Month: March 2013


“When the disciples saw the risen Christ, they beheld him as a reality in the world, though no longer of it, respecting the order of the world, but Lord of its laws. To behold such reality was different and more than to see a tree or watch a man step through a doorway. To behold the risen Christ was an experience that burst the bounds of the ordinary. This explains the extraordinary wording of the texts: the strangeness of Christ’s ‘appearing,’ ‘vanishing,’ suddenly standing in the middle of a room or at someone’s side. Hence the abruptness, fragmentariness, oscillation, contradictoriness of the writing–the only true form for content so dynamic that no existing form can contain it.”

Romano Guardini… Read the rest

Holy Saturday

Devil at the End of the PassionNyssa, Tolkien, and Gibson

By killing Jesus, Satan had swallowed God’s bait. He didn’t know he had swallowed the Godhead, thereby inviting Full Being into his fortress of nothingness and bringing about the ontological fall of his nothingness. In the words of St. Gregory of Nyssa: “The Godhead hid under the covering of our human nature so as to offer an easy bait to him who sought to exchange us for a more precious prize. And the aim was that just like a greedy fish he would swallow the hook of divinity together with the bait of the flesh. Thus life would come to dwell in death, light would appear in darkness, and thus light and life would achieve the destruction of all that stood against them.”

You can imagine Satan’s smile as Jesus was sucked into the abyss. After watching Jesus enter hell, Satan was probably about to turn his attention back toward earth. But according to an ancient homily from Holy Saturday, Jesus, upon entering hell, met Adam, took his hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper and rise from the dead, and Jesus will give you light. . . I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image.”

Thus the terror was reversed: The tormentor, Satan, became the tormented; the tormented, Jesus, became the tormentor; hate, the weapon of the first tormentor, was replaced with love, the weapon of the second tormentor.

It’s difficult to imagine the full terror that raced through Satan as he realized what was happening, but there’s an excellent literary analogy toward the end of J.R.R. … Read the rest

Good Friday

“The Son of God suffered unto the death, not that men might not suffer, but that their sufferings might be like His.” George MacDonald

“The cross cannot be defeated. . . For it is Defeat.” G.K. Chesterton

On those who hate Christianity: “They do not dislike the Cross because it is a dead symbol; but because it is a live symbol.” G.K. Chesterton

“[A]s long as sin remains on earth, still will the Cross remain.” Fulton Sheen

“God has given us our lives as wheat and grapes. It is our duty to consecrate them and bring them back to God as bread and wine–transubstaniated, divinized, and spiritualized. There must be harvest in our hands after the springtime of the earthly pilgrimage. That is why Calvary is erected in the midst of us, and we are on its sacred hill. We were not made to be mere on-lookers . . . but rather to be participants in the mystery of the Cross.” Fulton Sheen.

“Since the symbols of baptism and the eucharist flowed from his side, it was from his side that Christ fashioned the Church, as he had fashioned Eve from the side of Adam.” St. John Chrysostom

“His Cross has put its due value upon every thing which we see, upon all fortunes, all advantages, all ranks, all dignities, all pleasures; upon the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. It has set a price upon the excitements, the rivalries, the hopes, the fears, the desires, the efforts, the triumphs of mortal man. It has given a meaning to the various, shifting course, the trials, the temptations, the sufferings of his earthly state. It has brought together and made consistent all that seemed discordant and aimless. It has taught us how … Read the rest

Holy Thursday


“[I]n the agony of Gethsemane the ultimate consequences of our sin had their hour. . . . God permitted his Son to taste the human agony of rejection and plunge towards the abyss. . . Gethsemane was the hour in which Jesus’ human heart and mind experienced the ultimate odium of the sin he was to bear as his own . . .”. Romano Guardini, The Lord. … Read the rest


On Jesuits

“Vincent O’Keefe, an American Jesuit and a former acting Father General, used to joke that Catholics believe ‘the Jesuits know everything — but nothing else.'” You’ll find that anecdote and other basic information about the Jesuits at this fine piece at The Week. I’m no expert on the Jesuits, but the summary strikes me as reasonably fair. It could’ve been a harder on Jesuits for their heterodoxy, but overall, I give the article a B+.

Movie Review

Thinking about going to see Spring Breakers? Don’t. John Podhoretz summarizes it for us in one of the most delightful movie pannings I’ve read in years: “Four college girls from Florida go to St. Petersburg for spring break. They knock over a restaurant to get the money. They stare at the water, ride around on scooters, sit around a parking lot, do drugs. They are arrested and then bailed out for no reason by a white-trash rapper-dealer played by James Franco (who overacts as horrendously here as he does in Oz the Great and Powerful). One girl goes home; the other three hang out with Franco. He ends up declaring his love to two of them, after which they have several threesomes. The third girl is shot in the arm by a rival drug dealer. She goes home, too. James Franco decides to kill his rival. He and the two girlfriends travel to the drug dealer’s house in a motorboat. Franco, the experienced gangster, gets killed instantly. But the two girls go on to kill everybody at the drug dealer’s house with machine guns. The end.”

Garden Update

The cold weather is killing me. I have nine great-looking tomato seedlings, but they can’t hold out until May. Fortunately, I have a long-time client who owns commercial greenhouses. … Read the rest


Background: When I was the editor of Gilbert Magazine, I was responsible for the “Tremendous Trifles” column. It was occasionally hard to find a sufficient amount of interesting GKC material to fill the page, so John Peterson sent me a file full of Chesterton ancedotes. They were idiosyncratic, historical, and Chestertonian. He recently gave me permission to use them here. I hope y’all find them as interesting as I have over the years. Most of them have never been published.

Chesterton Short(s)

In a letter to Maurice Baring, dated August 25th, 1922, Hilaire Belloc expresses astonishment that his friend Gilbert Chesterton had been received into the Catholic Church. “It seemed to me,” Belloc wrote, “that the whole of his mind was occupied in expressing his attraction towards a certain mood, not at all towards acceptation of a certain institution. However, I am not very much good at understanding what is going on in other people’s minds.” [Letters from Hilaire Belloc, London: 1958]

Something for Holy Week

“Choose mortifications that don’t mortify others.” Escriva… Read the rest


Holy Week is here. Consistent with TDE tradition, blogging will be light. Long-time readers will notice some repeat materials (hey, if Schall reads the collected works of Shakespeare every year and Groeschel reads Abandonment to Divine Providence every year, we can read some repeat Guardini here at TDE).


Man, Charles Barkley cracked me up during halftime of the Gonzaga-Wichita St. game. At the end of a rant about how they’re softening up football and basketball with rule changes, he said, “Pretty soon we might as well play in skirts” (close to an exact quote, though probably not precise).

That slayed me. I didn’t think such comments were permissible any more, but I couldn’t find any reference to the comments on the Internet yesterday so it would appear he won’t come under censure.

Seen at Reddit

Something for Holy Week

“Don’t fool yourself telling me you’re weak. You’re a coward, which is not the same thing.” Escriva… Read the rest