For the Soul of David Foster Wallace

The death of JD Salinger on Thursday and a comment from a reader on Friday about John Knowles have brought my own favorite fiction writer to mind. Sixteen months ago, David Foster Wallace (left) committed suicide by hanging himself. Compared with this final act, JD Salinger’s professional suicide, hiding out from the world in a hermitage, is small potatoes. But both lives, both deaths remind us how fragile, how transitory our highest impulses are, and how much we need God… Read more

YIM Catholic Book Club — Update

Frank has started a good discussion about C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity, our current book club selection. In the second week of reading, we have about 30 comments in just two days, a sort of rolling discussion involving ten people. But there’s still room at the table. Check out the latest post, get yourself a copy of Mere Christianity, and let us hear from you! Read more

Because of J. D. Salinger, Unlikely as It Seems

J.D. Salinger died yesterday at the age of 91 and, full disclosure, I’ve never read The Catcher in the Rye. Nor have I bothered getting detailed autobiographical information on Mr. Salinger. I can only say that his work had an effect on my prayer life, thus proving once again, to me anyway, that God continues to work through the secular in unexpected ways. (more…) Read more

For the Spiritual Life of Children

One of my sisters’ children saw an angel in his backyard a dozen years ago, when he was five or six. I lived a thousand miles away and seldom saw my nephew, but I fully believed my sister’s account. I hadn’t thought of this for years—until yesterday afternoon in my religious education class. For the third time in two months, I was confronted with the spirituality of children. If one of my fourth-graders had begun describing an angel in his… Read more

Because of the Communion of Saints

Guest post by Allison Salerno My 13-year-old mistook me for a Guantanamo Bay prisoner. When I told Gabriel last week I had been fasting for Haiti, his response was “I don’t think that is necessary, Mom. No one is against Haiti right now.” Our son’s frame of reference for fasting was the tradition of a hunger strike—where participants fast in a public way as an act of political protest or to bring about a policy change. Such strikes happened in 2005… Read more

YIMC Book Club, “Mere Christianity,” Week 2

It is week number two, club members, and time for some mere discussion on Mere Christianity. Unlike last week, when I posted a seemingly interminable essay on the first week’s readings, this time I will be leaving most of the discussion up to you. But I have a few thoughts to share first.This week we read Book I, chapters 3–5, and Book II, chapter 1 and 2. (more…) Read more

For Cathy’s Grandmother

This blog is blessed with some thoughtful and articulate commenters. There are times when I think the format of the blog should be reversed, with the comments on top, our posts beneath them, as footnotes. Now is one of those moments. We just received an extraordinary account from cathyf in response to a post yesterday about St. Angela Merici, whose feast day it was. Please read her story.Cathy writes:In 1928, my grandmother was 13 years old. Her father had recently… Read more

For Minor Miracles III (b)

Blogging about why I’m blogging is a bit like watching myself watch myself in the mirror. I did a lot of that when I was a kid, but I’m not sure why I’m doing it in advanced middle age. Still, here I am, continuing a tale begun Monday about how this blog began in August, received surprise validation ten days later from Fr. James Martin, and continued to shape-shift.Chapter 3 — The Ego TripThe e-mail from Father Jim had arrived… Read more

Because of a Priest or Not — Revisited

A comment from Mujerlatina has stirred the YIMC pot the past couple of days. Courageously, she wrote that, though she is a cradle Catholic in her 40s, her ongoing formation as a Catholic has had “nothing to do with any clergy person!” Her extended remarks were the basis of this post from Monday. Commenters alternately seconded and criticized her statement. Not one to back down, Mujerlatina sent me a further comment about her particular experience as a woman:  I firmly… Read more

For Prayers Such As This

As the disciples asked Our Lord, “teach us to pray,” so we ask as well. As I have learned from the Desert Fathers and Mothers, simple prayer is often best—done anytime and anywhere, as well as by the devotion of the Rosary (I’m a neophyte admittedly!) and by reading the Liturgy of the Hours. But at other times, while doing spiritual reading for example, I have found prayers such as the one I found today in the Treasury of the Catholic… Read more