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Pro-Life Liturgy

An icon of the Annunciation appears on the central altar doors of every Orthodox Christian church. The “royal doors” are double doors, so the icon is a diptych, with Gabriel on the left and Mary on the right. As a young child, I found the movement of this icon mesmerizing as the doors opened and . . . . Continue Reading »

“Heaven and Everything Else”

I first read Abraham Joshua Heschel’s The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man less than twenty years after its publication. It was already a classic among readers who cherished the few works of Jewish thought written in artful, eloquent English for a literate audience. Heschel summoned . . . . Continue Reading »

Rights in Common

The dazzling efficiency with which corporate America exchanges its turkeys and pumpkins for snowmen and reindeer each year confirms that our society is fully post-Christian. The occasional earnest performance of “O Holy Night” is a rule-proving exception. For the most part, endless ranks of . . . . Continue Reading »

No Patrimony

The age-old distinction between schoolchildren and university students is fast losing its meaning. On many campuses, the infantilization of university students has become institutionalized. College administrators treat students as if they were biologically mature children rather than young men and . . . . Continue Reading »

The Touchstone Effect

Everyone should have a copybook of maxims. So I tell my students at the start of freshman year. “You will meet priceless bits of wit and wisdom in the next eight semesters—write them down and tap them often.” They hear it as bad advice, though. Don’t they have enough to do already? But the . . . . Continue Reading »

Learning to Play

My piano tuner is well over eighty years old. Each time I call him, I fear I’ll learn that he has died. So far he is still with us, though at each visit a little more white-haired and frailer than before. I worry that he will hurt himself when he lies under the instrument or takes out the . . . . Continue Reading »

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