And so it begins.

I have not blogged in a long time. I used to have a Blogger site, long deleted, and a MySpace account wherein I posted portions of the Roman Martyrology and occasional elements from the Roman Breviary according to the day and season of the year. I was never much one for inserting my own commentary, just letting the Roman Liturgy speak for itself. That fizzled out when I began graduate school, and the combination of school and the addition of children pretty much guaranteed the end of that.

Lately I have been dealing with two major sources of stress in my life, (1) a doctoral dissertation that progresses more slowly than I would like and (2) a spiritual dissatisfaction that is the source of much consternation and discomfort. Both will receive attention here, though in what proportions and to what degree of detail I do not know.

I am a canonically Latin-rite Catholic who worships at a Byzantine-rite parish with a great admiration for Eastern Catholicism, Orthodoxy, both Eastern and Oriental, and the Assyrian Church of the East. Though largely sympathetic to the liturgical and doctrinal concerns of Catholic traditionalists, I could hardly lay claim to the title “traditionalist.” I also daily grow more weary of what I’ve taken to calling “Catholic taxonomy,” dividing co-religionists into “liberal,” “conservative,” “traditionalist,” “progressive,” “neo-Catholic,” etc.

The title of the blog is an allusion to the second stanza of the first hymn on Paradise by St. Ephrem the Syrian, under whose patronage I place this little blog. The relevant portion, in the translation of Sebastian Brock:

I took my stand halfway / between awe and love; //
a yearning for Paradise / invited me to explore it, //
but awe at its majesty / restrained me from my search. //
With wisdom, however, / I reconciled the two; //
I revered what lay hidden / and meditated on what was revealed. //
The aim of my search was to gain profit, / the aim of my silence was to find succor. //

(St. Ephrem the Syrian: Hymns on Paradise (trans. Sebastian Brock; Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1990) 78)

Though I anticipate airing concerns and grievances with the Church, in addition to more general commentary, I hope to avoid creating a spot to merely complain. I’m not sure what this blog will be or how often I will update it. I will probably post portions of the hymns of Giwargis Warda I am working on, along with virtually anything else from the world of Christianity that interests me.

Māran etraḥam ‘lay! (Our Lord, have mercy on me!)