Begin Your Reading Year with this Book (and Live Your Own Story Well)

One afternoon during the COVID-19 lockdown of 2020, I listened to a lecture on the joys of reading. I love reading and I needed joy. Steven Jonathan Rummelsburg, a veteran teacher, offered the following reasons for becoming a more intentional reader, particularly of the classics: to grow in wonder, to join more fully in the … Continue reading Begin Your Reading Year with this Book (and Live Your Own Story Well)

Nazi Prison New Year: The Integrity of Alfred Delp

"It is difficult to sum up the year now ending in a few words. So much has happened during this year and yet I cannot see what its real message is for me, or its real achievement....Hardship and hunger and violence have intensified and are now more shattering than anyone could have imagined." With left … Continue reading Nazi Prison New Year: The Integrity of Alfred Delp

A Prayer Practice for the Anxious Heart

There are plenty of "hard sayings" in the Bible, but one I often puzzle over doesn't tend to make the lists offered for our reflection. It's Christ's directive to have no anxiety. What? I protest. Anxiously. A spiritual director once asked me point blank, "Why are you so anxious?" Momentarily stunned, I responded with a … Continue reading A Prayer Practice for the Anxious Heart

Recharge Wellness, Wonder and Spiritual Spark, Beginning with a One-Page Miracle

Whatever happens day by day as various authorities work out rules of re-entry in the tenuous phases of COVID-19 response, the easing of quarantine has many of us asking ourselves what we've learned from this experience so far, what we've lost and what we want to recover. Re-entry, whether to half-capacity churches, marked-off restaurant spaces … Continue reading Recharge Wellness, Wonder and Spiritual Spark, Beginning with a One-Page Miracle

Scapegoats, Solitude and Solidarity: Thomas Merton as Quarantine Companion

"We must love them both, those whose opinions we share and those whose opinions we reject. For both have labored in the search for truth and both have helped us in the finding of it." --St. Thomas Aquinas This gentle reminder came to me by way of Thomas Merton, whom I've been reading lately with … Continue reading Scapegoats, Solitude and Solidarity: Thomas Merton as Quarantine Companion

The Prisoner and the Pandemic: The Gift of the Right Read at the Right Time

The pandemic's reality was slow to strike my relatively isolated, poverty-stricken mountain valley. For weeks we watched the worldwide spread of COVID-19 through phones, laptops and television screens, but our lives were going on as usual. In mid-March, everyone at my little school left for spring break and there still wasn't a case in our … Continue reading The Prisoner and the Pandemic: The Gift of the Right Read at the Right Time

A Hobbit, a Wardrobe and a Great Film about the Great War

After watching a televised World War II movie with my father one evening (it may have been Patton or The Guns of Navarone) he turned down the volume during the film's closing credits. "People always give generals like Patton and MacArthur credit for winning World War II," he quietly commented from his recliner. "But that … Continue reading A Hobbit, a Wardrobe and a Great Film about the Great War

Live the Questions this Advent with Sally Read’s Annunciation: A Call to Faith in a Broken World

I don't want sentimental piety at Advent; I crave a seeker's authenticity and a contemplative's conviction. I welcome Sally Read's voice at any time of year, and Advent isn't the occasion that produced Annunciation: A Call to Faith in A Broken World. It's just that Annunciation is the best book of its kind I encountered … Continue reading Live the Questions this Advent with Sally Read’s Annunciation: A Call to Faith in a Broken World

Arguing Religion and the Search Engine of the Soul

I used to teach the art of argument to college freshmen. We read classic texts on the great questions of the centuries and debated our views in passionate discussion laced with laughter and an occasional angry flare. Students then constructed written arguments clarifying their thought and defending their positions. Essay by essay, they honed their … Continue reading Arguing Religion and the Search Engine of the Soul