Rome, Open City by Roberto Rossellini (1945)

The evening news has a reputation for blood thirst. “If it bleeds, it leads” they say.  This is almost universally considered bad taste, but the practice continues because it draws an audience, albeit for wrong reasons.  Artists, like filmmakers, for instance, have traditionally let some time pass before depicting horrors. The tragedy of September 11th’s […]

The Life Of Our Lord Jesus Christ by James Tissot (1896)

Some conversions of faith are quiet events in the stillness of one’s heart.  Others, however, are epiphanies of disquieting thunder.  Such was the case with James Tissot.  Already a successful painter whose playboy reputation was apparently well-earned, Tissot was changed by a vision he experienced during mass.  This single event profoundly altered his course for […]

The Heart Of The Andes by Frederic Edwin Church (1859)

COMMENTARY ON PSALM 104 John Calvin “There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice,” and, therefore, we are “not only to be spectators in this beautiful theatre but to enjoy the vast bounty and variety of good things which are displayed […]

The Voyage of Life by Thomas Cole (1842)

NATURE Ralph Waldo Emerson But if a man be alone, let him look at the stars. The rays that come from those heavenly worlds, will separate between him and vulgar things. One might think the atmosphere was made transparent with this design, to give man, in the heavenly bodies, the perpetual presence of the sublime. […]

The Holy Sonnets by John Donne (1633)

Spiritual truth is difficult for the rational mind to grasp.  The Bible says the Holy Spirit will guide us to all truth and indeed, absent God’s intrusion our modern minds gravitate to only that which is reasonable – and reason is a hobbled teacher.  We understand this most directly in matters of love, for as Pascal […]

Philia and Patriotism by Kate Thomsen Gremillion

In Saint Petersburg in the 1860s a group of friends, the Могучая кучка (Moguchaya kuchka) which is roughly translated as “the Five” or “The Mighty Handful” met together for drink and discussion about Music and Philosophy not unlike The Inklings did with literature and poetry a generation later. These Russian composers all lived in St […]

The Cognoscenti & the Apologetics of Curiosity by Kate Thomsen Gremillion

How Things You Wish to Know Are Accessible Through Curiosity and Community   One of the most delightful aspects of participating in Literary Life is the charm and fascination of its members. As I read through the posts and comments, I meet a range of characters from the beguiling and clever to the serious and searching. Much […]

What Do You Seek?

Great Expectations Charles Dickens There was a long hard time when I kept far from me the remembrance of what I had thrown away when I was quite ignorant of its worth. Our lives, like the characters of Dickens’ finest novel, are filled with great expectation.  We likewise are often disappointed –  in spite of […]

God of the Awkward, the Freckled, and the Strange: Day 5

Pied Beauty Gerard Manley Hopkins Glory be to God for dappled things— For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings; Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough; And áll trades, their gear and tackle and trim. All things counter, original, spáre, strange; […]

God of the Awkward, the Freckled, and the Strange: Day 4

Pied Beauty Gerard Manley Hopkins Glory be to God for dappled things— For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings; Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough; And áll trades, their gear and tackle and trim. All things counter, original, spáre, strange; […]

Engaging With Art by Kate Thomsen Gremillion

“Art is a distinct and irreplaceable way of knowing the world because it alone unlike science or philosophy uses and engages the fullness of our humanity” ~Dana Gioia “But surely arrested development consists not in refusing to lose old things but in failing to add new things.” ~CS Lewis To grow ourselves in the art […]

Easter by George Herbert

    Rise heart; thy Lord is risen. Sing his praise     Without delays,     Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise     With him mayst rise.     That, as his death calcined1 thee to dust,     His life may make thee gold, and much more just.         Awake, my lute, and struggle […]

Maundy Thursday by Malcolm Guite

Here is the source of every sacrament, The all-transforming presence of the Lord, Replenishing our every element, Remaking us in his creative Word. For here the earth herself gives bread and wine, The air delights to bear his Spirit’s speech, The fire dances where the candles shine, The waters cleanse us with his gentle touch. […]

The Anointing At Bethany by Malcom Guite

Come close with Mary, Martha, Lazarus, So close the candles flare with their soft breath, And kindle heart and soul to flame within us Lit by these mysteries of life and death. For beauty now begins the final movement, In quietness and intimate encounter, The alabaster jar of precious ointment Is broken open for the […]

Love’s As Warm As Tears by C. S. Lewis

Love’s as warm as tears, Love is tears: Pressure within the brain, Tension at the throat, Deluge, weeks of rain, Haystacks afloat, Featureless seas between Hedges, where once was green. Love’s as fierce as fire, Love is fire: All sorts ‒ Infernal heat  
 Clinkered with greed and pride,  
 Lyric desire, sharp-sweet,  
 Laughing, […]