Absence, Presence & Sacramental Asceticism on the Road to Emmaus


In the liturgy this weekend we hear that famous story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.  This has become one of my favorite stories in the entire Bible and it was due in large part to reading the theologian Louis-Marie Chauvet’s The Sacraments: The Word of God at the Mercy of the Body while studying toward my master’s…

How the Reformation Failed, A Response: Paradox or Contradiction?


Early last week, First Things posted an excerpt from a piece by Peter J. Leithart titled How the Reformation Failed.  The longer piece can be found at Leithart’s Theopolis Institute site.  After reading the longer piece I tweeted a recommendation to read the post and that I agreed with much of it.  Following my tweet, an Evangelical friend sent me a…

The Benedict Option, Evangelicals, and Catholics: A Response


On the heels of Rod Dreher’s week-long sojourn in Louisville to share more about the Benedict Option with Evangelicals there, a rash of blog posts has followed.  In the first of what is now four posts, Dreher shares a question that was posed by Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, in an interview he…

A Benedict Option Manifesto?


I don’t know if Rod Dreher’s upcoming book on the Benedict Option will include a manifesto like his 2005 Crunchy Cons did, but I can imagine it being something like the following from Thomas Merton’s 1951 book Ascent to Truth: The only thing that can save the world from complete moral collapse is a spiritual revolution.  Christianity, by its very…

Happy Feast of St. John, Evangelist!


Today is the feast of St. John the Evangelist.  Here I am in the winter of 2003 at what is left of the ancient Basilica of St. John just outside of Ephesus, Turkey, along with a few other pics I took.  My wife and I, both theology students at the time, were in a study abroad program dubbed “In the Footsteps of…

Chesterton on Advent and Christmas


Now Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home David Mills recent, insightful essay titled Just Wait: Because Waiting Makes It More Fun: A reflection prompted by a mid-Advent fit of grumpiness got me thinking about G.K. Chesterton’s essay The Spirit of Christmas.   Mills rightly laments the imposition of Commercial…

St. Bernard and Thomas Merton on Simplicity & the True Aim of Life


“…our chief, in fact our only task, is to get rid of the ‘double’ garment, the overlaying layer of duplicity that is not ourselves.”  –Thomas Merton on finding our true self. Today is the feast of St. Bernard of Clairvaux.  Bernard was one of the most prominent figures in the high middle ages in Europe and had a profound influence…

The Absence of God and the Asceticism of Ascension


Today is the feast of the Ascension.  It marks the beginning of one of the strangest periods in the entire liturgical year in the Church.  Jesus leaves us, but the promised helper or Paraclete hasn’t come yet.  The Holy Spirit will not come to us until Pentecost.  That’s ten days away.  We are without two-thirds of the Godhead, liturgically speaking,…

Thomas Merton, Fuga Mundi & the Benedict Option – Fuga Mundi Series, Part 5


  Thomas Merton’s fuga mundi, or “flight from the world,” was a complex and multi-faceted thing.  When I envisioned this series back in the fall I had to idea it would end where it did.  I didn’t ever think that Star Wars would factor into my fuga mundi reflections.  But there it was, right at the center of Star Wars story–and in the…

Star Wars and Monasticism: A Fuga Mundi Series Extra


A recent post over at ChurchPOP about the conversion to Catholicism of famed actor Alec Guinness (a.k.a Obi-Wan “Ben” Kanobi) got me thinking about the monastic dimension of the whole Star Wars saga.  The picture at the top of the post shows the enrobed Kanobi with the desert planet of Tatooine behind him.  This congers up images of the Christian monks…

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