VIDEO: J. R. R. Tolkien and The Applicability of Stories

I was honored recently to be a guest on icon carver Jonathan Pageau’s YouTube channel The Symbolic World, discussing how the work of J. R. R. Tolkien is formative for the spiritual life and also my new Amon Sûl podcast, which is all about Tolkien: Enjoy the video, and I hope you’ll also check out Jonathan’s many other videos. It’s really excellent and mind-bending…

The Annunciation and the Buffered Self

Forefeast of the Annunciation / Sunday of St. Gregory Palamas, March 24, 2019 Hebrews 1:10-2:3; Mark 2:1-12 In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. For if the word spoken through angels was confirmed, and every transgression and disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation,…

New Tolkien Podcast: Amon Sûl from Ancient Faith Radio

If you follow me on social media at all, you’re already aware of this, I’m sure, but just in case you’re one of the folks who follow this blog and not much else, I wanted to let you know about a brand new Ancient Faith Radio podcast that launched today: The Amon Sûl Podcast. Here’s the official description: Join host Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick…

The Power of Remembering Jesus Christ

Feast of St. Haralampos / Sunday of the Canaanite Woman, February 10, 2019 II Timothy 2:1-10; Matthew 15:21-28 In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, of the seed of David. (II Timothy 2:8a) I was struck this week when I read that first phrase: “Remember Jesus…

No, Christmas is Not Pagan. Just Stop.

Well, it’s time for a good Christmas rant. This requires a rant, because every year, we see the same ignorant silliness. (Sorry, but it’s just true.) Supposedly, Christmas is secretly pagan, secretly syncretist, secretly a co-opting of pagan stuff and ignorantly claiming it to be Christian. But the truth about these things is so available that it’s literally staring out at you even from…

Why People Leave Church When Leaders Fail

Back in August, (formerly) Roman Catholic political columnist Damon Linker announced that he’d left the Roman Catholic Church, and this past week, he explained why, noting along the way some of the reaction against his announcement: It’s hardly surprising that writers deeply devoted to the Catholic Church would reject the reasons for my decision to leave the church. The former editor of Commonweal Paul…