In Your Embrace
By Matthew Knight
Hi, I'm Matthew, a Roman Catholic seminarian in the San Francisco Bay Area. Come take a walk with me as we discuss Christian life, faith, liturgy, priestly formation, philosophy, theology, Shakespeare, Tolkien, and a whole lot more. Be, Jesus, our joy! Podcast updated weekly on Sundays.
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Voice messages with questions or comments are welcome and may be featured in upcoming episodes. Please submit through anchor.fm/in-your-embrace/message or the Anchor app.
Episode 87: Deus Creator
21 November 2021 | Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe | Menlo Park, Calif. On this last Sunday of the liturgical year, we discuss the ending of The Hobbit, the eucatastrophe at the Battle of Five Armies, and the homecoming of Bilbo. What is the difference between deus ex machina and the providence of Deus Creator? What does it mean that Christ is King “already, but not yet”? And while we’re asking big questions: what is the purpose of life? Listen to hear Tolkien’s answers (and mine) to these and more than these! Opening music: “Christus vincit (‘Laudes regiae’),” sequence for the feast of Christ the King, sung by Sequentia (dir. Benjamin Bagby) and Dialogos (dir. Katarina Livljanić), 2012. All rights reserved.
November 21, 2021
Episode 86: A Baggins and a Took
14 November 2021 | VI Resumed Sunday after Epiphany | Menlo Park, Calif. This week on the podcast, we catch up with Bilbo and company at the Lonely Mountain and discuss some key differences between The Hobbit and the rest of Tolkien’s legendarium, as well as one controlling theme which unites this work and the Lord of the Rings. We consider the question: is courage determined by your Tookish blood? Also: musings on sacred art and beauty, the earthly liturgy as a living image of the heavenly liturgy, and one way altar servers are like angels! Opening music: “De profundis,” composed by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, sung by Capella Amsterdam, dir. Daniel Reuss, 2020. All rights reserved.
November 15, 2021
Episode 85: Suffering and Triumphant
1 November 2021 | All Saints | Menlo Park, Calif. Returning after a brief interlude, we tackle the last two Unfinished Tales of the Third Age, consider why there is no friendship among thieves (or Nazgûl), and discuss the connection between All Saints and All Souls day - and why there’s hope for us all to make it to heaven! Opening music: “Gaudeamus omnes,” introit for the Solemnity of All Saints, sung by the Schola Cantorum of the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest, dir. Canon Louis Valadier, 2018. All rights reserved.
November 2, 2021
Episode 84: A Spark Yet Unkindled
17 October 2021 | St. Ignatius of Antioch | Santa Rosa, Calif. This week, we get a new perspective on the beginning of the Hobbit, as well as on one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays! Just what was Gandalf doing to prepare that fateful meeting behind Bilbo Baggins and Thorin Oakenshield? And could Lear and Cordelia be an allegory for Reformation England and the Catholic Church? Also in this episode: we commemorate one of our earliest and greatest martyrs, the God-bearing bishop of Antioch, with the account of his trial and readings from his letter to the Romans. [Apologies for the audio issues in the Tolkien segment!] Opening music: “Dixit Dominus, Domino meo,” from Carmelite Vespers (HWV 232: No. 1, Chorus), composed by G.W.F. Handel, performed by the Taverner Choir and Players, dir. Andrew Parrott, 1989. All rights reserved.
October 17, 2021
Episode 83: The Body and the Bride
10 October 2021 | XX Sunday after Pentecost | Menlo Park, Calif. Fall has fallen upon us at last! As I take in the crisp morning air this Sunday, I share some thoughts about midterms, ordination preparations, the passing of time and the turning of the seasons. In this week’s Tolkien readings, we learn some background details about the Dúnedain, the Istari, and the palantíri, and what the man really thought about the first cover design of the American paperback edition of The Hobbit! Also, how is the Church both the body and bride of Christ, as well as the people of God? We unpack it all here under the fading leaves. Opening music: “Ecce panis angelorum,” sequence by St. Thomas Aquinas, composed by Juan Alfonso Garcia, sung by Laudes Christi, dir. Lucian Onița, Timisoara, Romania, 2018. All rights reserved.
October 10, 2021
Episode 82: Father and Son
5 October 2021 | Bl. Francis Xavier Seelos | Menlo Park, Calif. Coming to you on a Tuesday night in the midst of midterms (but hey - better late than never, right?), I share some thoughts on priesthood, sonship and obedience in preparation for my M.A. thesis, as well as the friendship and father/son dynamic of Cirion and Eorl in this week’s reading from the Unfinished Tales. Plus, a little-known American saint makes the calendar! Other Tolkien news mentioned in this episode: Check out The Nature of Middle-Earth by Carl Hotstetter here Listen to his recent interview on The Tolkien Road here! Opening music: “O nata lux,” composed by Morten Lauridsen, sung by the Los Angeles Master Chorale, dir. Nicol Matt, 2018. All rights reserved.
October 6, 2021
Episode 81: Without Counting the Cost
26 September 2021 | Ss. Cosmas and Damian | Menlo Park, Calif. On this beautiful Sunday afternoon, we dive into the Disaster of the Gladden Fields, a short story with big implications for the Third Age of Middle-Earth. Also: who are the saints behind those names we hear so often in the First Eucharistic Prayer? We get to know a thing or two about Cosmas and Damian, two brothers among the saints much beloved by the Roman Church of old. Opening music: “Alleluia Mozarebe,” sung by Ensemble Organum, dir. Marcel Peres, 2002. All rights reserved.
September 26, 2021
Episode 80: The Blood That Was Shed
19 September 2021 | St. Januarius | Menlo Park, Calif. This week, we finally close out the Silmarillion with its last appendix, “On the Rings of Power and the Third Age,” as well as the unlikely tale of how The Hobbit first came to be published and Tolkien’s reactions to the loss of his lifelong friend, C.S. Lewis. Also in this episode: St. Januarius, bishop, martyr, and miracle-worker! Just what is the meaning of his miraculous blood? Opening music: “The Cherubic Hymn,” mvt. 9 of the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, composed and directed by Benedict Sheehan, sung by the St. Tikhon Choir, 2019. All rights reserved.
September 20, 2021
Episode 79: The Bitter Sea
12 September 2021 | The Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary | Menlo Park, Calif. On this night walk, amidst the music of crickets and frogs and the prowling of foxes and other creatures best left unnamed, we talk about the long histories of Galadriel and Celeborn, and the meaning of the name of Mary. Plus, what do “the fairest daughter of the Eldar” and “the fairest of our race” have in common? (Less than some scholars would have you believe, but more than meets the eye!) Opening music: “Ave maris stella,” composed by Josquin des Prez, sung by the St. Bartholomew’s Schola, dir. Shannon Gallier, Atlanta, GA, 2014. All rights reserved.
September 13, 2021
Episode 78: Romanitas
5 September 2021 | Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost | Grass Valley, Calif. Speaking to you this holiday weekend from a friend’s parish deep in rural California, we take a look at several of Tolkien’s later letters and his own life as a hobbit called out of his hole on many adventures! Also, what does it mean that we belong to the Roman rite? If you’ve ever wanted to know the meaning of inculturation, look no farther. Opening music: “Let thy hand be strengthened, composed by G. W. F. Handel, sung by The Sixteen, dir. Harry Christophers, 2009. All rights reserved.
September 5, 2021
Episode 77: First His Own House
29 August 2021 | Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost | Menlo Park, Calif. “‘Let a King first rule well his own house ere he correct others’, it is said. It is true of all men.” —J.R.R. Tolkien, “Aldarion and Erendis" Friends, after two whirlwind weeks in transition from pastoral ministry back to academic life, I’m glad to be speaking to you again from the grounds of St. Patrick’s Seminary - and I have a lot to talk about, from Aldarion to Akallabêth, from our first day of classes to what the Lord is asking of me this term. Let’s take a walk! Opening music: “Bless the Lord, O My Soul” (Psalm 103), composed by Nikolai Kedrov, sung by the choir of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary, Yonkers, NY, 2017. All rights reserved.
August 30, 2021
Daily Reflection: August 12 - Nineteenth Thursday in Ordinary Time
This reflection was given at Morning Prayer at St. Mary's Parish, Eugene, OR on Thursday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time (B), August 12, 2021.
August 12, 2021
Episode 76: Swan Song
7 August 2021 | St. Cajetan | Eugene, Ore. It’s a typical Saturday for me in the parish (though not for much longer!), and in between weddings and youth group meetings, I’m delighted to take this hour to talk with you about Tuor son of Huor and his coming to Gondolin—images of baptism and echoes of the prophets abound in this gloriously unfinished tale! Plus, we receive some hard-hitting spiritual direction from St. Cajetan, the fifteenth-century reformer, and I take a stab at a theology of departures. Opening music: “Ave Maria,” composed by Tomás Luis de Victoria, sung by Hespèrion XX, dir. Jordi Savall, 1992. All rights reserved.
August 8, 2021
Episode 75: Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi
31 July 2021 | St. Ignatius of Loyola | Eugene, Ore. This week on the podcast: some stories and reflections from our seminarian retreat on the beautiful Oregon Coast; my reactions to Tolkien’s “Children of Húrin,” the “longest of the lays of Beleriand” and first among the Unfinished Tales; lessons on the discernment of spirits from St. Ignatius; and a comment on Pope Francis’ latest motu proprio, Traditionis custodes. If you’ve ever wondered about the difference between disciplinary measures and theological claims, just what is meant by lex orandi, lex credendi, or what’s at stake with all this Latin Mass business anyway, I do my best to explain it all here! Lacho calad! Drego morn! Opening music: “Ave Regina caelorum,” composed by Juan Gutierrez de Padilla, sung by the Los Angeles Chamber Singers, dir. Peter Rutenberg, 2016. All rights reserved.
July 31, 2021
Episode 74: The Star of Hope
24 July 2021 | St. Charbel Makhlouf | Eugene, Ore. We’ve come at last to the final chapter of the Silmarillion! As we read of the fateful voyage of Eärendil and the final War of Wrath, we dive into the major themes of this epic saga, including the lingering effects of evil, the “long defeat,” and the real source of our hope, as well as the Silmarils themselves. What might these precious gems signify in Tolkien’s legendarium? We also venerate the great myrrh-streaming Saint of Lebanon, Charbel Makhlouf, on this his holy feast. Opening music: “Abun di bashmayya” (Our Father in Aramaic), sung by Archimandrite Seraphim and parishioners at Elevation of the Triumphant Cross Monastery, Qanda, Georgia, 2016. All rights reserved.
July 25, 2021
Episode 73: Obedience and the Fall
17 July 2021 | Bl. Teresa of Saint Augustine and Companions, Virgin Martyrs of Compiègne | Eugene, Ore. …the fall of Gondolin, that is, and the ruin of Doriath, which we witness in this week’s chapters of the Silmarillion. We discuss how disobedience leads to destruction and leaves the good easy prey for the wicked. Today’s saints, the Carmelite martyrs of Compiègne, provide a beautiful counter-example by their humble obedience, even unto death. Opening music: “Flos Carmeli,” sequence for the Solemnity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, sung by Schola Cantorum de Regina Pacis, Klaipeda, Lithuania, 2012. All rights reserved.
July 18, 2021
Episode 72: A Heart Fully Alive
10 July 2021 | Seven Holy Brothers | Eugene, Ore. This week in the Silmarillion, we get a front seat to the fifth battle of the Second Age (spoiler alert: it goes no better than the last four) and gain some insights into spiritual warfare from the nearly Shakespearean tragedy of Túrin Turambar, one of my favorite stories so far! I’m also excited to share what’s been inspiring me recently: a revolution in spiritual leadership being spearheaded by our Archbishop and my own pastor, the renovation the Holy Spirit is bringing about here in the Church, and some thoughts on “holy desire”—the narrow way between Stoicism and addiction walked by the saints. Opening music: “O tu illustrata,” composed by St. Hildegard von Bingen, sung by VocaMe, dir. Michael Popp, 2012. All rights reserved.
July 11, 2021
Episode 71: Beren and Lúthien
3 July 2021 | St. Irenaeus of Lyons | Eugene, Ore. This week, we come at last to the romance at the heart of the Silmarillion, the saga of Beren One-Hand and Lúthien Tinúviel! We discuss the themes of complementarity, interdependence, and conquering through weakness which play out in this beautiful story of love and loss. Also, we read a fragment of St. Irenaeus on the Gospel of Matthew which sheds light on how God looks upon our own weakness and the imperfection of our hearts. Opening music: “Beren and Lúthien,” written by J.R.R. Tolkien, arranged and sung by Clamavi de Profundis, 2018. All rights reserved.
