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

Contemplating Christmas Cards with Thomas Merton

Two days before Christmas in 1949, Thomas Merton returned to his room in Kentucky's Abbey of Gethsemani and opened his mail. He had received a postcard bearing Fra Angelico's golden rendering of the Annunciation, the moment when the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary with the invitation to bring God into the world through her own … Continue reading Contemplating Christmas Cards with Thomas Merton

End 2020 on the Path to the Ever-Ancient, Ever-New Normal

Remember when email was fun? How simple it was to "shoot" a greeting to a friend, receive a pithy reply and close your inbox feeling content and connected? I now have three inboxes and I approach each of them with trepidation. Even my personal inbox is more like Pandora's box than a friendly greeting gatherer. … Continue reading End 2020 on the Path to the Ever-Ancient, Ever-New Normal

A Thanksgiving Children’s Book for Weary, Grieving Hearts

COVID-weariness is a thing this Thanksgiving. In my little corner of the world it shows itself on the faces of parents, children and teachers navigating the yo-yo of school closures and re-openings as we monitor the number of active COVID-19 cases in our county, our valley and our state. It surfaces in my father's voice … Continue reading A Thanksgiving Children’s Book for Weary, Grieving Hearts

Two Songs for the Election-Anxious Soul

"These are the times that try men's souls." -- Thomas Paine Phrases like "these unprecedented times" and "these challenging times" have become cliché as, amid pandemic and pandemonium, the next president will be decided. My father, whose parents survived the Great Depression, whose boyhood memories include World War II and who can tell you all … Continue reading Two Songs for the Election-Anxious Soul

Take HIM down? Saint Junípero Serra and the Persistent Question of Christ

You might be able to aquire a public education without hearing about the Christian foundations of orphanages, hospitals and universities, of the faith that underpinned western science and inspired the abolitionists to work for the end of slavery. You may never have heard about the Christian recognition of the image of God in people of … Continue reading Take HIM down? Saint Junípero Serra and the Persistent Question of Christ

Does Your Heart Break Now? Mourning George Floyd with Two Songs and a Conversation

Along with the rest of the country, I watched the recording of the death of George Floyd. I heard him gasp "I can't breathe." In the aftermath, as police clashed with protestors and pundits politicized, many of us, watching in helplessness, turned to prayer and mourning. For George Floyd and his family. For the tragic … Continue reading Does Your Heart Break Now? Mourning George Floyd with Two Songs and a Conversation

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

From Nebraska to OHIO: This Indie Springsteen Tribute Charts a Heartfelt Map

Sometimes it takes a true fan to open a songwriter's work for you, to reveal poetic treasures obscured by the well-worn hooks that propelled the musician to fame. Just about everybody liked The Boss back in the day, at least in the surfacey way that connects us with artists whose hits are part of the … Continue reading From Nebraska to OHIO: This Indie Springsteen Tribute Charts a Heartfelt Map