June 11, 2010
Ah, yes, change. Something that we both crave and fear. The theme of Barack Obama’s victorious presidential campaign and now the mantra of his Tea Party opponents. A more or less neutral value in itself, since change can be for good or ill.
Sometimes change is predictable (and perhaps, therefore, not really much of a change at all) and sometimes unexpected, shocking, unsettling. I experienced one such unexpected change last month when I found the most recent issue of First Things in my mailbox.
There was a picture on the cover.
What had happened, I wondered. Was this some sort of belated April Fool’s Day issue? Or a sign of the impending apocalypse? I scanned the horizon and saw no horsemen, so, gingerly, I opened the cover. Read the rest of this entry »
May 31, 2010
Last month the Holy See gave final approval to a revised English translation of the Roman Missal, a long process not without its share of comedy, tragedy, and controversy. I, for one, am enthusiastic about the change, even while recognizing that change often takes a bit of effort to get used to.
The new translations have come in for a bit of criticism on the web and elsewhere, including a rather odd online petition drive. The criticism mostly stems from the fact that the new translations, which hew more closely to the Latin original than the translations now in use, employ a vocabulary and syntax that is likely to sound a bit foreign to most contemporary English-speakers.
The desire for the words used at Mass to be comprehensible to most people is straightforward and laudable, but simple comprehension is not the only quality we should expect in our worship language. In fact, sometimes it’s desirable for language to sound unusual and, yes, even foreign. To help me make this point, let me call on two old friends from my days as an undergraduate English major: Herman Melville and Ernest Hemingway. Read the rest of this entry »
August 8, 2009
Here are a few things I’ve run across during the week that I enjoyed and were also related (sometimes very tangentially) to a few of our posts. Hope you enjoy.
1. SAINT PETER RELEASED FROM PRISON and THE BAPTISM OF THE NEOPHYTES. Two poems by Linda Gregerson from the Atlantic‘s most recent fiction issue.
2. MANHOOD FOR AMATEURS: The Wilderness of Childhood. A beautiful short non-fiction piece by Michael Chabon on the loss of childhood wildernesses in the New York Review of Books. I still think nostalgia is dangerous, but this is too exquisite to pass up. Just proof that beautiful is not always true.
3. HOW TO LICK A SLUG. Nicholas Kristof’s stab at mourning lost childhoods. He and Chabon must be vacationing together. Very entertaining piece.
4. LIKE I WAS JESUS: How to bring a nine-year-old to Christ. A long piece from Harper’s apropos to our discussion about how to find the “contact point” when ministering to youths. It’s by Rachel Aviv and unfortunately available only to Harper’s subscribers, but I thought I would include the link anyway. Read the rest of this entry »
August 5, 2009
We can get stuck, spiritually, in a pretty deep muck: down on ourselves, focused on the faults of others, turned ungraciously inward. Generally, God doesn’t want us mired down, rather God wants us shining with the glory of creation. Shining from within of God’s glory, we can draw others towards the source of light and life. Radiant from within we more easily act as ambassadors for the King of Glory, the Son of Man. Since I am about to begin a retreat this often repeated dynamic in my relationship with God has been on my mind, and I think that the poet Galway Kinnell’s “Saint Francis and the Sow” serves as a nice reminder of the need for returning to God in the intimacy of prayer and retreat. Here’s the whole poem: Read the rest of this entry »