July 4, 2021
Episode 70: The One Great Thing to Love on Earth
29 June 2021 | Ss. Peter and Paul | Eugene, Ore. After a week away from the podcast (and a record-breaking heatwave here in the Northwest!), we’re back and skimming lightly over hundreds of years’ history in the middle chapters of the Silmarillion. Also in this episode: Tolkien’s answer to the question “what is the Lord of the Rings all about?”, St. John Henry Newman on the contrary yet vital spirits of Peter and Paul, and what lies behind the recently newsworthy doctrine of “Eucharistic coherence.” Opening music: “Gloria” from the Lord Nelson Mass, composed by Franz Josef Haydn, sung by the Bach Choir of Wellington, 2017. All rights reserved.
June 30, 2021
Episode 69: Unless a Seed Fall
15 June 2021 | Third Tuesday after Pentecost | Eugene, Ore. Back home after another friend’s ordination and another round of first Masses and festivities, I share with you my reflections on my own upcoming ordination and the beauty and terror of the priesthood. We also discuss the theme of division between brothers in the Silmarillion and the techniques of evil used by Morgoth to achieve the domination he desires. And just what is this “kerygma” you’ve been hearing about, anyway? We unpack the term in this week’s theology segment, with the unlikely help of J.R.R. Tolkien and Fr. Brett Brannen. Opening music: “Te lucis ante terminum,” hymn for the Office of Compline (ferial tone), arr. Thomas Tallis, sung by the King’s Singers, 2020. All rights reserved.
June 16, 2021
Episode 68: All in All
9 June 2021 | Second Wednesday after Pentecost | Eugene, Ore. In this week’s episode, I share what I learned from last week’s Sacred Liturgy Conference on the theme of “Incarnation in the Eucharist!” We also follow the latest developments in Valinor as Fëanor forges the Silmarils, Melkor foments rebellion, and the bliss of the Blessed Ones seems to be coming to an end… Opening music: “Salve Regina,” composed by Paul Jernberg, sung by the Brookline Consort, 2018. All rights reserved.
June 10, 2021
Daily Reflection: June 9 - Tenth Wednesday in Ordinary Time
This reflection was given at Midday Prayer at St. Mary’s Parish, Eugene, OR on Wednesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time (B), June 9, 2021.
June 9, 2021
Daily Reflection: June 8 - Tenth Tuesday in Ordinary Time
This reflection was given at Midday Prayer at St. Mary’s Parish, Eugene, OR on Tuesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time (B), June 8, 2021.
June 8, 2021
Episode 67: Reasons for Hope
1 June 2021 | St. Justin Martyr | Spokane, Wash. Recorded for the first time in the great state of Washington (where I’m attending a liturgical conference, as well as some friends’ ordinations), this week’s episode features the themes of transition, divided hearts and misguided mercy in chapters 4-6 of the Silmarillion, centered around the question: In the end, will we regret anything that has happened in the past? We also touch on the relationship between faith and hope, two virtues of fundamental importance for the Christian life, and examine the life of St. Justin Martyr, who illustrates a life lived in the splendor of them both. Opening music: “Ecce sacerdos magnus,” introit for the Mass of a Confessor Bishop, composed by Tomas Luís de Victoria, sung by The Cardinall’s Musick, dir. Andrew Carwood, 1998. All rights reserved.
June 1, 2021
Episode 66: The Seed and the Sower
25 May 2021 | St. Bede the Venerable | Eugene, Ore. Surprise! A new episode on a Tuesday! I share about my experiences last week emceeing confirmation Masses and translating Latin texts, then take you on a tour of the first three chapters of the Quenta Silmarillion, where we discover the origins of orcs, ents, dwarves and elves. Finally, some necessary distinctions are made between grace, charity, and the Holy Spirit. Opening music: “Veni Sancte Spiritus,” motet for the feast of Pentecost, composed by William Byrd, sung by The Cambridge Singers, dir. John Rutter, 2002. All rights reserved.
May 26, 2021
Episode 65: A Myth for England
16 May 2021 | St. Simon Stock | Eugene, Ore. This week’s episode comes a day late because I have been laid up this weekend with a cold. I make up for it with a lengthy discussion of Tolkien’s “Waldman Letter” (no. 131) which discusses the history, inspiration and major themes of his legendarium, as well as the first two tales of the Silmarillion, Ainulindalë and Valaquenta. Also in this week’s episode: St. Simon Stock, the scapular promise, and the roles of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary in the sanctification of the soul! Link to the Waldman Letter: https://www.tolkienestate.com/en/writing/letters/letter-milton-waldman.html Note: I am recording this episode using new software and still tweaking the settings. Let me know if you notice any audio issues or abnormalities. Opening music: “Viri Galilaei,” introit for the feast of the Ascension, composed by William Byrd, sung by The Cardinall’s Musick, 2004. All rights reserved.
May 17, 2021
Holy Hour Meditation: May 13 - Ascension Thursday
This reflection was given at a Holy Hour at St. Mary’s Parish, Eugene, OR on Ascension Thursday, May 13, 2021.
May 14, 2021
Daily Reflection: May 13 - Sixth Thursday of Easter
This reflection was given at Midday Prayer at St. Mary’s Parish, Eugene, OR on Thursday of the Sixth Week in Easter (B), May 13, 2021.
May 13, 2021
Episode 64: All’s Well
8 May 2021 | Fifth Saturday of Easter | Eugene, Ore. ...That ends well, that is! Today marks the end of the Shakespeare 2020 Project, begun nearly a year and a half ago. I share my reactions to Coriolanus and All’s Well that Ends Well and final thoughts on the project, as well as my rankings of the comedies and tragedies! Also in this episode: gardening and the spiritual life, the good (and the difficulty) of having a routine, and the link between the Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion, which we’re about to begin next week. Opening music: “Magnificat Primi Toni,” composed by Giovanni Pierliugi da Palestina, sung by VOCES8, London, 2019. All rights reserved.
May 8, 2021
Daily Reflection: May 7 - Fifth Friday of Easter
This reflection was given at Midday Prayer at St. Mary’s Parish, Eugene, OR on Friday of the Fifth Week in Easter (B), May 7, 2021.
May 7, 2021
Daily Reflection: May 6 - Fifth Thursday of Easter
This reflection was given at Midday Prayer at St. Mary’s Parish, Eugene, OR on Thursday of the Fifth Week in Easter (B), May 6, 2021.
May 7, 2021
Daily Reflection: May 5 - Fifth Wednesday of Easter
This reflection was given at Midday Prayer at St. Mary’s Parish, Eugene, OR on Wednesday of the Fifth Week in Easter (B), May 5, 2021.
May 5, 2021
Daily Reflection: May 4 - Fifth Tuesday of Easter
This reflection was given at Midday Prayer at St. Mary’s Parish, Eugene, OR on Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Easter (B), May 4, 2021.
May 4, 2021
Episode 63: With a Father’s Heart
1 May 2021 | St. Joseph the Workman | Eugene, Ore. In this week’s episode, I share about some powerful conversations I have had recently with people in the parish, as well as my definitive rankings of Shakespeare’s romances and history plays! (The first place winner in each genre may surprise you!) Finally, some thoughts from Tolkien on what it means to take evil seriously (without losing hope) and how to work like St. Joseph (not to win love, but to give love). Time is short and eternity is long, friends, so let’s dive in! Opening music: “Te Joseph celebrent,” sung by the Monks of the Abbey of Notre Dame, 2007. All rights reserved.
May 1, 2021
Episode 62: Per Humilitas Humanitas
25 April 2021 | St. Mark the Evangelist | Eugene, Ore. How better to end a busy week than a long walk by moonlight, holding forth on some of our favorite literary and theological themes? What do Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra have in common with King Lear, or Tolkien with James Joyce—or, for that matter, St. Mark with his iconic lion? It’s all on the table in this Sunday’s episode! Opening music: “O magnum mysterium,” composed by Giovanni Gabrieli, sung by the Choir of King’s College Cambridge, dir. Stephen Cleobury, 2015. All rights reserved.
April 26, 2021
Vocation Story (Good Shepherd Sunday)
This reflection was given after Holy Mass at St. Mary’s Parish, Eugene, OR on the Fourth Sunday of Easter (Good Shepherd Sunday), April 25, 2021.
April 25, 2021
Episode 61: The Leaf-mould of the Mind
17 April 2021 | Pope St. Anicetus | Eugene, Ore. “A story grows like a seed in the dark out of the leaf-mould of the mind: out of all that has been seen or thought or read, that has long ago been forgotten, descending into the deeps.” —J.R.R. Tolkien This week, join me not just for a sunny walk (redolent of summer out of season), but a tour of four books which are adding lately to the “leaf-mould” of my mind. On Looking: Eleven Walks through Expert Eyes by Alexandra Horowitz is about the art of close attention and the whole world around us which disappears from sight because of its familiarity. The Memoirs of St. Peter is a new translation of the Gospel of St. Mark by Michael Pakaluk which I am excited to recommend! Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida is a satirical take on the Trojan War which plays with the consonance between war and romance, that lust for conquest which the medievals called the “libido dominandi.” Finally, I share my impressions so far of Dr. Holly Ordway’s new book, Tolkien’s Modern Reading: Middle-Earth Beyond the Middle Ages, which excavates the leaf-mould of his own fertile imagination. Opening music: “Jubilate Deo,” composed by Orlando di Lasso, sung by Adoremus Slovak Choir, dir. Antonella Stellabotte, 2013. All rights reserved.
April 17, 2021
Episode 60: Changed, Not Ended
10 April 2021 | Easter Saturday | Eugene, Ore. In this week’s episode, I share about my second Holy Week in a row in quarantine and the joy of coming to Easter after several days in the “tomb!” Then we come at last to the end of the Lord of the Rings and discuss the hobbits’ return to the Shire through the theme of change. What does it mean for us to come back changed from life’s journey and find that home has changed as well? Finally, at the end of this Easter Octave, we discuss what an octave is and why we have them in the life of the Church. Note: I apologize for the audio quality in this episode - I’ve had to record it with my computer’s built-in microphone after the catastrophic failure of my external mic during the first take this morning! Hopefully I will have a replacement before next week’s installment. Opening music: “Quasi modo geniti infantes,” introit for the Second Sunday of Easter, sung by the Choeur de l’Abbaye de Solesmnes, dir. Dom Joseph Gajard, 2017. All rights reserved.
April 10, 2021
Episode 59: Little People
26 March 2021 | Fifth Friday of Lent | Eugene, Ore. War comes to Gondor! On this short walk by moonlight, we discuss the last great clash of the forces of Mordor, driven on by their Captain of Despair, against the defenders of the White Tower and the horsemen of Rohan. We read this chapter through the theme of despair (and hope), and discuss how the deeds of little people can shake the plans of the great. No podcast next week, friends, but I pray your Holy Week is a blessing! See you all in Eastertide! Opening music: “Pueri hebraeorum,” motet composed by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, sung by The Cardinall’s Musick, dir. Andrew Carwood, 2018. All rights reserved.
March 27, 2021
Episode 58: Into Dark Places
20 March 2021 | Fourth Saturday of Lent | Eugene, Ore. As our course through Lent bears on toward Holy Week, we come now to the end of the Two Towers, and the path laid before them leads the hobbits into darker places than they dreamt they would ever have to go! We read these last chapters through the theme of friendship and consider what it means to have a companion by your side when the path grows dim and dangerous. Also, I share some thoughts on meetings from Pat Lencioni and on the apostolic life from St. Bernard of Clairvaux! Come join me on a rainy hike into wild lands! Opening music: “The Passing of the Elves,” composed by Howard Shore for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - The Complete Recordings, dir. Filippo Galvanelli, 2015. All rights reserved.
March 20, 2021
Episode 57: Pride and the Fall
13 March 2021 | Third Saturday of Lent | Eugene, Ore. This week in the Lord of the Rings, on the eve of Laetare Sunday, we rejoin Frodo and Sam on their long journey through the black wastelands to the very gates of Mordor, and we read Saruman and Sauron through the theme of pride. We also (fittingly) talk about the virtue of humility, in both its acquired and infused parts, and consider: what does it mean for a Christian to really love oneself? Opening music: “Laetare Jerusalem,” entrance antiphon for the Fourth Sunday of Lent from the 1950 Dominican Gradual, sung by Bros. Stefan Ansinger and Alexandre Frezzato, O.P., 2020. All rights reserved.
March 13, 2021
Daily Reflection: March 11 - Third Thursday of Lent
This reflection was given at Morning Prayer at St. Mary’s Parish, Eugene, OR on Thursday of the Third Week in Lent (B), March 11, 2021.
