Easter

Eastern European Resistance to Islamization

If you’ve ever seen Casablanca, you won’t have forgotten the scene in Rick’s Cafe where the German officers who are singing “Die Wacht am Rhein” are drowned out by the French patrons who burst into a rousing rendition of the “Marseillaise.” Something similar happened last week at the National Opera in Cluj Napoca, Romania. A [...]

Revisiting Jim Bishop’s The Day Christ Died

The Day Christ Died is an unjustly neglected book about the Passion of Our Lord, written in 1957 by the American Catholic journalist Jim Bishop. Coming across a copy of this gem in a thrift store, where I've found many a forgotten treasure, I noted that it was first published sixty years ago this May. [...]

How Little We Know Ourselves

The Lenten and Easter seasons call each of us to renewed reflection on our journey through life. Prayerful reading of Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection is a sure way to strive for something Father George Rutler expressed so well—we are to let Jesus “make of our graves what he made of his own borrowed tomb: [...]

Advice for a Catholic Neophyte

It’s an especially happy Easter for the Lu family this year, since a near and dear relative of mine came into the Church at the Easter Vigil. Eleven years into my Catholic life, I am no longer the only Catholic in my natal family. God is good. In light of that, I’ve been reflecting on [...]

The Unforeseen Triumph of Easter

In the Poetics of Aristotle, that wonder of brevity and wit on the art of making (poiesis), there is a clever little thing called peripety, which is a device deployed by the artist to alert his audience to any sudden or unexpected turn of events in the unfolding of a story. For instance, the awful [...]

Prelude to the Passion

It is only in these last days of Lent—before, that is, the high moments of Holy Week that will mark the earthly end of his life—that the public appearances of Jesus become especially fraught, ever more heightened and dramatic. And it is always a toss-up, given the essential inconstancy of the crowds confronting him (all [...]

Peter Wasn’t Afraid to Die

On Palm Sunday, and again on Good Friday, we will hear and take part in one of the most infamous scenes in Christian history. We will read the Gospel account (from the synoptics on Palm Sunday, this year from the Gospel according to Luke, and from the Gospel according to John, as always, on Good [...]

Easter and Zombies

Zombies have been making the rounds lately. Not real ones, of course, because there are no real ones. It is to their great disadvantage that they do not exist, considering how popular they are. But then, they would have no great advantages in existing, either. While they may experience a certain brute satisfaction, their intellectual [...]

He Is Risen! Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of Easter

Eastertide, 1894 marked the resurrection of a famous figure besides Jesus Christ. Sherlock Holmes, supposed dead for three years following his agony with the Napoleon of Crime, reappeared suddenly to his friends in London—heralded not by an empty tomb, but by an empty house. There are very few literary giants with so perfect a resurrectional [...]

“I Thirst”

“But suppose God didn’t quite finish by closing time of the afternoon of the sixth day? ...Suppose that Creation, the process of replacing chaos with order, were still going on. What would that mean? In the biblical metaphor of the six days of Creation, we would find ourselves somewhere in the middle of Friday afternoon. Man was just created a [...]

An Easter Reflection on the Plague of Cremation

As Christians prepare to celebrate the Paschal Feast of the Lord’s Resurrection, we will hear a lot about the “empty tomb.” Indeed, this year—in which the Lectionary focuses on St. Mark—will be particularly stark: the women encounter the empty tomb and the “young man” and are “utterly amazed” (Mk 16: 1-7). As we celebrate the [...]

Is God Dead? Have We Killed Him?

Nietzsche isn’t exactly the kind of guy you expect to show up in a papal encyclical. All the more so does it seem odd to refer to him as a prophet. Nonetheless, recent popes have referred to him somewhat often, using him as a referent for our current social and philosophical situation. In one of [...]

Time for a Little Easter Cheer

When a magazine names itself Crisis, you should know not to expect sugar plums and primroses. Our culture is in a bad way, and here at Crisis we’re pretty up-front about that fact. We endeavor to diagnose the problems and determine the appropriate response. Around here, we skip the sugar coating. As faithful Catholics, we [...]

The Greatest Easter Painting Ever Made

Tucked away in a central Parisian museum that was once a railway station, there hangs an Easter painting quite unlike any Gospel masterpiece created before or after it. It is not painted by a Rembrandt or a Rubens or the patron saint of artists, Fra Angelico. The painting is the work of a little-known Swiss [...]

The Eucharist

Let us read the words of the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper in Saint Matthew’s Gospel (26:26-28), adding the words of the other sacred authors on the same subject: Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and when he had given thanks (1 Cor. 11:24), broke it, and gave [...]

Easter Hope Amid the Horror of Death

As anyone with half-a-brain knows, success in the publishing world is measured by the number of books sold.  What many do not know, of course, is that there are only two categories that perennially produce best sellers.  Cookbooks and diet books.  How wonderfully self-cancelling they are, too.  While the one will tell you what to [...]

Five Saints to Enrich your Easter Season

Easter Sunday has come and gone, but the liturgical season of Easter is just beginning. The 50 days of Easter, which last until Pentecost, are an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of the resurrection for your faith—much the same way that the 40 days of Lent is a call to enter into the deeper [...]

Sabbath after Sabbath

In the Acts of the Apostles (13:26-30), Paul speaks of his Jewish background. To us Jews did God send forth a “message of salvation.”  This announcement was not sent to everyone in the beginning. Why not? We know that, in Deuteronomy, the Jews are called “chosen” not because of anything they did on their part [...]

Easter Changes Everything

Christmas occupies such a large part of the Christian imagination that the absolute supremacy of Easter as the greatest of Christian feasts may get obscured at times. Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, an Italian biblical scholar, suggests that we might begin to appreciate how Easter changed everything—and gave the birth of Jesus at Christmas its significance—by reflecting [...]

Sense and Nonsense: In Grace, Perpetual Novelty

Dennis Bartlett, in San Francisco, lent me his copy of A Spiritual Aeneid, which is Ronald Knox’s autobiography, first published in 1918. Dennis has a 1958 Sheed & Ward edition with a Preface by Evelyn Waugh. I actually intend to return this book someday. As I also have an edition of The Pastoral Sermons of [...]

Sense and Nonsense: “In the shining light, destroy us”

For a course I gave recently on political philosophy and natural law, one of the books I had wanted to read, or reread, with my good class was C. S. Lewis's The Abolition of Man, a book I realized I had not taken a look at for some time, though its powerful theme has almost [...]

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