What's the difference between indulgence and respite? I'd like to ask St. Teresa.
Since Charles William Eliot's future is our past, it's easy for us to see where his prophecy missed the mark. But could we do better?
It's 2016 and the problem of evil is still unsolved. It's found a megaphone in Stephen Fry, who offers more rhetorical power than originality.
Each year I ask my students to devise arguments for God. They respond less like well diggers than like beachcombers, gathering bits of evidence.
Every New Year's, every Easter, every anniversary of his wife's death, Samuel Johnson took stock and prayed for the grace to try again.
In Fra Carnevale’s Annunciation, Mary’s face signals she is pondering the angel’s message in full consciousness of the joys and terrors it will bring.
As a child, I liked to survey strangers about what it means to be human. Brandon Stanton has created a fully realized version of what I was doing.
Critics view genealogy as a kind of ersatz historiography, an individualistic reconstruction of the past. But there is more to family tree building.
All I remember from The Magic Stones is the image of a young man, some stones and blocks, and an experiment revealing the most perfect shape.
This year, the Ascension coincides with Lailat al-Mi‘rāj. With both Christians and Muslims looking up, perhaps we can spare a sidelong glance.
Books for the dark night
The appeal of Abandonment to Divine Providence is its simple, lyrical repetition of a single idea: whatever happens is the will of God.
I've never knowingly visited purgatory or fairy land, but I have set foot in a few small places that, once entered, prove to be larger.
It’s been 100 years since your birth and almost 75 since you entered the abbey. You died with your story unfinished.
Social microhistories can capture big ideas. I’d like to write one on pickles, which are as fundamental to civilization as anything in Chesterton’s pockets.
Psychologists describe a "middle knowledge" of the reality of death. How much of this knowledge is good for us?
At a historical art exhibit, I read that the images on display were intended for private devotion. Would it have been subversive of me to pray?
Dante’s Divine Comedy, if we are willing to read it whole, has a deep unity. The tradition of its interpretation does not.
As we unpack the same ornaments, read the same stories and entertain the same deep thoughts our ancestors did, we have every reason to be gloriously unoriginal.
Sometimes it feels like a thick mist has descended on us, distorting communication. But then a face shines through the mist and dispels it.
We don’t know which experiences specify our humanity. But the Abrahamic faiths agree that we are made of dust and ashes, a bit of clay or a mere clot.
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