EVENSONG IN OXFORD ON ST. CECILIA’S DAY Holly Ordway “My soul doth magnify the Lord,” we sing, And offer back, in music’s common voice, The melody He made; the gift we bring Is wholly His—and so we dare rejoice With Mary’s words, entrusting her with all Our hopes and fears, to prism them to praise […]
CONVERSION Holly Ordway A twitch upon the thread, and here I stand, Pausing at this door. I wish that I Could look aside, or back away, pretend I don’t see where this threshold leads, deny The summons and the sudden urgency That blows away as so much useless chaff My nonchalant excuses for delay. I […]
Pain’s only valuable lesson is that we are insufficient.
Wonder and worship are the beginning of understanding.
Marilynn Robinson is unmatched for her ability to take a clear eyed look at Christianity and humanism and find integrated roots in the common tree.
We all want to be better people, but what does that mean?
“But we could hear her, because she began just after we came up out of the ditch, the sound that was not singing and not unsinging. “Who will do our washing now, Father?” I said.”
“Some day, his mind said, that boy would know what things were in the books and what things were not.”
When Wolfe died, William Faulkner said he was the greatest writer of their time.
What do you want to be when you grow up? We spend our childhood answering the wrong question.
It’s not what, but who.
Something had to change and the only thing Sarty could change was himself.
It has blessed us every one.
In his book Meno, Plato began with the question “Can you tell me, Socrates, is virtue something that can be taught?” to which Socrates answered “You must think I am singularly fortunate to know whether virtue can be taught or how it is acquired. The fact is that far from knowing whether it can be taught, I have no idea what virtue itself is.”
We are there and we are horrifically present and complicit.
I kept waiting for her to reach out to me, but it never happened.
Emotions and intellect see more clearly together than either can alone. Western thought is not used to this idea.
For the true Emily Dickinson aficionado.
“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”
― Isaac Newton
Sooner or later, the past insists on being the past.
When Cain wished to slay his brother, he was at no loss for a weapon.
Words are tricky, as everyone knows.
What makes a book great?
He was not invited back for thirty years.
The Gospel of Matthew records an incident which has been oft repeated. During a teaching session, Jesus brought a young boy to His hearers as an object lesson. He “set him in the midst of them and said “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by […]
Any friend of C.S. Lewis must be a pretty good guy, but even Lewis advised Blamires to write in his own field.
Our purposeful God is trustworthy, therefore we teach.
A mensch? Absolutely, but to my great fortune, also my mentor.
A wake-up call to America
English poet and essayist James Henry Leigh Hunt was born on October 19, 1784. “Jenny Kissed Me” was first published in The Monthly Chronicle in November 1838.
If America wasn’t ready for Moby Dick when it came out, America is less so now.
Just not this book.
We all think we understand the world, but truthfully we really only understand it with the handful of building blocks we’ve collected along the way. We interpret and assume and fill in the blanks with faith and fear, colliding with others who are doing the same.
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
~ St. Augustine
“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
― William Faulkner, from Requiem for a Nun
Why has this obscure little book from a reclusive woman so greatly impacted literature and liturgy?
What if you can no longer measure up, no longer be involved, if you have used up all your fantasies?
Death is the release of our person to eternity.
A novel that tackles such existential issues could easily become dry and philosophical, but instead The Second Coming is wise, comic, and touching, even as it is cynical about much that passes for wisdom in this post-Christian age.
George Orwell wrote 1984 in 1948, and yes – he simply flipped the last two years as a nod to “where things are headed.” It has been in the news recently due to the election of Donald J Trump to the presidency of the United States, as many see similarities in his policies and Orwell’s […]
“Don’t let me ever think, dear God, that I was anything but the instrument for Your story-just like the typewriter was mine.”
The task of the artist is to sense more keenly than others the harmony of the world, the beauty and the outrage of what man has done to it, and poignantly to let people know. By means of art we are sometimes sent—dimly, briefly—revelations unattainable by reason.
“Prejudice, a dirty word, and faith, a clean one, have something in common: they both begin where reason ends.”
“They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions… but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”
“War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”
“One day, you will be old enough to start reading fairytales again.” Albert Einstein said “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” If that’s right, then it likely follows that C.S. Lewis was the greatest theological mind of his time. The scholar who came to his faith with great […]
“God was executed by people painfully like us, in a society very similar to our own—in the over-ripeness of the most splendid and sophisticated Empire the world has ever seen.” Heretics were once tortured and executed. We know that, of course, but who decides what heresy is? Human judgment is always subjective and has […]
“We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time.” Prayer is communication with God, but what does that mean? Prayer emphasizes God’s mystery, inscrutability, and immanence—God is closer than our very breath. We get to know […]
“The more I visited in the Southwest,” she wrote in an essay about the novel, “the more I felt that the story of the Catholic Church in that country was the most interesting of its stories. The old mission churches, even those which were abandoned and in ruins, had a moving reality about them; the […]
The world is charged with the grandeur of God. It will flame out, like shining from shook foil; It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod? Generations have trod, have trod, have trod; And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with […]