Third Day of Christmas and Feast of St Stephen, Archdeacon & First Martyr
THERE WAS much speculation as the world anticipated the release of Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si, earlier this year. This was not surprising, as any papal encyclical will rightly capture the attention of the faithful. What was surprising was the perceptible nervousness among Christians regarding what they suspected to find in it, and the... Continue Reading
The Second Day of Christmas and the Synaxis of the Holy Theotokos
A WISE rabbi offered me this radical truth, way back in the 1970s: “Most people think once in their lives.” It is indeed a great gift, he confessed, to discover a single truth to orient one’s life, to making it the lodestar and true north of one’s existence. “Rare is the person,” he added, “who thinks twice.” What... Continue Reading
First Day of Christmas and Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and Feast of the Adoration of the Magi: Melchior, Gaspar & Balthasar and Commemoration of the Shepherds in Bethlehem Who Were Watching Their Flocks and Came to See the Lord
BUT GOD chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame... Continue Reading
Feast of St John of Damascus and St Barbara the Great Martyr
TODAY IS the feast day of our patron saint at Eighth Day Institute. St John of Damascus has played an extremely important role in my life personally and in the development of Eighth Day Institute. In fact, we were originally incorporated as the St John of Damascus Institute.
Given St John's importance, both in the history of the... Continue Reading
Feast of St Proclus, Archbishop of Constantinople
ONE OF THE best books I’ve read on patristic theology is The Suffering of the Impassible God: The Dialectics of Patristic Thought by Paul L. Gavrilyuk. The book is a historical study of impassibility, an early Christian doctrine that claims God does not suffer human emotions or feelings.
Gavrilyuk frames his whole argument as an apologetic toward the school of thought that he... Continue Reading
Feast of St Theodore the Studite
TWO 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
Feast of St Paul the Confessor, Patriarch of Constantinople
“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
Feast of St Nestor the Martyr of Thessaloniki
MY 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
Feast of the Seven Holy Martyred Youths of Ephesus and St Cecelia the Martyr
I 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
Feast of St Lucian the Martyr of Antioch
THE 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