Feline Spirituality: Lessons Learned from Christopher’s Cat

Christopher Smart c. 1745

"For he purrs in thankfulness when God tells him he's a good cat." Eighteenth-century English poet Christopher Smart was a complex man. A gifted poet and writer, a successful magazine editor and composer of music for the theatre, Smart was nonetheless known for excessive drinking and reckless spending. He suffered from a religious mania that compelled him to continuous prayer. His good friend, poet Samuel Johnson, commenting on that aspect of his personality, wrote, "My poor friend Smart showed … [Read more...]

Dom Sebastian Moore’s “Poor Little Who”–I Don’t Get It!

Dom Sebastian Moore

Dom Sebastian Moore, Benedictine monk, moral theologian and poet, died on February 28 at the age of 96.  His funeral will be held March 14 at Downside Abbey.A controversial figure in the Church, Moore was an avowed homosexual; he disagreed openly with Pope John Paul II's thought-provoking body of writings which, collectively, are known as "The Theology of the Body."   He made it his habit to write a sonnet every day--and frequently, his poems took pot shots at elements of the Catholic Faith w … [Read more...]

A BIRD IS A POEM IS AN ALTAR: The Elegant “Pattern Poetry” of George Herbert

George Herbert (1593 – 1633) was a Welsh poet, orator and Anglican priest.  He was wealthy, artistic and talented, and enjoyed prominence at Cambridge University and, later, in the British Parliament.Herbert had long been attracted to the priesthood, though; and in his late 30s he refocused his attention on God and was ordained in the Church of England.  He served a rural parish in Wiltshire, southwest of London, in 1630.  During his brief ministry, he wrote unique and deeply spiritual poem … [Read more...]