"Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name." --Psalm 100:4

Browsing News Entries

Browsing News Entries

St. John of the Cross, Teacher of Prayer

Tomorrow’s feast of St John of the Cross (1542-1591) turns our attention to one of the greatest masters and teachers of prayer in the history of the Church. His writings about the topic have depth and beauty but also a simplicity that ensures that his insights are accessible to us who try to pray and to pray better. There is so much of St John’s teaching on prayer that we could highlight. Here I would like to focus on one profound but simple insight that is found in his masterpiece Spiritual Canticle. The message of what John teaches here is about intercessory prayer and how to interpret our human needs or lacks – not as inconveniences but as opportunities for prayer and deeper trust in the God of love. Bear in mind that John wrote his Spiritual Canticlein the confinement of his cramped prison cell in Toledo, Spain at a…

St. John of the Cross, Teacher of Prayer

Tomorrow’s feast of St John of the Cross (1542-1591) turns our attention to one of the greatest masters and teachers of prayer in the history of the Church. His writings about the topic have depth and beauty but also a simplicity that ensures that his insights are accessible to us who try to pray and to pray better. There is so much of St John’s teaching on prayer that we could highlight. Here I would like to focus on one profound but simple insight that is found in his masterpiece Spiritual Canticle. The message of what John teaches here is about intercessory prayer and how to interpret our human needs or lacks – not as inconveniences but as opportunities for prayer and deeper trust in the God of love. Bear in mind that John wrote his Spiritual Canticlein the confinement of his cramped prison cell in Toledo, Spain at a…

George Bailey, Meet Thomas Merton

George Bailey, the hero of It’s a Wonderful Life, is not a simple, good-natured cornpone from upstate New York; he is a man carrying a real bitterness within, that shows itself in little ways. A man who has had to cast aside every dream in order to do “the right thing,” the thrill-seeking Bailey is — thanks to an old injury — denied even dubious adventure of soldiering during World War II. Watch him spit in disdain at himself and his situation, after he has responsibly handled a blackout drill in his neighborhood. When the big man from the small town comes beeping by in a slick, shiny car and an even shinier woman, see George Bailey’s lip curl, not because his wife is wearing a baseball cap and sitting in his old clunker, but because she is so clearly content with the cap, and the clunker, and with trapped old George,…

Revelation in Ivory

As grateful as I am that museums preserve Catholic art, I cannot spend time in religious exhibitions without feeling a certain melancholy. Stripped of their original context (church or chapel) and of their original viewers (praying Catholics), these works often fail to evoke in me admiration, let alone devotion. And yet, as I wandered through the medieval section of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, glancing at old, ornate reliquaries and sadly displaced stained glass windows, I came across a statue of Mary that stopped me where I stood. She was not quite two feet tall, carved in ivory, standing there on a pedestal. A line cut straight down the front of the statue, from the crown of her head to her feet, and on both of her sides there were hinges. The statue stood open like a little triptych—a three-piece altar panel. Inside the statue, the sculptor had carved…

Boomer Wisdom: A Review of Bruce Springsteen’s “Western Stars”

Over dinner the other night a millennial priest asked me about some characteristics that define Generation X. I started by telling him that my generation was born between 1964 and 1981 and that we GenXers are significantly smaller in number than the generation that came before us (baby boomers, 1945-1963) and the generation that followed (millennials, 1982-1995). Another GenX priest and I went on to inform our millennial friend that we were the first generation to experience the effects of no-fault divorce and the new reality of both parents going to work, which resulted in the moniker “latch-key kids,” and that we’ve been understood as the experiment of many cultural revolutions. (Tragically, a third of our generation conceived after 1973 never made it out of the womb.) As far as ecclesial life is concerned, no GenXer has a living memory of the Church before Vatican II. Through our most formative…

St. Anne's Salvation Army Red Kettle Bell Ringing

Hello St. Anne’s Families, Radermacher’s has generously agreed to host a Salvation Army Red Kettle again this year. St. Anne’s Parish and School have been asked to RING THE BELL on Friday, December 13th and...

Hitler, War, and Why Art Matters

Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere. —G.K. Chesterton Over the recent Thanksgiving weekend, our family stumbled upon George Clooney’s 2014 World War II film The Monuments Men, a cinematic adaptation of Robert Edsel’s book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History. Given that my family had never seen it, we figured we would give it a go. Awash with big names (George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Hugh Bonneville, and John Goodman), the movie revisits the drama of the Allied Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program racing through war-torn Europe to find and preserve artistic masterpieces from rampant looting and wanton destruction. As World War II began to draw toward its bloody and (for the Germans) near-apocalyptic close, Adolf Hitler became increasingly deranged and maniacal in…

The All-New Issue of the Evangelization & Culture Journal!

      Evangelization & Culture, the Journal of the Word on Fire Institute, is something truly unique. We wanted to establish a smart, beautiful, and practical journal that was reflective of the Word on Fire ethos. But its overall purpose would not be primarily academic, artistic, or pastoral; instead, the purpose of our journal would be to evangelize the culture—and more to it, to train others to become evangelizers of the culture themselves. If this journal can help with that in a small way, I would be delighted. We are excited to announce the second issue of the Word on Fire Institute Journal is coming out this month! This issue focuses on matters of economics and Catholic Social Teaching. The intent of the journal is to provide Word on Fire Institute members with a tangible source…

To Jesus Through Mary? Why Yes, and T’was Ever Thus!

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