My Elder Son Reads Everything

geddeswannabepic

My elder son, the dreamy quiet planet, has the most curious mind I've ever encountered.He never rejects an idea outright--first he acquaints himself with who and what is behind the idea and then finds out who influenced their thinking and he checks them out too. He will swim in the seas of an idea for a while before deciding whether he accepts or rejects it, and then washes up on the next shore, then the next. His library is formidable, and he is never intimidated (as I sometimes am) by a … [Read more...]

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Those Year-End Book Lists!

augustine

First I get an email from Julie Davis wondering if I am going to rise to her reading challenge.I wanted to say "no" because I found her list daunting.But then I thought, "hey, wait, I shouldn't be intimidated! I actually just re-read The Brothers Karamazov, last year, in this terrific translation!And I'm actually, slowly, reading Saint Francis de Sales' Introduction to the Devout Life, this year.And last week I began this marvelous, beautifully wrought translation (Maria … [Read more...]

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Pratchett, Chesterton, Granny & the Grubby White

Over at First Things, I'm writing about Terry Pratchett, Sin, Chesterton and Assisted Suicide and referencing one of Julie Davis' favorite exchanges his great book, Carpe JugulumHaving announced several years ago that he is dealing with early-onset dementia, Terry Pratchett, the celebrated author of scores of fantasy titles, most notably the marvelously wise and entertaining Disc World series, has—despite rumors to the contrary—staunchly maintained his atheist’s stance. Last year he decl … [Read more...]

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Late Summer Bookchat

It is unbelievable to me that we're into August, already. Before you know it, the kids go back to college (buy them this and this!) or high school (buy this for sure!) the leaves go crisp and crimson-gold and then we're into the work of Thanksgiving and ta-da! It's Advent again!And Advent, of course, is when we'll begin using the new missal translation of the mass. In her weekly column, Pat Gohn (aka "the sanest woman on the internet") is going to do a special four-week series on those new … [Read more...]

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"Of Gods and Men" and John Corapi

The remarkable film Of Gods and Men is out on Netflix, and if you haven't seen it yet, I urge you to put it on your queue and move it to the top. It is one of the best films I seen in years -- gripping, moving, enlightening and insightful. I can't think of a film in recent memory that so truly and respectfully portrays the life of faith, the religious life, and most especially the value, use and meaning of liturgical prayer and the sacramental, Holy Mass -- how these enhance the life of faith, … [Read more...]

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Making Love in the Light

My column at First Things for the upcoming Feast of the Ascension:It is this onenes Father Barron describes when he writes of the “interacting and interpenetrating fields of force” that are heaven and earth, constantly commingling, and within the church embodying a true encounter between bridegroom and bride. That is considered archaic language, I know — Flannery O’ Connor called it “a metaphor that can be dispensed with” — but the brilliant Ms. O’ Connor was uncharacteristically off the mark … [Read more...]

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Theology of Heart and Mind

Even though I occasionally download a novel to my iPad, this is why I will never give up on real, cardboard-paste-and-paper books: I got this in the mail yesterday, and it was so tantalizingly beautiful, so sweet to the hand - and then I opened it and the newness of the page and ink nearly made me dizzy with delight, and -- yes, I did it -- I took a great big sniff of my new, beautiful book.A bouquet of roses couldn't please me more.Tactile and sensory pleasures aside, I began reading … [Read more...]

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On the Craftsmen

If there are craftsmen in the monastery, let them practice their crafts with all humility, provided the Abbot has given permission. But if any one of them becomes conceited over his skill in his craft, because he seems to be conferring a benefit on the monastery, let him be taken from his craft and no longer exercise it unless, after he has humbled himself, the Abbot again gives him permission. If any of the work of the craftsmen is to be sold, let those through whose hands … [Read more...]

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Glimpses of God in the Everyday

"I don't feel like it's any of my business what people think of me." -- Jim CaviezelAs a faithful Catholic who is an actor, Jim Caviezel must have had to use that philosophy a lot to remain true to his faith. We all should take a lesson from his book and do likewise. I'm serious here. We really should.I just want to ask though, has anyone else tried to practice what Jim Caviezel preaches?I have. It is darned near impossible.It was excruciating It went completely against my … [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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