Truth is “a Thing” – St. Athanasius in the 21st Century

The Church is supposed to be a Sign of Contradiction (Luke 2:34). If all she offers in the face of sin is a Nod and a Wink, however, what is she teaching? How is any distinction possible between her teaching and what the Conventional Wisdom has on offer?  Do we not then give tacit assent?

Is it I, Lord? – Good Friday

Is it I, Lord?  Is it I, Lord? It seems all too easy for us sometimes to see the Apostles, in their bumbling humanity, as almost comic figures.  They certainly don’t appear too dignified, for instance, when they argue over which one of them is greatest (Luke 22:24, Mark 9:33, etc.); they look almost like clamoring […]

Have Mercy – Lotti’s Miserere (Music for Lent)

Have mercy on me, O God,according to thy steadfast love;according to thy abundant mercyblot out my transgressions. (Psalm 51:1) Have Mercy       And what transgressions they were!  King David had used trickery and deceit to send Uriah the Hittite to his death.  He had, in fact, murdered his loyal soldier in order to hide his own adultery.  Tradition […]

A God of Both: Tough Love and Unconditional Love

Return of Prodigal spes in domino

Tough Love and Unconditional Love Then let us celebrate with a feast,because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again;he was lost, and has been found.’ (Luke 15:23-24)  The Prodigal Son       Who hasn’t heard, or at least heard of, Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son?  I’ve encountered people with no experience of […]

Gabriel’s Annunciation and Mary’s Renunciation

Gabriel’s Annunciation and Mary’s Renunciation   Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign:the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son,and shall name him Emmanuel,which means “God is with us!”    (Isaiah 7:14)   Gabriel’s Annunciation        There’s something that doesn’t seem to make sense at first in today’s Gospel reading (Luke 1:26-38).  Here’s the […]

The Spirit of Lent: Two Choruses from Handel’s Messiah

The Spirit of Lent Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;  yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5-4)  Capturing the […]

You’re Standing on Holy Ground

 God said, “Come no nearer!Remove the sandals from your feet,for the place where you stand is holy ground. (Exodus 3:5)     The Burning Bush        I was fascinated by the image of the burning bush when I was a little boy.  I was also intrigued by God’s demand that Moses remove his sandals.  What exactly is “holy […]

The Lorica of St. Patrick Is As Timely As Ever

St. Patrick Window

The Lorica of St. Patrick Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of […]

Fear and Hope: Confutatis and Lacrimosa from Mozart’s Requiem

Fear and Hope

Fear and Hope are the twin themes of the “Confutatis and Lacrimosa” from Mozart’s Requiem. If thou, O LORD, shouldst mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared. I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope . . . (Psalm […]

The Drama of Sin and Repentance (or not) From Mozart’s Don Giovanni (Music Monday)

Hell is a real possibility for all of us.  It’s not a happy thought, but it’s an appropriate introduction to today’s Music Monday selection, our last musical offering before Ash Wednesday.  It’s not really sacred music, but it is very relevant indeed to the Lenten themes of sin, repentance (or not), and damnation.  This is the finale* of Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni (a.k.a. Don Juan), one of the most powerful scenes in the history of musical drama.