CHRIST CENTERED CONVERSATIONS

 

Beowulf – “Heroes Under Heaven”

“Alone in the history of the "epic," Beowulf takes place in the "real," tangible, recognizable world. Not in Heaven, Albion, or Middle Earth. That, in fact, is part of the point of Beowulf. Its author(s) want us to see its setting and characters and situations as real, as actually happening. And yet the magic is there - in Grendel, in Beowulf himself - in the capacity to find a redeeming reply to a superhuman evil, a transcendent answer to the void.” – Stephen R. Donaldsen, E

A Letter to St. Francis of Assisi

Garrett writes a letter to Francis of Assisi, his patron saint. Dear Francis of Assisi, Greetings, my patron saint! I believe this letter is long overdue. We’ve already had a long and interesting correspondence across the span of 800 years (and my comparatively shorter 25 years). You’ve definitely had a very strong influence in shaping my faith when I was younger, and your example continues to inspire me in various ways. I think my first encounter with you was as a teenager r

Ministry and Theory of Mind

Garrett talks about the Theory of Mind and how it can help us understand the spiritual journeys of ourselves and others. One piece of advice I will never forget receiving from my Spiritual Director is this: in ministry, you must learn to speak the language of the heart. This means learning to empathize with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, and identifying with their struggles and hopes. Being a more bookish and studious sort of guy, I must admit this changed the way

Why Learning Complements Our Faith

Garrett muses on how the faithful should not fear learning, but learn to employ it. “For although correct conduct may be better than knowledge, nevertheless knowledge precedes conduct.” – Charlemagne, De Litteris Colendis This is a quote from a letter written by the Emperor Charlemagne, who ruled over much of Europe for much of the 8th century, to Baugulf of Frida, the abbot of a monastic community. A towering figure who came to the support of the popes, Charlemagne was also

Poem: Dining in the Desert

In this special post, the three of us come together in a collaborative effort to weave our individual searches for Jesus together into a poem. A/N: Blessed Wednesday everyone! To round off Odes to October month, Chris, Greg and I thought we would try writing a poem together. After giving it some thought, I struck upon the idea of modeling the poem after a Japanese collaborative style of poetry called “renga”. You may notice that Greg’s first three lines take the form of the f

A Christmas Song for Three Guilds: An Analysis (Part 4 of 4)

Garrett turns to G.K. Chesterton’s poem A Christmas Song for Three Guilds, which he believes, suggests a much more egalitarian idea of the Kingdom of God than we are likely to picture. (Part 4 of 4) Welcome back to our final instalment of our analysis of G.K. Chesterton’s poem, A Christmas Song for Three Guilds! As always, the previous three parts can be found on this very site, and I highly recommend at least reading Part 1 first to provide some of the context behind my anal

A Christmas Song for Three Guilds: An Analysis (Part 3 of 4)

Garrett turns to G.K. Chesterton’s poem A Christmas Song for Three Guilds, which he believes, suggests a much more egalitarian idea of the Kingdom of God than we are likely to picture. (Part 3 of 4) Welcome to Part 3 of our analysis of G.K. Chesterton’s A Christmas Song for Three Guilds! Part 1 and Part 2 can be found elsewhere on this blog. I highly recommend giving a read through to Part 1 at least as over there I went through some important principles to take note of when

Obi-Wan Kenobi and Spiritual Mentorship

Star Wars and Spiritual Mentorship? You 'betcha! Garrett expounds further. With the premiere of Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, and a whole slew of movies, books, and various other media on the horizon, it seems that Star Wars is poised to seize the hearts of a new generation of fans. So why is Star Wars so popular? Father Dwight Longenecker from the blog “Standing on My Head” offers a rather convincing explanation. The reason behind Star Wars' success is that it follows the “He

A Christmas Song for Three Guilds: An Analysis (Part 2 of 4)

