For the past two weeks, I’ve been troubled by Jesus’ admonition to stay awake and be ready. In the Gospel for the first week of Advent, he described the servants, left to do their work when the master went away. What is the work that I am left to do, that I am supposed to be doing, so that I am ready and awake when Christ comes again? It bothers me to admit that I don’t know what this work… Read more

Here I am at 11pm, in the final hour of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. And I’m doing that thing again. That thing I do when I’m staying up too late because my day felt meaningless. I want to do something fulfilling with these late hours after my kids are in bed (they are 4, 3, and 10 months old). Instead, all I do is scroll my phone or stare out the window because so much infant- and… Read more

When I was nineteen, I returned from a summer of working on an organic wheat farm in Kansas, to find that my parents had been ejected from the community where we’d lived for nine years, and taken up residence in a trailer on a compound where a shifty-eyed man was claiming to see apparitions of the Virgin Mary.  I stayed with them for two weeks while deciding to return to a university which had not been especially intellectually or spiritually… Read more

Yesterday—the Saturday before the first Sunday of Advent—I read a poem by Nikki Giovanni, and it helped me make sense of my experience in worship this morning, reminded me why during Advent, when so many are already knee deep in tinsel and cheer, the physical sensations of sadness tingle across my chest and down my arms more often than usual. My two youngest kids and I hurried out of the house this morning, leaving my wife and oldest child behind… Read more

In our next installment of “Write the Vision” – Sick Pilgrim’s series featuring writers of faith unpacking their vision of God’s justice – writer Shannon Evans unpacks the evolution of her vision of racial justice. Shannon writes with fierce love and compassion for the widow and orphan, the least and the lost. Today she shares how relationships in her life have formed her vision for racial justice.  – Sarah Margaret Babbs, Social Justice Editor         My white… Read more

Sick Pilgrim goes Christmas shopping for the Catholic-conflicted and Catholic-attracted in your life. Jessica Mesman Griffith recommends: Kingdom of Women by Rosalie Morales Kearns Sick Pilgrim’s 2017 Book of the Year is Kingdom of Women, which imagines an alternate reality in which the Roman Catholic Church finally makes women priests–and a man slaughters the first class at their ordination. (A scenario that seems all to horrifically imaginable, does it not?) There’s one survivor of the massacre: Averil Parnell–whose life is spared when she’s late to the… Read more

Where does spirit come from? From God ultimately, of course, but I mean, in the world where it works on us. Where does it come from? The Gospel reading seems to make it pretty plain that it comes from the desert: As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. A voice of one crying out in the desert: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight… Read more

“Think, dear sir, of the world you carry within you, and call this thinking what you will; whether it be remembering your own childhood or yearning toward your future—only be attentive to that which rises up in you and set it above everything that you observe about you.” –Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet, Letter Six   Puddle Apocalypse: In Praise of Forgetfulness As solstice approaches, and I meditate on Advent in an online course with Rebecca Bratten… Read more

One of the things Sick Pilgrim has done, and does well, is to open space for those who for whatever reason, do not fit or have been hurt by the Church. Despite Christ’s exhortations to the contrary, there are invisible people in all of our churches. There are invisible people in every community, and these people on the margins are holy. When we choose the invisible, the poor, the misfit, we have chosen like Jesus. We have chosen Jesus. Advent… Read more

The first reading for the First Sunday of Advent (Is 63: 16b-17, 19b; 64:2-7) begins benignly enough: You, Lord, are our father, our redeemer you are named forever. The line evokes a comforting certainty—I may not understand much else that’s happening right now (in my nation, my diocese, my extended family, etc.), but I know you, Lord, are our “redeemer,” “our father . . . forever.” Lines like this make reading some Advent Scriptures feel like being wrapped in a… Read more

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