Obtaining Mercy

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Matthew 5:7 As Fr. Kirby notes, “many contemporary views falsely define mercy as a clean slate without accountability or consequences.” Were this true, mercy would constitute a violation of justice, and one or the other would cease being a virtue. Since justice and mercy are inContinue reading “Obtaining Mercy”

The Blessings of Poverty

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3 Strictly speaking, poverty—a lack of goods—is not good. As with each of the beatitudes, our Lord’s blessing of those who are “poor” (Lk. 6:20), or even “poor in spirit,” contains a paradox. Come to think of it, a paradox—an apparentContinue reading “The Blessings of Poverty”

Virgin of All Virgins Blest

Virgin of all virgins blest, O refuse not my request: let me in thy weeping share! Stabat Mater Ridolfo Luigi Boccherini (1743–1805) is one of a few composers whose music I most ardently relish. To judge by available recordings, he seems to be responsible for mountains of chamber music—a genre that for whatever reason IContinue reading “Virgin of All Virgins Blest”

Blessed is the Man!

Of St. Joseph, Scripture seems to tell us little, but what it says is of the greatest weight. We know that Joseph was a “just man,” and that justice entails the right ordering of all things, in perfect submission to God and nature. We know that Joseph’s thoughts were so intensely focused on doing God’sContinue reading “Blessed is the Man!”

Betting on the Strong Man

When a strong man armed keeps his court, those things are in peace which he possesses. Luke 11:21 For his pains in casting out a devil of dumbness, our Lord is accused of being in league with the devil. On its face, the accusation is preposterous, assuming as it does that Satan is dumb enoughContinue reading “Betting on the Strong Man”

Seeing the Good Things

Willa Cather’s Shadows on the Rock is set at the turn of the eighteenth century, when Québec City is a sparsely populated imperial outpost in a scarcely charted wilderness. This charming novel presents a year in the life of Cécile Auclair, daughter of the city’s “philosopher apothecary.” Though Euclide Auclair is highly respected for theContinue reading “Seeing the Good Things”