A Great Cloud of Spiritual Mothers

Feast of St Theodore the Studite

Ruth___Naoli_Square.jpegTWO DAYS ago I was grading papers at my desk when one of my students came in to get some help with an essay. We were almost done when she turned and asked if she could ask me a question. Of course, I said. An hour and many other questions later, she finally left my classroom.

Though I’ve often joked that I feel more... Continue Reading


The Great Hierarchy of Being

Feast of St Paul the Confessor, Patriarch of Constantinople

Creation_Square.jpg“O God, enlarge within us the sense of fellowship with all living things, our little brothers whom Thou hast given this earth as their home in common with us. May we realize that they live not for us alone, but for themselves and for Thee and that they love the sweetness of life even as we, and serve better... Continue Reading


Unpossessed Possessions

Feast of St Nestor the Martyr of Thessaloniki

Possessions.jpgMY SISTER, brother and I have gone through the process of sorting through our parents’ home preparing for an estate sale before selling the house. Our father died five years ago and our mother is now in a skilled nursing center.

After living in the same home for more than 60 years, my parents had accumulated many things, including furniture, dishes, clothing, documents,... Continue Reading


The Sublime Essay: Why I Delight in Mystery through Manners

Feast of the Seven Holy Martyred Youths of Ephesus and St Cecelia the Martyr

Essay_Square_2.jpegI GET ABSORBED in fiction. I plow through theology and philosophy. I luxuriate in poetry. But I delight in the essay. One self-contained exploration of a thing or an idea that I can digest within the space of an hour or so: that just seems right. And when it’s done well, it’s sublime.

I’m talking about essays... Continue Reading


An Improbable Guide to The Rule of St Benedict

Feast of St Lucian the Martyr of Antioch

Benedict_Square_2.jpgTHE RULE was developed by St. Benedict in the sixth century to govern the lives of monastic communities as they pursued holiness in Christ, and is still widely observed today. What follows is a one-sentence-per-Chapter summary with application to a modern audience of non-monastic vocation. I have retained the original Chapter titles (italicized) from the English edition edited by Timothy Fry, O.S.B.

Prologue... Continue Reading


Benedict Option & Doom Dissertation

Feast of St Thomas the Apostle, Son of Alphaeus

Benedict_Square.jpgJAMES K. A. Smith, a presenter at our Eighth Day Symposium earlier this year, receives our monthly e-newsletter. He emailed me after the most recent issue for a brief word of praise and encouragement.

After reviewing our October calendar, Smith also emailed Rod Dreher, another presenter at both our past 2015 and our coming 2016 symposium. The next day Dreher posted this... Continue Reading


Magic of the Spoken Word: An Apologia for Oral Reading

Feast of St Gregory the Illuminator, Bishop of Armenia

Augustine_Reading_Square.jpegWHY READ aloud to one another? There is a magic to the spoken word, one that involves hearing and experiencing the thing being spoken. Perhaps we could say the same thing of listening to a lecture or a sermon; but these are not quite the same. A lecture or sermon is given (most often) by the person who wrote the words, and... Continue Reading


The Night is Long

Feast of the Falling Asleep of St John the Evangelist and Theologian

Ten_Virgins_Square.jpegTHEN THE kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was... Continue Reading


The Catechetical Academy: An Experimental Excursion

Feast of St Ariadne the Martyr

Kids_Contemplating_Mountains_square.jpegTHE INITIAL impulse for Eighth Day Institute was an idea to develop a gap-year program. We’ve done everything but develop that idea. However, now that I have a fourteen-year old son and a twelve-year old daughter, along with a fourteen-year old boy my family has taken in, my thinking about the gap-year has expanded. Why should I wait for them to graduate high-school to... Continue Reading


Celebrating Leisure on Labor Day

Feast of St Mammas the Martyr

Square_2-An-Old-Scholar.jpegEVERY YEAR, Americans take advantage of an always desired yet rarely granted Monday off work by heading to the lake one last time, firing up the grill in homage to the unofficial end of summer, or perhaps by trying to complete a lingering project from their Memorial Day “to do” list. But as we observe this treasured national holiday in whatever way we choose,... Continue Reading