Birthday Verse — William Shakespeare

We were as twinn’d lambs that did frisk i’ the sun,
And bleat the one at the other: what we changed
Was innocence for innocence; we knew not
The doctrine of ill-doing, nor dream’d
That any did. Had we pursued that life,
And our weak spirits ne’er been higher rear’d
With stronger blood, we should have answer’d heaven
Boldly ‘not guilty;’ the imposition clear’d
Hereditary ours.

— Polixenes, Winter’s Tale, Act I, Scene ii

I loved this back in the bright-eyed days of my youth.

This Joyful Eastertide

"Easter should make rebels of us all."

David Bentley Hart, The Doors of the Sea (via invisibleforeigner)

(via invisibleforeigner)

"We are an Easter people, and Alleluia is our song!"

Pope John Paul II

(I’ve seen this attributed to St. Augustine many times, but I’ve never seen a cite. Help a boy out?)

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"Nothing could conceal the God of the universe more completely than a half-naked man being tortured to death. And yet the Christian claim is that it is precisely here, in this self-emptying, that the very fullness of God’s inner life is revealed, for the Father is only the Father in his complete self-giving to the Son, which is returned by the Son as the Gift, which is the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the ugliness of the cross itself paradoxically is pure glory. The particularity of the cross does not limit God, but opens up the world to participate in the drama enacted on the stage of the Trinity itself."

William T. Cavanaugh, Being Consumed (via invisibleforeigner)

(via invisibleforeigner)

Ave Verum — Elgar

Good Friday: Holbein’s “The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb”



This is the painting that Dostoevsky features so prominently in The Idiot. There has always been speculation about why the devout Dostoevsky fixated on Holbein’s Christ, broken and destroyed with no hint of the coming Resurrection and triumph over death. The book mirrors the painting. It ends with a “crucifixion” — of Myshkin, of Rogozhin, of Nastasya Filipovna — that in no way points to Easter.

Although Christians observe Good Friday knowing that the joy of Easter awaits, it is critical that we not gloss over this day and the event we commemorate. For us, God was tortured and suffered an agonizing death. God, who stooped and washed the feet of filthy Galilean peasants and bade us follow suit, was crushed and destroyed in expiation for our sins. We are culpable for what happened to the man in this painting. The joy of Easter will be too light, too easy if we don’t dwell — as Dostoevsky did — on the broken body of Christ.



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Last Round on Oneness


So, why am I going on and on this week about Christian unity?

Because as a follower of Jesus I am commanded to seek it.

And because such unity has never been more important. Christianity in the West is struggling. Its cultural influence hasn’t been lower since the time of Augustine, and more…

Christian unity is one reason (though, admittedly, not the primary one) I’ve developed such a fervent interest in Catholic Communio theology. Communio links Catholicism not only to the most robust movement in the Anglican church, Radical Orthodoxy, but also, with Communio's emphasis on patristics and suspicion of non-christocentric anthropologies, to the eastern churches.