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Conversion: Turning Toward the World

Conversion, says the author, does not imply a flight from the world, but an ability to embrace it the same way that Jesus did. God so loved the world that he sent his only Son.

I want to begin with a story. It is the story of a precocious child growing up in a somewhat menacing, dysfunctional household. It is the story of a bright young man who in his teens left the sleepy backwater of his hometown to study language arts at a renowned academic center in North Africa. It is the story of a well-educated debater endowed with a powerful imagination and a lawyer’s love of detail. It is the story of an ambitious self-starter with promising prospects for a career in politics and government; a lusty young man who met a beautiful woman and fell in love (still teenagers, they moved in together, and by the time he was 17, they had a child, a son); a troubled young man who continued living with this woman for the next fourteen or fifteen years as he meandered through a maze of attachments to trendy philosophical movements and religious cults; an uncompromising young intellectual who nevertheless, was not immune to the seductions of social position, wealth, and power.

It is a story, too, about this young rogue’s mother—a woman of formidable energy and intellect; a vivacious, devout, meddlesome Christian yoked to an older man in an often turbulent marriage; a mother with ideas of her own, who found it extremely difficult to let go of her son; a tough, savvy mother who knew she had the wits and entrepreneurial skills to manage her child’s career; an unscrupulous mother who schemed to engineer an alliance between her (by then) 32-year-old son and a prominent Catholic family in a city distinguished by its civil, intellectual, and ecclesiastical life—even though this scheme meant that her son would have to abandon the woman he’d loved and lived with for a decade and a half in order to marry a girl who was not yet twelve years old!

No, this is not a story ripped from the pages of Soap Opera Digest. The manipulative mother was Monica; the troubled young man was Augustine; the woman he lived with—mother of their son, Adeodatus—remains anonymous, the victim of a social and religious caste system that made her presence in his life increasingly inconvenient, embarrassing, and negligible. Yet, despite these ugly subtexts, the story of Augustine’s conversion in the city of Milan in the year 386 has long been romanticized as the perfect model of what it means to abandon a life of sin and turn wholly to God. So rhapsodic have the reactions been to Augustine’s description of his experience in Book 8 [12.28] of his Confessions, that we may have lost sight of its extreme oddity—and even of its perversity.

An honest reading of the Confessions will show that there’s a good deal of narcissistic manipulation, moral treachery, and solipsistic sleaze in Augustine’s story. There’s good reason, for example, to believe that the close connection between Augustine’s conversion (in 386) and his baptism (on the night of April 24-25, 387) had as much to do with Monica’s scheme to arrange a socially, politically, and financially advantageous marriage for her son as it did with a searing spiritual revelation. As Augustine’s biographer Peter Brown has noted, “An alliance, through legitimate marriage, to a Milanese Catholic family close to [the bishop] Ambrose offered [Augustine] an entry into the governing class of the Western Empire. A provincial governorship, secure wealth, and privileged leisure were the rewards he might expect”—points Augustine himself was very well aware of (see Conf 6.11.19).

For Augustine, turning to God meant withdrawing from a world that had wounded him with its wrenching losses and had betrayed him with its compulsive seductions.

More troubling still is the way Augustine dealt with his unnamed, common-law wife, the mother of his son. In spite of their long relationship, Augustine quickly cut this woman out of his life—without showing the slightest awareness that such a peremptory dismissal constituted a serious moral lapse. On the contrary, in the Confessions, Augustine’s reactions are astonishingly narcissistic; they largely ignore his long relation to this woman and focus instead on the pain of his conversion. “I was crushed, wounded, and bleeding,” he laments.

His suffering was so acute, he says, that he felt compelled to seek comfort for a time with a live-in prostitute. (Remember: all this happened less than a year before Augustine offered himself to Ambrose as a candidate for baptism at the Easter Vigil of 387!) In all his complaining, Augustine never once stops to consider the feelings of the woman he abandoned. Never once does he speak of her anguish. Never once does he admit that the mother of his child has been sacrificed on the altar of his own self-interest. Never once is there any admission that this woman had suffered an emotional cataclysm equal to Augustine’s own. And when Adeodatus died in the year 388, at the age of seventeen, we’re told of Augustine’s devastation and heartache, but there is not one mention of the boy’s mother. (See Conf 9.6.14) She had become absent, silent, and invisible.

