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Choosing Toil this Summer

Choosing Toil this Summer

“The Father himself Willed that the path of tillage be not smooth, And first ordained that skill should cultivate The land, by care sharpening the wits of mortals...” Virgil, The Georgics Summer has begun. As a kind of new beginning, every season offers a natural...

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When a Man Becomes a Priest

When a Man Becomes a Priest

When my daughter was three her uncle was in formation to become a priest. One morning she asked: “After Uncle (X) becomes a priest, will he ever become a man again?” It dawned on us that this amusing question has real weight. An ancient Latin word for priest means...

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A Great Reason to Maintain Our Home with Care

A Great Reason to Maintain Our Home with Care

“Now to cultivate something is to devote one’s attention to it. And we can cultivate something in two ways: either to make what is cultivated better, as we cultivate a field... or to make ourselves better by the cultivating, and in this way we cultivate wisdom.”...

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Having No Real Friends

Having No Real Friends

“Those who have a host of friends and are on familiar terms with everybody seem to be real friends of no one.” Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics It is our worst nightmare. Everyone else has real friends. But somehow I don’t, because I’m just not up to it, or people just...

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Learning to Say Goodbye

Learning to Say Goodbye

May is graduation time. So for many of us, it is a time for goodbyes. It is also a good time to reflect on the importance and even the gift of goodbyes, for all of us. We understandably dread goodbyes, especially with those we love most. Moments of parting can be...

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Out Standing on the Earth

Out Standing on the Earth

“Alone of all, the human race lifts up its head on high, and stands in easy balance with the body upright... Thy glance is upward, and thou dost carry high thy head, and so thy gaze is skyward...” Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy Philosophers and theologians,...

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Wishing You Many Years

Wishing You Many Years

“Mnohaya lita” Ukrainian wish for birthday and other celebrations, rooted in Byzantine liturgy. Literally, many years. I have always loved the Ukrainian version of “Happy Birthday,” which I first encountered when I met my wife’s family. In its several melodic...

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The Gift of Kissing

The Gift of Kissing

“The physical kiss should be offered or accepted only for fixed and honest reasons.” Aelred of Rievaulx It seems to me that the topic of kissing calls for some clear thinking and straight talking. Kissing is clearly a gift to all of us. It is something of nature,...

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Hearing the Way to Life

Hearing the Way to Life

“Hearing is the way to life...” Thomas Aquinas The five external senses are an astounding gift, with a uniquely rich role in life. And the action of each of them can stand for something even more profound than their primary usage. We speak of seeing, or of tasting,...

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Easter, That the Hidden Festivity Break Through

Easter, That the Hidden Festivity Break Through

“If any specific day is to be singled out from the rest and celebrated as a festival, this can only be done as the manifestation of a perpetual though hidden festivity.” Josef Pieper, In Tune with the World: A Theory of Festivity Easter joy. In these powerful words is...

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Craftsmanship Vs. Money-Making

Craftsmanship Vs. Money-Making

“...you thought that the shepherd as a shepherd tends the sheep not with a view to their own good, but like a mere diner or banqueter with a view to the pleasures of the table; or, again, as a trader for sale in the market, and not as a shepherd.” Plato, Republic Both...

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To Be or Not To Be, a Craftsman

To Be or Not To Be, a Craftsman

“And aren’t the respective crafts by nature set over them to seek and provide what is to their advantage?” Socrates, Plato’s Republic Rereading the first book of the Republic, I was struck by a bolt of lightning. Plato saw the root question of human life. To be or not...

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