Wesley Hill on Robinson’s “Home”

here; and definitely spoilerous for the overall mood of the book's ending: Imagine that someone failed and disgraced came back to his family, and they grieved with him, and took his sadness upon themselves, and sat down together to ponder the mysteries of human life. This is… human and beautiful, I propose, even if it yields no dulling of pain, no patching of injuries. Perhaps it is the calling of some families to console, because intractable grief is visited upon them. And perhaps measures of t … [Read more...]

“Sometimes You Want to Go Where Nobody Knows Your Name”: Me on “Home”

a searing novel by Marilynne Robinson: You have preserved my life from the pit of destruction, when you cast behind your back all my sins. – Isaiah 38:17Speaking to reporters on a plane back from World Youth Day in Rio, Pope Francis made headlines with his comment, “If [gay people] accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them?” But the hoopla around this comment obscured an even more radical statement in a similar vein: “I see that so many times in the Church, apart from this ca … [Read more...]

Take the Guns, Leave the Cannoli–Unless the Cannoli Is What You Need!

I'm a compulsive giver of advice. Despite my demonstrable lack of ability to run my own life like a person, I appear to believe that I could do well running yours. Now and then my friends have to basically say, "That's great and all, stop helping." I have the stereotypical guy thing where the wife just wants to be heard and commiserated with, and the husband insists on trying to solve the problem.Because of this, which I'm trying to present cutely but which can really become a character … [Read more...]

“Unmaker’s Mark”: I review “What Happened to Sophie Wilder”

at AmCon: ...There’s a lot going on here. There’s Sophie’s quest for identity (she has three different surnames throughout the novel), a quest she seems to be trying to escape—she wants to surrender to an identity, sink into it, rather than having to go out and conquer and defend it. She doesn’t want her conversion and subsequent changed life to be about her search for self, but about her encounter with God.There’s a grim consideration of suffering and how it resists narrative. If you demand … [Read more...]

“Our Hearts Are Restless”: Powerful Piece on Vocation

from Catholicism for Cutters: ...Within a day of relative silence and solitude, I found not peace but an inner restlessness. It’s always been there—and perhaps always will be—it’s driven me in my academic pursuits and in my drug abuse, at my best and at my worst. And it was certainly what drove me to the Church. But I always found the famous quote from St. Augustine—”O Lord, our hearts are restless until the rest in You”—to be more of a torment than a comfort, a prickly accusation that I was not … [Read more...]

“Holy Agony”: I’m at Commonweal

reviewing the Met's recent Dialogues of the Carmelites:The Metropolitan Opera’s recent production of Dialogues of the Carmelites opens with a group of habited women prostrating themselves on the floor with their arms spread. Their bodies are individual crosses that make up one big cross. This opening for Francis Poulenc’s 1956 opera, adapted from a play by Georges Bernanos and based on a real incident during the French Revolution, seems to subsume the women into a collective identity: the … [Read more...]

“The Prayer of Honest Desire”: This is super-great

And it is here within his conception of moral practice as desire-discovery—or as he calls it, “practical wisdom”—that for Thomas a principal means of tracing the way back to what we really want, is prayer, oratio. And our only available starting point for that practice of self-discovery is our wants and desires as we actually experience them. Therefore, Thomas says, we ought to pray for what we think we want regardless. For prayer is “in a certain manner a hermeneutic of the human will,” so that … [Read more...]


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