November 21, 2023

(Continued from Part 1) In 1983, the celebrated Southern Catholic writer Walker Percy wrote a satirical self-help book, drawing readers in with his usual charm and wit, but leading us to serious questions on life’s meaning and the uniqueness of our existence. Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book explores our place in the universe, making us look at those things that make us human. Percy is not afraid to make us look at those things that we’d rather... Read more

November 21, 2023

Ernest Hemingway’s short story, “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” is littered with the horrors of loneliness, like a slow-burn thriller but without the catharsis of a powerful conclusion. The aches of loneliness and existential desperation are revealed subtly—almost brutal in their subtlety. A brief recap of one of Hemingway’s most famous and analyzed short stories: a wealthy old man frequents a bar, drinking alone nightly to combat his despair over the nothingness he sees in his existence. As two waiters, one... Read more

October 22, 2023

Part 1 examined the necessity of keeping St. Ignatius’ First Principle and Foundation in mind and heart when utilizing his rules for discernment. Otherwise, the rules can become a confusing self-serving way to get lost quickly in the spiritual world. This post will examine the heart of the Exercises, the terminus, getting at the question: What am I living for? To recap, The First Principle and Foundation are essentially that: “Human beings are created to praise, reverence, and serve God,... Read more

October 2, 2023

There’s a real danger to the Spiritual Exercises, more specifically, the Discernment of Spirits, codified by St. Ignatius of Loyola. Many, many articles pop up with a simple search about Ignatian discernment. And for good reason: it is a great and important thing to know and do God’s will, and St. Ignatius was a spiritual master. However, the danger lies in some impatient rascal like myself, who wants to take a few of Ignatius’ 14 rules of discernment, apply them... Read more

July 3, 2023

“Oh my gosh, you have to watch _____!” “Okay, what’s it about?” I ask suspiciously. “Well, it’s about ____, but it’s pretty messed up. It’s really dark, but in kind of an interesting way…well, not so much interesting as disturbing…or maybe, soul-crushing is a better term? Anyway, most episodes lead me well into the abyss of nihilism and despair, and afterward, I feel awful about myself and life and humanity in general. But it’s so well-written. You have to see... Read more

June 10, 2023

I had a good education. It could have been better, but that’s through nobody’s fault but my own. I mostly rushed through assignments for good enough. I read to answer the necessary questions. And if I didn’t need to finish the book, I wouldn’t. Eventually, I came to appreciate a good book, a challenging piece of writing, art, and even poetry. In fact, I’ve really come to enjoy poetry, surprisingly so. Almost like a kid that has learned enough words... Read more

May 13, 2023

There’s a simple wisdom in the mild comedy of the late 90s/early 2000s TV show, King of the Hill that is due for some renewed appreciation. Hank Hill, a straight-laced, suburban Texan, husband, father, and seller of propane and propane accessories lives a good life. He does his best to love his family. He takes pride in his work. He cares about his friends and his community. Yes, it’s a cartoon, but those sure sound like the basic ingredients for... Read more

April 15, 2023

We gave our second daughter, Rosemary, the middle name Hope. It’s a direct reference to the Charles Péguy poem, “Hope,” from his anthology God Speaks: Religious Poetry. (Linked is my favorite translation, but you can find a decent free one HERE). I had recently discovered Péguy when my wife was pregnant with Rosemary, and I was enamored with his writing. His poetry reflects a desire to speak to everyone with a simple but masterful use of language. Though he was... Read more

April 8, 2023

I have a friend. One of those rare treasures of a friend with whom you can seamlessly jump from topics of faith to home repairs to literature to Radiohead all in one dinner. At one particular dinner, in between our small kids falling off chairs they shouldn’t be on and sneaking scoops of ice cream with their bare hands, Radiohead came up. Between the four of us (myself and wife, him and his wife), we shared a collective moment of... Read more

April 1, 2023

It took me 3 tries to get into Georges Bernardos’ The Diary of a Country Priest. It reads as it’s titled, diary entries of a newly ordained country priest in early 20th-Century France. I jumped into it assuming it would be a pleasant pastoral, an easy read before bed. By the end, I thought, I would feel that the Christian life has some challenges, but overall it’s quite lovely. This is not that book. By the third attempt, I had... Read more

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