Recently I read an article on the technology of ebooks and the future of print books. Like most Dominican friars, I’m an avid reader of books, so I think that new technology about books is very important. In some parts of the article, the author contrasted “physical” books with “electronic” books. It seemed so obviously wrong to me—how are electronic books not “physical”? They can’t possibly mean that electronic books are “spiritual.” Matter and energy are both “physical.”
Midway between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, lies the city of Lancaster. In addition to being the capital of the nation for a day and the capital of Pennsylvania for thirteen years, it is also the location of the only monastery of Dominican nuns in the state. While the former glories are both at least two centuries past, the latter continues to this day in the nine women who have dedicated their lives to God through the way of life inspired by St. Dominic over eight centuries ago.
In 1858, a beautiful woman appeared to Bernadette Soubirous in a little cave near the river Gave, where the people of Lourdes were accustomed to deposit their trash. The cave was Masabielle, known now as the Grotto, and the beautiful woman is now revered as Our Lady of Lourdes. In that apparition, Our Lady identified herself as the Immaculate Conception, just four years after the reality of the Immaculate Conception was solemnly defined as a dogma.
It’s absolutely beautiful! We went cliff jumping in an awesome spot today . . . then enjoyed sea bass, gelato, and fresh mojitos on the beach tonight at the ancient ruins of Diocletian’s palace.
When my sister wrote me earlier this semester about her travels in Croatia, this line made me smile. What has become of history that the lodgings of an emperor have become a stoop for the cocktail parties of American teenagers? What kind of stare would Diocletian cast down his long Roman nose on these intruders dressed in hoodies, muddying his porch with their flip-flops?
Damien Hirst’s Battle Between Good and Evil (2007) consists of two beach balls, one black and one white, suspended in the air by an air blower above a surface geometrically divided into white and black spaces. Occasionally the balls bounce into each other.
Reading some verses of Psalm 8—“When I see the heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast established; what is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou dost care for him?”—cannot help but stir the soul towards contemplation of the Almighty and Invisible God. St. John Damascene perhaps gained inspiration from this psalm, since he dedicated his life to the defense of the goodness of the created world and the use of plain old matter as a means of drawing close to the Lord.
It likely passed unnoticed, but last Wednesday marked a Dominican anniversary. As of November 27th, it is now fourteen years since ten Dominican nuns journeyed to the mountains of southwest British Columbia to found a new monastic community. Nestled in the Tantalus Mountain Range along the Squamish River, Queen of Peace Monastery was completed just a year and a half ago, and is home to fifteen contemplative Dominicans nuns, twelve of whom are fully professed.
Christmas time is almost here… and so is the winter issue of Dominicana print journal! The journal makes a great gift for a family member, a friend, or a treat for you!
The winter issue, Dominicana 56:2, is the second of two issues celebrating the Year of Faith that focused on the two “watch-words” of the Second Vatican Council: ressourcement and aggiornamento. This issue is dedicated to aggiornamento.
In the most recent issue of the Dominicana print journal, I wrote an article about how the Second Vatican Council called for a ressourcement—a return to the sources—regarding the Church’s liturgical music. At the same time, the Council also called for aggiornamento—a bringing up to date or renewal. Our new album, In Medio Ecclesiae—which makes a great Christmas gift for family and friends alike—is our contribution to the fulfillment of both principles, in the authentic spirit of Vatican II.
Upon the hand of him who holds no things,
A gracious dove may perch on empty palm.
But mind the man who grasps the wealth of kings,
By him ne’er shall be heard her grateful song.