17 Nov 2015

Fruitcake

A dying Christmas tree in the living room In the front window so passersby can watch it die Has a pile of disguised boxes beneath it Each with another reminder of my mortality Here is a box that reminds me I stink to high Heaven Here a box so I can drink my troubles away Here a box to keep dung from dungarees There are boxes of distraction Gift cards for my lack of openness

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
06 Nov 2015

To Be Fully Known

Omaha, Nebraska. That paragon of culture is precisely where I spent a long weekend with friends. Now, I know that many of you will think of steak, cornfields, and farmers when you hear the word Nebraska, but there is quite a lot to that Plains State aside from plains. The highlights of my weekend were all cultural experiences: from the Joslyn Art Museum, a symphony, and a gourmet dinner, to a tea emporium, exploring the

Johanna Byrkett 2
03 Nov 2015

Will It Pray?

I feel some kind of spirit move me, There’s something I have got to say. Could be complaint or comedy; I’ll blurt it out either way. I’ll make sure the kids don’t hear me, Wait until the prudes go away- Then inspiration strikes me And I ask, Will it pray? Can I take these silly sentences, Can I make them talk to God? Do I think he’d laugh along with me And give me a

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
20 Oct 2015

Authorial Intent

I had the Bible down to a science: Six days exactly to create Seven years enough to destroy Three days and nights to recreate The Reed Sea or the Red Sea The Brazen Sea and the Dead Sea The sun stood still up in the sky The waters flowed while crested high Water to wine, crumbs to bread Sight to the blind, life to the dead From age unto apparent age From miracle to explanation

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 3
06 Oct 2015

I’m a Lot Like Peter

Ladder of Divine Ascent 3.5 In going into exile, beware of the demon of wandering and of sensual desire; because exile gives him his opportunity. I’m a lot like Peter: Firm in my conviction and my denial And weeping bitterly about both. But that’s not the Peter I’m most like. My spirit animal is Peter Rabbit, Hippity-hopping down the bunny trail, Enticed by all the carrot-tops… I blame it on Farmer McGregor. If he hadn’t

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
22 Sep 2015

She and the Man

Christ in the House of Simon Dieric Bouts the Elder 1440s Oil on wood, 40,5 x 61 cm Staatliche Museen, Berlin She didn’t know she had faith. She didn’t wonder how much she believed. She didn’t come looking for forgiveness. She didn’t think about her sin. She knew there was a man at Simon’s house. She knew this man really, truly loved, was love. She knew what she got and gave with men was not.

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
15 Sep 2015

On Zombies and Scripture

Recently, I had the privilege of sitting down with a couple fellow Conciliar Posters for an all-too-brief book club meeting over Google Hangouts. I was a little surprised—and more than a little nervous—about the book the choice; it was a book I wrote. Well, it’s the book I wrote, as currently there is only one. It’s called Genesis of the Dead, and in it I reimagine the early histories told in the Bible as a

Chris Casberg 8
11 Sep 2015

Wanderlust

All those golden autumn days the sky was full of wings. . . The wings and the golden weather and the tang of frost in the mornings made Laura want to go somewhere. She did not know where. She wanted only to go. “Let’s go West,” she said one night after supper. “Pa, can’t we go West when Uncle Henry does?” . . . “I know, little Half-pint,” said Pa, and his voice was very

Johanna Byrkett 6
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

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
25 Aug 2015

A Heart Is a Terrible Thing to Mind

The Ladder of Divine Ascent 3.4 In hastening to solitude and exile, do not wait for world-loving souls, because the thief comes unexpectedly. In trying to save the careless and indolent along with themselves, many perish with them, because in course of time the fire goes out. As soon as the flame is burning within you, run; for you do not know when it will go out and leave you in darkness. Not all of

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
11 Aug 2015

Jesus Prayer

Lord Lord I say – I can’t say it without your help But it isn’t enough to enter into the kingdom I say it to my own Petrine cock-crowing shame But I have, Lord, Lord, prophesied in your name Jesus They say you were―that you are―a man like I am But the only sin you had you weren’t tempted to Instead you had all the sins for which I long And you had them on

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 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.

Jeff Reid 0
28 Jul 2015

Two Thieves

Everything is contained in the crux Alpha and omega, beginning and end Foundation and destruction Shame and glorification Sin and redemption Wrath and love As infinity figure-eights around We get two sides to the story Right and left, down and up Scorn and supplication Sheep and goats Heaven and hell Let’s steal a look at the two thieves Also lifted up on the cross drawing us One on the left hand, on on the right

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
14 Jul 2015

Making a Proverb of Myself

I think I’d like to be a stylite sitting high above the town All the people looking up at me while I refuse to look down Yes I think that’s how I’d like to win my ascetic crown To be put on a pedestal high up above them all And shout down to the scoffers “Pride cometh before a fall!” I think I’d like to be a hermit alone in the wilderness In a cave

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 2
13 Jul 2015

Must Read Catholic Novels

Summer is almost synonymous with reading. Warm temperatures, long hours of daylight, and weekends on the beach or by a campfire invite the us to put down our phones and pick up a good book. A few weeks ago I wrote about Christian poets worth reading this summer; in this post, I wish to offer a list of must-read Catholic novels. Whether you are a tried-and-true Protestant, a cradle Catholic, or a non-denominational, you will

Laura Norris 0
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

Johanna Byrkett 2
30 Jun 2015

Blessed are the Lion-Tamers

It used to be the Colosseum That public zoo lion enclosure Where at feeding time people Would watch other people Brought into the lion’s den Brought into the lions And cheer themselves on As they vicariously partook Of the body and the blood Today the lions roam about Seeking someone to devour Whomever will kindly stop To check the lion’s paw But the problem actually Is a flagpole in their petard And their flag-bandaged heart

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
19 Jun 2015

Creativity Begets: How Story Inspires

As the cerulean sky bleeds into water-coloured grey storm clouds, my thoughts are somewhere between Middle Earth and Pluto. Ringing in my head is a stunning symphonic melody about Saturn—its strength in Beauty has captured my memory. Reverberating in my ears is the sound of Tolkien’s prose—read aloud to hear the simultaneously earthy and heraldic tones played in his words. Treading the paths of my thoughts are an interesting pair, hand-in-hand. The first is a

Johanna Byrkett 0
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,

Jeff Reid 0
16 Jun 2015

Where Can I Put My Stuff?

Where can I put my stuff? I need a place for my hopes and fears, My television shows and craft beers, My books and games and lusts and pain, My car and wife and kids, all vain Compared to the value of having Nothing twixt me and God Except a sheet of homelessspun. I hate hate hate them all – That’s right, isn’t it, if I love God enough to make up for it? He

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 2