“Well, actually, Jesus…”

Often when I read Scripture, I find myself thinking about my friend Jacob. The reason is not that I see Jacob reflected in the sacred page: I don’t see his silhouette masked behind Psalmist’s righteous man, or hear echoes of … Continue reading

At the Hedge

The Word of God, solitary, magnificent amid the vicissitudes of human history, turns to me, his face shining from his vision of the Father, and speaks to me. As in all human love, only more so, I am exposed; I … Continue reading

A Voice I Did Not Know

God never appeared to me and told me in clear and audible words what I was supposed to do with my life. He never told me to be a Dominican. Or maybe He did, and I just didn’t recognize His … Continue reading

The Message: Remix?

The apostles held fast to Christ’s message (Liturgy of the Hours, Common of Apostles). Their message goes out to all the earth (Ps 19:4). There is something I hate about the word “message.” Probably through no fault of its own—it … Continue reading

A God of Failures

The Presentation in the Temple looks like a failure. In memory of the slaying of the firstborn of the Egyptians—man and beast alike—the Israelites were commanded to sacrifice their own firstborn to the Lord. This in general seems to have … Continue reading

In the Fisherman’s Net

Not ours the wounds, the bloodied flesh, of those fire-tested ancient souls;Theirs the bones for grinding lion’s teeth to gnaw to living breadOr the blood to spell their credo, a sanguine testament witnessed boldlyAs fisherman’s inverted across the sea from … Continue reading

Dusk. Two Men.

Twilight. The outside of a large estate in the country. It’s a warm evening with a pleasant breeze carrying snatches of music, laughter, and delicious-smelling smoke over the walls. A man is sitting by himself on a bench outside the … Continue reading

Why Have You Brought Us Up?

“Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!” (Numbers 21:5). It is safe to say that the Israelites passing through the … Continue reading

Sins of Speech

There’s a lot to be said for the old dictum “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” But we’re not merely bones. To a certain extent, we need the respect of others in order … Continue reading

More Eloquent than the Blood of Abel

Growing up the third of four boys I have thought long and hard about the story of Cain and Abel. Beside pondering fraternal conflict and the effects of original sin, the story of the brothers intrigues me with regard to … Continue reading

The Gamaliel Principle

It’s another swelteringly hot day in Jerusalem and many good Jews, on their way into the Temple for worship, stop for a break in the shade of Solomon’s Portico. There they find a group of men (twelve to be exact) … Continue reading

You Too Were Strangers

Having heard a very different speech earlier in the day, my Dominican brothers and I sat down in our chapel a few Fridays ago and heard these words from the Prophet Moses: On your fathers did the Lord set His … Continue reading

Opening the Book of Revelation (Part I)

Editor’s note: This post, originally published on November 28, 2011, is the first in a series on the Book of Revelation. You can read the whole series here. Fr. Leo Checkai was ordained a priest in May 2014 and now … Continue reading

Fake News Is Great News

I have known many men who wished to deceive, but none who wished to be deceived. –St. Augustine “Fake news” has become big news in recent months. How could the proliferation of deliberately fabricated articles be a good thing? It’s … Continue reading

A Word for Bread

Editor’s note: This is the fourth post in a series commenting on the first words of Christ as presented in the Gospels. It is written,“One does not live by bread alone.” (Lk 4:4) With our modern dietary aversion to gluten … Continue reading

When the Word Speaks

Editor’s note: This is the first post in a series commenting on the first words of Christ as presented in the Gospels. The words of Christ are powerful. In the beginning, God spoke, and through his Word, the heavens and … Continue reading

The Twelve Days of Emmanuel

Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel (which means, God with us) (Mt 1:23) The joy of Christmas is the joy of Emmanuel. Our God is not distant from us: he … Continue reading

The Way of Happiness

No one can fail to wish to be happy or to seek after happiness. But we are reminded on every side that we have not found it yet. We are still yearning and seeking after happiness, or after someone to … Continue reading

A Prayer of Christian Philosophy

Why, O Eternal Wisdom, do the heavens move as they do, the rains fall, and the windows fog? Why does my breath make clouds? Why does the oil hover on the water and the light burn up the darkness? Why, … Continue reading

5 Meditations for Election Week

This election has all the attraction of a highway car crash. It’s gruesome to behold, but we can’t seem to turn away. Much of America is disillusioned about the candidates, yet record numbers watched the presidential debates. And like a … Continue reading

The Unkempt Man

Brother’s having a really rough day. He wakes up at 7:08 am, throws on his habit, bounds bleary-eyed down two flights of stairs, and makes it to the chapel as the lector finishes the first reading. After Mass, Brother finishes … Continue reading

Light in the Darkness

Light veils monsters to weak eyes. This fact is familiar if you’ve ever been spotted in the dark. A blinding flash fills your doe eyes, abruptly ending your midnight escapades. Frozen, you hold your breath, waiting to see who is … Continue reading

Give Us Wisdom to Govern

“Give me, therefore, wisdom and knowledge to govern this people, for otherwise who could rule this vast people of yours?” (2 Chr 1:9–10) Ascending the throne of Israel, Solomon trembled inside. King David, Solomon’s father, had ruled a united Israel … Continue reading

Godly Speech

It was said of our Holy Father Dominic that he always spoke either with God or about God. Likewise, Blessed Jordan of Saxony tells us that “he dedicated the day to his neighbor, but gave the night to God.” Now, … Continue reading

Lessons From The Garden

The medievals spoke of the Book of Scripture and the Book of Nature, both offering knowledge of God. Even within Scripture, men read from the Book of Nature: Adam naming the animals, Isaiah describing salvation as a desert in bloom, … Continue reading