“I feel like a millionaire who has lost ten pounds”. These words, spoken by a Spanish journalist in an interview after becoming tetraplegic owing to a traffic accident, made a deep impact on me and raised questions in my mind.
November, when the sun is losing its strength, the luminosity is fading, the nights are growing, Nature is losing its vitality… it is the right time to look up to Heaven with Hope!
Let’s not mistake God’s patience for inactivity. And let’s remember, in the words of Peter’s friend the Apostle Paul, “that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” (Philippians 1:6). Even if it takes 70 challenging years.
I once attended a series of lectures given by a prominent Polish psychologist, Kazimierz Dabrowski, who had written a number of books around a concept he called “positive disintegration”.
“One can love Jesus, love him in himself, in true, genuine, immediate love.” “You’re actually only really dealing with Jesus when you throw your arms around him and realize right down to the bottom of your being that this is something you can still do today.”
I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer, but it is too proud.
So I like best of all autumn, because its leaves are a little yellow,
its tones mellower, its colors richer, and it is tinged a little with sorrow.
There is a little-known letter written by this diminutive powerhouse that I want to share with you. It’s timely not just because of her approaching feast day, but also because this month marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of its writing.
We are overscheduled, tense, addicted to hurry, frantic, preoccupied, and starved for time. Cramming as much as possible into our Blackberries and to-do lists, we battle to make the best use of every spare minute we have.
A providential suspension in our daily routine is a valid occasion to relax physically and to nurture the spirit. It can be also an opportune time to cultivate the inalienable demands of spirituality…
Shahbaz Bhatti was the Pakistani federal minister for minority affairs. He was shot dead driving from his mother’s Islamabad home. His assassins have never been brought to justice. He was a committed Catholic.
Henri Nouwen, in his writings, frequently asked this question: “How can we live inside a world marked by fear, hatred, and violence and not be destroyed by it?”
Perhaps the reality that is hardest of all to accept in life is the unalterable fact that everything that is precious to us will, in some way, eventually be taken away.
For Christians, ultimately the whole world is holy and everything in it, especially the physical, is potential material for sacrament.
In her book, Survivor, Christina Crawford writes: “Lost is a place, too.” That’s more than a clever sound bite. It’s a deep truth that’s often lost in a world within which success, achievement, and good appearance define meaning and value.
THE VERY FORM OF THE CROSS, extending out into the four winds, always told the ancient Church that the Cross means solidarity: its outstretched arms would gladly embrace the universe. According to the Didache, the Cross is semeion epektaseos, a “sign of expansion”, and only God himself can have such a wide reach
Putting proper names to what is happening inside our experience is the place where we can read the language of God.
Someone once said that the law of gravity and the law of love ultimately have the same source and are both driven by the same spirit, the Holy Spirit.
Among the deeper mysteries in life is the mystery of the Ascension. It’s not so much that we misunderstand it, we simply don’t understand it.
Everything that Jesus reveals about God assures us that God’s hands are much gentler and safer than our own.
For all of us there are times in life when we seem to lose hope, when we look at the world or at ourselves and, consciously or unconsciously, think: “It’s too late! This has gone too far! Nothing can redeem this! All the chances to change this have been used up! It’s hopeless!”
There is a Norwegian proverb that reads: Heroism consists of hanging on one minute longer.
True heroism often consists in staying the course long enough, of hanging on when it seems hopeless, of suffering cold and aloneness while waiting for a new day.
We will not get in touch with the deep source of our lives if the activities of our life are so consuming and obsessive that we can never find an identity and meaning in something beyond them.
The Rosary is a prayer for the home, and a prayer for the road. It is a prayer which builds community and also which propels us on our journey…
During the last years of his life, Thomas Merton lived in a hermitage in an attempt to find more solitude in his life. But solitude is a very illusive thing and he found that it was continually escaping him.
Let us silence the cries of death, no more wars! May we stop the production and trade of weapons, since we need bread, not guns. Let the abortion and killing of innocent lives end. May the hearts of those who have enough be open to filling the empty hands of those who do not have the bare necessities.
Karl Rahner had it right when he said that we do not have souls that get restless, but that our souls themselves are lonely caverns thirsting the infinite, deep wells of restlessness.
This is part of a beautiful article and inspiring meditation titled “Risen Time: Easter as the Source of History” by Fr. Jose Granados, where he situates the paschal mystery in relation to the historical faith of Israel and in relation to the human experience of time and matter.
Throughout the years that I’ve been writing, I have sometimes been asked “Why do you write the way you do, invariably with some kind of secular bent? Why don’t you focus more on catechesis, teaching church doctrine, explaining the creeds, defending the church’s position on moral issues, and doing apologetics for the church?”
Psychologist and author James Hillman suggests that it is our inferiorities that build up our souls. His view is that it is not our strengths that give us depth and character, but our weaknesses.
Joseph is certainly not the man portrayed by a certain iconography. Surrounded by mystery, within a family that he loved and where he felt loved, identified with his vocation of protecting the Author of Life, exercising his profession competently, he was… A HAPPY MAN, a son of his Son’s Resurrection! (Luke 20:36)
God puts us into this world with huge hearts. The human heart in itself, when not closed off by fear, wound, and paranoia, is the antithesis of pettiness. There’s nothing small about the human heart.
