Five Quick Takes

Five Quick Takes February 24, 2021


Thanks to a Twitter friend, I’ve been getting into the late Fr. Herbert McCabe lately. I’d heard of him in passing, and she sent along some PDF copies of the early essays in his book God Matters. I was enthralled; he may be the first author I’ve read who intelligently expressed the philosophical meaning of God’s incomprehensibility. Praying has, in a way, been more difficult since then: I think I had less “O God as thou art in thyself” than “O God as I imagine thee to be” going on. That petty private idolatry has now become less tenable. McCabe’s approving mention of transignification as an explanation of the Real Presence put me off a bit, but besides that, I’m excited to read more. He certainly blows every other Thomist I’ve read out of the water!


For those of my readers who pray, I covet your prayers. I’ll be having a conversation with my parents some time in the near future that I’m expecting to be pretty painful and difficult for both of them, and I want it to go as smoothly as it can.


Dream of Saint Joseph, Gerard Seghers, 1630

Thanks to my spiritual director I’ve adopted the habit of adding something during Lent rather than fasting from something. Usually what I add is some form of spiritual reading; a few years back I did the Catechism, and another year I did Theology of the Body. This year, I was feeling something of a tug toward St. Joseph—I’m not sure why, though I have a couple of guesses—so I decided to read a handful of papal documents about him (namely: Quamquam Pluries, Bonum Sane, Redemptoris Custos, and Patris Corde). I’ll be interested to see what I come away with. And if any of my readers can recommend a good book on devotion to St. Joseph (the less sentimental the better), feel free to drop it in the comments!


I have recently learned that cocktail onions are almost infinitely better than cocktail olives. And I love me an olive.


Chapel of Our Lady of Sorrows (patroness of Slovakia), Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, D.C.

Late last year, I did a series on the McCarrick report. I went back over one or two posts from it not long ago, in the wake of the revelations about Ravi Zacharias, and couldn’t help feeling that my handling was inadequate and distasteful. I was furious while I was writing it; which meant that I was extremely concerned my anger would get the better of me, and in retrospect, I think I overcorrected by a lot. There may also have been wishful thinking at work, I don’t know. In any event, I’m trying (with the help of some people I know) to put together a better series, one that addresses spiritual abuse more generally. Prayers are welcome for this too.

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