March 11, 2021
Episode 56: A Hidden God
6 March 2021 | Second Saturday of Lent | Eugene, Ore. As I walk in desert places today under a clear, cold sky, I want to share with you some fruits of the practice of keeping a monthly day of recollection and one good resolution I have made this Lent to become a better preacher. Then we dive into Tolkien’s essay on literary theory, “On Fairy Stories,” and some delightful quotes from letters to his sons, Christopher and Michael, before tackling the first half of The Two Towers through the theme of “hiddenness.” As we read, we consider: what did the Prophet Isaiah mean when he sang, “Truly, Thou art a hidden god!” Why does God hide Himself at all? And what does Gandalf have to do with the Eucharist? Opening music: “Lament for Boromir,” lyrics by J.R.R. Tolkien, music composed and sung by Clamavi de Profundis, 2017. All rights reserved. NOTE: Clamavi de Profundis is “a family that loves to sing together and record inspiring and uplifting music. Our music is influenced by classical and fantasy literature as well as cinematic, traditional, religious, and classical music.” I love their work! Check them out on YouTube here. I also recommend the album “An Evening in Rivendell” by the Tolkien Ensemble - you can find it here. Happy listening!
March 6, 2021
Episode 55: Temptation and Atonement
26 February 2021 | Ember Friday in Lent | Eugene, Ore. What is the difference between temptation and trial? How do we stand fast, and what do we do when we fail? The fellowship of the Ring face these questions as they come this week to Rauros Falls and the Emyn Muil, and we face them, too, at the end of our first week in the desert of Lent. In this week’s podcast, we learn from the examples of Galadriel and Boromir, and we discuss the topic of atonement and the role of the Father in Catholic theology—far from the celestial child abuser of Martin Luther’s imagination! “Come, let us set things right, says the Lord!” (Isaiah 1:18) Opening music: Psalm 50, sung by the Monastery Choir of St. John of San Francisco, Manton, California, 2008. All rights reserved.
February 26, 2021
Episode 54: Trust and Memory
20 February 2021 | Saturday after Ash Wednesday | Veneta, Ore. Our hobbits have covered a lot of ground in the last week, and we journey on with them through the wilderness from Bree to Rivendell, on to the slopes of mighty Caradhras and into the mines of Moria! In today’s Tolkien segment, we discuss the importance of memory and different ways of relating to the past. Also, we examine trust as the principal act of faith and discuss its role in our spiritual lives and the life of the Church. Onward! Opening music: “Ne irascaris Domine/Civitas sancti tui,” double motet composed by William Byrd, sung by VOCES8, Gresham Centre, London, 2019. All rights reserved.
February 21, 2021
Episode 53: Into the Unknown
13 February 2021 | Fifth Saturday in Ordinary Time | Eugene, Ore. At last, the Tolkien Project begins in earnest this week with the first eight chapters of the Fellowship of the Ring! As we accompany Frodo and friends on their first steps out of the Shire into a wider world filled with hidden dangers, and we prepare to set out on our own journey into the desert of Lent, we discuss some of the major guiding themes of the Lord of the Rings—providence, friendship, courage and hope—as well as the proper role of human creativity in collaboration with the Creator and the philosophy of beauty according to Dietrich von Hildebrand. There’s a lot to talk about, so lace up your boots, start up a walking song, and let’s see where the road takes us! Read “Beauty in the Light of Redemption” by Dr. von Hildebrand HERE. Opening music: “Esto mihi,” introit for Quinquagesima Sunday, recorded by the Graduale Project, 2015. All rights reserved.
February 13, 2021
Episode 52: Spring Always Wins
6 February 2021 | St. Titus | Eugene, Ore. This is our last week of Shakespeare for a while, and guys, it’s a big one! We dive deep into Macbeth and the nature of tragedy, as well as why this darkest of plays may in fact be a harbinger of hope. We also accompany Tolkien as he progresses through his first draft of The Fellowship of the Ring, and prepare to jump in with both feet next week! Find the reading schedule at inyourembrace.com/tolkien. Finally, we learn a thing or two about St. Titus, friend and companion of St. Paul, as a model of mature Christian discipleship. Opening music: “Ave regina caelorum,” composed by Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla, sung by Los Angeles Chamber Singers Schola, dir. Peter Rutenberg, 2007. All rights reserved.
February 7, 2021
Episode 51: Love’s Wisdom
29 January 2021 | St. Francis de Sales | Eugene, Ore. In this week’s installment, we dive into Shakespeare’s As You Like It and compare the characters of the lover, the philosopher, the ruler and the worldly-wise, asking the question: In whom does wisdom deign to dwell? Might the innocence of love conceal a wisdom which outshines the great and the proud? Also, I delight in Tolkien’s defense of C.S. Lewis’ “Out of the Silent Planet” (which long-time listeners may recall from way back in episode 2!) and his defiance of Nazi politics, as well as news of a brand new commentary on his work! Finally, today’s saint has something important to teach us about the devout life and the universal call to holiness. Opening music: “Dies est laetitiae,” sung by Schola Hungarica, dir. László Dobszay, 1994. All rights reserved.
January 30, 2021
Episode 50: Nothing from Nothing
23 January 2021 | St. Marianne Cope | Eugene, Ore. In this week’s installment, I share my upcoming plans and projects for the second half of my pastoral year, summertime, and beyond! We also talk “Much Ado About Nothing,” especially that fickle fourth word in Shakespeare’s title, and dive deep into the power of language to evoke what is hidden and change the world by changing us. Finally, we talk about a German-born New York nun who became a saint caring for lepers in Hawaii, and what lessons her unpredictable life might hold for us in the midst of our long Coronatide. Opening music: “Circumdederunt me gemitus mortis,” introit for Septuagesima Sunday, composed by Cristobal de Morales, sung by Laudantes Consort, dir. Guy Janssens, 1994. All rights reserved.
January 24, 2021
Episode 49: Garments of Grace
16 January 2021 | Pope St. Marcellus | Eugene, Ore. In what is by far the longest episode of In Your Embrace yet (but hey—it’s a two for one deal!), we take a walk through the wetlands, meander through Shakespeare’s love poetry, dive deep into the symbolism of the Merchant of Venice, discuss Tolkien’s lament over the death of a friend, and learn why the first-century Pope St. Marcellus is a worthy model of hope! Also, I share some fruits from my silent retreat last week, a book recommendation which is neither Shakespearean nor Tolkien(ian?), and get my feet extremely wet! Don’t miss it! Opening music: Kyrie from Missa Papae Marcelli, composed by Giovanni Pierliuigi da Palestrina, sung by the Oxford Camerata, dir. Jeremy Summerly, 2012. All rights reserved.
January 17, 2021
Daily Reflection: January 14 - First Thursday in Ordinary Time
This reflection was given at Daytime Prayer at St. Mary’s Parish, Eugene, OR on Thursday of the First Week in Ordinary Time (Cycle I), January 14, 2021.
January 14, 2021
Episode 48: The Sea and the Shore
2 January 2021 | Ss. Basil & Gregory | Eugene, Ore. In this first episode of the new year, I share some musings on nature and the revelation of God from a trip I took this Christmas octave through the Pacific Northwest with a brother seminarian, my interpretation of Shakespeare’s obscure poem “The Phoenix and the Turtle” (by far the most metaphysical and mystical of his poems, and my favorite of them alll!), this podcast’s first ever Tolkien segment - discussing the first and only of his collected letters I have yet read - and the Cappadocian Fathers we honor today in the Church’s calendar. Why is St. Basil so great, and why is St. Gregory called “The Theologian”? You’ll find out in about an hour if you hit play now! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Opening music: “Puer natus in Bethlehem,” sung by King’s College Choir, dir. Stephen Cleobury, 2019. All rights reserved.
January 2, 2021
Episode 47: Romances and the Incarnation
19 December 2020 | Ember Saturday in Advent | Eugene, Ore. It’s the last week of Advent before the great feast of Christmas, and so we come to the last podcast of the year and the last plays of 2020 (though not the end of the Shakespeare project!) Join me as we discuss the allegorical meaning of The Tempest, the little-known Two Noble Kinsmen, and the overarching themes of the Shakespearean genre known as the “romances.” Also, I share my plans for the podcast and reading goals in 2021! Find out more at inyourembrace.com/tolkien — or just listen to the first half of the show. See you all in the new year! Opening music: “Once in Royal David’s City,” composed by Mrs. C. F. Alexander (1824), sung by King’s College Choir, desc. David Willcocks, 2015. All rights reserved.
December 19, 2020
Daily Reflection: December 17 - Third Thursday of Advent
This reflection was given after Holy Mass at St. Mary’s Parish, Eugene, OR on the Third Thursday of Advent, November 17, 2020.
December 17, 2020
Episode 46: Waiting in Hope
5 December 2020 | First Saturday of Advent | Eugene, Ore. Friends, we’ve rounded the corner on a new (liturgical) year, and in this episode, I share about my process in preparing for the new year to come. What is the Lord inviting us to continue, to modify or prune away, and to add in this new season of grace? Also, some analysis and miscellaneous thoughts on “The Winter’s Tale,” which I’ve decided is one of my favorite (and certainly one of the strangest) plays of the year! Finally, what is the custom of the Rorate Mass, and what does this candlelit Mass in the dead of night have to do with waiting in hope? Opening music: “Rorate caeli,” composed by William Byrd, sung by The Cardinall’s Musick, dir. Andrew Carwood, 1997. All rights reserved.
December 5, 2020
Episode 45: The Abode of Heaven
21 November 2020 | Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary | Eugene, Ore. As we celebrate this beautiful feast, we reflect on the meaning of Mary—the new and living temple not made by human hands, Ark of the New Covenant and true “abode of heaven!”—entering into the old Temple of Jerusalem as a little girl. What does this mystery mean for you and me? Also, it’s evaluation season once again, and I share some take-aways from my pastoral year committee’s evaluation of me this week! And let’s not forget this week’s play, “Timon of Athens,” the little-known Shakespearean tragedy said to be Karl Marx’s favorite. But is it a tragedy after all? Opening music: Troparion for the Entrance of the Theotokos, sung by St. Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral Choir, Minneapolis, dir. Fr. Gregory Early, 2019. All rights reserved. Closing music: Kontakion for the Entrance of the Theotokos, sung by Archangel Voices, dir. K. Lawrence, 2005. All rights reserved. Download my prayer card with the novena prayer to Christ the King and Stella coeli here.
November 21, 2020
Episode 44: The Freeze
13 November 2020 | St. Didacus | Eugene, Ore. In the bleak ides of November, as Oregon prepares to lock down once again to stem the rising tide of covid cases, join me for some intellectual and spiritual respite as we talk about Edward III (the last of the history plays—for real this time), St. Didacus (patron of a large American city—you’ll never guess which one!) and the much-neglected virtue of patience. Also, you’ll get my thoughts, for better or worse, on the new two-week “Oregon freeze” order going into effect next week, from my perspective “in the trenches.” Save us, O Jesus! Opening music: “Stella caeli extirpavit,” sequence in times of pestilence, sung by the Benedictine monks of Mount Angel Abbey, 2020. All rights reserved. Find the text of this ancient prayer in Latin and English here.
November 14, 2020
Episode 43: Lessons in Leadership
7 November 2020 | Our Lady on Saturday | Eugene, Ore. Join me for a peaceful Saturday drive through the falling leaves as I share some lessons I have been learning this week in the parish, a powerful prayer recommended by the Archbishop of Portland, and my take on Shakespeare’s Henry VIII. Is the ill-fated king’s first of many divorces - gasp! - an allegory? Opening music: “Columba aspexit (A dove gazed in),” composed by St. HIildegard of Bingen, sung by Voices of Ascension, women section, dir. Dennis Keene, 1997. All rights reserved.
November 8, 2020
Daily Reflection: November 5 - Thirty-fourth Thursday in Ordinary Time
This reflection was given at Morning Prayer at St. Mary’s Parish, Eugene, OR on Thursday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time (Cycle II), November 5, 2020.
November 5, 2020
Episode 42: Rest for Your Souls
31 October 2020 | Our Lady on Saturday | Eugene, Ore. On this eve of All the Saints (and quite a chilly fall morning), join me for a stroll through a cemetery as we discuss work and rest, being good stewards of the time the Lord gives us, and of course, the last play of the Henry tragedies: Shakespeare’s Henry V. Opening music: “Gaudeamus omnes,” introit for the Solemnity of All Saints, sung by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, dir. Canon Louis Valadier, 2018. All rights reserved.
October 31, 2020
Episode 41: Of Which Father
24 October 2020 | St. Raphael the Archangel | Eugene, Ore. At the end of a week of many “firsts,” join me on a walk through the wild wetland as we discuss the miracles of St. Raphael in the Book of Tobit, the spiritual significance of wearing masks, and of course, the second and final part of Henry IV through the lens of one fundamental question: of which father am I a son? Opening music: “Laudate Dominum,” composed by J. P. Sweelinck, performed by The Cambridge Singers, dir. John Rutter, 2009. All rights reserved.
October 25, 2020
Daily Reflection: October 22 - St. John Paul II
This reflection was given after Holy Mass at St. Mary’s Parish, Eugene, OR for the feast of Saint John Paul II, October 22, 2020.
October 22, 2020
Episode 40: Love Is Not Loved!
