18 Feb 2015

Rising from Ruin

Ash Wednesday Reflections   Tonight, ashes smear Across my face From priest’s thumb— Sin’s dark drear Mingled with oil Leaves a smudge On my skin And my soul   Last year’s palms Burn deep upon My flesh and In my memory— All I see Is ashen, grey, Charred remains of Promises and dreams I peer inside At my soul Crumbling to coals Dead and lifeless— Not a spark Or an ember Of élan appears To

Johanna Byrkett 2
10 Feb 2015

If Marriage was Outlawed Today

If marriage was outlawed today 1 Would you give in And start living in sin If marriage was outlawed today   If marriage was outlawed today Would you take a chance On a martyred romance Or would you give in And start living in sin If marriage was outlawed today   If marriage was outlawed today Would you still propose With a ring and a rose Would you take a chance On a martyred romance

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 2
05 Feb 2015

Self-Surrender

What is it that causes people to act against their own self-interest? Two of the most popular conservative thinkers of the last century both addressed this question at a very personal level, which seemed odd to me until I started thinking about it more. At the national level, this last century was the age of Communism, the Great Depression, and Holocaust clean-up, when people were talking in depth about the need to help those less

Pepper Darlington 9
27 Jan 2015

Paschal Moment

Sometimes it’s in the very first bite Sometimes in the smooth savoring Sometimes just after it’s fully consumed But in each action there is that moment Some call it bliss, or perfection, or Heaven Or doing the hokey-pokey, turn yourself around A seventh sense, perhaps, something nous Where it seems the state you are in What you are doing at that instant The crunch and gush and swallow The rush of sensations paused, or Continuing

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 11
16 Jan 2015

Endings Are Beginnings

Feathery snow traces dark, bare branches—edges clearly seen, crisp in Winter’s garb. Juxtaposed with these stark lines, a low fog tucks my little town into hushed, hazy seclusion. The world wears the physical contrast of things clearly defined and things hidden in the blurred perimeter. New years themselves are the edges of one season blending into another, of one year gracefully giving way to the next in the steps of a great dance. The past

Johanna Byrkett 6
14 Jan 2015

Everyday Warrior

I am learning a lot about Sam Gamgee on this journey. First he was a conspirator, now he’s a jester. He’ll end up by becoming a wizard—or a warrior!1 Foreshadowing—it’s part of what makes stories worth re-reading. While you may not always catch it the first time through, additional readings can highlight the hints that the author left to key you into what was coming. In Frodo’s quip above, we have an example of foreshadowing

Jeff Reid 2
02 Jan 2015

Johann’s Unexpected Gifts

ONCE upon a time, in a village across the sea, there lived a boy called Johann. He ran through the back alleys with several other urchins, stirring up trouble like dust. When there was enough food for his mother to make dinner, Johann would invariably arrive at that meal with dirt wiped across his face and holes ripped in his threadbare trousers. Very rarely was he in school, because he often got into fights with

Johanna Byrkett 0
19 Dec 2014

If God Is with Us, Why Are We Lonely?

“Our two little granddaughters have a sense of community which many adults have lost; people have developed less a sense of community than a loneliness which they attempt to assuage by being with other people constantly, and on a superficial level only…The loneliness, the namelessness of cocktail-party relationships surround us. We meet, but even when we kiss we do not touch. We avoid the responsibility of community.”1       —Madeleine L’Engle   There is

Johanna Byrkett 0
24 Nov 2014

Lecrae’s Theology of Quality

Few know of my historical fascination and obsession with Christian hip hop. During my high school years, I was hooked by the confidence that comes with cadence, the quality beats that accompanied the poetry, and the opportunity to be incorporated into a community that grounds itself in the gospel. Much of this music, primarily under the label of “Reach Records,”1 contains solid rhymes such as these: Since my conception I’ve been riddled with deception Televised

George Aldhizer 2
21 Nov 2014

Childlike Wonder

Chill air makes me pull my covers closer just as my alarm buzzes. I roll over, swat my phone, and snuggle back under the blankets. Then I slit open one eye to see what the morning has brought. Suddenly I am all awake: the sky is grey, but the evergreens are shadowy jade, frosted with feather-flakes of snow. Snow! It is early this year, and cold, and…delightful. I can hear sleigh bells in my dreams,

Johanna Byrkett 2
07 Nov 2014

Wild November Choir

Silent morning—a fog like the ghost Of autumn trees and brush and leaves Rises up to the skies, a wavering host Of spirits climbing to clouds, their winter post.   Farmers are nearly done gathering sheaves And stalks stand like sentinels—grave stones— Encumbered by rooks whose coarse song weaves Harvest into winter, as Earth her life heaves   Into barns and bins. She creaks and groans From the heavy toil of summer, spent, To lie

Johanna Byrkett 0
06 Nov 2014

Bitterly

You have a best friend. He is amazing and you’ve been with him for years. You are completely convinced that he’s the guy you’ve been waiting for all your life and now he’s asking you to get swords. “We have two,” you say, a bit doubtfully. “That’s enough,” your friend replies, and you remember the time he turned two fish into a feast for five thousand. Ah, well, it’s clear what he has planned, and

Pepper Darlington 1
Dante
20 Oct 2014

Dante: Poet or Mystic?

In my previous article I discussed medieval mysticism and some of the many factors surrounding its rise, including an increased literacy among lay people and the booming presence of vernacular languages in literature. When considering late medieval literacy and the rise of vernacular literature, the beloved poet Dante Alighieri is one of the most renowned and remarkable examples. His Divina Commedia journeys through hell (Inferno), purgatory (Purgatorio), and heaven (Paradiso). Dante is known now as

Laura Norris 1
04 Sep 2014

Why So Teary, O Logie?

Robert Isaac Logie was born during the late half of the twentieth century in the Midwestern United States. His friends called him Logie. When he was seven, the Sunday School teacher from his parents’ church taught him about the Genesis account of creation. That day, his class learned about the snake, the apple, and the fall. Logie thought God seemed a little too upset about the whole apple ordeal. I mean, he could remember plenty

Micah Carlson 2
25 Aug 2014

My Spiritual Guide, Tolkien

I was a fan of Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit years before I discovered the beautiful example of faith in the life and writings of J.R.R. Tolkien. I first read the Lord of the Rings as a middle schooler and frequently watched Peter Jackson’s screen interpretations, but I did not learn about Tolkien’s Catholic faith, his Eucharistic devotion, and the Christian truth driving the myth of his sub-creation of Middle Earth until my

Laura Norris 1
15 Jul 2014

Blood Worship

In the beginning there was light, and this light became life for mankind.   From divine nostrils to feldspar veins was life breathed, and in the blood contained.   In the blood.   A body mystically woven from magic and mud exploded into action: pumping, cycling, consuming. Communing with an entire garden of food, air, and fluid. Taking into itself by some parasitic act of sorcery the entire physical universe and rewriting it as flesh.

Micah Carlson 6