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”
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”
This photo is of the Hill of Crosses in Šiauliai, Lithuania. The first time I saw footage of this place, I knew I had to visit. From that moment on, I longed to make a pilgrimage to the site where more than 100,000 crosses have been placed on the hill. Continue reading “On the Way to the Cross”
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?”