Lent: the Annual Catechumenate

Historians of the Roman liturgy generally reckon the restorations of the Easter Vigil (by Pius XII) and the adult catechumenate (by Vatican II) as two of the signal accomplishments of the twentieth-century liturgical movement. I wouldn’t contest that claim, but I’d add something else to the . . . . Continue Reading »

Not Just for Catholics

I am not a Roman Catholic, but I love the churches of Rome. Where else on earth is there such a concentration of hallowed houses of worship, sermons in stone and light, in art and architecture, that reveal so completely the antiquity and historical density of the Christian faith? That is why I was . . . . Continue Reading »

Christina Rossetti’s Lenten Life

The Victorian poet Christina Rossetti (1830–1894) is most celebrated for her popular Christmas carols, but her most prolific liturgical season was Lent. A fervent Anglican, Rossetti expressed in her poems a deeper understanding of suffering than pieces like “Love Came Down At Christmas” might lead you to suspect. In her Lenten poetry, she focuses not only on her own sins, but highlights how her intense brokenness united her to God. Continue Reading »

The Fast and Slow Growth

Having made my first promises in 2002 (after three years of dallying), next year I will celebrate ten years as a fully professed Benedictine Oblate. I’m sure my Holy Father Benedict is rolling his eyes, and thinking, “Oh, bully, kid, let me get my shoes and I’ll do a jig for you. Have you gotten that Rule down, yet?” Errr, well, no, Father. Not yet. Especially not that part about receiving all guests as Christ… . Continue Reading »

Lenten Sonnet

Deny my Lord? I could not but disdain The thought that I might so esteem life’s breath As timidly to flee from threat of death And thus avoid the Saviour’s Lenten pain. No, never would I shout that same refrain Of “I know not the man!” nor would I bend In fear, but follow even to the end, . . . . Continue Reading »