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From the NOR Dossiers

Vital Works Reconsidered

Finding God’s Will in Each Moment

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #55

David D. Jividen

June 2022

In the many stories of saints who followed their inspirations despite the seeming impossibility of what God was asking them to do, He was the source of life for these souls.

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Why a Self-Indulgent Age Needs a Rough Religion

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #53 & #54

Kenneth Colston

March 2022

Penance is man’s pitiful part in cooperation with grace, an extreme method necessary to combat the difficulties posed by the passion and the pride of man.

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Is There Such a Thing as Catholic Feminism?

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #52

Annesley Anderson

November 2021

Kristin Lavransdatter’s story shows that following our own desires brings pain but also that God remains with us and draws us into His love and service.

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Man’s Natural Aptitude for the Divine

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #51

Edmund B. Miller & Monica Blaney

June 2021

Willa Cather, in Death Comes for the Archbishop, offers a clear literary portrait of a man who sees the divine in the ordinary.

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Chesterton on Man, the Religious Animal

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED #50

Carl Sundell

April 2021

GKC asserts that Jesus was not merely one of many great figures in history; rather, He is at the center of all history: past, present, and future.

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Fragmented Lives of Incomplete Reckoning

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #49

Edmund B. Miller

November 2019

Man’s efforts are lost if they are not embedded in and do not proceed from the eternal perspective, without which they remain fragmented impulses.

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Your Guide to the Interior Life

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #48

F. Douglas Kneibert

May 2019

The Imitation is the finest work of Catholic spirituality. Thomas à Kempis’s voice speaks to us today with the same authority that his monks heard nearly six centuries ago.

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Is Modern Man Too Healthy for Literature?

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #47

Thomas S. Martin

January-February 2018

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To Die from Having Lived

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #46

Mitchell Kalpakgian

September 2017

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When No Man Was His Own

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #45

Ian Hunter

July-August 2016

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A Surrender Total & Complete

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #44

F. Douglas Kneibert

May 2016

In preparation to embrace God’s providence, Fr. Caussade has us renounce our self-love, our will, our efforts, our plans and dreams, our ambitions, and our fears, anxieties, and doubts.

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Freedom, But to What End?

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #43

Christopher Gawley

January-February 2016

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The Tears of a Cleric

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #42

Anne Barbeau Gardiner

November 2015

Bernanos has much to teach us about the clerical state, particularly that being a priest is not really about power, unless it is the power of self-sacrifice.

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A Lifeboat for a Sinking Society

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #41

Stephen J. Kovacs

April 2015

Not seeing man for what he is would be insanity. We must strive for sanity, which consists in "seeing what is, living in the reality of things."

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Average Is Not Normal

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #40

Mitchell Kalpakgian

January-February 2015

Normal signifies the way things ought to be, according to a fixed moral or divine standard. Average frequently denotes middle in the sense of mediocrity.

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Through a Lens, Darkly

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #39

Stanley T. Grip Jr.

December 2014

Excessive confidence in the supposedly foolproof technical quality of America’s nuclear-weapon system is the subject of the classic thriller "Fail-Safe."

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A Thomistic Vision of Man's Final End

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #38

Rob Agnelli

November 2014

Dante relied heavily on the philosophy of Aquinas to construct his epic. The Divine Comedy has been referred to as the “Summa in verse.”

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Purgatory on Earth

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #37

Christopher Gawley

May 2014

Dostoyevsky's 'The Idiot' is a profound testament to the power of purgatorial justice and mercy. A lifelong anti-Catholic, he did not connect it to dogma.

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Manipulation, Murder & Madness

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #36

Mitchell Kalpakgian

September 2013

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Martyrdom in Mexico: Graham Greene's Masterpiece

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #35

F. Douglas Kneibert

June 2013

At its heart, The Power and the Glory is about the conflict between Caesar and God, with the lieutenant symbolizing the power and the lowly priest the glory.

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On Gratitude & Growing Up

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #34

Matthew Anger

April 2013

Dickens's best tales have the cadence of great drama, and there is something universal and enduring in his depiction of life's mysteries that we all relate to yet can't explain.

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What Is Free Time For?

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #33

Kevin Duffy

March 2013

Because we are ultimately not the source of our own value or knowledge, then "finding ourselves" is not the ultimate goal; finding (or approaching) the truth is.

