July 5, 2016

It [patriotism] is a pagan virtue, if these two words are compatible. The word pagan, when applied to Rome […] possesses the significance charged with horror which the early Christian controversialists gave it. The Romans really were an atheistic and idolatrous people; not idolatrous with regard to images made of stone or bronze, but idolatrous with regard to themselves. It is this idolatry of self which they have bequeathed to us in the form of patriotism. (Simone Weil) Brexit, Fourth… Read more

July 4, 2016

No, be sure of this. Absolute stillness for as long as possible is best of all for you. You cannot exchange this state for any other without harm. That is certain. You would like to partly prepare yourself and partly let God prepare you, but this cannot be. You cannot think or desire to prepare yourself more quickly than God can move in to prepare you. (Meister Eckhart) (This is a continuation of my last post, available here). We left… Read more

July 3, 2016

I recited the Our Father in Greek every day before work, and I repeated it very often in the vineyard. Since that time I have made a practice of saying it through once each morning with absolute attention. If during my recitation my attention wanders or goes to sleep, in the minutest degree, I begin again until I have succeeded in going through it with absolute pure attention. (Simone Weil) Prayer—verbal, non-verbal, formulaic, or spontaneous—is one of the hardest parts… Read more

June 25, 2016

The dust is beginning to clear (before the next great explosions of cultural and political competition take place). For a time, I have felt the need to keep silent on the question of Brexit. Forces on the Left and Right left me in a state of paralysis—xenophobia, neoliberalism, secularism, migrant and refugee status, and every other foible of contemporary European politics. What to think? In what follows, I don’t pretend to offer an answer; the reader ought to know that… Read more

June 18, 2016

Many of us know the Catechism, but to live the faith, that is different, that is a holy sacrifice—an exercise in Christian foolishness. My ability to know the truth without living it—to radiate the joy proper to the fulfilled Christian—troubles me. I have little difficulty in writing, reading, and offering advice to others when it comes to the Faith, and yet that is not Christianity. What is a faith dead in practice, lived in staleness? What is a rebuke without… Read more

June 13, 2016

About a week ago I chose to take a temporary break from social media, mostly because my life has become too busy to deal with it all—discussions, arguments, opinions, you name it. Emotionally and temporally, there’s simply too much to do and feel (feel even to the point of numbness) in the digital world. We are human; we too often let our emotions drive us, and more often than not, that makes for a tumultuous online experience, especially when one… Read more

June 12, 2016

  Like most people I woke up today to horrific news: the murder of more than 50 people at a queer nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Perhaps unlike most people, I was not particularly interested in the biography of the perpetrator, his story, his motivations. Evil had become an anonymous force, a faceless god of chaos, not one man, a shooter driven to hellish deeds. Instead, I felt desolate—a sense of total misery, an acute awareness of my own sins, and… Read more

June 11, 2016

There was a time when I considered becoming Eastern Orthodox. The richness of the theology, its emphasis on mystery, the centrality of theosis—and a passion for Westerners like Eckhart and Eriugena—made “conversion” appealing, though only ever in my heart. Factors stopped me—nationalism, ethnocentrism, quibbling—hardly the antidotes to the hyper-rationalism, Americanism, and pretension I found in American Catholicism. A talk with a priest here and a little research there quickly revealed a sad reality stirring in Orthodoxy, a self-obsession, the words… Read more

June 2, 2016

My last two posts (available here and here) have attempted defenses of the current pontiff. Predictably enough, they’ve elicited some negative responses, accusing me of uncritical papal apology. Nowhere have I stated that Pope Francis can do no wrong. Like any man he is wrong—a lot. My issue, however, has always been with cramming his every decision into a pre-formed narrative. It’s deeply saddening—so many Catholics have created the framework for a self-fulfilling prophecy. In truth, I tire of seeing… Read more

May 31, 2016

History is repetition; all that happens has happened and will happen. So says Qoheleth: All things are wearisome, too wearisome for words. The eye is not satisfied by seeing nor has the ear enough of hearing. What has been, that will be; what has been done, that will be done. Nothing is new under the sun! Even the thing of which we say, “See, this is new!” has already existed in the ages that preceded us. There is no remembrance… Read more

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