A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Monday, June 9, 2014

E Pluribus Unum

Yesterday was the Feast of Pentecost, sometimes called 'the birthday of the Church.' In the Acts reading is a role call of the places from which the Jews and converts to Judaism had come, and the more geographically savvy among us recognize that the list runs from east to west. There are two odd points: the Cretans and Arabs are mentioned separately, and Greece is not mentioned at all. But what in those days had Athens to do with Jerusalem?

Speaking of all nations, among this week's weekday feasts is the commemoration of St. Ephraem,a/k/a 'the Harp of the Holy Ghost, who was a Syrian writer of hymns (among other things), last week included the commemoration of St. Charles Lwanga and Companions, who were Ugandans martyred by the king of that country.

The writer Michael Novak once wrote:
Ratzinger noted, there are certain creative energies and intuitions that Christianity can bring to secular society. Christianity, after all, is by now found in all nations on earth, and it numbers among its baptized members one-third of all people on earth. It is a fount of practical knowledge about other cultures. .....
Down through the centuries, the Catholic Church has learned much from successive secular orders. From the East it learned a sense of the great mystery and transcendence of God—a more mystical and contemplative cast of mind. From the ancient Greeks it learned to love reason, proportion, and beauty. From the Romans it learned stoic virtue, universal administration, and a practical sense of law. From the French it learned the upward flare of the Gothic and the brilliance of idées claires and rapid wordplay. From the Germans, metaphysics, formidable historical learning, and metahistorical thinking. And from the Anglo-Americans, a dose of common sense and a passion for the religious liberty of the individual conscience. 

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