I have a plan for surviving an attack of Africanized honey bees. I developed it after reading Psalm 118. At the midpoint, the psalmist describes being attacked on all sides by enemy nations. He declares, “they compassed me, compassed me … Continue reading

A Thanksgiving Prayer

Easter has eggs, Christmas presents, Halloween candy, and the Fourth of July fireworks. These are so tied to their celebration that leaving out the “has” of the preceding clauses might make one think that the names of the holidays were … Continue reading

Do Christians Meditate?

Do Christians meditate? Or is that only something practiced in Eastern religions? For many people, “meditation” is merely associated with the activities so often attributed to Zen-like exercises: sitting cross-legged, breathing in and out, thinking of nothing. For some, there’s … Continue reading

“Well, actually, Jesus…”

Often when I read Scripture, I find myself thinking about my friend Jacob. The reason is not that I see Jacob reflected in the sacred page: I don’t see his silhouette masked behind Psalmist’s righteous man, or hear echoes of … Continue reading

The Day Before Thanksgiving

The day before Thanksgiving. Sleep in. Enjoy the warmth of the bed as it keeps away the chill in your room. Stay away from the world for a little longer this morning. No job forces you from your sleepiness today. … Continue reading

Sports and Religion

Sports are all around right about now. The NFL season is in full swing, the College Football Playoff is just around the corner, and college basketball has tipped off (Go Friars). It’s an exciting time of the year for sports … Continue reading

Discursive Meditation

What can you think about in discursive meditation? Well, think about God, His attributes, and His Trinity. Think about How God is perfectly good, or how He is all-knowing or all-powerful or always everywhere. Think about how God is Father, … Continue reading

Fraternity, Postmortem

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled; and he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. … Continue reading

A Poor Friar for the Poor

Look at the photo that accompanies this post. What do you see? This is a depiction of St. Martin de Porres, a Dominican friar who lived in Lima, Peru, from his birth in 1579 until his death on this day … Continue reading

A Wealthy Man

Two years ago, a man was riding a subway at night in New York City. He was struggling not to fall asleep, knowing from experience that if he dropped off, a passerby on the subway would kindly relieve him of … Continue reading

Light Pollution

They built the 7-11 when I was in middle school. I remember it vividly, not because it was the second gas station in town, but because it brought a set of parking-lot lights that cut into the night sky like … Continue reading

All Dominican Saints

Less than a week ago, the whole Church celebrated All Saints Day. Today in the Order of Preachers we celebrate All Dominican Saints. Are the Dominicans hosting some kind of exclusive afterparty? What is going on? First and most essentially, … Continue reading

The Beauty of the Particular

Remember your creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come.   -Ecclesiastes 12:1 Margarita loved the country. She was a city girl herself, but after gang violence broke out near their apartment, Phil convinced her … Continue reading

The Flesh Is Willing

Any Christian wanting to pray will be tested. Difficulties in prayer often manifest themselves in weaknesses of our bodies that get in the way of our hearts and minds ascending to God. The apostles’ behavior in the Garden of Gethsemane … Continue reading

A Road Towards Blinding Light

“The road that stretches before the feet of a man is a challenge to his heart long before it tests the strength of his legs” (Fr. Walter Farrell, O.P., My Way of Life). St. Leo the Great must surely have … Continue reading

Real Meditation

You know the fake kind: clearing your mind, trying to think of nothing—zoning out with a sense of purpose. But that’s a caricature of meditation. Christian meditation is a kind of prayer that is thinking—not thinking about nothing but about … Continue reading

A Growing Spirit of Criticism

This game I’ll call “Guess This Conservative Author,” and it only works if played by the rules. Without reading ahead, consider these select criticisms of modernity: Against self-serving politicians: See the moral hypocrisy of the commanding class. They know no … Continue reading

Mi Casa Es Tu Casa

“Son, back in nahn-teen seh-vendy six your dad was…” Often in my household while I was growing up, my father, referring to himself in the third person, would start extravagant stories with this long, drawn-out introduction. My brother and I … Continue reading

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