The other night I woke at 2:30 and could not fall back to sleep. A certain vexing matter from work plagued my thoughts, so I decided to distract myself with a different intellectual project: I tried to chronologically reconstruct every important thing that happened to me between 2000 and 2006. For the first half an hour I had very little luck. I could recall a few significant events, but I could not place them in order. Then one very vivid memory unlocked my whole project.
On Sunday, the Church celebrates Palm Sunday, the commemoration of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, and the beginning of Holy Week – the final days of Christ on earth before His crucifixion. The event is recorded in all four Gospels – Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-10, Luke 19:29-38, and John 12:12-15 – and the event shares connections and echoes with several other passages as well.
Here is the Triumphal Entry as recorded in Matthew’s Gospel:
"In the same way that very few people who have tattoos only have one, very few people trying to buy happiness are trying to buy it for the first time. You try to buy happiness—you buy something— but when it doesn’t make you happy, as opposed to concluding that happiness can’t be bought, you assume it was a swing and a miss and that you just need to keep trying.
It’s hard to remember, though, that pretty much everything you’ve ever bought—aside from, perhaps, an engagement ring—is something you have or will ultimately become tired of, bored with, or indifferent to."
My daughter, Alison, has always been voraciously verbal. Once, as a tiny two-year-old, she curled up next to me on the couch, insisting that I read my book aloud. When I obliged with lines from Virgil’s Aeneid, expecting her to sate her curiosity and wander away, she stayed. For about twenty minutes, we were two souls, spellbound—she by the poetry and I by her childlike allegiance to it.
Peter: I’m studying for my exam tomorrow.
Socrates: And why are you doing that?
Peter: I’m studying to pass my course, of course.
Socrates: And why do you want to do that?
Peter: To get a degree, of course.
Socrates: You mean all the time and effort and money you put into your education here at Desperate State is to purchase that little piece of paper?
Peter: That’s the way it is.
“Wellness is not health, but special health. Wellness is a state of being completely free from aches, pains, irritations, stress, anxiety, inflammation, fear, distress, or disquiet. Wellness is not only a condition of bodily perfection, but spiritual perfection, as well, high energy, perfect mental acuity, peace, sexual fulfillment, empowerment, control, contentment. Wellness is a divine state. Wellness is a state of being which can realistically only be achieved beyond death, which is to say: The search for wellness in this life is the search for a deathlike state. Wellness is death.”
Before meals, The Book of Common Prayer commends the following petition: “Give us grateful hearts, our Father, for all thy mercies, and make us mindful of the needs of others; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” Encountering fashionable modern terms like diversity, teamwork, leadership, or mindfulness in older works of literature is initially disorienting, though I generally find a second look at the context proves the contemporary understanding of these concepts has little to do with their traditional use.
Patrick was kidnapped, and sold into slavery on the pagan island of Ireland. Later, when he managed to return to Rome, he was converted to Christianity and God called him to return to Ireland as a missionary. To the dismay of his friends and family, Patrick went, eventually being named bishop of Ireland.
Suppose that fifteen years from now, one of your former students has become quite famous—not for anything your school can take pride in, but famous nonetheless. Let us say this former student directs The Lively God, a film which garners The Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. The film is about faith, which is to say it is about doubt, dogma, and apostasy.
PARENT: I would like my son to begin studying a foreign language. I am considering Latin or ancient Greek, but I am leaning more towards a modern language. I know you are studying and teaching ancient Greek; what are your thoughts?
TEACHER: That’s great that you are considering ancient Greek and Latin! Why are you leaning towards a modern language?