming that some word like "glad" or "pleased" or "happy" was omitted between the words "I'm" and "Catholic", in which case the reader is assuming that I'm going to be a progressive voice at Patheos. I think this would … [Read more...]

Righteously Bad Theology

As the Anchoress noted a couple of days ago, a server in Overland Park, Kansas went to pick up a check after restaurant patrons had eaten, and found this message on the bill:Thank you for your service, it was excellent. That being said, we cannot in good conscience tip you, for your homosexual lifestyle is an affront to GOD. Queers do not share in the wealth of GOD, and you will not share in ours. We hope you will see the tip your fag choices made you lose out on, and plan accordingly. It is … [Read more...]

Peter Follows and Leads

Tom McDonald points out how it's supposed to work: first you sit at the feet of Christ, and then you share the message with others. It's an outstanding post; you should go read the whole thing. … [Read more...]

Bootstrapping the Interior Life: Grace

Pursuing the interior life—a life of holiness—is not easy, but fortunately God doesn't leave us to our own resources. As I noted a couple of weeks ago, when we think of God that means that God's calling us. More than that, He gives us the help we need in the form of grace...which term basically means "the help that we need that God gives us."To put it another way, you can't get to know God on your own; He's got to be part of the process.God is free to give grace to anyone He pleases, an … [Read more...]

St. Benedict for Moms

If I were not a Lay Dominican, I'd probably be a Benedictine Oblate. Benedictines are all about stability: choosing to live in one monastery, with one set of people, and learning to live with each other. Benedictines don't get to move on when there's trouble; they have to stay. Me, I live with five other people whom I have spent years learning to live with, and we're all living in the house I grew up. I get stability. And then Benedictines are all about prayer and work, and for Benedictines … [Read more...]