One day one of our sisters told me she wondered whether people listened to one another in the participatory prayer of the faithful. She wished she could test if they were really praying together instead of going through the motions, and admitted her ongoing temptation to use a sweetly pious voice and softly intone the request: "Loving God, let this holy roof with all its heavy beams fall in on us at this moment." Then, slightly louder, "For this, let us pray to the Lord."
Have you ever suffered for your faith? Has any harm come to you because you believe in Jesus?
What is expected of us as we watch and work for the realization of God's reign among us? What should we be doing in this seemingly endless interim between the appearances of Jesus?
Unlike catechisms, Scripture frequently offers us a choice. Counter to popular opinion, the same theology doesn't run from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22. There are as many unique ways of looking at God in Scripture as there are biblical authors. Those who originally collected our sacred writings and eventually put them in the format we have today simply presumed we'd take our pick.
"Lord, Teach us to pray." Did the disciple who made that request have any clue about the intimacy of asking someone how he prays? Our prayer exposes the heart of our relationship with God: who we think God is and how we stand in God's presence.
Sometimes I think that the TV show "Blue Bloods" is the best PR the U.S. Catholic church could ask for. In the midst of crime and court drama we get the everyday life of the Reagan family, struggling to do what is right in a world that doesn't lean that way -- and they argue it all out at the dinner table after they say grace.
It is one thing to know something; it is entirely another thing to act on that knowledge. Indeed, it is a great feat of will to go from knowing to doing. Why?
When I attended high school in St. Agatha, Maine, I was privileged to be taught by Sr. Mary Antoinette, a Daughter of Wisdom who had been a dedicated missionary in Malawi. While she was an excellent teacher and very devoted to her students, it was clear that she felt a deep longing to return to Africa.
Just how free do you really want to be? The political world is talking plenty about our freedoms these days, but what is it that we so desire or fear losing?
In a sentence that no writing teacher should accept, Paul said, "For freedom, Christ set us free." We must forgive his lack of eloquence -- it results from his vehemence. Paul was adamant about freedom.
Sometimes I envy St. Thérèse of Lisieux, whose road to heaven came to a conclusion after only 24 years, nine of which she spent as a Carmelite nun. Others who shared that type of blessing include St. Agnes, who was martyred at the age of 13, and Aloysius Gonzaga, the Jesuit student who died at 23 on the very day he predicted he would.