Field Hospital or Church?

One of of Nicolas Diat’s questions for Robert Cardinal Sarah in The Power of Silence is, “In order to confront the misfortunes of the world, Pope Francis calls the Church to be a “field hospital”. How can this image be interpreted in terms of our present reflection on silence?” First off, their “present reflection on silence” has to do with…

How Do I Quiet My Soul?

This morning, I managed to find enough silence to pick up The Power of Silence by Robert Cardinal Sarah and Nicolas Diat and read about half-a-dozen pages. The Cardinal’s words remind of Sister Wendy Beckett’s and once again, I’m left asking myself, “How do I do this? Do I even dare?” The passage I’m about to share does a good…

Leave No Trace

As soon as I finished Diane Ackerman’s Natural History of Love, I picked up The Power of Silence by Robert Cardinal Sarah and Nicolas Diat. Bridget had bought me a copy for Mother’s Day (she’s very thoughtful), and I’ve been looking forward to reading it. After Ackerman’s section on Religious Love, though, I found that I couldn’t get to Cardinal…

Human Nature

In my last post about The Natural History of Love by Diane Ackerman, I mentioned that I often get frustrated with Ackerman’s biases. While that is true (and likely always will be), it does not mean that I find no value in her work. She is a thorough researcher (at least as far as her world view is concerned), she…

A False Self

Today’s meditation in Magnificat was written by Father Thomas Merton, O.C.S.O. It kind of blew me away, so I have to keep it around by copying it down here. Every one of us is shadowed by an illusory person: a false self. This is the man that I want myself to be but who cannot exist, because God does not…

Dances with the Daffodils

In one of my early posts here at The Ruff Draft, I shared a William Wordsworth poem about daffodils and was pleasantly surprised to find a comment that contained a book recommendation. Liù wrote: “May I suggest a book inspired by the same poem? Dances with the Daffodils by Matthew Connolly.” I ordered the book right away, but did not pick…

Teachable Moments

Reading books by Diane Ackerman has become an exercise in frustration. While I know that I can just put the thing down and never pick it up again, I keep turning the pages, telling myself that I can learn something. And I do. I learn how other people view the world, why they come to particular conclusions, and how their…

A Southern Sense of Place

There is nothing like reading the work of Southern authors to reinforce the notion that a writer’s sense of place has everything to do with literature. This poem from Allen Tate is a pretty straightforward example: Emblems I Maryland, Viriginia, Caroline Pent images in sleep Clay valleys rocky hills old fields of pine Unspeakable and deep Out of that source…