17 October 2020 | St. Margaret Mary Alacoque | Eugene, Ore. On this brisk October morning, we revisit the Monk Manual and the P.A.R. method as a means of arranging our days to live worthily and well, then cast our minds to the sunny village of Paray-le-Monial in the heart of France, where Jesus revealed the glories of His heart to a young nun and entrusted her with an important mission. Also: Falstaff is back (and doesn’t come off so well)! in this week’s play, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and we tackle a favorite question: why do priests pray so much? Opening music: “A la mort / Monstra te esse matrem,” motet-chanson composed by Josquin des Prez, performed by The King’s Singers, 1993. All rights reserved.
October 17, 2020
Episode 39: Chronic Vigor
9 October 2020 | St. John Henry Newman | Eugene, Ore. No, it's not a preexisting condition; it’s a criterion for the authentic development of doctrine, and if that piques your curiosity, then you are in for a treat! Today is the feast day (alongside a couple of other heavy hitters) of the great Cardinal Newman, and in this episode, I share some of his brilliant teaching in addition to his fascinating life. No Shakespeare this week, but with 3 saints on the calendar, we’ve plenty to talk about! Come join me as the leaves fall amid th’encircling gloom… Opening music: “Lead, Kindly Light,” written by St. John Henry Newman, composed by Kevin Allen, sung by Matthew J. Curtis at Cofton Park, Birmingham, England, 2010. All rights reserved.
October 10, 2020
Episode 38: Angels of the Lord
2 October 2020 | Holy Guardian Angels | Eugene, Ore. O bless the Lord! Praise and exalt Him above all forever! It’s the feast of the Guardian Angels, although of course (even though her day has come and gone now) I spend half the time talking about St. Thérèse. Hey, it’s me — what did you expect? Also, we meet a legendary character of the Shakespearean canon (and not one, not two, but THREE more characters named Henry) in this week’s play: King Henry IV, part 1! Friend, don’t knock the history plays until you’ve read them, because this one is a wild ride. Opening music: “Angelus ad pastores ait,” composed by Hieronymous Praetorius, performed by VOCES8 at Kirche St. Quirinus, Tegernsee, Germany, 2019. All rights reserved.
October 3, 2020
Novena to St. Thérèse - Day Nine
Today is the ninth and final day of the nine-day novena to Saint Thérèse. On each day from September 22 through the anniversary of her death, September 30, we will hear a selection from the little Saint's last words and offer together her chaplet and novena prayers. Through her intercession, let us ask the Father with confidence for all that we need! -- Quick Links: Novena to St. Thérèse: https://angeluspress.org/pages/st-therese-of-lisieux-9-day-novena Last Conversations of St. Thérèse: https://www.amzn.com/dp/B01EKG5DBA/ Chaplet of Saint Thérèse: http://www.rosaryandchaplets.com/chaplets/st_therese_prayer.html
September 30, 2020
Novena to St. Thérèse - Day Eight
Today is the fourth day of the nine-day novena to Saint Thérèse. On each day from September 22 through the anniversary of her death, September 30, we will hear a selection from the little Saint's last words and offer together her chaplet and novena prayers. Through her intercession, let us ask the Father with confidence for all that we need! -- Quick Links: Novena to St. Thérèse: https://angeluspress.org/pages/st-therese-of-lisieux-9-day-novena Last Conversations of St. Thérèse: https://www.amzn.com/dp/B01EKG5DBA/ Chaplet of Saint Thérèse: http://www.rosaryandchaplets.com/chaplets/st_therese_prayer.html
September 29, 2020
Novena to St. Thérèse - Day Seven
Today is the seventh day of the nine-day novena to Saint Thérèse. On each day from September 22 through the anniversary of her death, September 30, we will hear a selection from the little Saint's last words and offer together her chaplet and novena prayers. Through her intercession, let us ask the Father with confidence for all that we need! -- Quick Links: Novena to St. Thérèse: https://angeluspress.org/pages/st-therese-of-lisieux-9-day-novena Last Conversations of St. Thérèse: https://www.amzn.com/dp/B01EKG5DBA/ Chaplet of Saint Thérèse: http://www.rosaryandchaplets.com/chaplets/st_therese_prayer.html
September 28, 2020
Novena to St. Thérèse - Day Six
Today is the sixth day of the nine-day novena to Saint Thérèse. On each day from September 22 through the anniversary of her death, September 30, we will hear a selection from the little Saint's last words and offer together her chaplet and novena prayers. Through her intercession, let us ask the Father with confidence for all that we need! -- Quick Links: Novena to St. Thérèse: https://angeluspress.org/pages/st-therese-of-lisieux-9-day-novena Last Conversations of St. Thérèse: https://www.amzn.com/dp/B01EKG5DBA/ Chaplet of Saint Thérèse: http://www.rosaryandchaplets.com/chaplets/st_therese_prayer.html
September 27, 2020
Novena to St. Thérèse - Day Five
Today is the fifth day of the nine-day novena to Saint Thérèse. On each day from September 22 through the anniversary of her death, September 30, we will hear a selection from the little Saint's last words and offer together her chaplet and novena prayers. Through her intercession, let us ask the Father with confidence for all that we need! -- Quick Links: Novena to St. Thérèse: https://angeluspress.org/pages/st-therese-of-lisieux-9-day-novena Last Conversations of St. Thérèse: https://www.amzn.com/dp/B01EKG5DBA/ Chaplet of Saint Thérèse: http://www.rosaryandchaplets.com/chaplets/st_therese_prayer.html
September 26, 2020
Episode 37: Pastoral Year
25 September 2020 | Ember Friday | Eugene, Ore. Long time, no see! I’ve been away from the microphone for almost two months, and in that time, I’ve been settling into a new routine at my pastoral year parish assignment here in Eugene, Oregon. In this episode, I’ll tell you what I’ve been up to, battling plague, wildfires, and spiritual attacks on all fronts! Also: does power corrupt a man’s character, or simply reveal what was already there? Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure begs the question. And just what are Ember Days, anyway? Opening music: Motet “Mulier quae erat in civitate,” composed by Luca Marenzio (1585), performed by Progetto Musica Ensemble, dir. Giulio Monaco, 2012. All rights reserved.
September 26, 2020
Novena to St. Thérèse - Day Four
Today is the fourth day of the nine-day novena to Saint Thérèse. On each day from September 22 through the anniversary of her death, September 30, we will hear a selection from the little Saint's last words and offer together her chaplet and novena prayers. Through her intercession, let us ask the Father with confidence for all that we need! -- Quick Links: Novena to St. Thérèse: https://angeluspress.org/pages/st-therese-of-lisieux-9-day-novena Last Conversations of St. Thérèse: https://www.amzn.com/dp/B01EKG5DBA/ Chaplet of Saint Thérèse: http://www.rosaryandchaplets.com/chaplets/st_therese_prayer.html
September 25, 2020
Novena to St. Thérèse - Day Three
Today is the third day of the nine-day novena to Saint Thérèse. On each day from September 22 through the anniversary of her death, September 30, we will hear a selection from the little Saint's last words and offer together her chaplet and novena prayers. Through her intercession, let us ask the Father with confidence for all that we need! -- Quick Links: Novena to St. Thérèse: https://angeluspress.org/pages/st-therese-of-lisieux-9-day-novena Last Conversations of St. Thérèse: https://www.amzn.com/dp/B01EKG5DBA/ Chaplet of Saint Thérèse: http://www.rosaryandchaplets.com/chaplets/st_therese_prayer.html
September 24, 2020
Novena to St. Thérèse - Day Two
Today is the second day of the nine-day novena to Saint Thérèse. On each day from September 22 through the anniversary of her death, September 30, we will hear a selection from the little Saint's last words and offer together her chaplet and novena prayers. Through her intercession, let us ask the Father with confidence for all that we need! -- Quick Links: Novena to St. Thérèse: https://angeluspress.org/pages/st-therese-of-lisieux-9-day-novena Last Conversations of St. Thérèse: https://www.amzn.com/dp/B01EKG5DBA/ Chaplet of Saint Thérèse: http://www.rosaryandchaplets.com/chaplets/st_therese_prayer.html
September 23, 2020
Novena to St. Thérèse - Day One
Today is the first day of the nine-day novena to Saint Thérèse. On each day from September 22 through the anniversary of her death, September 30, we will hear a selection from the little Saint's last words and offer together her chaplet and novena prayers. Through her intercession, let us ask the Father with confidence for all that we need! -- Quick Links: Novena to St. Thérèse: https://angeluspress.org/pages/st-therese-of-lisieux-9-day-novena Last Conversations of St. Thérèse: https://www.amzn.com/dp/B01EKG5DBA/ Chaplet of Saint Thérèse: http://www.rosaryandchaplets.com/chaplets/st_therese_prayer.html
September 22, 2020
Daily Reflection: August 27 - St. Monica
This reflection was given at Morning Prayer at St. Mary’s Parish, Eugene, OR for the feast of Saint Monica, August 27, 2020.
August 27, 2020
Daily Reflection: August 20 - St. Bernard of Clairvaux
This reflection was given at Morning Prayer at St. Mary’s Parish, Eugene, OR for the feast of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, August 20, 2020.
August 20, 2020
How to Pray: Into the Heart of Love
This workshop was recorded for Ignite Your Torch 2020. Quick—what’s your favorite prayer? Whatever your answer, chances are it’s not the Sign of the Cross! But if we take the time to pay attention to its words and movements, this simplest prayer of all opens up for us the mystery of God’s identity and inner life as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, His marvelous designs for us, the truth about our bodies and our eternal destiny.
July 21, 2020
Episode 36: Fully Alive
3 July 2020 | St. Irenaeus of Lyons | Roseburg, Ore. A short update this week on life in the Church during our continued “Coronatide,” as I return from my retreat in California to my parish in Oregon. Also, some reflections from St. Irenaeus, bishop, martyr and doctor, on his traditional feast day. What does it mean for us that we are made to see God, and that “the glory of God is man fully alive?” Opening music: Kyrie from Missa “Assumpta est Maria,” composed by Giovanni Pierliugi da Palestrina, performed by The Tallis Scholars, dir. Peter Phillips, 2016. All rights reserved.
July 4, 2020
Episode 35: Take Physic, Pomp
27 June 2020 | Saturday in the Third Week after Pentecost | Menlo Park, Calif. That’s right — we’ve come at last to King Lear, Shakespeare’s greatest masterpiece! Though that may be a debated point, come and marvel with me at the beauty and the grandeur of this deeply Christian tragedy. Also, I share my thoughts and some powerful graces from the last week of my retreat here at St. Patrick’s, which concluded yesterday! Opening music: “Salvator Mundi,” composed by Thomas Tallis, performed by The Sixteen, 2010. All rights reserved.
June 28, 2020
Episode 34: Adore and Be Transformed
19 June 2020 | Sacred Heart of Jesus | Menlo Park, Calif. Do you know the desires, the powerful “designs of mercy,” which the Lord bears for you in His heart? On this feast of the Sacred and Pierced Heart of Jesus, I share about the redemption He can accomplish in us when we allow Him in to the deepest areas of our own wounded and weary hearts, as well as the inseparable relationship between adoration and transformation at every stage of the spiritual life. Also on the docket: the origins of this feast in post-revolutionary France, and Shakespeare’s Cymbeline, the Bard’s most complicated, labyrinthine, and thoroughly enjoyable plot yet. Opening music: “Cor arca legem continens,” hymn at Lauds of the Sacred Heart from the Roman Breviary, sung by the Schola Sainte-Cécile, Paris, 2012. All rights reserved.
June 20, 2020
Episode 33: Fate, Friendship, Freedom
12 June 2020 | Friday in the First Week after Pentecost | Menlo Park, Calif. After a month on “summer break,” we’re back with some thoughts from my 30-day retreat (which is two weeks underway here at St. Patrick’s Seminary), thoughts on “Pericles, Prince of Tyre” and the intertwined roles of fate, fortune and free will in Greek drama, and my take on friendship with Christ as the central truth of our Christian life! I’m planning to resume weekly episodes going forward this summer. Also, check out my Instagram page @matthewknightarena for live-streamed Sung Vespers tonight, tomorrow and Sunday at 5:30 pm Pacific! Opening music: “O Lord, Give Thy Holy Spirit,” composed by Thomas Tallis, sung by The Tallis Scholars, dir. Peter Phillips, 2004. All rights reserved.
June 12, 2020
Episode 32: End of the Year
15 May 2020 | St. Isidore the Farmer | Roseburg, Ore. The academic year, that is! With final exams and papers safely behind me, I’m looking ahead to the summer and what lies beyond. In this episode: my summer plans (as much as any of us can predict them these days!), some final thoughts on “The Rape of Lucrece,” takeaways from Shakespeare’s first eighty sonnets, and preliminary comments on Othello, as well as what we can learn from the humble, miraculous life of a medieval Spanish farmer. Opening music: “Cantate Domino canticum novum,” composed by Claudio Monteverdi, performed by the Cambridge Singers, dir. John Rutter, London, 2009. All rights reserved.
