Grace and Responsibility

Some days ago, a friend shared with me a lecture that Jacques Barzun had given in 1969 entitled “Present Day Thoughts on the Quality of Life.” It had just recently been rediscovered and was published this month in “The American Scholar." In it he speaks of, for all their questionable tendencies, the valid critique of western culture that inhered in the revolutionary movements of the late 60’s and early 70’s. Given the secular and rational-functional reductionism of our culture, we have come to identify usefulness with human value. And if this was true in 1969, it is even more true[read more]

Sadness and Grace

What makes us, human beings, so restless and anxious? Albert Camus says that we are constantly seeing refuge “in love, and work, and communal life.” From what are we seeking that refuge? The basic philosophical and psychological answer to this question is that we are evading the awareness of our deaths. The gospel answer, while not at all contradicting this, adds that in doing so we are also avoiding our own lives. Remember the young man asks Jesus “Good master, what may I do in order that I may inherit the life of the Age?” And Jesus responds, after telling[read more]

Courage and Friendship

Indeed, whatever things you say in darkness will be heard in the light, and whatever you whisper in a private room will be proclaimed from the roofs. but I tell  you, my friends, don’t fear those who kill the body and afterwards can do nothing more. I will show you whom to fear.   Fear[read more]