February 3, 2019

I recently re-read Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus for the first time in many years. And what I discovered in the pages of Mary Shelley’s 1818 work surprised me. First of all, the text barely resembles the modern-day myth. “Frankenstein” is the creator rather than the Creature. And more importantly, the Creature isn’t a dumb brute, but an articulate, deeply aware, and morally complex character. Secondly, the philosophical implications of the narrative are provocative and arguably ambiguous. The modern interpretation... Read more

January 31, 2019

Throughout the gospels, Christ touches the sick as he heals them. From men with leprosy to Peter’s mother in law, a 12-year-old girl in Capernaum to the blind men of Jericho, Christ chooses to lay his hands on the suffering. What do these moments tell us about Christ as a healer? And what do these narratives of touch reveal about human nature? Interpretations of Christ’s healing touch First, we’re going to identify two false or inadequate interpretations of these moments.... Read more

January 27, 2019

Here are four things that have challenged, informed, and fascinated me lately. 1. Finding God in the Cosmos, from America Magazine (here). An interview with Vatican astronomer David Brown, S.J. Specializing in stellar evolution, Brown continues the long Church tradition of the study of the stars. This is a great reflection on how science cultivates love and wonder at the work of the Creator’s hands — primarily through beauty. He also touches on the proper relationship between science and faith... Read more

January 20, 2019

Why is forming habits important? My claim is this: habits have to do with your salvation. Before you decide I’m a Pelagian, allow me to explain. Virtue vs. habit Throughout this series, I’ve been vacillating between talk of habits and talk of virtue. Typically, the “habits” we think of are waking up on time, brushing our teeth, and hitting the gym. Aren’t habits and virtue two separate things? Not according to the Catechism: A virtue is a habitual and firm... Read more

January 14, 2019

If you’ve been following this series, you know not to set New Year’s Resolutions. Instead, you know to form strong habits, which demands that you start small and be consistent. You also know that, for this to be effective, you should rely on cues and rewards rather than motivation and willpower. So what’s missing? From a neuroscience perspective, what’s the final key to habit formation? The role of relationship The third and final key to habit formation is this: personal change happens in... Read more

January 10, 2019

Welcome back to my series on neuroscience and personal growth. At this point, we’ve established that New Year’s Resolutions are ineffective and often counterproductive. And we know that that the sustainable way to reach your goals is through building habits. Last week, we talked about the first science-backed key to habit formation: start small and be consistent. In other words, use microhabits. Today, we’re going to cover the second key to habit formation: cue and reward. We typically think about... Read more

January 6, 2019

So New Year’s Resolutions are ineffective. You may have set them anyway. But even if you didn’t, you probably still want to change and improve your personal life this year. There are virtues you want to develop, skills you want to take strengthen, and vices you want to eliminate. In order to salvage our collective attempts at personal growth, I’m writing a series on how to effectively and efficiently build habits. This process changes your brain, rewiring connections between neurons... Read more

December 30, 2018

Here are four things that have challenged, informed, and fascinated me lately. Is Anxiety Sinful? From America Magazine (here). One in five Americans suffers from an anxiety disorder; what is the origin, treatment, and morality of such disorders? And how can and should our human freedom be engaged? This great piece in America Magazine by Dr. Greg Popcak explores these complex questions. 2. Programs Help Incarcerated Moms Bond With Their Babies In Prison, from NPR (here). This essay covers an awesome and essential program... Read more

December 27, 2018

Happy New Year! Many of you are likely thinking about changes you want to make in 2020. You want enhanced productivity, more consistent prayer, stronger health. And this is great, we should always be striving to align what we believe to be important with how we act on a daily basis. But stop before you make any New Year’s resolutions. There is a better way to effect change. Three reasons not to set New Year’s resolutions January 1 is an... Read more

December 23, 2018

“The people who walked in great darkness have seen a great light.” This promise feels unattainably distant in the bleak days of winter, when sunlight is weak and brief. it. And yet, four days after the Winter Solstice, the Church celebrates the coming of the Light of the World, the light which no darkness shall overcome. What is there for us in this juxtaposition? The Darkness of the Winter Solstice The Winter Solstice is the day with the shortest period... Read more

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