May 16, 2020
Episode 31: Hide and Go Seek
1 May 2020 | St. Joseph the Workman | Roseburg, Ore. On this triple feast day, we get caught up with FOUR (count ‘em!) Shakespearean plays: Hamlet, Two Gentlemen of Verona, the ending of Julius Caesar (finally!), and The Rape of Lucrece (not really a play, but there you go). Guys… I have some thoughts. Also: gearing up for finals week, the greatest thing I’ve learned so far in theology, what I’m most excited for in my pastoral year, and how to play “hide and go seek” with the Lord in quarantine! It’s all here, and the night is young and beautiful. Let’s go for a walk. Opening music: “Regina Caeli Laetare,” composed by Tomás Luis de Victoria, performed by VOCES8 at the VOCES8 Centre, London, 2020. All rights reserved.
May 2, 2020
Episode 30: Theology in Quarantine
25 April 2020 | St. Mark | Roseburg, Ore. How are we supposed to be the Church while the churches are closed? Grab a hot beverage of your choice and join me and my dear friend (and long-time friend of this podcast!), Lisa, in a very special episode to talk about it! We’ll discuss how we’ve been trying to pray and live generously in quarantine, the spiritual meaning of this pandemic, habits and routines, despair, hope, refining fires, redemption, light, love, where the heck Jesus is hiding—and much, much more. IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE: We had to record this podcast virtually from opposite ends of the state, and although it sounded fine while we were recording live, the timing is a little out of sync here! Unfortunately, we got mixed down into a single channel in the final file (try saying that 5 times fast), so there was no way to even it out. Anyway, we weren’t talking over each other in real life—promise! Opening music: “Misericordias Domini,” K. 222, composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, performed by the Rias Chamber Chorus and Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Marcus Creed, 2017. All rights reserved.
April 26, 2020
BONUS: Homily for the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
This homily is on the proper readings for the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, July 16, 2020, written for my Homiletics course at St. Patrick’s Seminary. Feedback welcome and appreciated!
April 20, 2020
Episode 29: Easter in Us
18 April 2020 | Easter Saturday | Roseburg, Ore. Happy Easter! Let’s talk Holy Week, Easter celebrations, and all about this beautiful season ahead of us. What’s Low Sunday? What’s the deal with “Quasimodo”? All this and more things shall be revealed. Plus, some big news in my life, and a husband and wife Catholic philosopher duo I want to introduce you to! Opening music: “Haec Dies,” gradual from the Mass of Easter Sunday, composed by William Byrd, sung by the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge, dir. Richard Marlow, 2015. All rights reserved.
April 19, 2020
Daily Reflection: April 14 — Easter Tuesday
Welcome to In Your Embrace Daily, a series of short daily reflections on the Gospels from the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Today's reading for Easter Tuesday is from the Gospel according to St. Luke. Luke 24, 36-47 (DRE) "At that time, Jesus stood in the midst of his disciples, and saith to them: Peace be to you; it is I, fear not. But they being troubled and frightened, supposed that they saw a spirit. And he said to them: Why are you troubled, and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? See my hands and feet, that it is I myself; handle, and see: for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see me to have. And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and feet. But while they yet believed not, and wondered for joy, he said: Have you any thing to eat? And they offered him a piece of a broiled fish, and a honeycomb. And when he had eaten before them, taking the remains, he gave to them. And he said to them: These are the words which I spoke to you, while I was yet with you, that all things must needs be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then he opened their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures. And he said to them: Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead, the third day: And that penance and remission of sins should be preached in his name, unto all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."
April 14, 2020
Daily Reflection: April 13 — Easter Monday
Welcome to In Your Embrace Daily, a series of short daily reflections on the Gospels from the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Today's reading for Easter Monday is from the Gospel according to St. Luke. Luke 24, 13-35 (DRE) “At that time, two of the disciples of Jesus went, the same day, to a town which was sixty furlongs from Jerusalem, named Emmaus. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that while they talked and reasoned with themselves, Jesus himself also drawing near, went with them. But their eyes were held, that they should not know him. And he said to them: What are these discourses that you hold one with another as you walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleophas, answering, said to him: Art thou only a stranger to Jerusalem, and hast not known the things that have been done there in these days? To whom he said: What things? And they said: Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet, mighty in work and word before God and all the people; and how our chief priests and princes delivered him to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we hoped, that it was he that should have redeemed Israel: and now besides all this, today is the third day since these things were done. Yea and certain women also of our company affrighted us, who before it was light, were at the sepulchre, and not finding his body, came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, who say that he is alive. And some of our people went to the sepulchre, and found it so as the women had said, but him they found not. Then he said to them: O foolish, and slow of heart to believe in all things which the prophets have spoken. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the scriptures, the things that were concerning him. And they drew nigh to the town, whither they were going: and he made as though he would go farther. But they constrained him; saying: Stay with us, because it is towards evening, and the day is now far spent. And he went in with them. And it came to pass, whilst he was at table with them, he took bread, and blessed, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him: and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to the other: Was not our heart burning within us, whilst he spoke in this way, and opened to us the scriptures? And rising up, the same hour, they went back to Jerusalem: and they found the eleven gathered together, and those that were staying with them, saying: The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way; and how they knew him in the breaking of the bread.”
April 13, 2020
Daily Reflection: April 12 — Easter Sunday
Welcome to In Your Embrace Daily, a series of short daily reflections on the Gospels from the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Today's reading for Easter Sunday is from the Gospel according to St. Mark. Mark 16, 1-7 (DRE) “And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought sweet spices, that coming, they might anoint Jesus. And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they come to the sepulchre, the sun being now risen. And they said one to another: Who shall roll us back the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And looking, they saw the stone rolled back. For it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed with a white robe: and they were astonished. Who saith to them: Be not affrighted; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified: he is risen, he is not here, behold the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee; there you shall see him, as he told you.”
April 12, 2020
Daily Reflection: April 11 — Holy Saturday
Welcome to In Your Embrace Daily, a series of short daily reflections on the Gospels from the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Today's reading for Holy Saturday is from the Gospel according to St. Matthew. Matthew 28, 1-7 (DRE) “And in the end of the sabbath, when it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalen and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre. And behold there was a great earthquake. For an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and coming, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. And his countenance was as lightning, and his raiment as snow. And for fear of him, the guards were struck with terror, and became as dead men. And the angel answering, said to the women: Fear not you; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he is risen, as he said. Come, and see the place where the Lord was laid. And going quickly, tell ye his disciples that he is risen: and behold he will go before you into Galilee; there you shall see him. Lo, I have foretold it to you.”
April 11, 2020
Daily Reflection: April 10 — Good Friday
Welcome to In Your Embrace Daily, a series of short daily reflections on the Gospels from the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Today's reading for Good Friday is the Passion according to St. John. John 18, 1-40; 19, 1-42 (DRE) Click here to read: http://www.drbo.org/chapter/50018.htm
April 11, 2020
Daily Reflection: April 9 — Holy Thursday
Welcome to In Your Embrace Daily, a series of short daily reflections on the Gospels from the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Today's reading for Holy Thursday is from the Gospel according to St. John. John 13, 1-15 (DRE) “Before the festival day of the pasch, Jesus knowing that his hour was come, that he should pass out of this world to the Father: having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them unto the end. And when supper was done, (the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray him,) knowing that the Father had given him all things into his hands, and that he came from God, and goeth to God; He riseth from supper, and layeth aside his garments, and having taken a towel, girded himself. After that, he putteth water into a basin, and began to wash the feet of the disciples, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. He cometh therefore to Simon Peter. And Peter saith to him: Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered, and said to him: What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith to him: Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him: If I wash thee not, thou shalt have no part with me. Simon Peter saith to him: Lord, not only my feet, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him: He that is washed, needeth not but to wash his feet, but is clean wholly. And you are clean, but not all. For he knew who he was that would betray him; therefore he said: You are not all clean. Then after he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, being set down again, he said to them: Know you what I have done to you? You call me Master, and Lord; and you say well, for so I am. If then I being your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you do also.”
April 9, 2020
Daily Reflection: April 8 — Spy Wednesday
Welcome to In Your Embrace Daily, a series of short daily reflections on the Gospels from the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Today's reading for Spy Wednesday is the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to St. Luke. Luke 22, 39-71; 23, 1-53 (DRE) Click here to read: http://www.drbo.org/chapter/49022.htm
April 8, 2020
Daily Reflection: April 7 — Tuesday of Holy Week
Welcome to In Your Embrace Daily, a series of short daily reflections on the Gospels from the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Today's reading for Tuesday of Holy Week is the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to St. Mark. Mark 14, 32-72; 15, 1-46 (DRE) Click here to read: http://www.drbo.org/chapter/48014.htm
April 7, 2020
Daily Reflection: April 6 — Monday of Holy Week
Welcome to In Your Embrace Daily, a series of short daily reflections on the Gospels from the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Today's reading for Monday of Holy Week is from the Holy Gospel according to John. John 12:1-9 (DRE) “Six days before the pasch, Jesus came to Bethania, where Lazarus had been dead, whom Jesus raised to life. And they made him a supper there: and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that were at table with him. Mary therefore took a pound of ointment of right spikenard, of great price, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. Then one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, he that was about to betray him, said: Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? Now he said this, not because he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and having the purse, carried the things that were put therein. Jesus therefore said: Let her alone, that she may keep it against the day of my burial. For the poor you have always with you; but me you have not always. A great multitude therefore of the Jews knew that he was there; and they came, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.”
April 6, 2020
Episode 28: A Holy Week Like No Other
5 April 2020 | Palm Sunday | Roseburg, Ore. Time marches ever on, although the world may have slowed to a stop, and as we begin Holy Week together today, some real thoughts on hunger, desire, and how this might just possibly be the best Holy Week ever. Also, on the Shakespeare 2020 front, I finally finished another play! Come sit with me by the river, observing all virtual social distancing requirements, and let’s talk about it. Opening music: “Officium Defunctorum - Invitatorium,” composed by Cristobal de Morales, sung by Hespèrion XXI for La Capella Reial de Catalunya, conducted by Jordi Savall, 1991. All rights reserved.
April 6, 2020
Daily Reflection: April 5 — Palm Sunday
Welcome to In Your Embrace Daily, a series of short daily reflections on the Gospels from the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Today's reading for the Palm Sunday is from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew. Matthew 21:1-9 (DRE) “At that time, when Jesus drew nigh to Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto mount Olivet, then Jesus sent two disciples, Saying to them: Go ye into the village that is over against you, and immediately you shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them and bring them to me. And if any man shall say anything to you, say ye, that the Lord hath need of them: and forthwith he will let them go. Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: Tell ye the daughter of Sion: Behold thy king cometh to thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of her that is used to the yoke. And the disciples going, did as Jesus commanded them. And they brought the ass and the colt, and laid their garments upon them, and made him sit thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way: and others cut boughs from the trees, and strewed them in the way: And the multitudes that went before and that followed, cried, saying: Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.”
April 5, 2020
Daily Reflection: April 4 — First Saturday of Passiontide
Welcome to In Your Embrace Daily, a series of short daily reflections on the Gospels from the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Today's reading for the First Saturday of Passiontide is from the Holy Gospel according to John. John 12:10-36 (DRE) “In that time, the chief priests thought to kill Lazarus also: Because many of the Jews, by reason of him, went away, and believed in Jesus. And on the next day, a great multitude that was to come to the festival day, when they had heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried: Hosanna, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord, the king of Israel. And Jesus found a young ass, and sat upon it, as it is written: Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy king cometh, sitting on an ass's colt. These things his disciples did not know at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things to him. The multitude therefore gave testimony, which was with him, when he called Lazarus out of the grave, and raised him from the dead. For which reason also the people came to meet him, because they heard that he had done this miracle. The Pharisees therefore said among themselves: Do you see that we prevail nothing? behold, the whole world is gone after him. Now there were certain Gentiles among them, who came up to adore on the festival day. These therefore came to Philip, who was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying: Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh, and telleth Andrew. Again Andrew and Philip told Jesus. But Jesus answered them, saying: The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Amen, amen I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, Itself remaineth alone. But if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world, keepeth it unto life eternal. If any man minister to me, let him follow me; and where I am, there also shall my minister be. If any man minister to me, him will my Father honour. Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour. But for this cause I came unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. A voice therefore came from heaven: I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The multitude therefore that stood and heard, said that it thundered. Others said: An angel spoke to him. Jesus answered, and said: This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of the world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to myself. (Now this he said, signifying what death he should die.) The multitude answered him: We have heard out of the law, that Christ abideth for ever; and how sayest thou: The Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man? Jesus therefore said to them: Yet a little while, the light is among you. Walk whilst you have the light, that the darkness overtake you not. And he that walketh in darkness, knoweth not whither he goeth. Whilst you have the light, believe in the light, that you may be the children of light. These things Jesus spoke; and he went away, and hid himself from them.”