Thus, however moving and psychologically insightful they are, the Confessions reveal a man who was utterly “preoccupied with himself … and relatively unconcerned with the welfare and circumstances of persons beyond himself, except as they affect him.”1 His deprivations matter; those of others don’t seem to—a disturbing character trait, surely, in one destined to become the chief architect of western Christian theology.

And yet, to this day, Augustine’s Confessions remain a “classic” in the literature of Christian conversion—and that is due, in part, to the remarkably modern tone of the Confessions, to their habit of self-analysis and self-disclosure. Augustine gave us the first conversion story that invites us to eavesdrop on the author’s anxious inner dialogue. Indeed, most of Augustine’s anxieties map our own: anxiety about sex and relationships; anxiety about past and future, time lost and time wasted; anxiety about authenticity and truth; anxiety about coming so late to the love of a God who is Beauty, ever ancient and ever new (Conf 10.27-38). Like most modern men and women, Augustine was keenly aware that we are as mysterious to ourselves as we are to others. Quite simply, we are not who we think we are. Augustine knew that, and he was terrified by its implications.2

In a nutshell, conversion today means turning toward the world, not backing away from it.

Indeed, Augustine came to recognize that the answer to the question “who am I?” can be answered only by an Other, an Other who is God—–eternal, unsurpassable, irreducible, inexhaustible, and hence immune to the anxieties of time and the body. It thus comes as no great surprise that for Augustine, conversion had to embody itself as celibacy, as a clerical career lived out in a monastic community that excluded women and children. And the impact of this Augustinian conversion model on the life and culture of Western Christianity cannot be underestimated. From Augustine onward, conversion in the classic Christian sense become “celibacized, clericalized, and monasticized.” For Augustine, turning to God meant withdrawing from a world that had wounded him with its wrenching losses and had betrayed him with its compulsive seductions.

In this presentation, I’d like to suggest that we imagine the work of Christian conversion in a different register, because conversion today requires of us choices that are perhaps quite different from those Augustine made.

For Augustine, conversion meant making passion rational. For us, it means making reason passionate.

For Augustine, conversion meant making restlessness serene. For us, it means making serenity restless.

For Augustine, conversion meant finding in community life a safe refuge from the world. For us, it means creating community within the world, through “partnership with lay men and women,” through “effective solidarity with the poor,” and “through dialogue at all levels.”3

In short, conversion for us today means deliberately choosing change, choosing passion, desire, restlessness, and relationship. For Augustine, conversion meant abandoning the treacherous instabilities of time, sex, and the body in order to seek a God who is timeless, fleshless, passionless, and celibate; but for us, conversion means embracing change as the God-given condition of growth. Our challenge is not to reject the bonds that hold us to earth, but to seek God within the tumults of time, within the subtleties of sex, within the body’s fierce beauty and comic bombast, within all life’s changing seasons.

We cannot ignore these realities, even if we embrace the Augustinian ideal of a life that is celibate, clerical, and centered on community. Conversion means not flight, but the constant, conscious choice of what the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda once called “the confused impurity of the human condition . . . footprints and fingerprints, the abiding presence of the human . . . our bodies, soup-stained, soiled with our shameful behavior, our wrinkles and vigils and dreams.”4

In a nutshell, conversion today means turning toward the world, not backing away from it. It means falling in love with a planet where God can be known only in and as one’s neighbor. It means discovering God in a world flawed, clawed, and bitten; a cosmos scarred by flood and flame, fire and ice. It means embracing the body’s wisdom as a source of (not an obstacle to) spiritual growth and wisdom. Conversion today means embracing the world—its sweat and smoke, its denials and doubts, its laughter, losses and loyalties, its hackneyed endearments.5 Unconditionally. As God does. As Jesus did.

To speak of falling in love with the world is not to suggest that we should ignore its brutalities—its sadistic rituals of war and violence, its nasty habit of cannibalizing its best and brightest.

Perhaps one of the wisest comments on conversion comes from a letter the British poet and novelist D.H. Lawrence wrote to an Anglican curate over 100 years ago (in 1907):

I believe that people are converted when first they hear the low, vast murmur of life, of human life, troubling their hitherto unconscious selves.

I believe people are born first unto themselves, while the world is a nursery. . .

