Come Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, we will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the solemn opening of the Second Vatican Council. On that same day, the universal Catholic community will inaugurate a Year of Faith proposed by Pope Benedict XVI in order to intensify the inner spiritual renewal for which the council called. This half century […]
Some 17 years ago, a remarkably delightful and generous aunt left me a bequest in her will with the wonderful stipulation that I should travel to places I couldn’t go otherwise! As a result, I have been blessed each year with the opportunity to make a personal Lenten retreat at some exotic and treasured location […]
A tourist goes to foreign lands in order to see new things; a pilgrim travels to become new. Because every person is unique, every pilgrimage has a different effect on the traveler. Allow me to offer a very personal “take” on my recent journey to the Roman threshold of the apostolic tombs with the bishops […]
These are days when we find ourselves visiting the crib scenes which decorate our homes and parish churches everywhere. Apparently Francis of Assisi started the practice in the early 13th century in order to provide a visual catechesis for his contemporaries. We always see the shepherds, roughly clad yet respectful, forgetting that they were once […]
A generation or so before Jesus of Nazareth, two great early rabbis rose up in Israel, namely Shammai and Hillel. Each founded his own school of thought and attracted disciples. Each developed a method for discerning the meaning of the Torah and implications for ways of faithful obedience to God’s will. As I understand his […]
Genuine ecumenical dialogue can never be fruitful merely through contrasting newspaper articles without personal conversation on a face to face level. The written word alone, without the opportunity to explain in person what is said and why in a back and forth discussion, can result of cementing opposition rather than advancing mutual understanding of God’s […]
As I mentioned before, the experience of an entire Lent on Patmos Island without full participation in the Eucharist provided an occasion for much thought on my part. The importance of the Eucharist for daily life, and its value as a regular spiritual “exercise” for the entire community became increasingly clear. Spiritual writers, for example, […]
Let me tell you, spending virtually this year’s entire season of Lent on the Greek Isle of Patmos, in an environment completely Greek Orthodox in culture, language and piety, was an extraordinary and memorable experience. Among other things, my Lent’s unique discipline this year included fasting from the Eucharist! I was probably the only token […]
The story was a very dramatic one. After the apostle Paul had been driven out of the city of Lystra in what is now central Turkey, he was stoned and left for dead (Acts 14:19). When his grieving disciples and colleagues gathered around, he revived, caught his breath and (much to my shock, I must admit) resolutely went back into the same town to continue proclaiming the good news of Christ’s death and resurrection.
There he attracted a considerable number of disciples before retracing his steps back to his home base of Antioch. The witness of his ability to welcome hardship apparently made a difference.
We’ve finally entered the 2011 Season of Lent and the lateness of this year’s cycle brings us into overlap with the annual tax deadline. For those of us slackers who wait longer than we should to do all the tedious calculations each year, the looming date of the Ides of April is always a bit […]