Finding Yourself and Other Half-Truths

If I may begin abruptly: an ex-girlfriend once told me we couldn’t be together because she had to find herself first, and I’d heard that many times before—from friends, from acquaintances, really just belching forth in popping bubbles from the social soup in which we swim. It’s a common refrain, and, to be frank, one that gets disparaged quite a bit, especially within academic and Christian communities, in which bloggers, tweeters, and opiners of all kinds think themselves smarter than… Read more

1054: History, Myth, and the Making of a Schism (Full Essay)

  This post is a consolidation of an essay written by Nathan Smolin, a PhD Student in Classics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, originally published in three parts (which can be found here, here, and here). In order to make this long, but incredibly insightful, work more easily navigable and readable, I’ve republished it here. I hope it may benefit you, dear reader. Among the supposed “great dates” of history, one stands out strongly to those interested… Read more

What’s so Great About the Great Books?

I’m currently at a conference at Notre Dame. Yesterday, I took part in a panel that, whatever its initial pretensions, ended up discussing concepts like “Great Books” and “humanism,” two nebulous, but, in their own way, important, topics. I owe much to my interlocutors, so I’d like to start by offering my thanks; the following (in)coherent ramblings are, at bottom, rooted in what they had to share. These questions seem worthy of address largely because there’s a lot of discussion… Read more

A Meditation on the “Jesus Prayer”

Over a month ago I decided I’d do a series of meditations: one on the “Our Father,” one on the “Hail Mary,” and one on the “Jesus Prayer.” Then my General Exams got in the way, taking me away from blogging for far too long. Finally, I’d like to complete this little chain of reflections. Why? Predominantly because I initially thought of these meditations as a way to improve my own prayer life, to more deeply involve my mind in… Read more

Vanity, Vanity

I called a friend today, and after chatting about his insomnia and our mutual affection for certain philosophers, he hit me with something surprising: “well yeah; that’s because we’re both vain people.” It hit me hard, in the way I think fraternal correction ought. There was no accusation; rather, there was a sort of mutual condemnation—even if unintended—a verbal enactment of that reality we all ought to meditate upon: that I (each of us to ourselves) is the first among… Read more

A Meditation on the “Hail Mary”

As I noted the other day, I’ve been trying to be more attentive in my prayer, not merely in the sense of more aware of which prayers I do say but more importantly in intentionally reflecting on the words of those prayers—the individual units that make up whatever I am asking of God. What has become clearer for me is that petitionary prayer is never just a question of requests—worse yet, demands—but instead a rich mode of contemplation. The words… Read more

A Meditation on the “Our Father”

How glorious a prayer it is; a safe haven against all manner of anxieties and pains. Read more

What Is Religious Art?

Does our definition of religious art matter? Read more

For Those Considering Leaving the Church

People leave the Church for many reasons. In our time, there are some who depart because of their commitment to specific political ideas that soon enough manifest as theological ones. In this camp, I would put traditionalist-leaning Catholics who identify with the American or European Right. Orthodoxy often becomes, at first a reasonable, and before long, an irresistible, alternative to the state of the current Catholic Church. When one is deeply concerned with issues like immigration and the (often nebulous)… Read more

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