But most [people] are born again on entering adulthood; then they are born to humanity, to a consciousness of all the laughing, and the never-ceasing murmur of pain and sorrow that comes from the terrible multitude of brothers [and sisters].

Then . . . people gradually formulate their religion . . . They have no religion who have not slowly and painfully gathered one together, adding to it, shaping it.6

Lawrence’s view—that we are converted only when we are born to humanity, to a consciousness of all its laughter and the never-ceasing murmur of its pain and sorrow—is echoed in a letter of American novelist William Goyen, written in September of 1948, to Margo Jones. I quote a passage from it here:

There is so much beauty in the world, so much beauty that must be told about powerfully that one must save his power for it. . .

Human beings, too,…are beautiful and treacherous and full of such mystery. God knows we need someone to tell us the human is beautiful these days, and we need to hear ever and ever again that even in our ugliness we must be loved into something more than ourselves and more than ugliness. My side is on the side of the human being, and the human being moving in nature, which is spirit; and nothing else seems important to me, and if I thought I could not spend my life laboring to perceive and to understand and to clarify what happens to us in the world then I would want to die.7

To speak of falling in love with the world is not to suggest that we should ignore its brutalities—its sadistic rituals of war and violence, its nasty habit of cannibalizing its best and brightest. Every day, about 24,000 people in our world die of hunger—and 75 percent of those are children under the age of 5. AIDS ravages much of sub-Saharan Africa. In Asia, an undersea earthquake sends a tsunami slamming into the coastline and snuffs out 230,000 lives. In the midst of such relentless suffering and desolation, it takes an act of great daring, imagination, and courage (not to say madness!) to pronounce the world and its people “blessed” or “beautiful.”

Yet, that is exactly what Jesus did. Blessed are the destitute! Blessed are the reviled! Blessed are the weeping! Blessed are the hungry! Blessed are the ones who suffer! Blessed, in other words, are all those people who live, marginalized, on the world’s boundaries—the sore and smelly, the unclean, the degraded, the expendable, the unattractive, the unwanted, the abused, the rejected. Blessed are the nobodies. Because in the teaching of Jesus, to embrace the reign of God—to experience conversion—was to become a nobody. It was to acquire the status of a child in a world where children were not cute, chubby, cuddly creatures but powerless nothings, liabilities whom parents often abandoned at dump sites and garbage piles, to be rescued by the unscrupulous for sale as slaves.

Jesus did not believe that the world needed to be sanitized before it could be saved.

What an affront to traditional religious sensibilities for Jesus to claim that God’s kingdom—God’s mighty act of reigning—is like an unwanted child abandoned at a dumpster! For this changes everything! It means that the life of religious conversion, of godly virtue, does not bring admiration, adulation, honor and acclaim. No; it puts you right in the dumpster with the abandoned children and the lepers, with the discards, with the leftovers, the has-beens and the have-nots. For in Jesus’ radical view of God, kingdom, and community, conversion means not respectability but risk and ridicule. To convert means to join ranks with precisely those people whom “respectable” society fears, hates, rejects, and despises.8

But Jesus taught and thought otherwise. Jesus’ reaction to the world of reviled nobodies was not repudiation or retreat but complete identification. As George Hunsinger has written in a beautiful essay on the gospel stories of healing the leper,9 Jesus did not believe that the world needed to be sanitized before it could be saved. He did not believe that misfortune must be controlled before it can be cured. On the contrary, he thought the unthinkable, spoke the unspeakable, touched the untouchable—opening his life and his body to the leper’s virulent defilement and to the woman’s violent hemorrhaging (Lk 8:43-48). Jesus became what he healed. Moreover, he died outside the camp (Heb 13:12-13), forever aligned with the oppressed and the outcast, with those who have “no place at the table.” As Hunsinger comments:

Those who have been touched by Jesus Christ and healed [i.e., those who have experienced conversion] are not expected to be respectable or conventional. They are expected to be outside the camp. They are expected to work for peace at a time when the world still seems hell-bent on . . . destruction, and for the integrity of creation at a time of its increasing desecration. They are expected to cry out against the injustice visited upon the world’s vast majority who are poor, hungry, and oppressed. They are expected to stand up for those who are systematically abused and excluded merely because of their gender or sexual orientation. They are expected to know that “God stands at every time on this [side] and only on this side: always against the exalted and for the lowly, always against those who already have rights and for those from whom [rights] are robbed and taken away” (Barth).10

