Art by the flockin’ incredible Brian Jocks. As a lover of good stories, I recognize that the Bible is full of them, but I have a qualm about those stories: I don’t get excited by the ones where God is speaking directly to people and telling them exactly what to do. Jesus literally calls, and they follow. I take no comfort in these stories. And really, even if you had to do something you didn’t want to or got persecuted… Read more

  At that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD, because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet. The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time. Getting up and going to Eli, he said, “Here I am. You called me.” Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth. So he said to Samuel, “Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply, Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.” When Samuel went to… Read more

The year of grace 1654, Monday, 23 November, feast of St. Clement, pope and martyr, and others in the martyrology. Vigil of St. Chrysogonus, martyr, and others. From about half past ten at night until about half past midnight, FIRE. GOD of Abraham, GOD of Isaac, GOD of Jacob not of the philosophers and of the learned. Certitude. Certitude. Feeling. Joy. Peace. GOD of Jesus Christ. My God and your God. Your GOD will be my God. Forgetfulness of the world and… Read more

Associate Editor’s note: This Dark Devotional was written reflecting on the Feast of Christ the King, the end of the Church year. I thought it fitting now, at the beginning of a new calendar year. Hope you will too. Happy new year. -Matt The year is nearly over. Today marks the beginning of the end. Next Sunday we begin the new year with the start of Advent. It is almost as though we have finished our journey. Our quest is… Read more

  “It’s a cage. It’s a cage. No, it’s a real cage.’” –Ta-Nehisi Coates   At age two or three, after dark, I stood on my home’s stoop, the limits of where I was allowed outside the house, and because of the steps up to this vantage point, I could see the man sitting in a cage, naked, or almost naked.   The cage, in the back of a police pick-up, had bright lights attached to the truck and pointed… Read more

  I have always struggled with the Beatitudes. “Blessed are _______ for they will ______.” Fill in the blank. I can’t help but sigh, “really?” and “when?” “Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted” When? “Rejoice and be glad; your reward will be great in heaven.” That has never comforted me. What about now? What about this life? Does it not matter? Will we feel any relief during our days in waiting for the coming? “Your reward… Read more

When I was in graduate school, I read a lot of books by American Buddhists and Tibetan Buddhists who’d come to the US.  (This was not what I was studying, but this is what I read.  Maybe this is why I had to delay my comps by a semester.)  In one of the books, the author suggests moving throughout your day imagining that all the people around you were once your mother, moving about in that tenderness.  I think of… Read more

  In December, in the year 2000, I was 21 years old and four months pregnant. I was staying with my Great Aunt Kathleen in her Chicago flat. The ancestral silence of the place was stifling. After months of desperation, contemplation, research, and prayer, I was planning to give my child up for adoption. I had no money, no home, no degree, no solid plans for the future, no spouse. I did have a fierce love for my unborn child,… Read more

Christmas is complicated. On one hand, the music is familiar, the smells are sweet, the ornaments are sentimental, the snow sparkles, the air is crisp and easier to breathe, the presents are piled high under the tree. On the other hand, we can’t turn back time as much as we wish to, we can’t make gifts from nothing, we can’t wish people different, we can’t strong-arm good into triumphing over evil. The holidays are lonely. Even in rooms filled with… Read more

As I read and meditated on this Sunday’s readings, I couldn’t get a question out of my mind. If the theme is that Jesus is the descendant of King David and fulfills the promises made by God to his chosen people, then why insert the conclusion of the Letter to the Romans. After dwelling on the question for some time I came to the conclusion that the keyword for understanding this choice is “wisdom.” St. Paul speaks of wisdom more than… Read more

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