08 Sep 2015

Praise God from Whom All Curses Flow

Praise God from whom all curses flow Praise him who made the thorns to grow Praise him below infernal host Praise Father Son and Holy Ghost The sword that guards the Garden’s gate The sweat and death that are our fate The pain through which all life goes on For these we thank the Lord in song The night so short, the day all gone Serve to make us cry out, “How long?” Until the

0
28 Aug 2015

Is There Beauty in Things Not Seen?

Would a flower of the field still be Beautiful even if no one saw it? This question has followed me to many swaths of alpine tundra this hiking season. I have gazed on lavender thistles, white marsh marigolds, and tiny forget-me-nots amongst a host of other hearty flowers. My hiking companions often set their sights on the cathedral arc of a mountain range, a sun-dappled emerald lake, or towering waterfalls. Whereas, I am enthralled by

2
26 Aug 2015

Of Weddings and Little Promises

It was a warm, slightly sticky evening. Sitting towards the front of a crowd of friends and family, I observed the evening shade slowly growing on the mountains behind my friend. He, in his turn, was gazing back our way with (what I could only guess was) a mix of nervousness, fear, excitement, and joy. For, if the title hasn’t already given it away, my friend was looking past the rest of us toward the

0
21 Aug 2015

Dealing With Pain and Suffering (Part I)

Grief Observed In A New Light It doesn’t take a philosophy degree to understand that pain and suffering are two things people are naturally inclined to try and avoid. It is in our nature to run away from suffering, and to simply try and avoid discomfort at all costs. No matter how strong pain makes us, very seldom does anyone truly welcome it. Although time has opened up the windows of my world to the

4
14 Aug 2015

Silencing Fears

“Empty space tends to create fear. As long as our minds, hearts, and hands are occupied we can avoid confronting the painful questions, to which we never gave much attention and which we do not want to surface. ‘Being busy’ has become a status symbol, and most people keep encouraging each other to keep their body and mind in constant motion. From a distance, it appears that we try to keep each other filled with

3
12 Aug 2015

The Witness of Lightning and the Lightning Bug

It’s remarkable how much a clear night can help one gain a bit of peace and solitude. That is, once the security lights stopped showing the world that I was standing out on our driveway. While taking in the night view, my wandering thoughts were interrupted by a flash of light in the corner of my eye. Adjusting my head for a better view brought the realization that a lightning storm was rolling in. Lest

0
11 Aug 2015

Cliffs Of Identity

Classic psychotherapy . . . starts at the bottom. So, you’ll look at those unconscious desires, beliefs, and wishes, and you try to bubble them up to the top, to the surface. The CBT therapists start up at the top, the everyday events that are happening, and begin sinking down further until we get to the point where the individual has achieved his or her goals. Now, the difference there is we’ve set the goals up front,

0
04 Aug 2015

Trimming Hedges in the Garden of Eden

Twenty-four hours ago, my back yard featured a pair of mammoth lilac bushes perhaps fifteen feet in diameter apiece, both towering some nine feet above the earth. Behind the wall of green leaves and purple flowers, lilac bushes are dense forests of thin, whiplike branches that bend backwards and then shoot forward, raking your arms, legs, and face. If you’re me, these branches will whip the cigar you’re puffing as you push through the foliage

3
29 Jul 2015

Patience: Natural Heart’s-Ivy

Perhaps this is merely my experience, but I grew up hearing that some prayers were dangerous. The prayers for things such as greater boldness in witnessing, further opportunities to give, or greater love for the person who’s a thorn in your side. These prayers have a way of being answered, or rather, of creating opportunities to outwork the desires apparently behind our prayers. Naturally, these opportunities feel uncomfortable and, at times, even hurt a little.

0
17 Jul 2015

Wintering Others’ Discontent

Dusk is falling all around me, silently painting green leaves a crisp black silhouette against a living grey sky. A planet blinks open its eye, peering at me sitting here in the gathering darkness—alone. Winding down the day with a London Fog, staring at the sky all by one’s self may not be ideal for many; yet for me, this is my favourite part of the day. It is cool and quiet, a time of

3
03 Jul 2015

I Went to the Woods Angry…

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep

2
01 Jul 2015

Be Comforted In Your Smallness

Our day-to-day lives constantly involve measuring size. Heading to bed we consciously (or unconsciously) determined the length of our sleep. At breakfast, we count calories (if on an appropriate diet) or at least guesstimate how much oatmeal to put in the bowl, or butter on the toast. Then there’s the time it’ll take to get to work, how long the gas will last in the vehicle, the number of items on the to-do list .

6
17 Jun 2015

Holding Fast

“ ‘The star-glass?’ muttered Frodo, as one answering out of sleep, hardly comprehending. ‘Why yes! Why had I forgotten it? A light when all other lights go out! And now indeed light alone can help us.’ ”1 The interplay between light and dark is an ongoing part of our lives. In the literal sense, we live in a world where the regular appearance of both provides a measure of regulation to our activities. Figuratively though,

0
13 May 2015

Unanswered Question

There is a God. There is a person at the back of the universe, fiddling with things for the benefit of people who are listening to him, even in the midst of horrific things. And this person, who apparently doesn’t attach as much importance to life and death as we do, is nevertheless intensely interested in us as people. And if we doubt him, he stands back and lets us doubt, until we are ready

2
08 May 2015

In A Glass Darkly

Have you ever seen a photo of yourself, or caught your reflection in a window and wondered, Who is that person? Sometimes I see my reflection in the mirror and I catch wisps of the flyaway, carefree girl that I am. Yet there are moments, usually in photographs, when I see the old soul inside of me. Hopefully that means I look wise and thoughtful, rather than crinkled and worn down by cares. But I

3
16 Apr 2015

Try Again

I can’t do it. I tried and I just can’t. I jotted down some notes two weeks ago for a blog post about Frodo and Bilbo, planning to expand on it for the Conciliar. My goal is two posts a month, but it’s hard to come up with the topics that I think will work in the more serious style of a group blog. But that one . . . I thought I could do

1
13 Apr 2015

Spiritual Friendship: Finding Love in the Church as a Celibate Gay Christian | Book Review

“If we ask ourselves whether there are a significant number of people today without true friends, or whether our modern society is one in which friendship plays a diminishing role, I think the answers are yes”1 In our current cultural climate, there is a growing sense that we are more connected than ever, yet we lack intimacy. We have hundreds of social media friends and followers, access to world and local news whenever we want

12
08 Apr 2015

Her Voice

“ ‘If only I could find his Achilles’ heel, the soft, quivering underbelly beneath all that armor.’ ‘His daughters?’ ‘Wait, why didn’t we think of that before? His youngest. The one with the beautiful voice – which she takes for granted. A woman never knows how precious her voice is until she’s been silenced.’ ” The Little Mermaid is my favorite Disney movie. The music . . . the ocean . . . Prince Eric

0
31 Mar 2015

Chocolate Cake and the Death of Meaning

Recently my wife and I spent a weekend in Portland. Yes, that Portland: the Pacific Northwest hipster haven popularized by the sketch comedy show of Portlandia. The city where tattoos and body piercings are so ubiquitous one feels like a rebellious teenage outcast by not making permanent etches or punctures in their skin. I would have truly felt less out of place if I had worn my hair in an electric pink samurai topknot. Still, it’s

3
27 Mar 2015

Why?

Oh, the questions we ask you, Begetter of the universe… You, who spun waves and particles into golden light, we question if your hands are big enough to hold us. You, who breathed life into our spirits and our dusty frames, we pause to ask if you care about us. You, whose finger carved words into the dirt, we ask if you care enough to write our stories, to show us what you want from

3