Thanksgiving in the Month of the Holy Souls

It is fitting that Thanksgiving should fall in the month of the Holy Souls. November, of course, marks the anniversary of the Pilgrim landing. But more than that, it memorializes the lives—and deaths—of those who were instruments in forging the religious and cultural lineaments of our nation. A day to commemorate simply a life-sustaining harvest might readily have been set on or close to the autumn equinox. That would have followed ancient precedent honoring the divinities of harvest time, guardians of the threshing floor. Continue Reading
After Election Day Schadenfreude

A thoughtful reader responded to the improbable upset on Election Day by sending me these words of St. Gertrude (Gertrude of Helfta): “May the wounds of Christ make of no effect the handwriting that is against us.” They are sobering. When our giddiness subsides, and our schadenfreude—well earned and blameless this time—wears off, we would be wise to resume the prayer of this 13th century Benedictine mystic.   The handwriting is, indeed, against us. This election, delicious as it is to some of us, does not erase the baleful scrawl. Continue Reading