“Laish” by Aharon Appelfeld

It might seem that Aharon Appelfeld’s novels are mystical. Yet, with the enchanting characters – whose blindness, deafness, muteness, psychic unrest, vulnerabilities of age, and moral defects serve to “exaggerate purposely, to make things visible” (as a character says in a different one of his novels) – there is the splendorous reality of the human condition on full display. Continue reading ““Laish” by Aharon Appelfeld”

The day John Paul II died

On this date, fifteen years ago, Pope John Paul II died. I remember this time well because I was 14 at the time and the news of his death was, paradoxically, also the biggest news to me of his life. Before his death, I’d heard his name my whole life but I hadn’t really gotten to know much about him or his remarkable biography. But then, in 2005, every magazine cover had his face on it and it seemed that there was unending coverage of this Catholic leader whose life had made a profound difference not only in the Church but throughout the whole world in the drama of the twentieth century. Continue reading “The day John Paul II died”

A Protestant and a Catholic discuss 465-year-old relic of St. Francis Xavier’s Arm

I arrived to Toronto to visit my Protestant friend for the week. She greeted me wishing me a happy new year and asking how I’d spent it.

“Well,” I explained, “At the conference from which I just came, we venerated a relic of St. Francis Xavier’s right arm, the arm with which he baptized 100,000 people.” Her first question was not “Why do Catholics venerate relics?” but rather “So, how did his arm come off?”

Continue reading “A Protestant and a Catholic discuss 465-year-old relic of St. Francis Xavier’s Arm”