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Learning Theology with Carmina Gadelica: The Holy Spirit

Part One: The Trinity Part Two: Christ Part Three: Christian Hope As is plainly apparent in the previous installments, the theology of Carmina Gadelica does not treat faith or theology as an abstraction, but tends to concretize it into everyday life. We see invocations of the Trinity, of the Father, Christ, and the Spirit intermingled with seemingly innocuous everyday tasks like smooring a fire...

The Water and The Kiln

This edition of my church father paraphrases comes from Didymus the Blind, born in the early fourth century and the eventual head of the celebrated catechetical school in Alexandria. Although he became blind at age four and never learned to read, he was nevertheless one of the most learned men of his time, having committed vast amounts of scripture, history, philosophy and the like to memory. It...

Against Being Nice

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (Ephesians 4:15-16) “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?Therefore I am sending...

Do You Really Want a Relationship Instead of a Religion?

One of the highly favored juxtapositions within some segments of modern American Christian thought is that of religion vs. relationship. The premise, as far as I have ever been able to divine, is that there is something about the content of religion that is somehow antithetical to the content of a relationship, specifically the “personal relationship” that is proposed between the believer and...

I Was Wrong About Harry Potter: Part 2

In my previous foray into this subject I looked at the deplorable way in which I formerly viewed Harry and Hermione’s friendship. Initially I had wondered why Harry and Hermione didn’t end up as a couple; after all, it seemed so perfect and natural. Instead, Hermione ends up with Ron the buffoon, and this by choice! I eventually concluded that such a perception of the supposed “missing out” of...

How Art Keeps You In Purgatory

Beauty has a way of transfixing our attention, and in some cases even transfiguring it. Art in its myriad forms can promise transcendence, as it beckons the viewer to the Beauty behind all beauty. In this sense it can be a rung on the ladder to the divine; sometimes a stark and shocking vision of glory that shakes off the encrustation of the mundane, and sometimes a subtle and persistent reminder...

We Will Never Break God’s Heart

Suffering is often the crucible in which our hopes and fears rise to the surface, the clarity of pain serving to purify the double-mindedness that too often plagues our existence. For better or for worse, to suffer can bring a certain perspicuity in its wake, for good or for ill, being a maker of saints and a breaker of sinners, often simultaneously. In the midst of duress of any kind, man has...

Stop Loving Yourself

Whenever I hear someone say that something is a pet peeve of theirs, I cannot help but think “My biggest pet peeve is listening to people whine about their pet peeves.” I am very far from being a saint, so this distinct lack of charity (and immunity to irony, evidently) is something for which I will no doubt be a long while in the purgatorial flames. I know I should be more charitable and loving;...

Hell Is Full Of Love

Love is a many-splendored thing, we are told. The problem is that we very rarely know what kind of love we are talking about. We use the same term to describe the most heroic of sacrifices and the most banal of affections; our heroes are loved and so is that latest BuzzFeed post. I used to think this was a problem, that our modern tongue cannot help but bastardize the beautiful and the true...

Why No One Will Get To Heaven

When I was younger I used to be terrified of the idea of heaven. Well, it probably wasn’t the notion of heaven per se, but rather the thought of eternity. I know some people imagine the afterlife to be one of unceasing drudgery, the standard cliché being us resurrected into chubby cherub bodies and slowly strumming on golden harps long after the universe has plunged into its chaotic death. Well...

The Redemption of Eros

Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck. How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices! (Song of Songs 4:9-10 KJV) If you have heard many sermons on love, you have no doubt been treated to the various terms and distinctions...

Complacent Love

Our love, being imperfect, is always flitting from object to object, restless and unstable in its affection. And while it is easy to ridicule the lack of precision with which we use the term and the innumerable objects to which we attach it, there is a certain measure of truth to saying we love puppies and love God. Love, after all, is a passion, and as such arises from the appetite in relation...

Empty Pots

We all desire something. Sometimes we can describe it in great detail, as when we hunger or thirst; a lemonade would hit the spot, or probably an ice cream cone. (Actually, always an ice cream cone!) But other times our desires are more nebulous, and perhaps there is some interior aching that no one else can see but is yet felt deep within. This incessant longing for some unknown good can be...

Transparent

A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel. transparent From the moment of our race’s fall we have been in hiding. Fig leaves and pointing fingers seem to work in...

Lament of Faith

One of the spiritual practices that I have been engaging in over the last few months has been to utilize the Liturgy of the Hours. While I have had a passing a familiarity with this over the last few years of my life, my present health circumstances have lent a new impetus to the practice. Much of my medication over the last few months has made it extremely difficult to concentrate and focus...

Jason Watson

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