Literature

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In Tim Powers’ supernatural thriller, Last Call, which is set largely in Las Vegas, the city and its casinos are seen as the playground of invisible demonic forces who prey on those who are playing the tables. For...
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Hearing T.S. Eliot's poems read brings us back to the haunting beauty of the words themselves, and hearing the words unlocks Eliot’s powerful imagery, just as he would have wanted. Jeremy Irons' classic rendition empowers this strange transaction, and through the words we are taken beyond the words to...
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I have read A Tale of Two Cities at least eight times now. Each time, I cry. Yes, each time. Why, I wonder, does Charles Dickens’ writing have this effect on me? I surprised myself today. As...
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Ride this one out, as you have done before. Batten down what can be battened. Reef What can be reefed, avoid the white sea-shore, Do not expect a rescue or relief. Endurance is its own kind of relief. The other ships are sinking. You must be Hope’s...
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Here are three sonnets on the three temptations of Christ in the wilderness. You can read my commentary on these in The Word in the Wilderness. Stones into Bread
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Augustine's Confessions is the odyssey of the soul. It is the odyssey of the human heart, as Augustine shifts from the emphasis of intellect to the primacy of love. He shows that it is not by having a strong...
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Ash Wednesday Receive this cross of ash upon your brow, Brought from the burning of Palm Sunday’s cross. The forests of the world are burning now And you make late repentance for the loss. But all the trees of God...
Books
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Growing up in a small but well-to-do Kansas town, I had access to several local bookshops—used and new—in grade school. Every bookstore offered joys, mysteries, and delights. Rarely have I walked into one and not found some kind of treasure.
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C.S. Lewis’s writings are endlessly fascinating because the man himself was endlessly fascinating—to himself as well as to others. He saw life as a sort of drama and art, one in which the will shapes what Providence has so generously provided.

We should not confuse or conflate Russian President Vladimir Putin with Soviet leaders, such as Josef Stalin. They are as different as the proverbial chalk and cheese. Nowhere is this more evident than the way in which Mr....

“Forgetfulness of being”—perhaps we could also call it “forgetfulness of givenness”—underlies most of the problems that we face. To forget being means to forget how astonishing it is that anything exists at all... Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords...
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Traditional liturgy, through its ceremony and ability to effect a sense of the transcendent, opens the human heart and mind not only to truth, but to other realms of being. If liturgy accomplishes this, so does literature, for what does a good story or a good drama...
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He’d had that thing for years – some dreadful woe - I can’t remember what it’s called - I guess he’d had enough, although I don’t know all the details. Was he bald? I haven’t seen him for a while; he crawled Into...
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Social visits are done for their own sake, for disinterested reasons, for the pleasure of others, and as a gracious act of thoughtfulness that dignifies both the visitor and the visited... Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords...