Friendship and Hidden Things

The greatest things in life are hidden. Not just treasure, passageways, and tracks, but the substantial parts of life: beauty, love, goodness, justice, mercy. Intellectually and experientially, we know them, but the knowledge is partial. We can’t point to one … Continue reading

A Crown of Saints

Bedazzling! That’s the word that comes to mind while looking at the crown of Charlemagne. But if you focus your attention on just one of the jewels—beautiful as they are—the splendor of the whole fades. It takes what seems to … Continue reading

Does God Make Us Less Lonely?

Sometimes we believe that God is obliged to make us less lonely. We think: God knows me. He wants me to know Him. God wants to share his life with me, and I should never be lonely if I’m sharing … Continue reading

The Box

Waiting outside can be agonizing. Thinking of what will be said inside, even more so. You rise from your seat and step towards the box, the open door inviting you into the darkness that has been waiting for you for … Continue reading

Unfailing Beauty

Beauty quickens our love. It stirs the heart to give itself happily. And it sweetens the sacrifice once thought unbearable. Just ask the parent of a toddler. One smile lightens the weariness of the  midnight shift. But when beauty fails, … Continue reading

Literally the Best Book You Will Ever Read

Warning: this paragraph may cause grammar-conscious readers to literally explode. In contemporary speech, many people use the word “literally” merely for emphasis, but those who hold fast to the word’s meaning know that this usage is literally barking up the … Continue reading

Teresa The Poet

Many have heard Teresa of Avila’s prayer “Let nothing disturb you… God alone suffices,” which she scribbled on a small bookmark of hers during prayer. I recently discovered, however, that she wrote many other poems. I was stranded on a … Continue reading

In Hora Mortis Nostrae

When death comes for me, what last word will I utter? Whither will my thoughts turn? Whom will I remember? Seldom do we ask these sorts of questions. We avoid them because we fear death. But if we give them … Continue reading

A Day of Prayer for Peace

The violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last month held before the eyes of the nation an image of division. In view of these events, Bishop George Murray of the Diocese of Youngstown, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ ad hoc committee against … Continue reading

God, Terror, and September 11th

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on September 11, 2012. Fr. John Sica was ordained to the priesthood in May 2016 and now serves on the faculty of Providence College. When Pope Benedict commemorated the tenth anniversary of 9/11, … Continue reading

Ending and Beginning

Starting and Stopping: whether in writing or in life, the beginning and end are crucial. A writer’s  punchiest point, nestled two-thirds through the page, will fall flat without an introduction and conclusion. Why? Because human beings are like trucks that … Continue reading

First Loved

I reached the heights of youthful self-absorption in the autumn of my nineteenth year. I’m tempted to plead it slipped my mind. But truthfully, it never even crossed my mind in the first place. I only realized it when, scanning … Continue reading

The Nations Conspire

Iceland has almost entirely eliminated children with Down syndrome. In a reenactment of the massacre of the Holy Innocents there is once again a state-sponsored effort to erase innocent children. Would it surprise you to hear that King Herod and the modern … Continue reading

Please, Lord, One More

Many people are fond of quoting the opening lines of Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The emphasis tends to fall on the second half, especially when speaking … Continue reading

Physical Worship

“The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” Because Our Lord took on human flesh, our religion, our faith, is not merely spiritual. It is also physical. Our Lord took on human flesh, so that he could die upon … Continue reading

Follow the Queen

“Imagine what heaven sounded like when she said fiat.” A young man posed this thought to me in the sacristy of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Shrine in East Harlem. It was the shrine’s patronal feast day, and the Marian … Continue reading

Living the Wondrous Adventure

An adventure is just an inconvenience rightly considered.      -G.K. Chesterton He dashes down the stairs to the station with a pinched and focused look on his face, grumbling under his breath about the tourists who were making him … Continue reading

The Paradox of Christian Autobiography

“Know thyself,” proclaimed the oracle at Delphi. St Catherine of Siena echoed this teaching with her emphasis on the importance of the “cell of self-knowledge” to the spiritual life. But how can I know myself? This question became especially pertinent … Continue reading

Damning Silence

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”      – Edmund Burke Why do we do nothing? Why do we see evil and stay silent? In part, it’s because our culture excessively … Continue reading

St. Dominic’s Favorite Book

What was St. Dominic’s favorite book? As a scholar and preacher, it would have to be one that reflects the wisdom and goodness of God, one that he could return to again and again without exhausting it. Maybe one of … Continue reading

Loop

Our pets lived in an unnatural environment, but to be fair, they were strange pets. Mary Elizabeth, a black widow that Danny had caught with a plastic cup, lurked in an upside-down, gallon sized pickle jar. (Danny’s fiancée—also named Mary … Continue reading

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

This summer, a lady approached me and asked a surprising question: “Can I sleep well and still be a good Christian?” She went on to tell me that she often found herself worried at bedtime, either about her own tasks … Continue reading

Toward the Eternal Sabbath

Today the nation takes a day off. We know that we need to rest from our labors, so today we replace the office or workshop with picnics and backyard softball. Nonetheless, resting can make us feel uncomfortable. To be sure, this … Continue reading