Prayer and Fasting for Christians in Near and Middle East

The remains of the Amir Tadros Coptic Church in Minya, southern Egypt. (VIRGINIE NGUYEN HOANG/AFP/Getty Images)

This morning, I read this and felt a huge interior push to take up a fast and prayer for these brothers and sisters of ours:The silence of our friends – the extinction of Christianity in the Middle EastThe last month and a half has seen perhaps the worst anti-Christian violence in Egypt in seven centuries, with dozens of churches torched. Yet the western media has mainly focussed on army assaults on the Muslim Brotherhood, and no major political figure has said anything about the s … [Read more...]

God in the Balance; Loving Dark and Light

shutterstock_128909486 fallencrucifix

Regardless of our religion -- whether we are Catholics or Evangelicals or Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist -- the spiritual life challenges us to find balance. One of the reasons I was attracted to the Rule of Saint Benedict was because in ora et labora there is a prescription for balance. In the recitation of the Divine Office, we not only sanctify our time but we also set a pace for the whole day of prayer; work; prayer; work until -- if we are good Benedictines (and I am not one) it all flows … [Read more...]

Pillar of Cloud, Water of Life: All of a Healing Piece & Peace

baptismofoursavior

For a little while longer, we are still in Christmas, but every day the mysteries of the season seem to wither a little, like the leaves of the poinsettias; the expectation of Advent seems far away, and in just a few days we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord, and enter -- with some sense of refreshment, because after a time we long for the comforts of what is routine and regular -- into Ordinary Time.The Baptism of the Lord is being presaged in the readings and prayers of the Divine Office. … [Read more...]

What the hell is WRONG with these people? – UPDATE

chesterton last words

If you ever doubted that there is a battle going on all around us -- a true battle -- between good and evil, and that that battle engages every single one of us whether we are aware of it or not, the events of the past week really ought to clarify that point for everyone.In the face of the unspeakable evil of the slaughter of children, good broke through, and the stories are legion -- good people of all faiths and of no faith at all have moved with generosity and concern to do whatever … [Read more...]

My Prayer at Adoration

MonstranceFramed

When I go to Adoration, it is such a privilege and such a humility. I go there in poverty -- unworthy of anything, but willing to be open, because I trust that all God wants of us is our willingness. Always with the reminder jangling in my brain: Weakness is sown, strength rises up.It is part-and-parcel of the great paradox: when I am weak, then I am strong.I am weak, often at my weakest, when I go to Adoration. But I know my prayer there -- even though I have nothing of myself, am … [Read more...]

In Which a Bishop is called “cheeky” – UPDATED

KieranConry by Clare Kendall

(Photo by Clare Kendall)...but I mean no disrespect at all. In my book, he could be cheekier!As the Year of Faith approaches, noteworthy ideas are beginning to make headlines, the most recent being the notion by Kieran Conry, the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, who would like to see the faithful take a scheduled “moment for prayer” on the first Friday of every month.Whatever you are doing, as your responsibilities allow, stop, perhaps close your eyes, bow your head and prayerfully a … [Read more...]

The Aurora Shooter: Image of Loss – UPDATED

lostboy

We all know his name, but I prefer not to use it in a public forum, mostly because his name should not be better known than the names of his victims.I will use it, though, in private prayer.Social media is abuzz that the shooter is in court being arraigned. People are looking at the images and using words like "catatonic", "evil", "empty", "scared".I think he looks lost. Lost boy, lost soul. Knowing nothing at all about him, I can't know if he has snapped out of a psychotic … [Read more...]

Fearless Pat Gohn: “Do You Want to Pray About It?”

Pat Gohn with Mic

About a year ago, Pat Gohn and I were chatting via skype about work-related issues, when the subject came around to our kids. I mentioned that my older son was, that very day (and after a discouraging two year search) interviewing for a job that seemed perfect for him.Although I felt strongly that the Holy Spirit was at work, and that the job was "meant" for him, I suppose my voice still betrayed some tension; Pat picked up on it and said, "would you like to pray about it right now? We can … [Read more...]

Learn the Divine Office in Lent

Divine Office

Well, Day 1 of Lent was pretty rich. Got to lector at Mass for one of my favorite readings and psalms, which was neat. Got to spend more time at a doctor's office than I wanted to for something so minor, but that was good, as it gave me a chance to finish Robert Hugh Benson's Lord of the World, (free on Kindle, kids!) and I think I needed the downtime. The quiet allowed a deeper submersion into Lent, but I still haven't gotten that book recommendation post done, sorry.Speaking of deeper … [Read more...]

Pilgrim, Ora et Labora; the Fountain of Youth?

Look at this 103 year-old Catholic Sister, Sr. Cecilia Adorni, as she dances a remarkably spry polka amid the senior citizens whom she still serves. Watch her dance -- I know 60 year-olds who can't move like that -- and notice her skin, which is gorgeous and youthful!We concern ourselves with holding on to our youthfulness and "defying age" with all sorts of medicines and foods and goops and ointments, while this sister appears to have found a "fountain of youth," and it's one St. Benedict of … [Read more...]


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