On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of his martyrdom, we offer you a Way of the Cross with reflections of saint Oscar Romero.
Putting the paschal mystery at the centre of our lives means feeling compassion towards the wounds of the crucified Christ present in the many innocent victims of wars, in attacks on life, from that of the unborn to that of the elderly, and various forms of violence.
I once received a letter from a woman who expressed frustration in finding support, even among her church friends, for living out a high ideal.
The table is ready: the food of the Word and the Eucharistic food are given to you by him who nourishes, consoles and strengthens you, so that in your journey, in your exodus from this world to the Father, you may be fed and not faint, relishing that viaticum that is offered to you, a sick and tired member of the people of God.
While praying the Scriptures using the lectio divina method we allow ourselves to be cradled or rocked by God. This method is not so much about discovering new meanings, preparing new discourses but feeling God’s presence within us. (Fr. Joe Vieira)
Steps 1-4 help us to listen and “to surrender ourselves to God”.
Step 5 brings us together as brothers and sisters.
In step 6 we confront our life with the Word of God.
In step 7 all are invited to share in spontaneous prayer.
From my early childhood I loved to be outdoors, especially at first light in the morning. There was something very attractive and fascinating, whatever the weather or the time of year. Later on I realized that somehow God was present and speaking to me in a very personal way through nature
In questa serie di riflessioni dei confratelli sulla missione e la Parola di Dio, P. David Glenday condivide, sotto forma epistolare, i suoi pensieri su come la Parola di Dio l’abbia plasmato come missionario.
In preparazione alla prossima Domenica della Parola di Dio vi offriamo dei testi di alcuni comboniani che condividono la loro esperienza sul tema: “La Parola di Dio nel nostro essere e fare missionario”, in occasione dell’anno di spiritualità sulla Parola di Dio, nel 2012. Potete trovare qui il testo in diverse lingue.
Our generation has some wonderful emotional and moral qualities, but patience, chastity, contentment with the limits of circumstance, and the capacity to nobly live out tension are not our strengths.
Every year Time magazine recognizes someone as “Person of the Year”. The recognition isn’t necessarily an honor; it’s given to the person whom Time judges to have been the newsmaker of the year – for good or for bad.
May the joy of the angels, the humility of the shepherds, the perseverance of the wisemen, and the love of the Christ child be among God’s gifts to you this Christmas.
“The incarnation does not provide us with a ladder by which to escape from the ambiguities of life and scale the heights of heaven. Rather, it enables us to burrow deep into the heart of planet earth and find it shimmering with divinity.”
Once while speaking at conference, a woman approached me with this story.
The story of Jesus and the meaning of Christmas can only really be understood by looking at where Jesus came from, his family tree, and by looking at how his story has continued in history.
All of us know how difficult it is for us to be inside the present moment, to not be asleep to the real riches inside our own lives.
When I first began teaching theology, I fantasized about writing a book about the hiddenness of God. Why does God remain hidden and invisible? Why doesn’t God just show himself plainly in a way that nobody can dispute?
The wake left on the surface of the water by a lovely ship gradually spreads until it disappears altogether and merges with the horizon, but it started with the point of the ship itself. The same is true of the wake of believers who make up the Church. It begins at a certain point, and this point is Mary’s faith, her fiat.
The German poet, Goethe speaks of something he calls “holy longing”. He defines it as “a desire for higher love-making”, a longing to embrace the world and make love to it as God does this.
Chastity is not first and foremost a sexual concept. In essence, chastity is proper reverence and respect. To be chaste is to stand before reality, everything and everybody, and fully respect the proper contours and rhythm of things.
What God wants from us is not a million acts of virtue, but a million acts of surrender, culminating in one massive surrender of soul, mind, and body.
That’s a stunning truth: God loves us when we are good, and God loves us when we are bad. God loves the saints in heaven and God loves the devils in hell equally. They just respond differently.
There are two ways in which we can prepare and celebrate Christmas. One way is to live it as a circular time, meaning something that is repeated and commemorated (ok, Christmas again… cool). The other way is to live it as a horizontal or linear time meaning, a time in which every year something absolutely new is happening.
There’s a curious line in our creed which says that, immediately following his death, Jesus “descended into hell”. What possibly can that mean?
Is Eve, the one who let herself be seduced by the snake, who picked the fruit of the tree of knowledge and gave to Adam, the reason for all the misfortunes of the world?
We need to give away some of our own possessions in order to be healthy. Wealth that is hoarded always corrupts those who possess it. Any gift that is not shared turns sour. If we are not generous with our gifts we will be bitterly envied and will eventually turn bitter and envious ourselves.
A healthy spirituality needs to be predicated on a proper understanding of God, ourselves, the world, and the energies that drive our world. These are the non-negotiable Christian principles within which we need to understand ourselves, the world, and the use of our energies.
It is easy to mistake piety for the genuine response that God wants of us, that is, to enter into a relationship of intimacy with Him and then try to help others have that same experience.
Haste is our enemy. It puts us under stress, raises our blood pressure, makes us impatient, renders us more vulnerable to accidents and, most seriously of all, blinds us to the needs of others. Haste is normally not a virtue, irrespective of the goodness of the thing towards which we are hurrying.
When I was a child, our family prayed for and I spontaneously associated “a happy death” with dying cradled in the loving arms of family and church, fully at peace with God and everyone around you.