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Lent 2017

Week 6: Stillness exercise

I am sitting under a tree in broadleaf daylight outside my brutal fraternity housing in Palo Alto, so it must be spring or summer, or, at any rate, sylvan, because I’m stretched out (no yoga for this omega man) in the accurate shade of its lovely leaves. It hasn’t rained – or, rather, it hasn’t, as Americans love me to ...

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Week 6: Gospel reading [Matt. 20]

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the ...

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Week 6: Prey

The Paschal perspective – which is to say, the Christian take on things – is not concerned about fiscal correctitude, the entrepreneurial prerogative of a paternalistic employer who feels digestively generous on a whim, or modern capital’s contaminated use of the minimum wage as a golden bar and not a bottom-line. Roman and Reform traditions in western Christianity have extrapolated ...

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Lent 2017: Conclusion

I’ve been asked for a short conclusion, which is rich, since I don’t believe in periods or in punctuation as anything other than necessary human helps in the live-stream sacredness of the mystery of our everlasting finitude. I do believe in disclosure, when it’s an epiphany and not an indictment, but closure usually signals revenge or retaliation. The desire to ...

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Week 6: Pray

Go back to that moment in the garden. Go back to that moment when the water-sprinklers, those dirty little rubber-and-metal spigots you stub your flip-flop toe against in the scutch grass of a short-cut to the college car-park, soared in a perfect, improbable parabola of phosphorescent spray, like the whole corps de ballet in Swan Lake suddenly jetting in exhilarated ...

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Week 5: Stillness exercise

So it’s late on a Friday afternoon in the open-plan office where I work, and I need to compose the phrasing of some sort of stillness exercise by six o’clock (my father would wait for the church-bells from the same Sacred Heart steeple before mixing his first gin and tonic of the evening as his salivary glands twitched in perfect ...

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Week 5: Gospel reading

The Parable of the Wandering Sheep “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the ...

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Week 5: Prey

The same master, a hearty, hirsute baritone, taught me Latin and Greek at each stop on the three scholastic terraces, prep, secondary, and college; and, because he looked quite Olympian, if benignly so, to the students in his charge, I am inclined to take seriously his repeat assertion that the good shepherd is a mistranslation of kalos poimenas and is ...

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Week 5: Pray

A word to the wise: the Lord will always surprise us. Nothing is predictable, especially prophecy, which predicts nothing other than the fact that the future is always and everywhere a thing of the past. Therefore, caveat pastor; let the shepherd beware, or at least be wary. For the thing is, many of the lost sheep – perhaps most of ...

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Week 4: Stillness exercise

I know from umpteen paperback apologetics that Spiritus in Latin and Pneuma in Greek and Ruadh in Hebrew all signify breath of some sort, the oxygenating impetus that aerates biochemical life; and I’m told too that the gender of the noun varies in the different declinative languages. That would be typical of the Holy Ghost’s habitual devilment, as is the ...

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