Gillian Welch is one of the great musicians of our time. It is not because she is a technical virtuoso, or because she has great vocal range. It is because more than anyone else she taps into the great aching heart of American music. Read the rest of this entry »
There is lots of exciting new work going on in the Society of Jesus these days, and I have been blessed to be part of one piece of it this summer. The project is called “Hearts on Fire,” a series of mini-retreats given across the midwest by a team of six young Jesuits. The focus of the retreat is helping young adults to live their Christian faith in daily life. We have adapted some elements of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius in what we hope is a catchy, inspiring way. The two days include Eucharistic adoration, confessions, talks, discussion groups, contemplation, and even musical entertainment. We have completed two retreats already, and are looking forward to the last three. Pictures and more information are below the fold. Read the rest of this entry »
The blooming of the natural world in spring can make me all the more appalled at our (my!) worship of the works of our hands. Discussing the commandment against idolatry in my Freshman religion class, I found myself recalling the words of the late Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger:
Until a recent period, beginning with the baroque in the seventeenth century, God the Father was always represented by a sign: the sacred tetragrammaton (the four Hebrew letters of the divine Name), the ray, the sun, the hand — in other words, by abstract symbols, because the Father cannot be depicted….
Interviewer: Are you shocked that God is represented physically in human form?
Lustiger: The Father, yes. Because that strikes me as being less respectful of the economy of salvation. You know the sentence from the prologue to Saint John’s Gospel: “No one has ever seen God” (1:18).
In class, I was soon on a mild rant against CCD books that picture God the Father as an old guy with a beard, and depriving a child of the true mystery of who God is. This is the worship of the works of our hands, which worship steals our wonder at who God is, and what God has done.
Wendell Berry, the great farmer-poet of our time, seems to always help me to return to that sense of wonder. Here’s one of his poems of amused rebellion against an idol-worshipping world. +AMDG+
Manifesto: Mad Farmer Liberation Front
Czeslaw Milosz is regarded as one of the great poets of the 20th century. This poem caught my eye when it was first published in The New Yorker as, perhaps, a poetic theology of the body. Enjoy!
On the border of this world and the beyond, in Kraków.
Tap-tap on the foot-worn flagstones of churches,
Generation after generation. Here I came to understand
Something of the habits of my brothers and sisters.
What a coincidence! Yesterday, I discovered on Twitter that the Pope gave a speech the same day talking about the need for believers to humanize the internet. Here’s the major quote:
“Without fear we must set sail on the digital sea facing into the deep with the same passion that has governed the ship of the Church for two thousand years. Rather than for, albeit necessary, technical resources, we want to qualify ourselves by living in the digital world with a believer’s heart, helping to give a soul to the Internet’s incessant flow of communication”.
One of the fun things about browsing the internet is that you can always find something new. But, of course, new internet discoveries are almost always a mixed bag. What are they for? What are they doing for people? Who uses this? Sometimes, even after I figure out some of that stuff, I end up realizing that it might be cool, but it’s nothing I’ll ever get any use or genuine enjoyment from.
But then there are things that might turn out to be useful – for example, Twitter and Tumblr.