Beyond Tenebrae: Citizenship in a Republic of Letters

De Regno Christi

[Hillsdale College, Convocation Address, April 16, 2009]
Bradley Birzer

President Arnn, colleagues, students, and guests, I thank you profoundly for asking me to speak.

Today is Easter Thursday, 2009, and we have passed beyond, at least in this Christian liturgical season, the time of great darkness, the time known as Tenebrae, the hours after 3pm on Good Friday, the moment when the world shook with the absence of grace.  The extinguishing of light, candle by candle; the stripping of the altar; the beating of the books; the departure from the chapel in a deafening silence.

Still, if we look at the state of the world, the state of our republic, the state of western and American culture, we still seem to be lingering in Tenebrae, the darkness absent of grace.  Hovering, circling, peering into the abyss, too timid to jump in, not strong enough to walk away.  Easter Day…

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