Prayer Leads Us Forward in Hope

I found my friend on his knees praying in the hospital chapel. We had received word that a family member of our friend was extremely sick and might not make it through the next day. As I embraced my friend and his tears fell on my shoulder, he told me, “I feel I am having a crisis of faith, because I am in here begging God to save my loved one.” My tears joined his […]

Simply Advent: Simple Practices

We continue trying to keep things simple this Advent with suggestions for simple practices this season. Linger with the Nativity Story This seems simple enough, but why not be quite intentional about taking in, once more, the story of Jesus’ birth? Read it in Scripture. Read a children’s book version of the story. Watch a film about it, such as The Nativity Story or Jesus of Nazareth (first part). Read about it in poetry form. […]

Men and Women of Hope

It seems like most of us have a friend or family member who, despite having lousy luck at times, is nearly always smiling and is constantly giving of him or herself, even when he or she is the one who could really use a little help. I am blessed to count a few of these kind souls as my friends. But what makes these people so sweet and generous despite whatever life throws at them? […]

Hope Opens New Horizons

On December 7, 2016, Pope Francis began a catechetical series on Christian hope. He opened with the following words: It is very important, because hope never disappoints. Optimism disappoints, but hope does not! We have such need, in these times which appear dark, in which we sometimes feel disoriented at the evil and violence which surrounds us, at the distress of so many of our brothers and sisters. We need hope! We feel disoriented and […]

Hope Is an Art

True art requires inspiration, vision, practice, imagination, and patience. Something inspires the idea, which leads to a vision of what the painting or story will become. The artist works at the vision, practicing her craft on good days and bad. She allows her imagination to take hold of the vision and keep her process vibrant. And she understands that the work is finished when it’s time; she cannot force it to conform to her schedule. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Advent Again—Time for Practicing Hope

The thing about the Christian year is that it keeps coming around. Over and over again, we get to try our hearts and minds and hands at Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, and Ordinary Time. We get to dust off the liturgies and speak or sing them again. We get to try old prayers in new ways—or try new prayers on old themes. We get to pick up our symbols and phrases and turn them […]

Prayers Rising

“Let my prayer be counted as incense before you.” —Psalm 141:2 I just blew out my candle on my desk, and the smoke billows upward. I take my palms and catch some of the spindly lines, moving them upward as I add my thoughts of thanks. I didn’t expect this small visual reminder of prayer to touch me so. I’ve finished planning a retreat for a women’s group, and it’s time to transition to the […]

1 2