A Chance to Make One More Charitable Donation before 2014 Ends!

On January 1st, Sister Mary Magdalene of the Immaculate Conception, OP will be pronouncing solemn vows, promising to live out the rest of her life within the enclosure of her monastery in Summit, New Jersey.Sister writes of what that means to her, here.We are called “sister” as spiritual mothers, we have a duty or right to maternally care for the spiritual well-being of our spiritual children and the salvation of souls, particularly as contemplatives recommending them in prayer; to br … [Read more...]

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Expelled Iraqi Christians, Give Witness to ISIS Fascism – UPDATE! KURDS!

The choice is leave or take a bullet to the head; you have ten hours to get out or die; take nothing but the clothes on your back; oh, you need that glucose meter? Your blood pressure meds? That's too bad.The Christians interviewed here make me feel very proud, and very humbled. They are obviously hurting, obviously shocked and displaced, yet full of spirit. And who wouldn't be a bit angry and undone in such a case? As the lady says, "what have the Christians done to you?"And yet, when … [Read more...]

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The ISIS Effect: “Flattened; Everything is Gone” – UPDATED

"Elizabeth, if I think too much about it I just break down. So many shrines I have visited destroyed. So many brethren I have know. battered, beaten or dead. Absolutely devastating."That's a quick note from my friend, Michael LaCivita. Having worked for the Catholic Near East Welfare Association for decades, he knows and loves these places, knows and loves the people who are looking into the face of evil -- true evil, the all-too-familiar kind of evil that keeps resurfacing throughout world … [Read more...]

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Cultivating a Habit of Ejaculation

I just spent more time than I had planned typing the word "ejaculations", along with my name or blog name, into search engines and, later, into document files.Okay, let's get it out of our systems: "she said 'ejaculations'! Heh-heh!"I was looking for a phrase I had written about what we used to call "ejaculations of prayer," and I was sure I had talked about it in Strange Gods, but I couldn't find it in my files and the only thing turning up in search engines was one line in this First … [Read more...]

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Pacem in Terris: Anchoress Comboxes Closed for Lent

What I am already discovering in this first day of Lent is that I am being drawn out, into the desert. The first word in the Holy Rule of Saint Benedict is "Listen" and I am being asked to rediscover silence and learn to listen again. To slow down and look at beautiful things, too.Because this is so, I have already let folks in social media know that -- while I will still be posting Patheos work and interesting headlines to Facebook and Twitter -- I will not be participating in FB discussion … [Read more...]

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Holder Hospitalized: “Lord, the one you Love is Sick…”

Attorney General Eric Holder has been hospitalized with symptoms of what could be a heart attack, or a panic attack.Stress is a killer and the whole nation is under stress right now, and that's a thought I may consider and flesh out later, but for now, let's whisper up a prayer for his good.I know, it's not always easy to pray for someone toward whom you may not have warm feelings, but we are called to it, and a good way to enter into any prayer with humility is through scripture. … [Read more...]

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When We Truly Love, We Model God to Each Other – UPDATED

A while back, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Mother Dolores Hart, OSB about her book, and she talked of breaking off her engagement in order to enter the Abbey:He was furious. Oh, He was so upset. But he said a very unexpected thing which was, ‘you know all love relationships don’t end at the altar, and I will be faithful to you in this.’ Well, I thought that was a head-trip too. I didn’t see how in the world he could do that, but in effect, fifty years later, Don did stay with m … [Read more...]

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Science Proves It: Creation Actually Sings Praise!

There is a moment in the dawn -- and it comes again in the gloaming, the evening twilight -- when a stillness falls, and for just the merest second it seems like the veil between heaven and earth has thinned out and may be more easily pierced. The birds chirp; the leaves rustle; the crickets cheep. It is a moment. If you happen to be taking part in Lauds or Vespers at that time, you can particularly feel it slip in and then away. A moment of singularity; one-ness with creation.As weakly as I … [Read more...]

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Craving Silence to Hear: Atchison Blue

If I am late coming to a review of Judith Valente's new book -- which is currently being featured in the Patheos Book Club, it is only because the pope keeps all of us very busy these days, and Atchison Blue: A Search for Silence, a Spiritual Home and a Living Faith is too good for a slap-dash mention. After reading, it needed time for absorption, and even some revisits, to do it justice.People are fast to make comparisons between Atchison Blue and Kathleen Norris' beloved modern classic, … [Read more...]

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The Key to Pope Francis

The Holy Father continues to speak with a sharp sense of urgency:“Yes, you have to come to know Jesus in the Catechism – but it is not enough to know Him with the mind: it is a step. However, it is necessary to get to know Jesus in dialogue with Him, talking with Him in prayer, kneeling. If you do not pray, if you do not talk with Jesus, you do not know Him. You know things about Jesus, but you do not go with that knowledge, which He gives your heart in prayer. Know Jesus with the mind - the … [Read more...]

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