Self-Gift and the Literary Vocation

Katy Carl

When you’ve grown into a Person (it’s all right; we’ve all had to do it) there’ll be some things which you’ll see better than anyone else. One of the things you’ll want to do will be to tell us about them.

– C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

There is a great divide among creative people today, a divide that has always existed but has become more pronounced throughout the last century and a half. Art seeks to recover itself from the stylistic extremes of modernism and postmodernism. It seeks to re-learn how to reach the larger culture while remaining true to itself. As it does this, it again faces a central dilemma. [Read more…]

Small in All

Kevin Rulo

Virgo Supercluster, all the way out.
The Local Group, thirty strong, and growing.
Galaxias, vacuous black, gaseous light.
The Solar System is not all that small.
Mother Earth is not either.
Wajir, Kenya, on a dusty hill,
In a wobbly box of a building,
Where no one’s supposed to be,
A man bent over a table whispers
Hoc est enim corpus meum.

Kevin Rulo received his MA from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he is currently a doctoral student and an instructor of Rhetoric & Composition.

A Natural Law

Kevin Rulo

The man who gets his fill
Will never render nil
The want he did but kill.

In wanting he did seal
That want could never heal
For want is like a wheel,

A wheel that goes around
Where want is lost then found
And then tracks like a hound.

Kevin Rulo received his MA from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he is currently a doctoral student and an instructor of Rhetoric & Composition.

Happy Hills

Jonathan McDonald

I’m one of the blind alleys off the main road of procreation.
–Evelyn Waugh

Christine realized she was pregnant in late March of last year. Two mornings of vomiting and a pregnancy test taken over her lunch break confirmed it. She thought she could already feel the intruder glacially eroding her uterus. The tube looked like a cheap toothbrush, and she’d kept it under her counter at Kaki-Dans. She kept pulling it out every two minutes to confirm the two purple lines on the end. Positive. She’d turned twenty-one three weeks ago. There wouldn’t be many legal consequences for the drunkenness, but manslaughter by alcohol-induced miscarriage might be harder to pull off. She’d probably just end up with a retard, even dumber than James. [Read more…]

The Character of Magdalen Montague

Eleanor Bourg Donlon

My dear R.,

The character of Magdalen Montague has long been considered an acceptable topic of public discourse, so I feel utterly justified in writing to you about it. The subject has, in fact, proved an invaluable stimulus to waning conversations. One has only to reference that sublimely intriguing yet eminently respectable personage, and interest is revived, animation awakened. I witnessed a singular demonstration of this phenomena the other day when I had the misfortune to meet that Medusa’s head borne on a sea of bombazine (Lady Fleming, you know). I had no idea that park lanes so readily afforded corners until I was backed into one by her formidable ugliness and assailed with political pamphlets and moral lessons. [Read more…]

Stabbing Realism and Divine Grace

Peter Kreeft

The greatest science fiction novel of all time is A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr. C.S. Lewis highly recommends it in his Letters. It has been in print every year since it came out in the 1960s, selling millions of copies, yet is not well known or publicized in the literary or science fiction establishments. Why? Because it is a very Catholic book. The hero and protagonist is the Church herself. It is also a profoundly pro-life book. [Read more…]

Will Beauty Save the World?

Michael D. O’Brien

At the beginning of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel The Idiot, the central character Prince Myshkin is shown a portrait of a young woman named Nastassya Filippovna by a Madame Yepanchin, his hostess. She holds Nastassya in contempt because her moral reputation is tarnished. [Read more…]

Flannery O’Connor’s Disruptive Grace

Colleen Carroll Campbell

When I first discovered Flannery O’Connor’s fiction, I was both fascinated and disturbed. Her shrewd wit, insights into the human psyche, and sense of place captivated me. Yet her crank characters and violent plots puzzled me. I admired her gift for short stories but considered the tales too unsettling to claim as favorites. [Read more…]

The Particular Imagination

Richard John Neuhaus

Mention the Catholic literary tradition and the conversation promptly turns to the “Catholic imagination,” or, following theologian David Tracy, “the analogical imagination.” Catholics are good at making connections: between the immanent and the transcendent, between the eternal and the temporal, between the spiritual and the material. This proclivity for connections is attributed to the “incarnational principle” that is at the heart of Catholicism. All this is true, and hardly surprising in a community that eats the Creator of heaven and earth under the appearance of bread and wine. [Read more…]