One Catholic Life Blog

The Trial by Franz Kafka

Classics Club #9: The Trial by Franz Kafka

The Trial by Franz Kafka is one of the masterpieces of existential literature. Or so it is said. Since I’m not up to date on my existential philosophy, the book was largely wasted on me. It’s always a challenge to read books that come at life from a different world view than one’s own, but to give them a fair chance requires wrestling with their philosophical underpinnings. I’m not at a point in my reading life or my intellectual life where I’m interested in exploring the existential experiences described...

Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm

The best thing I can say about Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm is that it helped me meet the letter “Z” requirement for my 2017 Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge. I forced myself to keep reading this dated satire long after I lost interest in it. From the publisher: Max Beerbohm’s only novel is a comic masterpiece set in the privileged environs of Judas College, Oxford. When beautiful prestidigitator Zuleika Dobson gains admittance to the all-male campus, romance is suddenly in the air. But the smitten undergraduates are out of...

Clare Boothe Luce

No Good Deed – Homily for the 6th Sunday in Easter

There’s a long but important sentence in the First Letter of Peter that we heard earlier: “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.” Of all the words in that long sentence, it’s the last one, hope, that’s the most important. Hope is something the world could surely use more of. But before the First Letter of Peter gets to that long sentence, there’s a lot that comes before to help us understand what it means. First of...

Road to Emmaus by Roghman

Because He Lives: Homily for the Third Sunday of Easter – Year A

The first few gospel readings of the Easter season focused on showing us that Jesus was raised from the dead. He eats with his disciples, he shows them his wounds, he assures them that it really is him, he is risen from the dead. Now as we enter the third week of Easter the scripture readings change their focus from the resurrection itself to show us the effect of the resurrection on the disciples. We see this first in the figure of Peter. The last time we saw...

The Balrog - Ted Naismith (detail)

The Ring Goes South by J.R.R. Tolkien

This is not so much a review as a progress report. After a fantastic start to my 2017 Reading Challenges, things have slowed down quite a bit. I’m still keeping up with the Hobbit/Lord of the Rings Readalong, however, and according to Goodreads I’m still seven books ahead of my overall schedule for the year. I’ve just finished The Ring Goes South, part two of The Fellowship of the Ring in the Millennium edition. I have to say that I’m really enjoying reading The Lord of the Rings in these smaller...

Holy Saturday Cross

Something Strange Is Happening – A Holy Saturday Meditation

Something strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear. He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live...

Jesus Washing Feet

He Loved Them to the End – Homily from Holy Thursday

We walk through the Doorway of Love, following the Thread of Love, imitating the Model of Love, sitting in the Garden of Love. http://traffic.libsyn.com/stpeter/SP-2017-04-13-598.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSS

Far from the Madding Crowd

Classics Club #8: Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Far from the Madding Crowd is 10th on the The Guardian’s poll of greatest love stories of all time. I did not find it as great as that. Yes, Bathsheba Everdene and Gabriel Oak are well realized characters, and Hardy’s descriptions are evocative and detailed, but the plot did not grab me at all. I can appreciate a good classic romance now and then, but for some reason Far from the Madding Crowd lost my interest fairly quickly. Maybe it was the fact that Bathsheba kept shooting herself in the foot, so...

The Novel of the Century: The Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables by David Bellos

The short answer is that if you love the novel or the musical Les Misérables, then yes, you should run right out and buy a copy of The Novel of the Century: The Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables by David Bellos. If you are what Cameron Mackintosh calls a “Les Mis freak,” then this book is definitely for you. But it is also for those who love literature in general, who love a good “behind-the-scenes” documentary, who are fascinated by literary history, or who love reading about how authors work. I couldn’t...

The Crucible by Arthur Miller

The Crucible by Arthur Miller

I wasn’t planning on reading Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible, but when our daughter Teresa was recently cast in the role of Elizabeth for her final high school play, I wanted to reacquaint myself with the story. I’m pretty sure it was assigned reading for me in high school, but I don’t remember if I actually read it or not. Now that I’ve finished it, I can’t wait to see it performed on stage. I was caught up in the story from beginning to end, and found it both...

Tolkien Reading Day

Tolkien Reading Day 2017

It’s almost Tolkien Reading Day! Held annually on March 25th, Tolkien Reading Day is an annual event to celebrate works of author J.R.R Tolkien. According to the Tolkien Society, Tolkien Reading Day is held on the 25th of March each year. It has been organised by the Tolkien Society since 2003 to encourage fans to celebrate and promote the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien by reading favourite passages. We particularly encourage schools, museums and libraries to host their own Tolkien Reading Day events. Why 25 March? The...

Jacob's Well

A Thirst for Living Water – Homily for the Third Sunday in Lent

Today’s gospel is a story of baptism, and what baptism does for each of us. It’s a story of thirst and water, of longing and desire. It’s part one of a baptismal trilogy that continues next week and the week after. Three lessons about baptism, with three images: this week water, next week light, and the following week rising from the dead. But it all begins with being thirsty. Within each one of us is a deep yearning, what St. Augustine calls a restlessness, what some spiritual writers...

The Sapphire Rose Banner

The Sapphire Rose by David Eddings

The Sapphire Rose is the final book in the David Eddings fantasy trilogy The Elenium, and overall it provides a satisfactory conclusion. There were even a few twists I wasn’t expecting. Rather than summarize the book and give away some of the events of the earlier two books, I will simply say that The Sapphire Rose continues to tell the story of Sparhawk’s quest to save his queen from death, while at the same time trying to prevent the evil god Azash from getting loose and wreaking havoc on the...

The Lord of the Rings and Lent

  It’s March 1st which means it’s time to begin reading The Fellowship of the Ring for Brona’s Hobbit/Lord of the Rings Readalong. In yet another interesting coincidence, today also happens to be the beginning of Lent. The synchronicity of those two events is too intriguing to ignore, and as I reflect on both The Fellowship of the Ring and Lent, I find several significant ways they are related. Both Are Journeys First, journey is at the heart of them both. Frodo and Sam set out on a long journey,...

The Ruby Knight, detail

The Ruby Knight by David Eddings

The Ruby Knight is the second book in The Elenium by David Eddings, and it improves slightly on its predecessor, The Diamond Throne.  Sparhawk and his companions continue their quest to save Queen Ehlana from the poison that is slowly killing both her and the knights whose life forces are keeping her alive. The story is a little more focused than the first book, and the light-hearted humor doesn’t seem as forced. Eddings has never had a problem creating likable characters, and his ensemble from The Diamond Throne really come into their...