We have all made our resolutions and soon we will have broken our resolutions. We are all guilty of thinking that attaining virtue is as simple and quick as muttering a few righteous incantations over our own souls in the privacy of our heads. But if overcoming problems with drink, drugs, violence, lies, and sex were as simple as silently muttering, “I will not get drunk anymore,” we did not need to wait until the end of the year. Certainly we had a free half-second back in April in which to suddenly become holy and good. And so January becomes even bleaker than it otherwise need be.
On Bread. We are only human. Bread is the food of humanity. Bread is so human, so omnipresent, it has become an icon of every food. Bread is food about food. Angels have no bodies, and yet wisdom is often called “the bread of angels.” When God sends food, he sends bread—to Elijah in the beaks of ravens, and to the Israelites like dew. The only thing Christ ever chides His apostles for not having on hand is bread. According to a Syrian tradition, bread was the first sacrifice Adam offered to God after his exile from the Garden.
JJ Abrams has good taste, but when it comes to matters of religion and spirituality, he has a tin ear. This was all deeply problematic when he was given the controls of the Star Wars franchise, for the Star Wars cosmos is deeply spiritual, and Abrams failed to understand the Force as anything other than a convenient way of moving furniture around.
For by His own power He is united wholly with each and all, and orders all things without stint, so that no one could have called it out of place for Him to speak, and make known Himself and His Father, by means of sun, if He so willed, or moon, or heaven, or earth, or waters, or fire…
-St. Athanasius, On The Incarnation, Chapter 42
I would that all men were like myself.
A man often becomes depressed around Christmas, and so one December afternoon, he visits his psychiatrist, who advises he dispel his sadness by throwing himself into some arduous and time-consuming labor. "You should direct a play," claims the mental health professional. The man takes up said directorial duties, but finds the cast interested only in revelry, mockery, vanity and dissension. He scolds, he encourages, and yet finds them unresponsive and the mood of the production falters.
Will the show go on?
My children did okay with Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. The problem was that my wife and I surprised them. We said nothing to them about seeing the film, then we drove them to the theater one morning and walked right up to the ticket counter and only then did they know. My eldest daughter looked pleased, but she did not look ecstatic. My children are sometimes given to looking ecstatic. Their faces seem to me uniquely suited to explosions of gratitude and delight. I collect such moments like not-entirely rare butterflies.
If someone were to compile a list of the greatest unexamined modern platitudes, right up close to the top of such a list one could expect to find, “Christmas has become so commercial and materialistic.” Long a favorite claim of frowning head-shakers and adults who insist the crust is the healthiest part of the bread, claims of the increasingly crass commercialism of Christmas recall some inaccessible golden age when the holiday was pure and undefiled. Evidence for the commercialism of Christmas is omnipresent during December.
"You mean she will some day be reunited to the god; and you will take off her veil then? When is this to happen?"
"We take off the veil and I change my robe in the spring."
"Do you think I care what you do? Has the thing itself happened yet or not? Is Istra now wandering over the earth or has she already become a goddess?"
Come December, students will begin asking to have “a class Christmas party.” They will want to have the class party during class time, perhaps in the last two days before Christmas break begins. To their credit, when students want a “a class Christmas party,” they are not usually demanding, discerning, or discriminating. They are not choosy. For my money, what makes a party a party is drinking and dancing, but these are things for an adult’s party. When young people want “a party,” all they really want is one another.