• The Waiting Place

    If you are waiting for a few things—say, a tray of seedlings and a batch of sourdough starter and muscle to build and grief to heal—I think that it makes the beginnings of a rich life.

  • March 25th: A Feast of Feasts

    Many Christians celebrate the Annunciation of the Lord on this day, and for years that was my only association with it. As it turns out, some combination of historical circumstances, fate, and tradition has placed a great deal of weight on this date, and the reason the Annunciation has been celebrated then is no mere coincidence but a participation in an older tradition preceding even the birth of Christ. 

  • Picture of Duomo.

    On Advent and Advertising

    Advertisements tell us, never in so many words, that the answer to the needs of our heart, to the indescribable nostalgia we feel at times, can be found in some finite thing. They get us to put our hope in things that cannot satisfy us.

  • The Loneliness of Icons

    We all need good days with icons—moments where the meaning of life is abundant and overflowing, when the sticky leaves of spring break our hearts with significance.

  • The Shame and the Glory

    Rejoice that you have a body. It may be prone to illness, easily tempted, heavy and awkward in social situations, and marked with wounds and pain. But so is our Lord's. And we will yet rise with him, naked to reveal every scar, our shame now remade into glory.

  • Easter, Again: Learning to See the Obvious

    We got to the place and stared at it. I looked down at the plaque, and it said: “Construction (Crucifixion).” Ah-ha. "Leo," I said, trying to sound natural and not too teacherly, "this is a picture of where Jesus died on the cross." He reached his arms up for me to hold him, wanting to be close to me, and also higher up to see. Once near, he pointed matter-of-factly at the circle and said, "Ok, mama. Then is that the stone that was rolled away?"

  • ‘Hamlet’ as Lenten Fare

    It has been a hard winter in lots of ways, and my spiritual life is not immune to the toll the virus took. That said, one upside of the interruption is that I have made an unlikely substitution for what would have been conventional devotional reading in a more typical year: Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

  • Concerning Humility

    When I was eight, I saw the photo of Muhammad Ali delivering the knockout to Sonny Liston. I was awestruck. The next Saturday, when I was lucky enough to win my little league wrestling match, I tried to replicate Ali’s pose. My parents called me up to the bleachers and I received an early lesson in humility.

  • How Karl Marx Saved My Christmas

    I was combing through Barbies, Lego sets, and the latest versions of Monopoly in search of something to give my two-year old for Christmas. Nothing particularly excited me, and there was nothing I could think of that he actually needed. My limited parenting experience told me he would get more entertainment out of the box and wrapping paper than the actual item anyway. But it seemed bad form simply not to buy my child a Christmas gift. So there I stood.

  • Backward Miracle

    Every once in a while, we need prose, not poetry, says the poet. We need just the vessel with the wine and nothing more. We need a single loaf and the single fish and that is all.