All posts tagged: Saturdays with the Saints

St. John of the Cross: The Depth, Height, and Edges of Silence

Overture on Silence There are many kinds of silence: the stony silence of hatred, the crimped silence of hurt, the directed silences of envy and contempt, the silence that is the pause between our chattering and nattering, the concentrated silence of an attempt to find oneself in the scattering of oneself across work and home, task and function, busyness and the distractions we pile on in our leisure, the silence that is the time of planning and plotting, the silence rutted by fantasy, the silence that is the relief of withdrawal from a worn day with even more worn words, the silence before one drifts off to sleep, the silence which marks our having been beaten down and become abject, and the silence that is the acceptance of one’s death now coming in from the wings. There is happily also the silence of waiting on a sign that we are loved, the silence from which a work of art emerges and returns, the blessed silence from which scripture comes and the silence with which it …

St. Augustine: The Patron Saint of Suspicion on Draining the Cesspit of Corruption

Does this title actually mean anything? I have my suspicions, and perhaps you do too, but we will have to put them on hold for now, laying aside a hermeneutic of suspicion—which, after all, is never to be applied to the one making claim to it—and replace it with a hermeneutic of trust, until the appropriate time. I am actually going to discuss the meaning of life. Yes, I am actually going to reveal the meaning of life, in a simple, declaratory sentence, without any admission fee, tuition, or other compensation. Perhaps you are suspicious of that claim! Both the claim that I can reveal the meaning of life in one simple sentence, and also the claim that I am doing it for no compensation at all. Perhaps you are thinking, true, he is not charging admission or looking to be paid, but perhaps he is hoping we will praise him, clap for him, cheer and acclaim him for such an accomplishment. After all, just as it is not every lecture series that is an …

St. Maximilian Kolbe and the War Against Indifference

More than one concentration camp survivor has remarked that one would need the pen of Dante to describe the horrors that afflicted the “great army of unknown and unrecorded victims.”[1] Hell is that abyss that skews vision and slurs speech. It shreds human community by erasing all marks of personal identity by eviscerating of all bonds of human communion—trust, mercy, and love. During Mass celebrated at Auschwitz on June 7, 1979, John Paul II described the concentration camp as a “place, which was built for the negation of faith—faith in God and faith in man—and to trample radically not only on love but on all signs of human dignity, a place built on hatred and on contempt for man in the name of a crazed ideology. A place built on cruelty.”[2] A place “characterized by man’s fury and scorn for man, in which man was cut down to the level of a robot, a state worse than slavery.”[3] This was an era in which “the human person was degraded, humiliated, and despised. In this poisoned …

Thomas More: Saint in a Time of Political and Cultural Crisis

Saints are lights; lights flash and flare, sometimes in their own time, and sometimes later as what was hidden comes to the light. The acceptance of this light is no more automatic than the acceptance of the most effulgent light of all, the Light of light who came into the world and shone in the darkness. When John says in the fourth Gospel that “the world knew him not” (Jn 1:10), he doesn’t mean literally that the world didn’t know him; he means rather that the world did not judge him properly, place the value on him that it should have. He is in fact saying that the world chose something other than the light, chose the routine in which we remain comfortable, accepted the low ceiling for our individual and social behavior. This is what darkness is; this is what ‘world’ is in John, not the Kingdom in which we behold beauty bathed in the light of the One who makes all things beautiful. To read the Gospel of John is to come to …