There’s a common phrase we hear when discussing our faith. Perhaps you’ve heard it in class. Possibly, you’ve read it in a blog post. Maybe, you heard your favorite Catholic speaker lay claim to it, nodding your head and thinking, “yeah man, that.”
That unfulfilled nature of being human, and of yearning for something more, for God, is a common theme during Lent. We wear ashes to remind us we’re dust. We fast to feel hunger. We walk the stations of the cross, shifting our weight uncomfortably as we hear “If this cup shall pass,” while knowing full well it won’t. We’re well aware there’s a cost to discipleship—and it often comes with walking away from the one thing we’ve convinced ourselves we need.
Lent doesn’t need to be all about giving things up. It can also be about deepening our desire to grow closer to God through adding items and activities to our life. One way to do that is picking up a good book.
My grandfather- who loved telling stories and who, in his last years, would endlessly retell the same stories- was particularly partial to the story of the fellow who, condemned to hang for his crimes, was nevertheless permitted a bit of exercise the day before.
In the Poetics of Aristotle, that wonder of brevity and wit on the art of making (poiesis), there is a clever little thing called peripety, which is a device deployed by the artist to alert his audience to any sudden or unexpected turn of events in the unfolding of a story.
It is only in these last days of Lent—before, that is, the high moments of Holy Week that will mark the earthly end of his life—that the public appearances of Jesus become especially fraught, ever more heightened and dramatic.
The belief that it was an infinite and necessary God who created this finite and contingent universe, and not some stray spark igniting the primeval sludge, is not to say that the entire evolutionary process is bogus.
As anyone with half-a-brain knows, success in the publishing world is measured by the number of books sold. What many do not know, of course, is that there are only two categories that perennially produce best sellers. Cookbooks and diet books.
An anomaly both then and now, Andrea Mantegna’s Lamentation over the Dead Christ, c. 1480, has often been called a tour-de-force of perspective. This small tempera painting was found by Mantegna’s son in the artist’s personal collection at his death.
As we enter the Lenten season of contemplation about Jesus’ journey to the cross, we believe it might prove instructive to reintroduce a real atheist, someone who had the intelligence and steely will to swim atheism to the bottom, the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.