The best Lent of my life involved getting up every day at 5:30 a.m., hiking for miles through ankle-twisting, cobblestoned city streets, dodging drivers for whom traffic laws were traffic suggestions, avoiding the chaos of transit strikes and other civic disturbances and battling bureaucracies civil and ecclesiastical — all while 3,500 miles from home sweet home.
In speaking engagements around the country in recent years, I ask Catholic audiences how many know the date of their baptism. The high-end response is a little under 10 percent. The average is about 2-3 percent. This, brethren, is a problem.
You know your birthday. You know (or you'd better know, gentlemen) your wedding anniversary. You know your children's birthdays. So why don't you know the date when you became a friend and companion of the Lord Jesus Christ — the most important day of your life?
Excavating my desk recently, I found the program notes from a Tallis Scholars concert my wife and I had attended a few months ago. Arvo Pärt's was described as "I am the true vine," and its "qualities of stasis and timelessness," as reminiscent of what "former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has described as 'silently waiting on the truth, pure sitting and breathing in the presence of the question mark'."
The death of Justice Antonin Scalia on February 13 — unexpected and, for many reasons, tragic — draws a curtain on the life and public service of one of the most important Catholic figures in America over the past half-century. Justice Scalia was regarded, by admirers and detractors alike, as the most consequential jurist of his time. He brought a remarkable intellect, a clear concept of judging, a distinguished literary style, and a biting wit to his work on the U.S. Supreme Court. His demolition of the majority opinion in Obergefell vs.