Baptist pastor John Piper recently composed a poem entitled The Calvinist, in order “to capture a glimpse of God’s sovereign intersection with the life of a sinful man.” In his verses, Dr. Piper touches on quintessentially Calvinist themes of reading the Scriptures: God’s absolute sovereignty, his transcendent radiance, and his great mercy to sinners. Inspired by Dr. Piper’s example, I offer my own poem entitled The Thomist, which strives to capture the beauty of a Thomistic approach to the Gospel.
Dominicana Audio sat down to converse with Fr. James Moore, O.P., and Br. Vincent Ferrer Bagan, O.P., musical directors of the Dominican Schola Cantorum. This segment features excerpts of the music of In Medio Ecclesiae, the new release on Dominicana Records, as well as commentary on the music, its place in the prayer life of the friars, and the work of recording the album. For more information, see dominicanablog.com/records.
Is Advent still possible in our culture? It’s supposed to be a time to prepare for Christ’s coming—past, present, and future—but our Decembers are quickly filled with deadlines, gift lists, and get-togethers. The rush to Christmas seems anything but prayerful: we crash into the 25th just wanting it to be over. And through it all, the culture wars wage tiresome battles: Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays.
I have come to realize that I have a somewhat unusual name. One question I receive with some regularity upon meeting new acquaintances is “Did you choose your name?” For those of us who have not grown up in Africa or the Caribbean, where the name is still bestowed with some regularity, to hear that someone is called “Innocent” is surprising. Naturally enough, people are curious as to whether some cruel parent bestowed this adjective upon me, or if I merely have myself to blame.
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.