Catholic Distance University

The Edifice

As soon as you enter, nothing is the same—
 A fact, perhaps, you knew before you came
 Inside. The shape alone, from down the street,
 Signals some fundamental and complete
 Transformation from what has come before,
 In motion by the time you touch the door.
The door—here, too, something seems amiss
 If known conventions be applied to this.
 Unlike the tidy portals near and next,
 Of chrome and glass, exquisitely Windexed,
 The knotted oak leaves outside witness blind,
 But those who enter know what they will find.

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The Great Mystery

  Ephesians 5:21-33

You stand in black and white, as clear a word
As if I saw you printed on a page;
The book is closed; the world is now your stage,
The prologue-blessing given by a third;
The script you know by heart: the truth conferred
Upon you by Creation, that great sage
(A truth daunted by neither youth nor age),
Shown forth, imprinted, never to be blurred. [Read more...]

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The Transfiguration of Apulia

Matthew Alderman

… Who delights to scatter such masterpieces

over the place where we spend our brief time of exile.

—St. Therese of Lisieux, The Story of a Soul

So I looked up from The Story of a Soul and
Put Therese and the Child Jesus to sleep.
And felt the quiet wash over my brain.

Everyone on the bus was drowsing in their naps,
But me.

Light danced on the leaves caught on the
Movie screen of the bus windshield. [Read more...]

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Anna’s Song

Amy Lemoine Stout

“Anna! Stay with your mother! Stay with your mother!”

The panicked shrill of a woman’s voice outside her window awoke Ms. Anna Braun of 37 Pine Street as if God himself had spoken into her ear. Heart beating wildly, she leaned up against the window. At the corner Anna could see the little girl who shared her name, dressed in a pink jumper, bouncing off of the city bus and skipping along the sidewalk while her mother scrambled to hold her hand. In her raven hair the little girl wore a blue bow that was faded and frayed and with every bounce it was slowly falling out of her sea of curls. [Read more...]

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Come Die For Christ: A Seminarian’s Letter

Editor’s note: This article was originally published during Christmas of 2005.

Anonymous

We buried a giant last Easter. John Paul the Great’s death, more than any in recent memory, reminds young Catholics that we stand on the shoulders of spiritual giants, pedestals from which we can view the glory of lives well-lived and imagine the trials and triumphs that await us if we follow their example. They not only remind us of our history, but they point the way forward and give us a glimpse of that eternal Vision in which every tear will be dried and every eye fixed in peace. [Read more...]

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Out, Out, Brief Candle

Lauren Brannon

But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet – and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.
—T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

I worshipped a teacher, and I almost failed his class.

For straight-A Lauren in junior high, this was the most utterly unthinkable thing in the world. Now, for jaded, trying-to-keep-her-grades-decent college Lauren, it’s one of those “it figures” ironies of life. [Read more...]

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Diagnosis

Michael Baruzzini 

The doctor entered the room, looking at a medical chart with a somber face. The patient, sitting uncomfortably on the exam table in nothing but his boxer shorts, grew nervous at the doctor’s grave demeanor.

“I have some bad news,” the doctor said, and sat down on the little wheeled stool.

“Am I sick?” the patient asked, “I just came in for a check-up. I don’t feel sick.”

“No, no,” the doctor replied, “I’m afraid … you are healthy.” [Read more...]

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Two Bases of Morality in Catholic Theology

Robert T. Miller

There are nowadays at least two competing foundational concepts in Catholic moral theology. The first of these is the concept of human dignity, the intrinsic value of the human person, something the human person has simply by virtue of being a person. Because the human person has such intrinsic value, we are morally obligated to respect human nature, both in ourselves and in everyone else, and the content of this obligation is usually explained by saying that we ought to treat the human person always as an end and never merely as a means, especially never as a mere means to our own pleasure. The concept of human dignity appears in the writings of many contemporary Catholic philosophers(1) and theologians,(2) especially the writings of Pope John Paul II,(3) and even in some recent magisterial documents of the Catholic Church.(4) [Read more...]

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Ascending

Christopher Paolelli 

He cowered on the ruined balcony. Shriveled into a crouch, he screamed wordlessly at the inferno that was devouring the known world.

Sal called encouragement to him, but he wouldn’t listen or couldn’t hear. So Sal started toward him, cautiously, one shaky step at a time. Then something went wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong. In a moment the balcony was gone. And so was the boy. [Read more...]

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Leaving Song

Katy Willis

Now is the winter of my discontent
  To be reformed, transfigured into spring?
  I cannot seem to hold to anything
That by this sudden blossom is not rent.
I leave a love behind, unfathomed still;
  I have a hope before me, waiting yet;
  And trapped so, where no boundaries are set,
I find a faith, an unexpected will. [Read more...]

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