Author Archives: Thomas

My Appalachian Rider Booklist

All Riders have two books in common: After that, a rider picks a few books of personal interest. For me, that is Robert Frost’s Collected Works and several Shakespeare volumes (Comedies, Tragedies, Histories, Sonnets). One’s booklist expands and develops during … Continue reading

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Commitment, Continuity, and Conversation

The particular spirituality of the Appalachian Riders For Our Lady is based on our three foundational principles of commitment, continuity and conversation in addition to the general Catholic evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, obedience and stability adapted to a lay … Continue reading

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On Fasting

Here are some thoughts on fasting taken from Alexander Schmemann’s book ‘Great Lent’: It is important, therefore, to discern the uniquely Christian content of fasting. It is first of all revealed to us in the interdependence between two events which … Continue reading

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Reminiscence

Vatican II kept me out of the Catholic Church for many years. Let me explain. I was baptized as an infant at Trinity United Methodist Church in Buchanan Virginia in 1950. However, I didn’t have a living faith in Christ … Continue reading

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On Sirach

Sirach is the last of the wisdom books in the Catholic canon of the Old Testament. As such, it may be regarded as a massive summation of the Israelite wisdom tradition–a meditation on the entirety of Israel’s Scriptures from the … Continue reading

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Robert Frost: Seven Favorite Poems

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Culture of the Incarnation

From the introduction in Tracey Rowland’s 2017 book “The Culture of the Incarnation: Essays in Catholic Theology”: This is a collection of essays that have previously been published in separate journals over the past decade. In one way or another, … Continue reading

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My Parish

I find the Divine Liturgy at my parish to be very romantic, intellectually coherent, and incredibly beautiful. My love she speaks like silence Without ideals or violence She doesn’t have to say she’s faithful Yet she’s true, like ice, like … Continue reading

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Charity

It is hard to convey the beauty and goodness of God. Hence, on the one hand, the necessity of the Incarnation and on the other hand, ministers focusing instead on the much easier task of saying what folks should do.

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Religion as Natural Phenomenon

The below is from David Bentley Hart’s book review Daniel Dennett Hunts the Snark …. Dennett, needless to say, has no curiosity regarding any actual faith or its intellectual tradition. His few references to Christian history make it clear that … Continue reading

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Incense Does Not Zoom

At our parish, prayer rises as incense To the Lord: at Vespers, Orthros, and the Divine Liturgy. The Psalms are chanted without censoring As the censer is swung enthusiastically among the faithful. The incense reaches the hidden places, the silent … Continue reading

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A Funeral Dream

I dreamed of being at a funeral. I don’t know whom the funeral was for but do remember: that it is important to honor the dead. And the dying. that the form, the liturgy if you will, is important. that … Continue reading

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Forgiveness Sunday

In the Byzantine Catholic church, Great Lent begins this evening with Forgiveness Sunday Vespers. Especially poignant this year given the warfare in Ukraine. Forgiveness Sunday In the Orthodox Church, the last Sunday before Great Lent – the day on which, … Continue reading

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Baptism at St George (Melkite)

Here are three videos from a recent baptism at my parish, St George (Melkite). The weight accorded to the sacrament of baptism here has transformed my outlook. https://www.facebook.com/652259618/videos/332339398821544/ (conclusion of baptism) https://www.facebook.com/652259618/videos/4856751877713561/ (teaching about baptism) https://www.facebook.com/652259618/videos/6998438110230397/ (proclamation in the sanctuary)

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What Exists

Does God exist? On the surface, this may appear to be a rather straightforward (not to say easy) question. But the disagreement between those who answer “yes” and those who answer “no” is not straightforward at all. It is, rather, “one … Continue reading

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John Muir’s Boyhood

The Story of My Boyhood and Youth by John Muir Chapter I A Boyhood in Scotland WHEN I was a boy in Scotland I was fond of everything that was wild, and all my life I’ve been growing fonder and fonder … Continue reading

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Sacramental Theology

Below is the Introduction to ‘The Oxford Handbook of Sacramental Theology‘ edited by Hans Boersma and Matthew Levering. But first a brief excerpt from the introduction: A Handbook on sacramental theology, even more than on most other Christian topics, makes poignantly manifest … Continue reading

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Novel Openings

Dante’s Comedy: Midway upon the journey of our life I found myself in a dark wilderness, for I had wandered from the straight and true. Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in … Continue reading

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Preparing for Lent

Below are the first few pages from Alexander Schememann’s book: Great Lent: Journey to Pasca. Preparation for Lent THE DESIRE (Sunday of Zacchaeus) Long before the actual beginning of Lent, the Church announces its approach and invites us to enter … Continue reading

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Walking the Dogs

It is lovely, here in the Sierra – walking the dogs in the middle of the night. The air is still, the sky is clear, with the moon more than half. When I say that I get up and walk … Continue reading

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