April 4, 2020
Daily Reflection: April 3 — First Friday of Passiontide
Welcome to In Your Embrace Daily, a series of short daily reflections on the Gospels from the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Today's reading for the First Friday of Passiontide is from the Holy Gospel according to John. John 11:47-54 (DRE) “At that time, chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council, and said: What do we, for this man doth many miracles? If we let him alone so, all will believe in him; and the Romans will come, and take away our place and nation. But one of them, named Caiphas, being the high priest that year, said to them: You know nothing. Neither do you consider that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this he spoke not of himself: but being the high priest of that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation. And not only for the nation, but to gather together in one the children of God, that were dispersed. From that day therefore they devised to put him to death. Wherefore Jesus walked no more openly among the Jews; but he went into a country near the desert, unto a city that is called Ephrem, and there he abode with his disciples.”
April 3, 2020
Daily Reflection: April 2 — First Thursday of Passiontide
Welcome to In Your Embrace Daily, a series of short daily reflections on the Gospels from the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Today's reading for the First Thursday of Passiontide is from the Holy Gospel according to Luke. Luke 7:36-50 (DRE) “In that time, one of the Pharisees desired him to eat with him. And he went into the house of the Pharisee, and sat down to meat. And behold a woman that was in the city, a sinner, when she knew that he sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment; And standing behind at his feet, she began to wash his feet, with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. And the Pharisee, who had invited him, seeing it, spoke within himself, saying: This man, if he were a prophet, would know surely who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him, that she is a sinner. And Jesus answering, said to him: Simon, I have somewhat to say to thee. But he said: Master, say it. A certain creditor had two debtors, the one who owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And whereas t. hey had not wherewith to pay, he forgave them both. Which therefore of the two loveth him most? Simon answering, said: I suppose that he to whom he forgave most. And he said to him: Thou hast judged rightly. And turning to the woman, he said unto Simon: Dost thou see this woman? I entered into thy house, thou gavest me no water for my feet; but she with tears hath washed my feet, and with her hairs hath wiped them. Thou gavest me no kiss; but she, since she came in, hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint; but she with ointment hath anointed my feet. Wherefore I say to thee: Many sins are forgiven her, because she hath loved much. But to whom less is forgiven, he loveth less. And he said to her: Thy sins are forgiven thee. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves: Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And he said to the woman: Thy faith hath made thee safe, go in peace.”
April 2, 2020
Daily Reflection: April 1 — First Wednesday of Passiontide
Welcome to In Your Embrace Daily, a series of short daily reflections on the Gospels from the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Today's reading for the First Wednesday of Passiontide is from the Holy Gospel according to John. John 10:22-38 (DRE) “In that time, it was the feast of the dedication at Jerusalem: and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon's porch. The Jews therefore came round about him, and said to him: How long dost thou hold our souls in suspense? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them: I speak to you, and you believe not: the works that I do in the name of my Father, they give testimony of me. But you do not believe, because you are not of my sheep. My sheep hear my voice: and I know them, and they follow me. And I give them life everlasting; and they shall not perish for ever, and no man shall pluck them out of my hand. That which my Father hath given me, is greater than all: and no one can snatch them out of the hand of my Father. I and the Father are one. The Jews then took up stones to stone him. Jesus answered them: Many good works I have shewed you from my Father; for which of these works do you stone me? The Jews answered him: For a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, maketh thyself God. Jesus answered them: Is it not written in your law: I said you are gods? If he called them gods, to whom the word of God was spoken, and the scripture cannot be broken; Do you say of him whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world: Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though you will not believe me, believe the works: that you may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”
April 1, 2020
Daily Reflection: March 31 — First Tuesday of Passiontide
Welcome to In Your Embrace Daily, a series of short daily reflections on the Gospels from the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Today's reading for the First Tuesday of Passiontide is from the Holy Gospel according to John. John 7:1-13 (DRE) “After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for he would not walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill him. Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand. And his brethren said to him: Pass from hence, and go into Judea; that thy disciples also may see thy works which thou dost. For there is no man that doth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, manifest thyself to the world. For neither did his brethren believe in him. Then Jesus said to them: My time is not yet come; but your time is always ready. The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth: because I give testimony of it, that the works thereof are evil. Go you up to this festival day, but I go not up to this festival day: because my time is not accomplished. When he had said these things, he himself stayed in Galilee. But after his brethren were gone up, then he also went up to the feast, not openly, but, as it were, in secret. The Jews therefore sought him on the festival day, and said: Where is he? And there was much murmuring among the multitude concerning him. For some said: He is a good man. And others said: No, but he seduceth the people. Yet no man spoke openly of him, for fear of the Jews.”
March 31, 2020
Daily Reflection: March 30 — First Monday of Passiontide
Welcome to In Your Embrace Daily, a series of short daily reflections on the Gospels from the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Today's reading for the First Monday of Passiontide is from the Holy Gospel according to John. John 7:32-39 (DRE) “The Pharisees heard the people murmuring these things concerning him: and the rulers and Pharisees sent ministers to apprehend him. Jesus therefore said to them: Yet a little while I am with you: and then I go to him that sent me. You shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither you cannot come. The Jews therefore said among themselves: Whither will he go, that we shall not find him? will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles? What is this saying that he hath said: You shall seek me, and shall not find me; and where I am, you cannot come? And on the last, and great day of the festivity, Jesus stood and cried, saying: If any man thirst, let him come to me, and drink. He that believeth in me, as the scripture saith, Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. Now this he said of the Spirit which they should receive, who believed in him: for as yet the Spirit was not given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”
March 30, 2020
Daily Reflection: March 29 — First Sunday of Passiontide
Welcome to In Your Embrace Daily, a series of short daily reflections on the Gospels from the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Today's reading for the First Sunday of Passiontide is from the Holy Gospel according to John. John 8:46-58 (DRE) “At that time, Jesus said to the multitude of Jews: Which of you shall convict me of sin? If I say the truth to you, why do you not believe me? He that is of God, heareth the words of God. Therefore you hear them not, because you are not of God. The Jews therefore answered, and said to him: Do not we say well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered: I have not a devil: but I honour my Father, and you have dishonoured me. But I seek not my own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. Amen, amen I say to you: If any man keep my word, he shall not see death for ever. The Jews therefore said: Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest: If any man keep my word, he shall not taste death for ever. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? and the prophets are dead. Whom dost thou make thyself? Jesus answered: If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father that glorifieth me, of whom you say that he is your God. And you have not known him, but I know him. And if I shall say that I know him not, I shall be like to you, a liar. But I do know him, and do keep his word. Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see my day: he saw it, and was glad. The Jews therefore said to him: Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am.”
March 29, 2020
Daily Reflection: March 28 — Fourth Saturday of Lent
Welcome to In Your Embrace Daily, a series of short daily reflections on the Gospels from the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Today's reading for the Fourth Saturday of Lent is from the Holy Gospel according to John. John 8:12-20 (DRE) “At that time, Jesus spoke to the multitude of Jews saying: I am the light of the world: he that followeth me, walketh not in darkness, but shall have the light of life. The Pharisees therefore said to him: Thou givest testimony of thyself: thy testimony is not true. Jesus answered, and said to them: Although I give testimony of myself, my testimony is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go: but you know not whence I come, or whither I go. You judge according to the flesh: I judge not any man. And if I do judge, my judgment is true: because I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. And in your law it is written, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that give testimony of myself: and the Father that sent me giveth testimony of me. They said therefore to him: Where is thy Father? Jesus answered: Neither me do you know, nor my Father: if you did know me, perhaps you would know my Father also. These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, teaching in the temple: and no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.”
March 28, 2020
Episode 27: Shelter in Place
27 March 2020 | St. John Damascene | Roseburg, Ore. What have you been up to during your first week in quarantine? If you can’t get outside and you’re about to go stir crazy, come join me for a virtual walk as we chat about ancient Christian heresies and the veneration of icons, the spiritual meanings of the present crisis, the corniest joke you’ll hear all week, and my favorite passage from the Lord of the Rings! Opening music: “Congaudentes exultemus,” sung by Schola Solensis, conducted by Halvor J. Østtveit, 2011. All rights reserved.
March 28, 2020
Daily Reflection: March 27 — Fourth Friday of Lent
Welcome to In Your Embrace Daily, a series of short daily reflections on the Gospels from the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Today's reading for the Fourth Friday of Lent is from the Holy Gospel according to John. John 11:1-45 (DRE) “Now there was a certain man sick, named Lazarus, of Bethania, of the town of Mary and Martha her sister. And Mary was she that anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair: whose brother Lazarus was sick.) His sisters therefore sent to him, saying: Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. And Jesus hearing it, said to them: This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God: that the Son of God may be glorified by it. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister Mary, and Lazarus. When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he still remained in the same place two days. Then after that, he said to his disciples: Let us go into Judea again. The disciples say to him: Rabbi, the Jews but now sought to stone thee: and goest thou thither again? Jesus answered: Are there not twelve hours of the day? If a man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world: But if he walk in the night, he stumbleth, because the light is not in him. These things he said; and after that he said to them: Lazarus our friend sleepeth; but I go that I may awake him out of sleep. His disciples therefore said: Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. But Jesus spoke of his death; and they thought that he spoke of the repose of sleep. Then therefore Jesus said to them plainly: Lazarus is dead. And I am glad, for your sakes, that I was not there, that you may believe: but let us go to him. Thomas therefore, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples: Let us also go, that we may die with him. Jesus therefore came, and found that he had been four days already in the grave. (Now Bethania was near Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off.) And many of the Jews were come to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. Martha therefore, as soon as she heard that Jesus had come, went to meet him: but Mary sat at home. Martha therefore said to Jesus: Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But now also I know that whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. Jesus saith to her: Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith to him: I know that he shall rise again, in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said to her: I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, although he be dead, shall live: And every one that liveth, and believeth in me, shall not die for ever. Believest thou this? She saith to him: Yea, Lord, I have believed that thou art Christ the Son of the living God, who art come into this world. And when she had said these things, she went, and called her sister Mary secretly, saying: The master is come, and calleth for thee. She, as soon as she heard this, riseth quickly, and cometh to him. For Jesus was not yet come into the town: but he was still in that place where Martha had met him. The Jews therefore, who were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary that she rose up speedily and went out, followed her, saying: She goeth to the grave to weep there. When Mary therefore was come where Jesus was, seeing him, she fell down at his feet, and saith to him: Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. Jesus, therefore, when he saw her weeping, and the Jews that were come with her, weeping, groaned in the spirit, and troubled himself, And said: Where have you laid him? They say to him: Lord, come and see. And Jesus wept. The Jews therefore said: Behold how he loved him. But some of them said: Could not he that opened the eyes of the man born blind, have caused that this man should not die? Jesus therefore again groaning in himself, cometh to the sepulchre. Now it was a cave; and a stone was laid over it. Jesus saith: Take away the stone. ...”
March 27, 2020
Daily Reflection: March 26 — Fourth Thursday of Lent
Welcome to In Your Embrace Daily, a series of short daily reflections on the Gospels from the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Today's reading for the Fourth Thursday of Lent is from the Holy Gospel according to Luke. Luke 7:11-17 (DRE) “At that time, Jesus went into a city that is called Naim: and there went with him his disciples and a great multitude. And when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold a dead man was carried out, the only son of his mother: and she was a widow. And a great multitude of the city was with her. Whom when the Lord had seen, being moved with mercy towards her, he said to her: Weep not. And he came near and touched the bier. And they that carried it stood still. And he said: Young man, I say to thee, arise. And he that was dead sat up and begun to speak. And he gave him to his mother. And there came a fear upon them all: and they glorified God saying: A great prophet is risen up among us: and, God hath visited his people. And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judea and throughout all the country round about.”
March 26, 2020
Daily Reflection: March 25 — Annunciation of the Lord
Welcome to In Your Embrace Daily, a series of short daily reflections on the Gospels from the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Today's reading for the Annunciation of the Lord is from the Holy Gospel according to Luke. Luke 1:26-38 (DRE) “And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end. And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: Because no word shall be impossible with God. And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.”
