No Fighting God

Some months after my son-in-law, Rob Susil, died, a longtime friend asked me, in a gentle but point-blank way, “Are you still fighting God?” The only honest response was, “Yes.” At which my friend said, simply, “You’re not going to win, you know . . .” Continue Reading »

Expulsion and Temptation

Like many of its sister ancient churches of the East, the Armenian Apostolic Church lays special emphasis on the season of Great Lent as a “school” for personal spirituality. Adherents are guided on a kind of “pilgrimage of the soul,” with each Sunday of Lent dedicated to a story from Scripture, based in a parable of Jesus, or in prophecies concerning him. Continue Reading »

Lent, Day by Day

The phrase “Lenten journey” has become ubiquitous in contemporary Catholicism, but for once, AmChurchSpeak makes an important point: Lent is a journey—a journey to Calvary with the Lord and an opportunity to reflect on how well we’ve each picked up the cross daily (as instructed in Luke 9: 23) and followed him. Continue Reading »

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 »