To be converted is to be sent outside the camp. It is to become the hunted, not the hunter. It is to become not the world’s despot, but the world’s dinner—bread, bone, breath, and blood given to all and for all. It is to live at the edge of the raft, not at the luxurious center of the yacht. It is to recognize that what the world needs is a kiss, not a curse. You may recall that a kiss is what even the inquisitor gets in Dostoyevsky’s magnificent novel The Brothers Karamazov: “Suddenly [Christ] approaches…[the inquisitor] in silence and gently kisses him on his bloodless, ninety-year-old lips.”11 As Fred Dini has commented:

Since Christ kisses the Grand Inquisitor on the lips, he places himself on equal footing with the man, neither above nor below him . . . Furthermore, by kissing the lips from which came a lengthy tirade against him, Christ silences the inquisitor and reaffirms his love for him.12

Yes, even the surly, cold-blooded Grand Inquisitor has to be embraced and kissed Why? Because, Jesus teaches, from now on God’s name and nature can be known only in and as one’s neighbor. As Thomas Sheehan has said, the revolutionary character of Jesus’ message was this: “that God, as God, [has become] wholly identified with people. The reign of God [means] the incarnation of God.”13 This is what gave Jesus’ message and ministry its radical newness:

The kingdom was not something separate from God, like a spiritual welfare state that a benign heavenly monarch might set up for his faithful subjects. Nor was it any form of religion. The kingdom of God was [simply God]… given over to people. It was a new order of things in which God[‘s lot is thrown in] irrevocably with human beings. [The kingdom of God means] God chooses relatedness to [people] as the only definition of [the divine]. . . .

The radicalness of Jesus’ message consisted in its implied proclamation of the end of religion, [if by religion one means] the bond between two separate and incommensurate entities called “God” and [“humanity.”] That is, Jesus destroyed the notion of “God-in-Godself” and put in its place the experience of “God-with-us”. . . Jesus’ doctrine of the kingdom meant that God had become incarnate . . . had disappeared into humankind and could be found nowhere else but there. . . . The doctrine of the kingdom meant that henceforth and forever God [is] present only in and as one’s neighbor.14

Henceforth and forever God is known and named only as the leper’s sores, the prostitute’s perfumed ointment, the widow’s dead child—only as power exercised on behalf of humanity, especially the poor and needy. As Edward Schillebeeckx has written, the God of Jesus is a God “intently focused on humanity,” a God whose “will” is only and always a willing good for the human world. Or as Andrew Greeley once said, in a more down-to-earth formula, “The good news of Jesus is: God isn’t angry; God’s not mad!” The God of Jesus has no anger to be assuaged, no ego to be massaged, no reputation to be refurbished, no political damage to control. The anger, the ego, the wounded reputations, the political potholes are on our side of the street. The first step toward conversion is thus the honest recognition of where things are—and to whom they rightly belong. The God of Jesus is able to love the world unconditionally precisely because this God does not project onto the world the rage, the self-destructive anger, the deadly internalized violence, that keep most of us sick most of the time.

The revolutionary character of Jesus’ message was this: “that God, as God, [has become] wholly identified with people.

The God of Jesus is not some ancient curmudgeon, some mummy-faced Nazi gauleiter whose dream is to turn human hides into lampshades. Rather, the God revealed in the life, death and rising of Jesus is like a newborn child—supple, unselfconscious, and hence completely and immediately alive to every moment, every being, every person, every potential. God is that unique Person in the universe who makes a difference to all things, and to whom all things make a difference. And so, God can be ever ancient and ever new. As Emilie Conrad Da’oud has written:

There is no self-consciousness in the newborn child. Later on, the mind wanders into self-images, starts to think Should I do this? Is this movement right? and loses the immediacy of the moment. As self-consciousness develops, the muscles become less supple, less like the world. But the young child is pure fluidity. It isn’t aware of any separation, so all its movements are spontaneous and alive and whole and perfect.

