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Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

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Our son Eric was four years old. My husband George, after teaching all day at Tufts University, would walk over to Tufts Day Care Center, pick Eric up, and walk home with him, Eric riding in the carrier on George’s back. As soon as they’d get in the house, they’d both plop down in front…

Poetry Friday: “Pray That the Creek Don’t Dry Up”

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Here is a poem about making a poem. The first stanza, a single sentence, stretches out through cosmic imagery: “light sift[ing] down,” “erasable darkness seep[ing] up,” “the crack to the radiant world closing in on itself.” The diction here is high, poetic. Then suddenly the next stanza plunks us down to earth with “One way…

Monasticism in Lockdown America: Part 8: Psalms In the Beginning

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I always privately hated the psalms. Most of them, anyway. As a teenager, I’d leaf through the Bible’s songbook quite often and feel it was full of self-pity and self-righteousness, often launching into bombastic praise of God and two lines later wishing curses on enemies. I didn’t understand why Christians still used the psalms, and…

Sonnets in the Prime of My Life

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The sonnet, of course, is the gold standard of form, the first one most people identify. That’s why I decided to wait several months before working on sonnets during my Year of Forms. There’s just so much pressure surrounding The One. I mean, come on: My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is…

Living in a Border State

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I spent elementary school in a Mexican neighborhood in Austin, Texas. I attended birthday parties with piñatas and ate in a school cafeteria that served home-style enchiladas, tamales, and beans made with lard. And because of my dark hair I truly didn’t realize a difference between the other students and me until fourth grade, when…

For the Love of Money

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My husband and I took a spring break trip to the central coast of California, and we included a stop at the Hearst Castle—William Randolph Hearst’s 90,000 square foot, 61-bathroom home on 127 acres at the top of a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Hearst was still expanding it when he died in 1951. It…

The Summer I Wasn’t Attacked By a Shark

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Jaws is released the summer I turn fourteen, and my friends and I spend every afternoon bodysurfing and reenacting the young woman’s death scene at the beginning of the movie. We yell, kick, jerk, wave, scream, pretending a great white has hold, dragging us down for the kill. We sputter, shriek, and wait for a…

The Pope’s Call to Saintliness

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Did you know that you’re meant to be a saint? So says Pope Francis, in his latest Apostolic Exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and Be Glad). An Apostolic Exhortation is a communication to Catholics throughout the world; but this one speaks to all Christians. Gaudete et Exsultate‘s very first paragraph announces: “The Lord… wants us…

Monasticism In Lockdown America, Part 7: Holy Fool

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Hank’s trembling confession that he’d be killing God if he killed another inmate had charged the small jail visitation cell where I sat discussing the image of God with three men from the infirmary. I pulled out the last of three “icons” and passed it around. It was a color printout of the crumbling Sphinx…

Poetry Friday: “I Loved You Before I Was Born”

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In clear, resonate language, Li-Young Lee celebrates longing in his poem “I Loved You Before I Was Born.” In its repetition and earnestness, this poem reminds me of e. e. cumming’s poem “i carry your heart with me (i carry it in.” Unlike cumming’s poem though, Lee’s emphasizes the bitter-sweetness of longing and places it…

Image’s Daily Blog

For the humanists of the Renaissance, literature mattered because it was concrete and experiential—it grounded ideas in people’s lives. Their name for this kind of writing was bonae litterae, a phrase we’ve borrowed as the title for our blog. Every weekday, one of the gifted writers on our blogging team will offer a personal essay that makes a fresh connection between the world of faith and the world of daily life, spanning the gap between theology and experience and giving language a human shape.

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