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St. Joseph the Essential Worker

My grandfather was a scientist of significant accomplishment.  He invented some laundry detergents(“All”), the fabric in use in most French drains – which likely surround your home – and the means by which most homes today expel radon, which seeps in from the depths of the earth, a silent demon come up from darkness that goes unnoticed for most until...

Digital Masses and Johnny Cash on the Pain of Lonely Sundays

Note: This is the opening of the forthcoming issue of Sword & Spade.  It is being published here exclusively because of its ties to an upcoming Sunday that is potentially without Mass. As this issue nears printing the coronavirus is forcing many into “social isolation” to slow the pandemic.  Whatever your opinion of such measures, there is the real possibility...

We Need This Virtue Because Screens are Changing Us

Will you make it through this article? You have been re-programmed in the media-saturated age of consumerism and internet galloping to skim this article.  You’re here to grab enough of it to sense a completion after reading, perhaps gaining a sense of gained knowledge, maybe feeling part of a tribe or something. I’ve been trained as a “content” writer to...

What Jayber Crow Can Teach Us About the Priesthood and Celibacy

As someone who sees perennial bachelorhood as a societal sickness, recommending Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry might seem counterproductive.  Jayber, Berry’s main character in the novel, is a small-town barber that finds himself an “ineligible bachelor,” as he puts it.  He never marries, never has kids, and in that way is “free” of the burdens of family.  However, Jayber’s life...

Book Review: The Beer Option

I have to be honest, there’s something so empty to me in big, grand Catholic evangelical efforts. You know the type – “transforming your family with 3 easy things;” “an evening workshop that will change your marriage forever.”  The more dynamic it claims to be, and the grander the promise of impacting the entire society, the less I think it will...

Avarice: The Secret Sin that Owns Us

Pope Benedict XVI said that the saints are the best apologetics.  Their lives are a clear and manifest proof of God’s love and action in the human heart, and we know this is so because, though our heart is too little examined, we know the human condition well enough to know its corruption.  Seeing the saints is to see a...

An October Farm Retreat With Your Son

We started farming for the sake of my family, especially my sons.  When we had our second son my wife asked, “Where do you see us in 5 years?” North Carolina in the Fall “On a farm,” I answered, “back home.”   “Home” was North Carolina (we were living in Denver, CO), but the “farm” part we had not figured...

The Fact of Food: Eating as the Basis of Culture

Something has gone wrong with our culture, or at least it seems that way by how many people make a living criticizing it, trying to fix it, or checking out of it altogether.  That last one is impossible, but it makes a good story.  Just consider how many institutes, apostolates, and publications say they are doing some sort of “cultural”...

Wholeness, Happiness, and the Difference Between Knowledge and Wisdom

A friend recently remarked that it’s those that gather and control data that own the future.  I understand what he meant (I think), but, if we dig a bit, I suspect we would doubt that the data-controllers of the day, however intelligent they are, have what we would call wisdom. Education today is ordered toward participation in the global economy. ...

The Paradox of Francis: When We Need Fathers, We Get the Law

In a business class in high school I recall studying how factories try to figure out how to squeeze productivity out of workers.  In one case they took a group of women apart from the rest, gave them a specific widget-making task, and then had them do it over and over again with different work schedules.  They tried all kinds...

The Hero Always Comes Home

We should be reluctant to divide things that are not divided.  Or, if we are to divide things, we do so in a way that allows for them to be reunited so as to be more fruitful.  God, for example, “divides” Eve from the side of Adam, but then brings them together into beautiful fruitfulness.  This is the pattern of...