If an adult body becomes truly supple, though, there’s a quality to its movement that the child’s doesn’t have, a texture of experience, a fourth dimension of time. When we watch a seventy-year-old hand move, we feel, “Yes, that hand has lived.” All the bodies it has touched, all the weights it has lifted, all the heads it has cradled are present in its movement. It is resonant with experience; the fingers curve with a sense of having been there. Whereas in a child’s hand there’s a sense of just arriving. The child’s movement is pristine and innocent and delightful, but a truly supple adult movement is awesome, because all life is included in it.15

So conversion means falling in love with the world the way a supple seventy-year-old hand has fallen in love with life. Conversion is godly, God-like, precisely because it puts us in touch with what is most resolutely ordinary—and thus most radically mysterious—about human life. The path of conversion is the path of everyday life. It is the path of mewling children and pets that spit up on cashmere sweaters and neighbors with booming stereos from hell; it is the path of stained carpets and dying refrigerators; it is the path of sputtering marriages, broken vows, and failed resolutions; it is the path of AIDS, and cancer, and chemotherapy. It is also the path of courage and compassion, of hope that refuses to capitulate to despair, of prayer that continues to sing toward the silence of God. As Nancy Mairs puts it in her wonderful book Ordinary Time:

Refrigerators and the wisdom or folly of their purchase do not belong in books about religious belief and religious practice, convention tells me. Refrigerators are profane: before the temple, not within its sacred precincts. God [is not concerned about] appliances.

This kind of split makes me crazy, this territorializing of the holy. Here God may dwell. Here God may not dwell. It contradicts everything in my experience, which says: God dwells where I dwell. Period. I could give a clearer sense of this homeliness of the holy, I know, if I could make my mind up what I mean by “God.” Instead, I have to make God up, over and over again, adding fresh layers of comprehension, responding with new capacities for belief, in the protracted process I’ve come to know as conversion. . .

. . .God is here. And here, and here, and here. Not an immutable entity detached from time but a continual calling and coming into being. Not transcendence, that orgy of self-alienation beloved of the Fathers, but immanence: God working out Godself in every thing. Process, yes, that’s what I want to explore and celebrate, the holy as verb, Godding, not Godness or Godhood. What she does. How she does it . . . I’m certain that God slips and surprises more gloriously than Gerard Manley Hopkins’s stippled trout.16

The homeliness of the holy; the dailiness of the divine: such is the recognition Christian conversion awakens in us. We know we are on conversion’s path NOT when we have all the answers, but when we have learned to love the questions. We know we are on conversion’s path when every corner of the world claims our attention and calls out to us for care, compassion, and celebration. As T. S. Eliot said, in the final section of “Little Gidding,” the last of the Four Quartets:

See . . .
We die with the dying:
See, they depart, and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them. . .

. . . A people without history
Is not redeemed from time,
for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments. . . .

We shall not cease from exploration.
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time. . . .17

Conversion is a call to unceasing exploration—of everything from the simplest coelenterate to the most complex feelings of fear, loss and love. As A. R. Ammons wrote in a prayerful poem entitled “Hymn:”

. . . I know if I find you I will have to stay with the earth inspecting with thin tools and ground eyes, trusting the microvilli sporangia and simplest coelenterates and praying for a nerve cell with all the soul of my chemical reactions and going right on down where the eye sees only traces.

You are everywhere partial and entire You are on the inside of everything and on the outside . . .”18

“You are everywhere partial and entire / You are on the inside of everything and on the outside.” We Christians believe in a God who is not afraid of “disappearing” into history and humanity. We believe in a God who embraces all the world’s wonders and all its wounds. That is why the supreme language of Christian conversion is the Exultet rather than the Dies Irae, the paschal praeconium rather than the funereal lament.

We know we are on conversion’s path NOT when we have all the answers, but when we have learned to love the questions.

Conversion is able to recognize the harsh pain of consciousness, the tormenting truth of our separateness and isolation—without rancor, resentment, or bitterness. For there is, after all, a “eucharistic law” that embraces the entire universe. Each of us, in turn, is destined to become daily bread for others, as Jesus was and is. We’re destined to be food for others in the sheer ordinariness of our daily lives. Karl Rahner has put it beautifully in a homily for Easter: “Christ,” writes Rahner,

has risen … and redeemed forever the innermost center of all earthly reality. And having risen, he has held fast to it….