Garrett turns to G.K. Chesterton’s poem A Christmas Song for Three Guilds, which he believes, suggests a much more egalitarian idea of the Kingdom of God than we are likely to picture. (Part 2 of 4) If you’re coming here after reading Part 1,welcome back! If not, do be aware that this is Part 2 of four-part series where I’ll be analysing G.K. Chesterton’s A Christmas Song for Three Guilds. We’re taking it one stanza at a time, and the first part does establish some very impor

A Christmas Song for Three Guilds: An Analysis (Part 1 of 4)

Garrett turns to G.K. Chesterton’s poem A Christmas Song for Three Guilds, which he believes, suggests a much more egalitarian idea of the Kingdom of God than we are likely to picture. (Part 1 of 4) What does Advent mean to us, on a personal level? How does this brief season, where we prepare for the coming of Jesus, relate to how we live our lives for the rest of the year? Before the dawn of Advent proper, we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King, where we recognize the sov

Playing Herod: An Advent Reflection

Garrett plays Herod in a Nativity play and reflects about it! Last December, I went with a group of Catholic university friends on a mission trip to Cambodia, to an education centre run by the Marist brothers. I remember vividly one item on the agenda in particular: to put up a Nativity play to entertain the kids. It was at our lodging one night when the director of the play announced the roles, after discussing with the trip leader. And lo and behold, the director revealed,

Make a Holiness Check!

Tabletop RPGs and the Faith A while back I came across aReddit postby a user with the wonderful online moniker ‘Stirfriar’. Introducing himself as a Franciscan Friar, he went on to describe the many amazing experiences he and his brothers in the friary had while playing tabletop role-playing games in their leisure time. These aren’t the RPGs one might think of – videogames like Falloutor Skyrim. Rather, these are more like elaborate boardgames – though not necessarily requiri

Faith and Horror Stories

Can there possibly be a link between Faith and Horror stories? Well, Garrett certainly thinks so! One curious fact about myself is that whenever I feel lost, or not in control of my life, I suddenly become an avid reader of horror stories. Though I generally prefer more cheerful types of fiction, as soon as my life takes a turn downwards, I find myself turning to stories of fear and hopelessness, until the my day-to-day commitments start to look a little hopeless too. Without

A Letter to St. Francis Xavier

Garrett writes a letter to St. Francis Xavier Dear Francis Xavier, I’d like to start this letter with a bit of a confession. Although I selected ‘Francis’ as my confirmation name, I did not exactly have you in mind when I chose it. Back then, I was drawn to the radical simplicity of Saint Francis of Assisi – I still am, although I have found, as he did, that it doesn’t always suit everyone. It’s been almost a decade since my confirmation, but in that time, I’ve learnt about a

Knights vs. Aliens: Honor and Humility

Warning: This review contains SPOILERS. You have been warned. "Hearken, Brother Parvus," said Sir Roger. "I'm weary of this whining about our own ignorance and feebleness. We're not ignorant of the true Faith, are we? Somewhat more to the point, maybe, while the engines of war may change through the centuries, rivalry and intrigue look no subtler out here than at home. Just because we use a different sort of weapons, we aren't savages." – Poul Anderson, The High Crusade Intro

The Legends of the Saints: A Reflection

Garrett shares more about the role of saints in his faith journey. One of the biggest blessings I’ve ever received in my life is a father who loved telling stories. It started with comics. He would tell me the origin stories of various superheroes from Spider-Man to Green Lantern, as I’d listen with rapt attention. But eventually, he started telling me stories of the Saints as well. There was, for example, St. Maximillian Kolbe, who so heroically gave his life for a fellow in

A letter to Garrett

Author's note: This is a little spiritual writing exercise we decided to undertake as our first article - a letter to our past selves just prior to undertaking a ministry role. Therefore, I decided to write to the Garrett of 2014, right before I took the reins as President of my university Catholic community. A funny coincidence was that I wrote this letter just prior to serving another year in the committee. Though I am currently serving in a different role, I find the advic