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The Antics of the Turnips | Commonweal Magazine

Let us make the most of the little things in our everyday life, our ordinary life…. There is no need to do great things to become great saints. Making the little things great is enough. In the world, people waste many opportunities, but the world is distracting…. It is worth just as much to love…

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Best of 2020

To close out the year, here are some of the things I most enjoyed in 2020! (Find previous years here.) Books Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love (1373)trans. Fr. John-Julian Swanson OJN (2011) María de Zayas y Sotomayor, Desengaños amorosos (1647) Machado de Assis, The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas (1881)trans. Flora Thompson-DeVeaux (2020) Chanel Miller, Know…

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St. Dymphna’s Playbook, Ep. 59

I was so grateful to be invited onto St. Dymphna’s Playbook, a Catholic podcast about mental health and holiness, this week to introduce listeners to St. Rafael Arnáiz. His struggles with chronic illness and vocational discernment have so much to teach us today. (The clip starts at 5:24!) St. Dymphna’s Playbook, Ep. 59

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notes on translation & faith

As you may know, I’m currently working on my dissertation project, the first English translation of the collected writings of St. Rafael Arnáiz Barón. I’ve decided to trick myself into drafting it by conceiving of it as an especially long series of newsletters. To that end, if you’d like to follow my progress, you can…

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“Not theory, but testimony.”

Today we need prophecy, but real prophecy: not fast talkers who promise the impossible, but testimonies that the Gospel is possible. […] It makes me sad when I hear someone say, ‘We want a prophetic Church.’ All right. But what are you doing, so that the Church can be prophetic? We need lives that show…

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Two quotes on hope

[Hope is] an ability to work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed. … Hope is not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out. Vaclav…

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Reflections on Contract Grading

Yesterday marked the end of my last semester of teaching, but this was also the first semester when I taught the way I wanted to. It sounds strange to say, given that the semester was unexpectedly cut in half by a global pandemic, but the resilience of my course design felt like a total victory…

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“Do not despise this world, for it is Mine”

Today is the feast of St. Rafael Arnáiz Barón, the young Spanish Trappist about whom I am writing my dissertation. (At least, it’s the anniversary of his death on April 26, 1938. In Spain, a few dioceses have delayed his feast day to April 27 because April 26 is already reserved for St. Isidore of…

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UVA Cemetery Tour

I’ve been taking daily walks through the University of Virginia Cemetery to get some fresh air during quarantine, and the official walking tour leaves a lot to be desired. You can imagine: the cemetery itself is a lot of illustrious male professors and male librarians and male soldiers next to graves marked “wife of.” I thought…

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Clase magistral: «Sin compasión del delicado sexo»

Today I became a PhD candidate after passing my comprehensive exams! As part of the process, we generally give talks on our research to the department—but since we have to give virtual presentations this time around, now you can watch it too. In this talk, I discuss representations of Chinese laywomen in a Spanish missionary…

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Retablo for the Pandemic

ithankthevirgin: Holy Trinity! Divine Providence! I humbly ask you, with this retablo, to find the cure for the COVID-19 and therefore stop this terrible pandemic that affected the entire world. I ask you for health to all the people sick with this virus and for eternal peace to those who died. 2020 retablo by Gonzalo…

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#BreviaryViews: Divine Office 101

Over the past year, some Catholics on Twitter have been using the hashtag #BreviaryViews to encourage one another in praying the Divine Office, or the Liturgy of the Hours, which is the prayer of the Church marking the hours of each day. While it is generally an obligation for priests and religious, the invitation to…

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some Lenten considerations

As someone who has tended toward scrupulosity in the past, I’ve found it helpful to distinguish what the Church actually asks of us during Lent (fasting-if-you-can, prayer, and almsgiving) from popular tradition (“giving up X for Lent”). For the sake of not getting lost in my own thoughts, I wanted to put together a little…

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Querida Amazonia

It is well known that, ever since the final decades of the last century, the Amazon region has been presented as an enormous empty space to be filled, a source of raw resources to be developed, a wild expanse to be domesticated. None of this recognizes the rights of the original peoples; it simply ignores…

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working trees together

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is dismissed in his hometown. “Is he not the carpenter?” That he is. I’ve been complaining to him a lot lately about having to spend all day every day staring at page after screen, consuming massive amounts of data on the Spanish literary canon so I can pass my comps at the end…

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Best of 2019

To close out the year, here are some of the things I most enjoyed in 2019! (Find previous years here.) Books the Confessions of St. Augustine The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays by Esmé Weijun Wang El divino Narciso by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz S. by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst All the Rage: Mothers,…

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Olga Tokarczuk on the narrator of Genesis

I also dream of a new kind of narrator―a “fourth-person” one, who is not merely a grammatical construct of course, but who manages to encompass the perspective of each of the characters, as well as having the capacity to step beyond the horizon of each of them, who sees more and has a wider view,…

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Unmagical Realism | Commonweal Magazine

I reviewed a new anthology of Gabriel García Márquez’s nonfiction for Commonweal: His role as a publisher and editor was so important to him that, as he famously said, “I do not want to be remembered for One Hundred Years of Solitude, nor for the Nobel Prize, but for the newspapers.” Perhaps fortunately for García…

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