Loving Our Enemies

To be a Christian means to love one’s enemy. Jesus’ words and his actions alike testify to this idea. Jesus says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). From the Cross, he forgives the people who are crucifying him: “Forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Such love can be challenging. Consider what it means to love one’s political “enemies,” those who hold beliefs […]

Leave Room for the Holy Spirit

When I sat down earlier this month to think about my New Year’s resolutions, I wrote three columns: Mind, Body, and Spirit. As I was contemplating my Spirit column, I kept remembering Pope Francis’s frequent admonitions to leave room for the Holy Spirit. While I did want to include this in my list of resolutions, I struggled with how to fit this concept into the column. I’m accustomed to listing specific, concrete, and quantifiable actions […]

Hold Firm

It’s now pretty much the dead of winter. The thrill of Christmas is past us and we wake each morning—some of us in harsh, cold temperatures—to get to work day in and day out. It’s a quiet time of year, and things seem less exciting. Boredom and apathy begin to wage a slow and subtle war upon us as the more energizing days of the past weeks slip from our consciousness. It certainly can be […]

Holy Incident Was No Accident

It was the kind of day when everything was going wrong. I could recite a litany of all the mishaps and disasters. I knew I needed a lifeline by 10 a.m., so I phoned a friend, my sister, who is a Daughter of Charity and a powerful pray-er. I had just shared (spilled) coffee with someone in a failed work meeting, so I sat in my car in the Starbucks parking lot as Sister Julie […]

New Year’s Daydreaming

What if instead of starting with New Year’s resolutions, we began with New Year’s daydreaming? January is a time when I eagerly peruse the newly arrived seed catalogues for ideas for springtime plantings. Where I live in the Northeast, the ground is cold and it’s still a long ways off to seed planting in spring. Under the huddle of a warm blanket, my imaginary garden is filled with bright dahlias, plentiful peonies, dramatic roses, and […]

Joy in the Neighborhood

People ask me if volunteering at the St. Vincent de Paul store is depressing, and I honestly tell them that it is not. There is a joy in this work that defies the reality of the impoverished neighborhood that leans so heavily against the walls of our building. And our customers bring that joy through the door with them when they walk in. Leonard strides into the St. Vincent de Paul store with a hearty […]

How to Recognize Jesus

How to recognize Jesus: Listen to whatever clues you’re given. For instance, angels told the shepherds to look in a certain town and a certain kind of place. They even mentioned swaddling clothes. So . . . it helps to listen to what others have said about Jesus—from the accounts in the New Testament Gospels to the testimonies of people here and now who have encountered him. Word of mouth means something, and the sacred […]

Abiding in Presence

During Advent, we often talk about hope. And one aspect of hope is our ability to abide in God’s presence while waiting for whatever will come. Jesus called himself the vine and his disciples (including us) the branches; for the branches to live, they must abide in the vine. For our lives to thrive and bear fruit—even while waiting—we need to learn abiding. We need to abide in Presence and allow that presence to soothe […]

Advent Light

Bored one day in the school library many years ago, I picked up a biography of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Through the pages, St. Thérèse introduced me to Jesus and this amazing life I could have if I entered into relationship with him. They say that teens feel emotions more intensely and more vividly than at any other age, and that made my “welcome” to the faith journey all the more impassioned, exciting, and all-consuming […]

God Has Hope in Us

Advent is a season of hope and expectant waiting. Yet we are faced with many global crises such as climate change, war, poverty, and racism. I find that in looking at the world and its suffering, my own heart is often filled with grief, especially as I wonder about the effects of climate change on my children and grandchildren’s generations. God grants us freedom to act for love, peace, and justice, but also the freedom […]

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