I recently came across a line by Samuel Johnson that struck me as having a particular relevance to Dominican friars: “A man unconnected is at home everywhere; unless he may be said to be at home nowhere.” As mendicants, we are “unconnected” to a place; we give up a stable home for the sake of serving the Church. But Johnson’s statement holds... [Read more...]Nails
Nails Now place the nail, my lovely lad and grip your hammer low; Now raise it high above your head, and firmly strike your blow. Once more raise up your arm again once more hit hard your steel, But mind your hand, let not the weight your gentle fingers feel. Well struck, my boy! Right manfully ... [Read more...]Martha or Mary?
To pray or do good? This seems to be the dilemma of anyone trying to live a Christian life. On the one hand St. Thomas Aquinas says that “the contemplative life is more excellent than the active,” but on the other hand St. James says that “faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.” This dichotomy is traditionally expressed in terms of Martha... [Read more...]The Twelve Days of Emmanuel
Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel (which means, God with us) (Mt 1:23) The joy of Christmas is the joy of Emmanuel. Our God is not distant from us: he is in our very midst. Nor is his presence some abstract proposition. His closeness is as real as a hungry baby awaking Mary and Joseph in the middle... [Read more...]Slouching Toward Bethlehem
Imagine a world where everyone is hunched over. An exaggerated convex curvature of the spine encumbers all. We’re just born this way. We can function, but it’s labored. Everything requires more effort. It feels like everything that’s good is on the top shelf, hard to reach. Our gaze is naturally cast down, not up. We can strain to straighten ourselves,... [Read more...]A Catechism Around Your Neck
“The Blessed Virgin is waiting for you,” the child whispered. St. Catherine Labouré, a novice in the Daughters of Charity, was gently woken from her sleep by a small, luminous child beckoning her to follow him to the chapel. It was nearly midnight. “The Blessed Virgin is coming; here she is,” the child said as Catherine heard the swishing of... [Read more...]