Kingdom Come

Almost a century ago, Pope Pius XI instituted the feast of Christ the King, to be celebrated on the last Sunday of October. Though placed towards the end of the liturgical year, this reminder of our Savior’s regal office was not intended to replace the last Sunday in the Church’s annual cycle, which (like theContinue reading “Kingdom Come”

The Caring Curmudgeon

J. R. R. Tolkein, Oxford professor and author of the (pre-cinematic) Lord of the Rings trilogy, was among those Catholics deeply rooted in the traditions of their faith, who lived to see those customs violently uprooted in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council. Years ago I was delighted to hear his grandson tell ofContinue reading “The Caring Curmudgeon”

Mercy in the Morning

It is good to give praise to the Lord: and to sing to thy name, O most High. To show forth thy mercy in the morning, and thy truth in the night. Psalm 91:1-2 Among my early morning prayers is one commissioned for daily recitation by members of the Confraternity of St. Peter. Although IContinue reading “Mercy in the Morning”

On Keeping One’s Head (Part II)

And if thy hand, or thy foot scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee. . . . And if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee. Matthew 18:8-9 These words, metaphorical though they be, and no matter how one interprets them, are among the many hard sayingsContinue reading “On Keeping One’s Head (Part II)”

Praying for Peter

Simon, Simon, behold Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren. Luke 22:31-32 In appointing as vicar a mere man, subject to original and actual sin, our Lord was well awareContinue reading “Praying for Peter”

The Plain and Visible Truth

La Santissima Trinita (The Most Holy Trinity) is among the last of Alessandro Scarlatti’s numerous oratorios. Originally performed in May of 1715, it dramatizes a theological debate in which Faith, Theology, Unbelief, Time, and Charity contend for the final word on the nature of the Almighty. Contemporary critics cannot deny the masterful beauty of theContinue reading “The Plain and Visible Truth”

The Testimony of God

If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater. 1 John 5:9 We are familiar with the story of St. Thomas, “one of the twelve,” who was not with his brothers when Jesus appeared to them on Easter day. “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails,Continue reading “The Testimony of God”

Audacious Little Ones

Dogmatic definitions are a service rendered to the “little ones” of the Church, and not a way of lording it over others. In formulating the faith by means of words, the Magisterium allows everyone to share in the light that Christ left to us. Tradition is the chief criterion in matters of faith. Every CatholicContinue reading “Audacious Little Ones”

O Lord, Our Lord!

The opening of Bach’s Johannes-Passion plunges us into the midst of Christ’s violent death. The swirling strings and plaintive winds establish an air of helpless distress. The first word, “Herr!” (Lord!), is a cry for help. Its repetition and extension into the slightly longer “O Lord, our Lord!” only accentuates the state of extreme crisis.Continue reading “O Lord, Our Lord!”

Help and Consolation

Thou true God and son of David, who already from eternity and from afar have seen intimately my heartache and bodily pain: have mercy on me! And let thy miraculous hand, that has turned aside so much evil, act for me likewise as help and consolation. Du wahrer Gott, by J. S. Bach (Music) FromContinue reading “Help and Consolation”