The Fire of Pain and Pride

Take a moment to read Thomas L. McDonald's insightful and humble piece on how he heard God speak to his heart and soul. There are Christians who seem to believe that God only speaks through words. This is a rather puzzling and limiting idea for a creator who gave us five senses plus an imagination and intellect. God spoke through Mozart and Bach, through Caravaggio and Monet, through Shakespeare and John Donne, through St. Thomas Aquinas and Pope John Paul II. He speaks in many languages: … [Read more...]

The Long Road to Jerusalem

When the days for Jesus’ being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. Today's Gospel, from Luke 9:51-62, is one of those readings that sets some people on edge, as Jesus can seem a bit curt: But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.” But he answered him, “Let the dead … [Read more...]

The Heart of the Matter

I was thinking about this: The fullness of healing, of course, can only come when the victims finally feel capable of saying “I forgive you…” That moment -which cannot be compelled and does not mean forgetting- is the moment when a victim takes his life back. When a victim says, “I forgive you,” she confers her own power over the entire situation, and controls it. It is transformative; it brings a victim into his or her Royal Priesthood. Forgiveness, I have learned, is essential to … [Read more...]

The Great Prostration; Count Me In

In an impromptu, and very beautiful homily, Pope Benedict XVI last week brought up the issue of penance: Penance is grace; it is a grace that we recognize our sin, it is a grace that we know we need renewal, change, a transformation of our being. Penance, being able to do penance, is the gift of grace. And I must say that we Christians, even in recent times, have often avoided the word penance, it has seemed too harsh to us. Now, under the attacks of the world that speak to us of our sins, we … [Read more...]

John Allen; definitive on Benedict, Scandals

The great John Allen, perhaps the best English-language reporter on the Vatican beat, does yeoman's work in three different articles, to which I am linking today. Allen takes knowledgeable, sometimes devastating but always fair looks at Pope Benedict XVI and the crisis that has engulfed him over the past few weeks and has come to -rather unjustly- define his papacy. None of these pieces is fun to read. All of them are thoughtful, instructive and very valuable, particularly to anyone who wants … [Read more...]