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The Invalid Identification of Contraries With Contradictories

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #32

Donald DeMarco

January-February 2013

Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand's magnum opus, might be the most perplexing and infuriating novel ever written.

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Misreading a Masterpiece

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #31

Kenneth Colston

November 2012

Critical approaches to Cervantes ignore that substantially documented biographical facts of his life do establish that he was a practicing and ardent Catholic.

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Ancient Perspective on the Postmodern Condition

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #30

Fr. James V. Schall, S.J.

July-August 2012

The classics could teach what virtue is, but they could not figure out a way to practice it. The Christian would argue for the help of grace. But even with grace things go wrong.

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Shelter From the Storm

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #29

Elaine Hallett

June 2012

Lear is able to pull back from his obsession to pledge that "I will be the pattern of all patience"; patience, he knows, is the remedy he needs if he is to retain his sanity.

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Elemental & Sophisticated Evil

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #28

Mitchell Kalpakgian

April 2012

The evil that dominates the modern world wears the cloak of legal authority and moral respectability yet strives to expunge every trace of true goodness.

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Saints of Social Revolution

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #27

Christopher Gawley

December 2011

Tolstoy was a world-class novelist and a great and influential heretic: His avant-garde views heralded today’s liberal and relativistic Christians.

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Recalling the Glories of the Faith

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #26

F. Douglas Kneibert

October 2011

Karl Adam's great achievement is to remind us of the inexhaustible resources the Church possesses to carry out her task.

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Advice to Hell Raisers

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED #24 & #25

Carl Sundell

June 2011

Lies are easier to spread than in the old days, when there were many more farmers than there were scholars, and farmers were harder to fool.

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The Third Man & the Third Millennium

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #23

John Martin

May 2011

Graham Greene sees the most dangerous thing of all: ordinary human beings unwilling to distinguish between the dollar and the cross.

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To Question Authority

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED #22

Christopher Gawley

January-February 2011

Turgenev captures an authentic truth in his work: Boys who do not respect their fathers' authority will respect no authority at all.

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Three Victorian Morality Tales

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #19-21

Matthew Anger

July-August 2010

See how three authors — in varying degrees of sympathy with, or hostility toward, Christianity — expressed their conception of the basic struggle between good and evil.

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We Reap What We Sow

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED #18

Mitchell Kalpakgian

May 1995

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Whispering Glades Revisited: No Catholics Allowed

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #17

Edwin Fussell

January/February 1995

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A Twitch Upon the Thread

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #16

Charles Hallett

November 1994

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The Aesthetics of God

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #15

Edwin Fusell

October 1994

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A Neo-Thomist's Defense of Democracy

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED #14

Glenn N. Schram

January-February 1993

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The Incarnational Mind vs. the Captive Mind

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #13

Jean Bethke Elshtain

October 1992

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The Medievalism of Etienne Gilson

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #12

Avery Dulles

September 1992

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Art: Contemplation or Commodity?

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #11

Ronald Austin

January-February 1992

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The Other War We Lost in Vietnam

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #10

Charles Owen Rice

December 1991

President Johnson was seduced by his macho superpatriotism into the morass of Vietnam, and so the war against poverty was lost too.

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C.S. Lewis's Divine Comedy

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #9

Sheldon Vanauken

September 1991

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Orthodoxy — as Opposed to Fundamentalism, Theological Liberalism & Integralism

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #8

John R. Quinn

May 1991

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That Incomprehensible Mystery at the Heart of All Things

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, # 7

Michael E. Smith

January-February 1991

Like Oedipus, we humans are prone to suppose that we can understand all things on earth — perhaps in heaven also — and can thereby control them.

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Christianity's Great Rival

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #6

John Rossi

November 1990

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The Degradation of Work, Yesterday & Today

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #5

Christopher Lasch

October 1990

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The Spanish Civil War: Beyond the Legends

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #4

Jose M. Sanchez

June 1990

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Intellectual Opportunism & the Arteriosclerosis of the American Intelligentsia

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, # 3

John Lukacs

April 1990

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A Shower-Bath from the Height of 500 Million Years

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #2

Will Hoyt

January-February 1990

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The Conspiratorial World View of Whittaker Chambers

VITAL WORKS RECONSIDERED, #1

John Lukacs

November 1989

The road from the Hiss-Chambers case to an American president’s advocacy of the idea of the Evil Empire was straight, though slow.

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