March 25, 2020
Daily Reflection: March 24 - Fourth Tuesday of Lent
Welcome to In Your Embrace Daily, a series of short daily reflections on the Gospels from the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Today's reading for the Fourth Tuesday of Lent is from the Holy Gospel according to John. John 7:14-31 (DRE) “In that time, about the midst of the feast, Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. And the Jews wondered, saying: How doth this man know letters, having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said: My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man do the will of him; he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. He that speaketh of himself, seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh the glory of him that sent him, he is true, and there is no injustice in him. Did Moses not give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why seek you to kill me? The multitude answered, and said: Thou hast a devil; who seeketh to kill thee? Jesus answered, and said to them: One work I have done; and you all wonder: Therefore, Moses gave you circumcision (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and on the sabbath day you circumcise a man. If a man receive circumcision on the sabbath day, that the law of Moses may not be broken; are you angry at me because I have healed the whole man on the sabbath day? Judge not according to the appearance, but judge just judgment. Some therefore of Jerusalem said: Is not this he whom they seek to kill? And behold, he speaketh openly, and they say nothing to him. Have the rulers known for a truth, that this is the Christ? But we know this man, whence he is: but when the Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is. Jesus therefore cried out in the temple, teaching, and saying: You both know me, and you know whence I am: and I am not come of myself; but he that sent me, is true, whom you know not. I know him, because I am from him, and he hath sent me. They sought therefore to apprehend him: and no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come. But of the people many believed in him, and said: When the Christ cometh, shall he do more miracles, than these which this man doth?”
March 24, 2020
Daily Reflection; March 23 - Fourth Monday of Lent
Welcome to In Your Embrace Daily, a series of short daily reflections on the Gospels from the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Today's reading for the Fourth Monday of Lent is from the Holy Gospel according to John. John 2:13-25 (DRE) “In that time, the pasch of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And he found in the temple them that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting. And when he had made, as it were, a scourge of little cords, he drove them all out of the temple, the sheep also and the oxen: and the money of the changers he poured out, and the tables he overthrew. And to them that sold doves he said: Take these things hence, and make not the house of my Father a house of traffic. And his disciples remembered, that it was written: The zeal of thy house hath eaten me up. The Jews, therefore, answered, and said to him: What sign dost thou shew unto us, seeing thou dost these things? Jesus answered and said to them: Destroy this temple; and in three days I will raise it up. The Jews then said: Six and forty years was this temple in building; and wilt thou raise it up in three days? But he spoke of the temple of his body. When therefore he was risen again from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this: and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had said. Now when he was at Jerusalem, at the pasch, upon the festival day, many believed in his name, seeing his signs which he did. But Jesus did not trust himself unto them: for that he knew all men, and because he needed not that any should give testimony of man: for he knew what was in man.”
March 23, 2020
Daily Reflection: March 22 — Fourth Sunday of Lent
Welcome to In Your Embrace Daily, a series of short daily reflections on the Gospels from the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Today's reading for the Fourth Sunday of Lent is from the Holy Gospel according to John. John 6:1-15 (DRE) “In that time, Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is that of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw the miracles which he did on them that were diseased. Jesus therefore went up into a mountain: and there he sat with his disciples. Now the pasch, the festival day of the Jews, was near at hand. When Jesus therefore had lifted up his eyes and seen that a very great multitude cometh to him, he said to Philip: Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to try him: for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him: Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them that every one may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, saith to him: There is a boy here that hath five barley loaves and two fishes. But what are these among so many? Then Jesus said: Make the men sit down. Now, there was much grass in the place. The men therefore sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves: and when he had given thanks, he distributed to them that were set down. In like manner also of the fishes, as much as they would. And when they were filled, he said to his disciples: gather up the fragments that remain, lest they be lost. They gathered up therefore and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which remained over and above to them that had eaten. Now those men, when they had seen what a miracle Jesus had done, said: This is of a truth the prophet that is to come into the world. Jesus therefore, when he knew that they would come to take him by force and make him king, fled again into the mountains, himself alone.”
March 22, 2020
Daily Reflection: March 21 - Third Saturday of Lent
Daily Reflection: March 21 — Third Saturday of Lent Welcome to In Your Embrace Daily, a series of short daily reflections on the Gospels from the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Today's reading for the Third Saturday of Lent is from the Holy Gospel according to John. John 8:1-11 (DRE) “In that time, Jesus went unto mount Olivet. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came to him, and sitting down he taught them. And the scribes and the Pharisees bring unto him a woman taken in adultery: and they set her in the midst, and said to him: Master, this woman was even now taken in adultery. Now Moses in the law commanded us to stone such a one. But what sayest thou? And this they said tempting him, that they might accuse him. But Jesus bowing himself down, wrote with his finger on the ground. When therefore they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said to them: He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again stooping down, he wrote on the ground. But they hearing this, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest. And Jesus alone remained, and the woman standing in the midst. Then Jesus lifting up himself, said to her: Woman, where are they that accused thee? Hath no man condemned thee? Who said: No man, Lord. And Jesus said: Neither will I condemn thee. Go, and now sin no more.”
March 21, 2020
Episode 26: Love in the Time of Coronavirus
20 March 2020 | Third Friday of Lent | Roseburg, Ore. It’s hard to believe it’s only been a week since the last episode of this podcast. In that time, our worlds have been turned upside down in so many ways. Speaking to you now from a late-night walk on the deserted streets of my small Oregon hometown, some reflections on the Church, discernment, prayer and, yes, love in the time of coronavirus. Some practical tips also on how to make good use of the sufferings of this time to advance in the spiritual life (which essentially consists in loving well!) and some new resources coming your way from this podcast in the coming days and weeks. We’re all sheltering in place. May our place be in the heart of the Trinity, the living fount of love. Opening music: “Credo” from Missa in Angustiis (“Lord Nelson Mass”), composed by Franz Josef Haydn, sung by the Bach Choir of Wellington at St. Peter’s on Willis, Wellington, NZ, 2017. All rights reserved.
March 21, 2020
Daily Reflection: March 20 - Third Friday of Lent
Welcome to In Your Embrace Daily, a series of short daily reflections on the Gospels from the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Today's reading for the Third Friday of Lent is from the Holy Gospel according to John. John 4:5-42 (DRE) "At that time, Jesus cometh therefore to a city of Samaria, which is called Sichar, near the land which Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well. It was about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria, to draw water. Jesus saith to her: Give me to drink. For his disciples were gone into the city to buy meats. Then that Samaritan woman saith to him: How dost thou, being a Jew, ask of me to drink, who am a Samaritan woman? For the Jews do not communicate with the Samaritans. Jesus answered, and said to her: If thou didst know the gift of God, and who he is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou perhaps wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith to him: Sir, thou hast nothing wherein to draw, and the well is deep; from whence then hast thou living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus answered, and said to her: Whosoever drinketh of this water, shall thirst again; but he that shall drink of the water that I will give him, shall not thirst for ever: But the water that I will give him, shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up into life everlasting. The woman saith to him: Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come hither to draw. Jesus saith to her: Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered, and said: I have no husband. Jesus said to her: Thou hast said well, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands: and he whom thou now hast, is not thy husband. This thou hast said truly. The woman saith to him: Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers adored on this mountain, and you say, that at Jerusalem is the place where men must adore. Jesus saith to her: Woman, believe me, that the hour cometh, when you shall neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, adore the Father. You adore that which you know not: we adore that which we know; for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true adorers shall adore the Father in spirit and in truth. For the Father also seeketh such to adore him. God is a spirit; and they that adore him, must adore him in spirit and in truth. The woman saith to him: I know that the Messias cometh (who is called Christ). Therefore, when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith to her: I am he, who am speaking with thee. And immediately his disciples came; and they wondered that he talked with the woman. Yet no man said: What seekest thou? or, why talkest thou with her? The woman therefore left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men there: Come, and see a man who has told me all things whatsoever I have done. Is not he the Christ? They went therefore out of the city, and came unto him. In the mean time the disciples prayed him, saying: Rabbi, eat. But he said to them: I have meat to eat, which you know not. The disciples therefore said one to another: Hath any man brought him to eat? Jesus saith to them: My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, that I may perfect his work. Do you not say, There are yet four months, and then the harvest cometh? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes, and see the countries; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life everlasting: that both he that soweth, and he that reapeth, may rejoice together. For in this is the saying true: That it is one man that soweth, and it is another that reapeth. I have sent you to reap that in which you did not labour..."
March 21, 2020
BONUS: Wedding Homily for Brad & Dasha
This homily is on optional readings from the Order of Celebrating Matrimony for the wedding of a fictional couple, Brad, a Lutheran convert to Catholicism, and Dasha, a Byzantine Catholic, written for my Homiletics course at St. Patrick’s Seminary. Feedback welcome and appreciated!
March 15, 2020
Episode 25: Eternity Now
14 March 2020 | Second Saturday of Lent | Menlo Park, Calif. It’s a rainy day in California, even in the midst of our interior desert of Lent and the exterior plague of the coronavirus!—and it’s a good one to curl up under a blanket and talk about some good books. On the agenda for today: “Heaven in Faith,” by St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, and Shakespeare’s Richard III. Also, some particular pearls of wisdom from our saint on where and how to find peace in the midst of turmoil (suitable for these turbulent times!) and what, exactly, it is God wants from us. Come and rest! Opening music: Spaséñiye, sodélal (Salvation is created), composed by Pavel Tschesnokoff, sung by VOCES8 at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, Missouri, 2020. All rights reserved.
March 14, 2020
BONUS: Sunday Homily for February 23, 2020
This homily is on the readings for the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time [Year A]), February 23, 2020, written for my Homiletics course at St. Patrick’s Seminary. Feedback welcome and appreciated!
March 2, 2020
Episode 24: Into the Desert
1 March 2020 | First Sunday of Lent | Menlo Park, Calif. “Behold,” says the Lord, “I will allure her, and bring her into the desert, and speak to her heart” (Hosea 2:14). As we enter into the desert of great and holy Lent, and as I make my weekly journey northwards from the seminary to teach catechism at a parish in San Francisco, here are some scattered thoughts on the purpose of the season and our real need for God. Opening music: Dogmatikon from Byzantine Great Vespers, sung by St. Vladimir’s Seminary Choir, 2016. All rights reserved.
March 2, 2020
Episode 23: Simon Petros
22 February 2020 | Chair of St. Peter at Antioch | Menlo Park, Calif. On the feast of the Church’s most important piece of furniture, we discuss desolation and trust, discouragement and abandonment, Christ, the foundation of our hope, and Peter, the “rock” of our faith. Opening music: “Rejoice in the Lord,” performed by the Cambridge Singers, dir. John Rutter, 1991. All rights reserved.
February 23, 2020
Episode 22: True Love
14 February 2020 | St. Valentine | Menlo Park, Calif. On a beautiful hike in the California foothills, we grapple with a very important question: When it comes to obscure third-century martyrs, what’s love got to do, got to do with it? Also, this week’s Shakespearean comedy about love and marriage, The Taming of the Shrew, brings our conversation back to Ephesians 5, which proposes an answer to a perennial question: What should our love for one another look like when “we love because Christ first loved us” (1 Jn 4:19)? Mutual submission, total commitment, self-gift without remainder: it’s all here. Even the chocolates and flowers. Opening music: “Hark, all Ye Lovely Saints,” composed by Thomas Weelkes, performed by the King’s Singers, dir. Christopher Bishop, 1974. All rights reserved.
February 15, 2020
BONUS: Daily Homily for February 3, 2020
This homily is on the readings for the Memorial of St. Blase (Monday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time [Cycle II]), February 3, 2020, written for my Homiletics course at St. Patrick’s Seminary. Feedback welcome and appreciated!
February 11, 2020
Episode 21: Alter Egos
8 February 2020 | St. Josephine Bakhita | Menlo Park, Calif. The whole comedy of Shakespeare’s “Comedy of Errors” depends on two twin brothers being mistaken for one another’s “alter egos” - each becomes the other’s “other self." But did you know that perfect love of neighbor, that is, true Christian friendship, depends on much the same thing? In this podcast, we talk about the three relationships St. Paul addresses in his household codes - husband/wife, parent/child, master/slave - and how perfect love radically transforms them from within. Also, the life of St. Josephine Bakhita: from abject slavery to radical sanctity. It's a beautiful day. Let's take a walk. Opening music: “O joyful light,” Evening Hymn of the Byzantine Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, sung by the Schola Cantorum of St. Peter the Apostle, Chicago, dir. J. Michael Thompson, 2010. All rights reserved.
February 8, 2020
Episode 20: Freedom to Love
31 January 2020 | St. John Bosco | Menlo Park, Calif. Human beings are unique among all God's creation because of our capacity to know and, above all, our freedom to love. In this episode, we discuss what St. John Bosco's example can teach us about evangelization, what King Henry VI's pious fatalism can teach us about following God's will, and what John Paul II's "personalistic norm," like, even means. (Hint: it's all got a lot to do with love and respecting human freedom...but you already knew that.) Opening music: “Suscepimus Deus,” entrance antiphon for the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, from the 1950 Dominican Gradual, sung by Bros. Stefan Ansinger and Alexandre Frezzato, O.P., 2020. All rights reserved.
