Notes on the Life of Saint Anthony

After just having listened to The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks edited by Benedicta Ward, I recently listened to the Life of Saint Anthony by Saint Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria. [This is the text translated by H. Ellershaw: Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 4. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. Buffalo, […]

the direction in which their unmarred fulfillment must lie

J.R.R.Tolkien in his notes on “Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth.” Finrod, however, sees now that, as things were, no created thing or being in Arda, or in all Eä, was powerful enough to counteract or heal Evil: that is to subdue Melkor (in his present person, reduced though that was) and the Evil that he had […]

the pebble is a perfect creature equal to itself

Here is the original English translation (1968) of Zbigniew Herbert’s poem “Kamyk” by Czeslaw Milosz and Peter Dale Scott: the pebble is a perfect creature equal to itself mindful of its limits filled exactly with a pebbly meaning with a scent that does not remind one of anything does not frighten anything away does not […]

to love reality

Personally transcribed excerpts from “The Wisdom of Tenderness” where Krista Tippett interviews Jean Vanier in October 2007 for the NPR show On Being: An ethics of desire is good news for us at a time when we have become allergic to an ethics of law. Pleasure is not something which is just sort of fooling […]

a constellation of practices, rituals, and routines

Education is not primarily a heady project concerned with providing information; rather, education is most fundamentally a matter of formation, a task of shaping and creating a certain kind of people. What makes them a distinctive kind of people is what they love or desire – what they envision as ‘the good life’ of the […]

wellspring of our desire to know

But I have come to see that knowledge contains its own morality, that it begins not in a neutrality but in a place of passion within the human soul. Depending on the nature of that passion, our knowledge will follow certain courses and head toward certain ends. From the point where it originates in the […]

starving the sensibility of our pupils

By starving the sensibility of our pupils, we only make them easier prey to the propagandist when he comes. From The Abolition of Man by C. S. Lewis (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), page 27. This gem from Lewis was quoted in an essay by Jean Bethke Elshtain about The Abolition of Man, of […]

ends of the things themselves

Thomas [Aquinas] conceived of the intellectual process as analogues to the union between lover and beloved, a union between the learning subject and the object of study. The Latin word from which the word study derives, studium, can also be rendered desire. Learning engages the whole of the subject, who is in relationship all the […]