Minimizing the Weight of Mercy [Pope Francis Bookclub]

I say, Jeeves, would you pass the Blood of Christ?

In 2014, I’m reading and blogging through Pope Francis/Cardinal Bergoglio’s Open Mind, Faithful Heart: Reflections on Following Jesus.  Every Monday, I’ll be writing about the next meditation in the book, so you’re welcome to peruse them all and/or read along.In this week's chapter, Pope Francis discusses Job and says that, once Job entered into the depth of his suffering, Job was uniquely ready to address God, if only because his need went beyond what the wise men of his community coul … [Read more...]

Economizing Not to Save but to Spend *Differently*

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Yesterday, I was writing about ways to build mixed-age community in my large apartment building, and, today, the first day of a new month, I pulled out Jen Fulwiler's Saint Generator and drew St. Paul of Thebes, believed to be the first Christian hermit.  His life was recorded by St. Jerome (who had his own feast day yesterday).Jerome's life of Paul closes with these words: I may be permitted at the end of this little treatise to ask those who do not know the extent of their possessions, w … [Read more...]

Mary Asks More than Détente [Pope Francis Bookclub]

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In 2014, I’m reading and blogging through Pope Francis/Cardinal Bergoglio’s Open Mind, Faithful Heart: Reflections on Following Jesus.  Every Monday, I’ll be writing about the next meditation in the book, so you’re welcome to peruse them all and/or read along.In this week's selection, Pope Francis discusses the way Moses is developed, morally and spiritually, through prayer, especially through the act of turning away from unworthy petitions. When God proposes to give Moses a new people t … [Read more...]

Finding Fellowship in Exile [Pope Francis Bookclub]

tom-cheney-sorry-no-water-we-re-just-a-support-group-new-yorker-cartoon

In 2014, I’m reading and blogging through Pope Francis/Cardinal Bergoglio’s Open Mind, Faithful Heart: Reflections on Following Jesus.  Every Monday, I’ll be writing about the next meditation in the book, so you’re welcome to peruse them all and/or read along.This chapter is called "The Solitude of Prayer" but, as I read Pope Francis's meditations on exile -- the first, individual one, experienced by Adam and Eve, the Babylonian exile endured by the Jews, the state of Christians described … [Read more...]

Fumbling (sometimes productively) with Prayer

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I have an essay up today at Fare Forward on some of my experiences muddling through prayer, while I've been trying to get my Catholic sea legs: Since my conversion, I’ve had a lot of awkward moments at the dinner table. It’s not that I’ve been having awkward conversations about my decision to leave atheism and be received into the Catholic Church. It’s that my friends keep pausing and looking inquisitively me at meals, and then saying, “Should I wait for you to say grace?” If I’m not reminded by … [Read more...]

God’s Call to Restore Our Common Sense

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Today is the feast of Saint Augustine, my confirmation saint.  In celebration, this morning I made sure to leave some time to pray the Office of Readings in the Divine Office, and I was particularly struck by this passage from Jeremiah (4:1-3): If you wish to return, O Israel, says the Lord, return to me. If you put your destestable things out of my sight, and do not stray, Then you can swear, "As the Lord lives," in truth, in judgment, and in justice; Then shall then nations use his name … [Read more...]

Learning the Wrong Lessons from St. Maximilian Kolbe

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When I was in church to celebrate the feast day of Saint Maximillian Kolbe (who has previously been one of my saints of the month), I tried to reflect on his life and his example during the moments of silent prayer in the liturgy. In those moments, I asked God to strengthen my will, and make it more like his.This is one of those prayers that I wind up frequently making whose fruit tends not to be in having my request granted, but in realizing it was a kind of stupid request in the first … [Read more...]


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