Among the many spiritual adjustments that Lent encourages us to undertake, surely one of the most important--and yet one of the most antithetical to the spirit of modernity--is the re-ordering of priorities that should come with the contemplation of our mortality. It's an image of that mortality, after all, that we get smeared on our foreheads. And although the new liturgy allows a rather bland alternative commentary on the symbolism of the day--"Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel"--the traditional (and in my opinion preferable) admonition makes clear just what the symbol means:
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
I think it can fairly be argued that Abraham Lincoln was the most subtle thinker and the most elegant prose stylist of all American presidents. Here, in his own words supplied to a Chicago newspaper in June 1860, is an account of his formal education.
"Abraham now thinks that the aggregate of all his schooling did not amount to one year. He was never in a college or academy as a student, and never inside of a college or academy building till since he had a law license. What he has in the way of education he has picked up. After he was twenty-three and had separated from his father, he studied English grammar--imperfectly, of course, but so as to speak and write as well as he now does. He studied and nearly mastered the six books of Euclid since he was a member of Congress. He regrets his want of education, and does what he can to supply the want."
All education, in the last analysis, is self-education. Abraham Lincoln simply exemplifies that truth more dramatically than most people.
Care to speculate on how many current members of Congress have "nearly mastered the six books of Euclid"?
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Marian apparitions don't figure prominently in my devotional life, but I am emotionally attached to two -- Guadalupe and Lourdes -- partly because of the convincingly miraculous nature of the apparitions themselves, and partly because the Virgin reported to have appeared in those two places is so immediately and authentically identifiable in her words and actions as the Mother of Our Lord.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
...does have its small triumphs. It will soon be legal to buy a beer in the town where William Faulkner was born.
Labels: William Faulkner