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Viewpoint: God, who knows each sparrow, is with us through all things

July 9th, 2017 Posted in Death & Resurrection

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A violent windstorm ripped through my town the other night, the kind that leaves you mesmerized yet humbled at your own powerlessness. Nearby, a tornado wreaked damage, with 76,000 homes left without power, and 80-mph winds were the norm.

We were lucky at my house. Some bushes were partially uprooted, but we were able to sink them back into the soil and they’re doing well. Read more »

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How do we understand mysticism today?

June 23rd, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized

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Catholic News Service

In the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome stands what art critics believe to be one of the great masterpieces of the Baroque era: The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

The 17th-century statue, in stunning white marble, is also perhaps the most powerful artistic depiction of the mystical experience.

In Bernini’s classic sculpture, the great mystic St. Teresa of Avila lies back, her eyes closed, her mouth gaping open, as an angel of the Lord pierces her with a golden spear. Read more »

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What is spiritual direction?

June 16th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized

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Catholic News Service

Have you ever sat down for coffee with a good friend and found yourself sharing a problem with her? This friend is a good listener and suddenly you find her showing you your own problem, perhaps in your own words, but in a new light.

She’s not telling you what to do. But she’s looked at the prism of your life from a different angle than you have, and she turns it gently toward you so that you see the light from that side, too.

In a very real sense, that is what spiritual direction can be. Read more »

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Cemeteries: ‘Thin spaces’ that evoke communion of the saints

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One summer, my husband and I did something we didn’t do when we lived in Alaska: we took road trips throughout 48 states. And in some of those places we visited cemeteries.

Since we both love Abraham Lincoln, we stopped at the Gettysburg battlefield and the cemetery where Lincoln delivered his famous address. We also visited Springfield, Ill., where Lincoln lies buried in an impressive monument. We visited the street near the state capitol that has been preserved just as it was when Lincoln lived there and was an attorney in the city. Read more »

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Motherhood: A vocation that grows and changes

May 5th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized

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Catholic News Service

In 1916, Padraig Pearse was executed by the British for his role in the Irish Easter uprising.

Pearse was more of a scholar and a poet than he was a warrior. But like many in the fledging rebellion against the British, he had a romantic view of Irish martyrdom.

One of his best-loved poems was about his mother, and as we celebrate Mother’s Day, the words that he attributes to her about his own approaching death might touch every mother’s heart: “Lord, thou art hard on mothers: / We suffer in their coming and their going.” Read more »

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Care for creation: A moral issue and a Catholic issue

April 28th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized

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Catholic News Service

 

You need look no further than the rising sea waters threatening Miami or the erosion of coastal Alaska, where entire villages must be relocated in a state that’s becoming a bellwether for climate change.

Or study our polluted oceans, where our love affair with one-use plastic desecrates the sea, or feel the incrementally hotter temperatures assailing us each decade. Read more »

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Three pillars, three saints

March 27th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized

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Catholic News Service

The three pillars of Lent — prayer, fasting, almsgiving — enrich our spiritual life during this penitential season. But they can also be challenging.

Saints can shed light on our journey. So let’s begin with almsgiving and look to St. Katharine Drexel as a profound example of the depth to which this practice calls us. Read more »

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New ways to give alms

March 20th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized

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Catholic News Service

The word “almsgiving” has an old-fashioned ring to it. It calls to mind a Charles Dickens novel, a street urchin begging from the upper classes.

How many of us write a check to our local food bank and think of it as “giving alms”? It’s not really a 21st-century term. Read more »

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Ways to pray during Lent

March 6th, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized

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Catholic News Service

“Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”

These words are from Scripture, in 1 Samuel, Chapter 3. The young boy Samuel, the future prophet, awakens the aged Eli because he thinks he has been called by him. But Eli recognizes that it is God calling Samuel. When it happens again, Eli says, tell the Lord you are listening. Read more »

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Lent as a pilgrimage

February 23rd, 2017 Posted in Uncategorized Tags: ,

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Catholic News Service

When the comedian Stephen Colbert appeared, one Ash Wednesday, on his late-night television show with ashes marking his forehead, I felt a sense of communion.

He’s one of my tribe, I thought. Colbert is a well-known Catholic. He even invited Jesuit Father James Martin to serve as the unofficial “chaplain” to his Comedy Central program.  Read more »

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