May 18, 2020

There is a legend in the Rhondda Valley of Wales about a young shepherd named Gafan, whose flaming red hair matched his fiery pride. He was quick with the sling and keen with his knife blade, eager to defend his flocks or his name if either came under attack. Yet more importantly still, he had the clarity of soul and presence of mind to encounter beings of the higher realms who recognized his warrior’s heart and sought to test him,… Read more

May 14, 2020

In the month of May, Catholics focus particular attention on the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the life of faith. On May 13th, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima is observed, commemorating the first apparition to three shepherd children in a small town of Fatima in Portugal. Her core message was to call for people to repent from sin and turn back to God, as well as urge the faithful to prayer for the conversion of sinners… Read more

May 12, 2020

As one of the only movies to make a Catholic English Martyr its main focus, A Man for All Seasons has always held a special place in my Catholic Anglophile heart. But aside from that, I also believe the film has a philosophical quality and spiritual poignancy that transcends subject matter and makes it one of the greatest cinematic achievements. If art is meant to teach us more about our true selves, as opposed to simply serving as an opiate… Read more

May 7, 2020

It all started one Christmas as I rummaged through the CD racks at the library, in search of seasonal music different than the usual run-of-the-mill jingles blared constantly on the radio from November onward. I had several holiday gigs lined up, and planned on singing “Coventry Carol” in an upcoming concert, so when I stumbled across a CD called “A Midwinter Night’s Dream” which included it in the track list, I immediately thrust it into my green library bag for… Read more

May 3, 2020

Stereotyping all things “other” has been something of a given in the history of humanity since the first concepts of tribal, religious, and territorial distinctions emerged. The East and West divide between Christians and Muslims is certainly no exception, hammered home by centuries of wars and rumors of wars, spurred on by the instinct to simplify the complexity of anything perceived to be a threat, creating cardboard cut-out images defined by certain aspects or attributes, usually overblown, taken out of… Read more

April 29, 2020

The world is turning faster and faster and faster, and so many of us feel as if we’re about to fall off the carousel. We are shocked at the spin, and cannot find our footing. For, surely, this has never happened before. Surely, we are the first ones to stand at the edge, and look down and down and down, and not know which way to walk in a starless twilight. But as one versed in history, I find myself… Read more

April 26, 2020

In order to get to heaven, is it only necessary that we be a “good person”? This is a question that has been asked, and slapped down, within Christian rhetorical circles on a regular basis. But perhaps we are too quick to do the slapping and less keen on analyzing what goodness truly means, and how moving towards the good connects to the idea of embracing salvation, and indeed where it falls short. First up, massive disclaimer: I cannot tell… Read more

April 23, 2020

Poetry is a language often able to penetrate more deeply than prose into the nature of the divine as lover of the soul. One poem in particular, “Pass through My Will”, written by renowned Trappist monk and mystic Thomas Merton and later put to music by Franciscan John Michael Talbot, stands out as a beautiful example, taking the reader on an interior journey through layers upon layers of spiritual significance and growth. At the same time, it captures the simplicity… Read more

April 21, 2020

One of the first things that struck me about the character of Professor Severus Snape as portrayed by Alan Rickman in the Harry Potter film series was how in sync it tended to be with the militaristic teaching styles of real British boarding schools well into the second half of the 20th century. He made a perfect stereotypical black-cloaked, pale-faced, long-nosed schoolmaster, who did not suffer fools lightly, took no “cheek” from his students, and would not wear his emotions… Read more

April 19, 2020

Deep in a tangled forest, there dwelt four sisters whose mother, a wood-wife, had died by the bite of a werewolf years before. Still they spun her magic through potion and spell, healing and weaving with color and light, and villagers brave enough to venture into the forest depths would seek favors from them. They never turned anyone away without a meal from their cauldron nor a cloak from their spinning wheel. But forces of evil were at work who… Read more

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