Let there be shame and confusion

chalice

A few days ago, I was praying the Midday Prayer of the Divine Office, and I was struck by the juxtaposition of two of the psalms slated for that day (Wednesday, 31st week of ordinary time).  First there was this part of Psalm 70: O God, make haste to my rescue, Lord, come to my aid! Let there be shame and confusion on those who seek my life. O let them turn back in confusion, who delight in my harm, let them retreat, covered with shame, who jeer at my lot. Which was shortly followed … [Read more...]

In Which I Still Struggle With Pelagianism

confessional

I think one of the worst near occasions for sin for me comes whenever I’m nearing the end of my turn in the confessional. I’ve disclosed my sins (some of them easily, some of them blurted out quickly, as though that lessens their gravity) and then the priest assigns me penance. Unfortunately, my kneejerk reaction is usually, “That’s it?!?” When a priest assigns me only a few prayer, or a spot of silent meditation, I feel like I’m getting away with something. Surely he could … [Read more...]

A Saint for this Season

corsini

Yesterday, I had a lot of trouble making it to church for the Feast of All Saints.  All Saint's Day is a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics, and it's the feast of all those in the Church Triumphant -- all the saints, recognized on earth through canonization and those unknown to us, but sharing in the beatific vision. Unfortunately, as I'm in a more rural area teaching at a work event, we had to deal with poorly-marked, poorly-lit signs, and spotty GPS to get there.  Around the third time … [Read more...]

Costumes, Constraint, and Chapel Veils

veil

In my high school theatre productions, our director encouraged us to start working on assembling costumes early.  Especially shoes.  Once you had something of your character's, you could start using it to feel less like yourself, and stop doing things by rote.  If you had nothing else, he said, you could put a pebble in your shoe so you were a little less comfortable in your normal stance. I'm on a plane all day, so, since I ended up without the opportunity to dress up for Halloween, I … [Read more...]

Getting a Sense of Sin

punch in face

I've just finished Francis Spufford's Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense.  He's pretty good at solving yesterday's problem of explaining your faith without getting bogged down forever in background information or just staying bland.  In one section I particularly liked, he talked about the difficulty of explaining Christianity in a language that's littered with Christian ideas that have drifted from their technical meanings. Everyone … [Read more...]

What ornate vestments you have, Father! All the better to…

why-priests

Because my computer has shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible, the Atheist round results from the Turing Test will probably run Friday or Saturday, once I've got a replacement. Over at Fare Forward, I've taken a crack at reviewing Gary Wills's book Why Priests? A Failed Tradition and, if you want a very quick glimpse of how I felt about it, here's how the review kicks off: The first priest that Garry Wills takes aim at isn’t a man in a … [Read more...]

Triaging Moral Disagreements

medicine-and-health-triage

Excel and I are having a fight, so the Turing Test results will go up tomorrow, after I beat the program into submission. In the meantime... Calah Alexander and Melinda Selmys had two really great reaction pieces to Pope Francis's interview that I'd like to share.  First up, Melinda Selmys has an essay up at Spiritual Friendship titled "Field Hospital for the Wounded."  She picks up on Pope Francis's language, and expands the metaphor to talk about how to evangelize without exacerbating … [Read more...]


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