The Gift

Brendan A. McGrath

“Credenti omnia convertuntur in Christum…”
—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.

Offertory

It wasn’t what I’d imagined. No diamond that would have rested on her finger like a bud upon a twig, ready to flower in the evening. No darkened pearl concealing a faded, otherworldly light that had once glimmered with a lunar enchantment. It was just a simple, gold band. I measured it: nine-tenths of a centimeter wide, with a diameter of a centimeter and seven-tenths. It wasn’t particularly lovely—it had lots of scratches, and “smudged” was the first word that came to mind. [Read more...]

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Then We Shall Know Fully

Maria D. Byers

On a January night I saw
stars, roaring lanterns, thunder
in the massive silence
of an echo-holding sky
above a fragile world, half woven of
frosted roots and grasses;
and the cold field swayed, glittered vaguely,
oblivious to the universe’s
swelling scale of sounds,
never apprehending the unheard noise
surging over the mute and thousand throngs. [Read more...]

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Sanctification: A Comedy of Error

Br. Bruno M. Shah

I. Playing A Part

During the first days at the seminary, the Master of Students gathers the newly arrived to discover what practical talents are available for the community’s benefit. (We blithely refer to the house’s chores as “privileges.”) Each of our sixty men has some share in the work of home—maintenance—this brother is handy with electrical equipment, that brother has a background in carpentry, this brother is literate in computers, et cetera. Well, this brother claimed that he could cut hair. And for an order that vows evangelical poverty, getting haircuts for free is what philosophers call a “useful good.” [Read more...]

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Drowning

John Rieping

Blue water spun about as I stared up
as if the foam and sky did duel that day
only to lose when darkness drank their cup
while in my limbs all fight did drift away.
I did not think of death as I sank down
Instead my thoughts took in this splendid doom
—a noisy blue glass swirl bereft of sound
that dimmed too fast, as beauties often do.
A shadow passed before my mind did fade
and I reached out to waken in the light:
My father’s leg had cast a saving shade
and I—though gone—held it with sleeper’s might.
Years pass, and now I drown in fears.
They captivate, but God is no less near.

John Rieping is a 1999 philosophy graduate from Mt. Angel Seminary in St. Benedict, Oregon, and a journalism alumnus of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. He currently works as the copy editor of The Madera Tribune daily newspaper in Madera, California.

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The Telos of a University

Mark C. Henrie

I.
Why go to college?

Here is a peculiarity of American life today: The young man or woman in high school invests enormous time and energy in the process of choosing and applying to the best colleges and universities within reach. Guidebooks are consulted, campus visits made, prep courses for the SAT or ACT taken with genuine zeal. Essays are honed and polished beyond anything ever written for a class assignment. Applications are placed in the mail, and students then fret day and night about the status of their case. [Read more...]

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The Kingdom of Heaven

J.B. Toner

To be as little children, we must fight,
Leave childhood far behind us and be men—
Seek Heaven’s dawn through Purgatory’s night,
Engird the earth and find our homes again.
For God has placed in us an awful trust:
Not soldier-angels but ourselves He sends
To battle Satan’s pride and hate and lust
Until the broken world our Savior mends.
And we, though children of the lowly dust,
Are given weapons dour and keen to bear—
Love, music, sunlight, faith that God is just—
To face the viper in his darksome lair.
And so, in time, receive the holy right
To stand among our Lord’s celestial knights.

J.B. Toner is a graduate of the school of hard knocks.

Good Friday

Kathryn Husing

The black sky’s wind carries a sorrowful cry;
The seamless garment cast away by lots.
While the Father’s promise turns to a lie,
And Judas hangs upon a rope and rots.
	Hell’s angels rejoice: God dead on a cross:
	On this day all man’s hope is lost. [Read more...]