Time marches on, and our job is to keep up with it. So if you’re reading this, you’re doing great. You’re staying alive. Sometimes those of us with a melancholic streak gotta relish whatever little victory we can get. Sometimes enduring and putting all of your efforts into accomplishing the most menial tasks — getting out of the house, exercising, eating well, or just getting out of bed — takes all of your strength. But you’ve done it so far…. Read more

“Ring the bells that still can ring Forget your perfect offering There is a crack, a crack in everything That’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen, Anthem   On Palm Sunday, it looked like Christmas day. Here in Indiana, it snowed five inches and threw us all into the depths of despair. All that is, excepting my four year old son who seems to have mastered this “finding joy in all things” trope that everyone is always on… Read more

The curtain is about to rise on the greatest week of the year for Catholicism. The first act is this Sunday, when the church-going Catholics stand for the lengthy and familiar reading from the Gospel. The story is a familiar one, acted halfheartedly by the congregation and the priest. “Prophesy!” most of us shout, pronouncing it as a noun instead of a verb , and somehow causing the story to make less sense. See, that’s what I do: I play… Read more

“I think that we human beings have a compass, a mysterious compass, which leads us to do what is right.” –Jean Vanier   Hearing the quote above–which begins Summer in the Forest, a documentary about L’Arche, founded by Jean Vanier–I was afraid the film itself would be overly pat and syrupy. I was wrong. When four men labeled as “idiots” were confined to a life of imprisonment in asylum-like institutes in the 1960’s, a young Canadian philosopher named Jean Vanier secured their… Read more

In anticipation of the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, Sick Pilgrim is featuring a series of essays on Natural Family Planning, the only acceptable method of achieving or avoiding pregnancy according to the teaching of the Catholic Church. These essays will not present ideological stances or theological arguments, but will simply offer unvarnished testimony from individuals who have used NFP. The struggles and sufferings that NFP carries with it frequently go undiscussed, and we wanted to offer a space for honest conversation. The… Read more

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.” ~Rainier Maria… Read more

  In Camera Lucida, Roland Barthes speaks of the photograph’s punctum, of the detail that punctures, that draws the attention of the individual viewer and provokes an emotional response based on personal associations.  There’s a photograph of me as a baby, wearing something soft and white, including a soft, white hat with a huge pom-pom.  I’m being held by Peter, my erstwhile father (who I haven’t seen in years).  I believe we’re standing on a porch, and in this black… Read more

Why would a Protestant want to be part of Sick Pilgrim? There are basically two ways of thinking about what it means to be a Protestant Christian. One road is that of ascetic severity: if it’s not in the Bible or a given book of confessions, then it has to be thrown out. Calvinist strands in particular have tended to expel both extra-biblical Christian lore and the sensory engagement that has characterized popular piety – icons, incense, Marian devotion, etc…. Read more

Art by the crimson and reflective Brian Jocks. My sophomore year at Taylor University, a small Christian college in Indiana, I sat between two friends on a couch, watching a movie in our dorm. I was eating a snack-size package of bland vanilla cookies — the only sweet thing they’d had for sale at the front desk. They weren’t very good, but I couldn’t stop eating them. I didn’t know why, didn’t investigate why. But I was the only one… Read more

Several years ago, I happened upon naturalist Sallie Wolf’s website detailing her “moon project.” For 20 years, Wolf has observed the moon, desiring as she put it, to live like a preliterate person, without access to books or the internet, learning only through the power of her own observation. She developed a visual tool for charting the moon’s position in the sky, a semicircular diagram that she called “my watchful eye.” For years, along with all the other records and musings and… Read more

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