Sophia at Christmastime

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

Sophia_Square_3.jpgBUT GOD chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame... Continue Reading

St John of Damascus: The Patron Saint of Eighth Day Institute

Feast of St John of Damascus and St Barbara the Great Martyr

John_Damascene_Square_3.jpegTODAY 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

Does God Suffer?

Feast of St Proclus, Archbishop of Constantinople

Extreme_Humility_Square.jpegONE 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

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