February 1, 2020
Episode 19: Of Kings and Martyrs
24 January 2020 | St. Timothy | Menlo Park, Calif. No two extremes perhaps seem more foreign to one another than kingship and martyrdom, the height of worldly power and the depth of ignoble destitution. Yet Christ unites the two on the cross in His own body, becoming in his self-sacrificing victory our great Martyr-King. What does it take to make a man a king? More than a crown. What does it take to make a man a martyr? More than a sword. Today we dive deep into the life of St. Timothy, apostle and spiritual son of the great St. Paul, who gave his life for Christ at Ephesus. We also look at the character of King Henry VI in Shakespeare’s triad of plays of the same name. Both by their lives propose answers to the question: what is it to live for Christ? Opening music: “Anima Christi,” composed by Marco Frisina, performed by the Chamber Choir ‘Lege Artis’ at the Basilica of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Pszów, Poland, dir. Szymon Staniszewski, 2017. All rights reserved.
January 24, 2020
BONUS: Daily Homily for January 27, 2020
This homily is on the readings for Monday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time (Cycle II), January 27, 2020, written for my Homiletics course at St. Patrick’s Seminary. Feedback welcome and appreciated!
January 18, 2020
Episode 18: Till Your Last Breath
17 January 2020 | St. Anthony the Great | Menlo Park, Calif. This week, we’ll discuss the PAR method for living a life of purpose and peace (an art the Lord is teaching me, although I’m a slow learner!) Also in the podcast: St. Anthony the Great, hermit of the desert, terror of demons, zealous ascetic and… fun-loving guy? We’ll delve deep into the themes of fatherhood and sonship (and the virtues of leadership, demonstrated by those who lack them) in Shakespeare’s Henry VI, and take a look at the origins of humanity in Genesis 1. All this, plus a little Renaissance polyphony, on the other side of the play button. Links referenced in the show: Monk Manual: https://monkmanual.com Golden Legend: https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/basis/goldenlegend/GoldenLegend-Volume2.asp#Anthony Opening music: “If ye love me,” composed by Thomas Tallis, performed by the Cambridge Singers under John Rutter, 2008. All rights reserved.
January 17, 2020
Episode 17: Pick up the Munera
10 January 2020 | Friday after the Epiphany | San Juan Bautista, Calif. The podcast resumes after a one-year hiatus with a new name and a new aim! This episode marks the beginning of regular updates again on Fridays throughout the year to come, with new and exciting weekly segments on Shakespeare, theology, and more! In this episode, hear an impressively brief recap on what’s been going on with me over the past year, four lessons I learned from this year’s silent retreat on spiritual fatherhood, and what I'm looking forward to in 2020 and beyond. Further up and further in! Opening music: “Gaudete,” performed by the King’s Singers, 2011. All rights reserved.
January 11, 2020
Episode 16: One Year Ago Today
10 January 2019 | Thursday after the Epiphany | San Juan Bautista, Calif. Please note: this podcast was published one year after it was first recorded. At the conclusion of my annual silent retreat, I share some reflections on growing in the life of grace and the "seasons of the heart" through which we travel. We cover the same ground again and again in the spiritual life, but each time we cover it, we come to it as new people. Therefore we are not just going in circles, but in spirals - ascending, hopefully, higher and higher on each rotation - until we come at last to the heaven-haven of our reward.
January 11, 2019
Episode 15: A Sign and More than a Sign
2 December 2018 | First Sunday of Advent | Menlo Park, Calif. And so we come around again to the beginning of another liturgical year. The season of Advent is a graced time to reflect on the awesomeness of God’s providence, His will which orders all of creation, and how well I am submitting myself to that will. “True humility is to listen to what God wants, and then do it,” says St. John of the Cross. Let this Advent be a true season of renewal of our trust in the Lord, that He will do all He has promised! Opening music: “Air: But who may abide the day of his coming,” Messiah, Part One, composed by George Friedrich Handel, performed by the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, 2010. All rights reserved.
December 3, 2018
Episode 14: Our Hungry Hearts
25 November 2018 | Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe | Palo Alto, Calif. Hunger is something you can’t help but experience: not just occasionally, but over and over again, like an alert on your phone you can snooze, but never dismiss. No matter how good your Thanksgiving dinner, you’ll be hungry again the next morning (if not rummaging for a turkey and stuffing sandwich at midnight!) But does this relentless demand of our bodies for food reflect anything about the needs of our spirit? That’s right: it’s time to talk about our hungry hearts. (Opening music not provided by Bruce Springsteen.) Opening music: “Ave verum corpus,” composed by William Byrd, performed by the Tallis Scholars, 1993. All rights reserved.
November 25, 2018
Episode 13: Theology at Teatime
18 November 2018 | 6th Resumed Sunday after Epiphany | Menlo Park, Calif. What is the role of women in the Catholic Church? What about the role of the priest? How can we reach young people? How do we proclaim God’s saving truth in a secular culture? And how does the liturgy fit into all of this? Join me and a friend this week as we talk about all of this and more over a cup of tea! (Note: Tea not included. For optimal enjoyment, make yourself a cup before listening.) Opening music: “Gloria in excelsis Deo - Allegro," Missa in Angustiis (‘Lord Nelson Mass’), composed by Joseph Haydn, performed by the English Concert and Choir, 1988. All rights reserved.
November 19, 2018
Episode 12: An Indelible Seal
11 November 2018 | 5th Resumed Sunday after Epiphany | Menlo Park, Calif. It's 11 a.m. on 11/11 -- traditionally (think medieval tradition) the first day of winter, although you wouldn't know it on this sunny day in the San Francisco Bay! After a month or more on hiatus, the podcast is back with reflections on my institution as lector last week, the unique nature of ordination and the Catholic priesthood, and the number one thing which annoys me more than ANYTHING! But you'll have to listen to the whole show to learn my secret weakness... Opening music: "Dirait-on," movement V. of 'Les chansons des roses,' composed by Morten Lauridsen, performed by the Chamber Choir of Europe, 2009. All rights reserved.
November 11, 2018
Episode 11: My Vocation is Love
1 October 2018 | St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face | Menlo Park, Calif. Why am I driving down Highway 101 in the dark at 6:00 in the morning? Because it's my sister(-saint)'s feast day, and I have to be with the rest of the family for Morning Prayer and Mass, that's why! Join me and St. Thérèse on the road to chat about vocation, discernment, and the universal call to holiness. "My vocation is love!" — And so is yours! Opening music: "Bless the Lord," performed by *Ncense, 2008. All rights reserved.
October 1, 2018
Episode 10: The Head and the Body
23 September 2018 | 18th Sunday after Pentecost | Menlo Park, Calif. One of the hallmarks of the modern world is division. Conservative or liberal? Progressive or traditional? Sadly, some even go so far as to try to divide Christ from the Church—as if the Head were taking us one direction and His Body going the opposite way! But just as a living person's head can't be separated from his body (and hopefully you'll all take this on faith without trying to verify it yourself!), Christ can never be separated from His living Body on earth, the Church. In this episode, I discuss how faith in Christ entails faith in the Church He founded, and how living out of this truth in simplicity and hope can help us overcome our own divisions to be a better witness to the world. Opening music: "Te Deum - Hymnus (tonus monasticus)," sung by the Benedictine Monks of the Abbey of Saint-Maurice & Saint Maur, Clervaux, Luxembourg, 1987. All rights reserved.
September 23, 2018
Episode 9: A Plan of God's Love
17 September 2018 | St. Albert of Jerusalem, Bishop, and Lawgiver of Carmel | Menlo Park, Calif. If you want to be a better athlete, you need an exercise plan. If you want to be a better student, you need a plan of study. So what if you want to be a better Christian—a holier (and therefore happier) son or daughter of the Father? What you need is a plan of God's love: a plan to know, love, and serve Him a little better each day. In this episode, I share my plan, and some advice for coming up with your own. Also: two elements which are essential if you want to advance quickly in the spiritual life; the one reason we puny human beings can know, love, or serve God at all (hint: it doesn't come from ourselves!); and my response to a popular anti-Catholic myth... Opening music: "Laudes: Hymne - Puisqu'Il est avec nous," composed by Philippe Robert, performed by the Choeur des Moines de l'Abbaye de Tamié, Savoie, France, 2010. All rights reserved.
September 17, 2018
Episode 8: Every Moment Was Right
10 September 2018 | Monday in the 16th Week after Pentecost | Menlo Park, Calif. Long journeys make great analogies for the spiritual life. What are we supposed to do with hardships, detours, and delays along the road? When you have no money to pay the toll? What about when you're falling asleep at the wheel? Along those lines, let me tell you the story of my whirlwind weekend trip to Oregon and back for a friend's ordination this Saturday... Opening music: "Loving Shepherd of thy Sheep," arr. John Rutter (1991), performed by the Cambridge Singers and City of London Sinfonia, Cambridge, 2006. All rights reserved.
September 10, 2018
Episode 7: The Poorest of the Poor
2 September 2018 | 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time | Menlo Park, Calif. Let’s take a walk on the Eastern side of the Church (or at least of Menlo Park!) This morning, as I make my way across town to a Byzantine Catholic Divine Liturgy—more on that later—I want to share with you a bit about my first experience this year in ministry, as well as some thoughts about the right relationship between worship of God and service of the poor. Opening music: Excerpt from the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great, sung by the parish community of St. Basil the Great Byzantine Catholic Church, Los Gatos, CA, 2018. All rights reserved.
September 2, 2018
Episode 6: Our Mother
26 August 2018 | External Solemnity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary | San Jose, Calif. We’re all aware of the scandals coming to light in the Church even as we speak. In this episode, I want to share my response to those scandals as a seminarian and son of the Church, as well as the fruits of a great spiritual conversation I had today with a good friend. “Since Our Lord has so few friends,” says St. Teresa, “let those few be good ones!” Opening music: “Salve Regina,” performed by the Friars of the Dominican House of Studies, Washington, DC, 2014. All rights reserved.
August 26, 2018
Episode 5: Love and Providence
21 August 2018 | St. Pius X | Menlo Park, Calif. The show resumes after a long break and many changes. Featured in this episode: “What I Did With My Summer Vacation,” what I’m doing now that I’m back in school, and reflections on everything from sacred music to the Enlightenment, providence, and the love of God as the interpretive key for our lives. Plus, get lost with me in a new city in real time! All this and more on the other side of the play button. Opening music: “O Sanctissima,” arr. Kevin Allen (2013), performed by Matthew Curtis, 2014. All rights reserved.
August 21, 2018
Episode 4: Discernment and Desire, Part Two
6 March 2018 - Tuesday in the Third Week of Lent - Mt. Angel, Ore. - Part 2 Continuing where Part 1 ended, I discuss my early discernment with the Dominicans, my time as a postulant and novitiate in Carmel, and how God ultimately led me back to the Archdiocese of Portland. Hint: it’s all about desire (one above all!) Opening music: “Veni Creator Spiritus,” Sequence for the Solemnity of Pentecost, sung by Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles, Alhambra, 2016. All rights reserved.
March 6, 2018
Episode 4: Discernment and Desire, Part One
6 March 2018 | Tuesday in the Third Week of Lent | Mt. Angel, Ore. After a long break (hey, I’ve been working hard — no time to walk and talk!), the podcast resumes with some thoughts on discernment and desire, as well as discussion of my philosophy thesis: the relationship between poetry and philosophy, which seems to be about all I think about these days! This was a longer episode than usual, so I’ve broken it into two parts. The second will be available in a day or so. Opening music: “Veni Creator Spiritus,” Sequence for the Solemnity of Pentecost, sung by Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles, Alhambra, 2016. All rights reserved.
March 6, 2018
Episode 3: Prayer, Fasting, & Almsgiving
15 February 2018 | Thursday after Ash Wednesday | Mount Angel, Ore. “The time of penance has come, the time to atone for our sins and to seek our salvation!” Lent has begun, just as the days are beginning to get lighter, the cherry trees are starting to blossom, and the birds are singing in the branches. Coincidence? I think not… Opening music: “Miserere mei, Deus,” arr. Gregorio Allegri (1638), performed by King’s College Choir, Cambridge, 2011. All rights reserved.
February 15, 2018
Episode 2: The Fruit You're Eating
30 January 2018 | Tuesday in the Fourth Week after Epiphany | Mount Angel, Ore. On this rare sunny morning under a cloudless blue sky, let’s talk about life on other worlds. C.S. Lewis’ Space trilogy can teach us something very important about our own spiritual life here on “the Silent Planet.” Opening music: “Alma Redemptoris Mater,” motet for four voices, arr. Palestrina (1604), performed by King’s Singers, Cambridge, 2016. All rights reserved.
January 30, 2018
Episode 1: The Inaugural Episode
24 January 2018 | St. Francis de Sales | Mount Angel, Ore. This semester, I’m blessed not to have any classes at 9:00 any day of the week, so I’m going for a daily run or walk—come hell or high water or fierce Oregon rains! I’ve also decided to start a podcast. I’d tell you more but I haven’t time just now. Would you like to go for a walk with me?
January 24, 2018