[He] is already in the midst of all the poor things of this earth, which we cannot leave because it is our mother. He is in the worldless expectation of all creatures, which without knowing it, wait to share in the glorification of his body. He is in the history of the earth, the blind course of which in all victories and all breakdowns is moving … toward his day, the day on which his glory, transforming all things, will break forth from its own death. He is in all tears and in all death as hidden rejoicing and as the life which triumphs by appearing to die. He is in the beggar to whom we give, as the secret wealth which accrues to the donor. … He is even in the midst of sin as the mercy of eternal love, patient and willing to the end… .

[This] is our faith. The blessed faith which defies all experience. The faith which can love the earth because it is the “body” of the risen Christ. . . .”19

Conversion means meeting the holy in the homely, the divine in the daily; it means embracing earth; falling in love with the world. That was the eucharistic way of Jesus—and it is our way, too.

Perhaps that is why Matthew reminds us of that; and we are destined to do that in the sheer ordinariness of our day-to-day lives, as Jesus himself did. The Italian writer Luigi Santucci, meditating on the gospel words “He will be called a Nazarene,” wrote: “That is the ultimate significance of Jesus’ words and deeds at table with his friends the night before he died. This is my body, my blood.”

We are fragments of a broken Thing,
To be conscious is to be separate.
This is the dark joy of being,
For separation brings with it death. . .
Yet all is exchange.

Nothing is lost from these siftings.
the planet, the planet will give birth to it once more.
Though the planet be destroyed, new planets shall be created and will renew it.

Exult, all creatures everywhere, for pain is better than nothingness, and joy is still better.
Exult with the dark joy of being.
Exult all you whales of the sea!
Exult, all you little foxes that have your dens in the earth!
For to live and to die is good.

So say the crickets and cicadas, all night long, outside my window here.
So says the oriole who wakes me each morning from the elm that arches the old house.
So say the ailanthus trees stretching toward it their green fronds with leaves on either side as many as the feet of the caterpillar, and every leaf held out to receive the light.
(John Hall Wheelock, This Blesséd Earth. New and Selected Poems, 1927-1977. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1978, 54-55; emphasis added)

ENDNOTES

1 James Dittes, “Continuities between the Life and Thought of Augustine,” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 5:1 [October, 1965], 133; emphasis added.

2 Cf. James J. O’Donnell, Augustine: Confessions. (Text and Commentary); 3 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992); I:xviii.

3 Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, Ensemble/Together 75 (May, 2001), p. 21.

4 B. Belitt, translator, Selected Poems of Pablo Neruda. (New York: Grove Press, 1961), p. 39.

5 Ibid.

6 The Letters of D.H. Lawrence; ed. J. T. Boulton; New York: Cambridge University Press, I:39-40; alt.; emphasis added.

7 Letter of 21 September 1948 to Margo Jones, preserved in the Dallas Public Library. Cited in Reginald Gibbons, William Goyen: A Study of the Short Fiction. (Boston: Twayne, 1991), p. 63.

8 See John D. Crossan, The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant. (San Francisco: Harper, 1991), pp. 266-274.

9 “Jesus and the Leper,” Weavings 5:1 [Jan/Feb, 1990], pp. 30-35.

10 Ibid., p. 35; emphasis added.

11 Fydor Dostoyevsky The Brothers Karamazov, (New York: Vintage Books, 1990), p. 262.

12 “Dostoyevsky’s Grand Kiss,” Humanitas 8:1 [Spring, 1994], p. 670.

13 Thomas Sheehan, The First Coming (New York: Random House Vintage ppb, 1988), p. 60.

14 Ibid., pp. 60-61.

15 Cited in: Stephen Mitchell, trans., Tao te Ching, (San Franciso: Harper Perrenial ppb.), 1991, p. 90.

16 Nancy Mairs, Ordinary Time (Boston: Beacon Press, 1992), pp. 10-11; text slightly altered; emphasis added.

17 Four Quartets, (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Harvest ppb, 1971), pp. 58-59.

18 In: Contemporary American Poetry, ed. Donald Hall; 2nd ed. revised and enlarged; (Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1974), p. 168.

19 Karl Rahner, The Great Church Year, ed. A. Raffelt; trans. H.D. Egan (New York: Crossroad, 1994), pp. 195-96.

 


About Nathan D. Mitchell

Nathan Mitchell, a well-known liturgical scholar, gave this presentation at a retreat to the American Province of the Blessed Sacrament Congregation.