Taking Off My Shoes

“Nor can foot feel, being shod” This line from Gerard Manley Hopkins’s poem “God’s Grandeur” is a commentary on what the poet saw as one of many pitfalls of the burgeoning industrial revolution, which, in his imagination, divorced people from knowledge of the natural world in which they lived. People are “shod”—shoe-wearing, meaning that they can no longer feel the earth beneath their feet. For decades I’ve held this line as a metaphor—until now, when, […]

What Time Is It?

“What time is it?” “It’s time to die.” Although the conversation between Mamma and her oncologist several months ago didn’t exactly happen with those words, that’s what the doctor meant when he relayed Mamma’s test results to us. Most people would greet such news with fear and sadness. Clearly, my mom had already laid those emotions aside and felt that she was ready to go. She asked directly, “How long do I have to live?” […]

Shhh . . . God Is in the Silence

Loyola Press has just published the children’s book, Shhh . . . God Is in the Silence, by Fiona Basile and illustrated by Alice Mount. It is designed to help children stop and listen for God’s voice in their hearts. When they do, they hear phrases such as: “You are precious.” “There is no one else like you.” “I created you.” “You are my child.” The subtitle of the book is “A story for all […]

Riding the Wave of God’s Surprises

Today the Lord invites us to assume an attitude of humble listening and docile waiting, because the grace of God often presents itself to us in surprising ways, which don’t line up with our expectations. —Pope Francis, July 8, 2018 I am most aware of God’s handiwork in my day when I remember Pope Francis’s advice to let God surprise us. So, when he revisited this theme last month, it renewed my resolve to step […]

You Have Called Me by Name

Oh, Lord my God, You called me from the sleep of nothingness merely because in your tremendous love you want to make good and beautiful beings. You have called me by my name in my mother’s womb. You have given me breath and light and movement and walked with me every moment of my existence. I am amazed, Lord God of the universe, that you attend to me and, more, cherish me. Create in me […]

What If the Answer Is No?

What if God’s answer to one of our prayers is “no”? We are given this answer at times. Sometimes when we are told “no” we easily accept the answer we are given, because what we are asking for is something that really did not matter that much. Occasionally, though, we find ourselves being told “no” when every part of our being wants the answer to be “yes.” What happens to our relationship with God then? […]

The Dark Night of Seeds

One of Jesus’ parables about the Kingdom of God depicts us as various types of soil into which the sower plants seeds. I found myself imagining that I was the seed instead. It led to a fruitful contemplation about heaven. I see myself planted deep in the earth, with its darkness and grime. I cannot see heaven above, but I know in faith that it is there, somewhere. I wait. God’s living water cracks the […]

Seagulls as an Image of the Evil Spirit

I like to watch seagulls as they glide across the sky, but as with many of God’s creatures, we can have negative interactions with them as well. This past summer on retreat, I spent much of my time praying near the ocean. One day I watched as seagulls chased down a fishing boat. A flock of seagulls repeatedly dove in, attempting to steal some of the haul from the boat as it sailed forward in […]

Try Story

I love that Christianity is all about story. It is rooted in the immense narratives of the Old Testament and comes to bloom in the strange and wonderful story of Jesus. We believe that true life is not a string of truths or a complex philosophy or a system of rules and moral codes. No, our faith is best represented by a phrase such as, “In the beginning . . .” or, “There once was […]

An Imaginative Reflection on the Crucifixion

When we heard that Jesus had been arrested, I went with Mary to help her through this terrible time. She had a premonition that something bad was going to happen. I don’t know how she knew, but I’ve learned to trust her instincts. I hope this won’t end badly, but standing outside the governor’s palace, we can hear the words, “Crucify him!” My blood runs cold, and I can feel Mary stagger and sag into […]

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