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Issue 04 – Septuagesima 2021



Odds and ends from the staff of the Lamp.


❖ A friend of the magazine was recently inspired to read The Imitation of Christ after learning that Hank Aaron kept a copy of it in his locker for many years. As an admirer of the greatest of the modern spiritual classics, The Hammer was in the company of numberless saints as well as that of Dr. Johnson, John Wesley, and José Rizal—and another, rather nastier Hank during the sixteenth century. As far as we know the only people who have ever had a bad word for the Imitation were Hans Urs von Balthasar and Nietzsche, who associated it for some reason with Wagnerians. (Our Wagnerian pope would no doubt find this highly amusing.) We recommend the edition published by the Early English Text Society.

❖ In a recent general audience, Pope Francis said very starkly, “The human heart tends toward prayer. It is simply human.” We have always shared this suspicion that our species is actually incapable of foregoing prayer. Man is a political animal, but he is also a praying one, which is why even committed atheists feel inclined to say things like “Our thoughts are with you at this time.” They are also with God.

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