The Knox Bible is a Treasure

Knox

My First Things column this week takes a look at the madness that is upon us in these final days of a deplorably long and seemingly never-ending electoral season, and then shares what I have been using to lift myself out of the funk and fug when the headlines, opinions and debates are all-too-heavy:Still, there is a restlessness, and in recent weeks, when that feeling comes upon me, I have found an outlet in an unexpected source—Baronius Press’ newly released edition of Msgr. Ronald Knox’s t … [Read more...]

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St. Monica, Mothers, Manutergium and Father Michael

photosourceToday is the feastday of Saint Monica, mother of Saint Augustine, whose tomb I meant to visit on my last trip to Rome, but got sidetracked, because I am an idiot. As the mother of two young men, I need her help!Her feastday has Fr. Michael Duffy thinking about his mother and the mothers of priests and the manutergium:In recent years many newly ordained have carefully set aside these purificators in a bag with their name on it so that they may retain this purificator and … [Read more...]

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Stars and the Excess of Clarity

Spent some time stargazing a while back, when I couldn’t sleep.No telescope, just the naked eye, a dark neighborhood and a willingness to wonder. I was digesting a bit of Thomas Merton's The Seven Storey Mountain, and it had stayed with me through evening's pass – the sight of the stars, the early, wise writings of a monk.Does the fact that we can no longer see the stars have anything to do with our loss of wonder? These things, the stars, and all creation - they are more splendid, perfect, … [Read more...]

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Beatifying Newman, Neri & More

Chapel Shrine of Bl. John Henry Newman, Oratory Church of St. Boniface, Brooklyn. Image mine

One of the books I'll be trying to read while in Rome is John Henry Newman; Prayers, Verses and Devotions, from Ignatius Press.Just as it seems like St. Philip Neri, my Patron for this year, may have had a hand in making Rome a suddenly reality (when I discovered that our lodgings are very near his Oratory, I could almost hear him laughing), finding this book--in perfect condition--in the "used book" bin at church seemed like a gift, too. Since Pope Benedict will be beatifying Newman on … [Read more...]

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Pratchett from 2004: “Too Big to Fail”

It's not prophecy. It's not a fine or proved economic theorem. It's not even life imitating art. It's simply the way one Master Grifter recognises the cynical underhandedness of another Master Grifter. And how a very smart novelist understands the constant con:From Terry Pratchett's inventive and smart novel Going Postal, at that point where the sympathetic shyster, Moist von Lipwig, charged -on pain of death- with re-tooling the defunct Ankh-Morpork postal service, understands the … [Read more...]

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Pratchett and The Truth

Given the dishonest, troubling and bizarre move by this administration to define journalism by who does or does not make them uncomfortable, and to actively work to shut down those outfits they don't like, I heartily recommend that you pick up a copy of Terry Pratchett's novel The Truth.The Truth is yet another excellent entry into Pratchett's marvelously wrought, satirical Discworld; we meet William de Worde, a fellow who manages to reluctantly invent journalism when he encounters some … [Read more...]

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Ancora Imparo; 2 Thoughts

Ancora Imparo (I am still learning.) - MichelangeloIt strikes me that the journey of faith is similar to that of an artist's growth. Both the spiritual seeker and the artist travel the interior road, and since the road is infinite, they are -no matter how long they study and seek and work- still at the beginning. We are all still learning.This is what Archbishop Anthony Bloom wrote in his excellent book, Beginning to Pray, which I posted on here. In his opening paragraph, he writes:As … [Read more...]

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“That is God’s Milk…”

shutterstock gods milk

I am currently reading Orthodox Archbishop Anthony Bloom's Beginning to Pray. It's a fascinating little book with so many valuable nuggets on each page that it's hard to excerpt, but today being Yom Kippur, I thought I'd share this with you:In the life of Moses, in Hebrew folklore, there is a remarkable passage. Moses finds a shepherd in the desert. He spends the day with the shepherd and helps him to milk his ewes, and at the end of the day he sees that the shepherd puts the best milk he … [Read more...]

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Mariette in Ecstasy

And Christ still sends me roses. We try to be formed and held and kept by him, but instead he offers us freedom. And now when I try to know his will, his kindness floods me, his great love overwhelms me, and I hear him whisper, Surprise me. --Mariette Baptiste, Mariette in EcstasyIt has been a long time since I first read it, but last night I found within this wonderful and strange novel by Ron Hansen, a permanent Deacon in the Catholic Church, things I have longed to share since my … [Read more...]

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Artists choice: Obama/NEA or the Pope -UPDATED

Sorry, I know I'm supposed to be actually working on the paying stuff, but this just struck me as funny.Barack Obama's White House has apparently been reaching out to artists with a mind toward funding the promulgation of Obamian propaganda with taxpayer dollars, via the National Endowment for the Arts.The NEA and the White House did encourage a handpicked, pro-Obama arts group to address politically controversial issues under contentious national debate. That fact is … [Read more...]

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