“Inside the Cloister”: Casey N. Cep on Joy Within the “Jesus Cage”

in the New Yorker: ...The community at Rockford, one of around fifty or so in the United States, was organized in 1916. It was first housed in a Victorian home, then in a former sanitarium. In 1962, it moved onto its current fourteen-acre campus. The Poor Clares at Rockford observe extreme poverty, by fasting and going barefoot. Theirs is a contemplative order, meaning that, unlike active orders, they separate themselves from the world, embracing solitude and silence, devoting themselves to … [Read more...]

In Defense of Wasting Your Life

Speaking of contradictory truths... I often tell this story when I talk: A couple of years ago I received a poignant email from a man who said, among other things, that he did accept the Church’s teaching and was trying to live up to it. But he still wondered: What happens if I change my mind? What happens if, years from now, I look back on my celibate life—will I regret it? Will it seem like an enormous waste?I think it depends. If one’s celibacy is purely rule-following, then yeah, once yo … [Read more...]

The Prison of My Person, The Shackles of My Skin

Wesley Hill quotes some powerful words from CS Lewis on masturbation and lustful fantasy: For me the real evil of masturbation would be that it takes an appetite which, in lawful use, leads the individual out of himself to complete (and correct) his own personality in that of another (and finally in children and even grandchildren) and turns it back: sends the man back into the prison of himself, there to keep a harem of imaginary brides. And this harem, once admitted, works against his ever … [Read more...]

St Makarii of Optino, quoted in “The Orthodox Way”

[St Isaac the Syrian] also says, "God's grace comes of itself, suddenly, without our seeing it approach. It comes when the place is clean." Therefore, carefully, diligently, constantly clean the place; sweep it with the broom of humility. … [Read more...]

From “The Orthodox Way”

Perhaps apatheia can best be translated "purity of heart." It signifies advancing from instability to stability, from duplicity to simplicity or singleness of heart, from the immaturity of fear and suspicion to the maturity of innocence and trust. … [Read more...]

From “The Orthodox Way”

Our aim in the life of prayer is not to gain feelings or "sensible" experiences of any particular kind, but simply and solely to conform our will to God's. "I seek not what is yours but you," says St Paul to the Corinthians (2 Cor 12:14); and we say the same to God. We seek not the gifts but the Giver. … [Read more...]

Your Profession of Faith Is Not the Catholic Church’s TOS

Walk with me through some possibly ill-formed and definitely ill-informed thoughts about what it means to profess one's faith. I had to do this when I was becoming Catholic--I think this took place during Confirmation? probably that's wrong--and there was a set formula which I always misremember but which was probably actually, "I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God."What (on earth) did I mean? What should I have … [Read more...]


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