Spirituality

Light touching my soul -- 40 years later, I'm finally ready to look at this intense moment of grace

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I slid into the fourth pew from the back on the left side of Dahlgren Chapel at Georgetown University. It was a 1975 summer evening with a soft sun backlighting the five-paneled stained-glass window featuring the Sacred Heart of Jesus behind the altar. It was quiet, a solemn quiet. I was on my knees and then, in a slow-moving but eerie transition, I was no longer in the fourth pew from the back on the left side of the chapel in Georgetown University.

Yokemates

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"They are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate."

This affirmation of the intent and sanctity of marriage, first set forth in the Book of Genesis and then repeated by the Marcan Jesus, may appear to be a beautiful but impossible ideal -- as seem so many of the teachings postulated by Jesus in the Gospel. But Jesus was not a proponent of the impossible.

Settle in around the headstone for a picnic

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I grew up among grandparents who went every year to their birthplaces for the family grave-cleaning and dinner on the ground. Back to Tolar and Kosse and Colorado City, they went to chop weeds and mow and plant and keep the graves of their parents and siblings. They brought baskets of food -- fried chicken, and green beans cooked with fatback and new potatoes, and peach pie, and cornbread -- to eat when they broke from work at midday.

The status trap

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Pope Francis has tried to warn us that the word of God is unruly, that it accomplishes what it wills in ways that surpass our calculations and ways of thinking (“The Joy of the Gospel”). Frankly, the unruliness of the word has been a problem for God’s people from their very beginnings, and today’s readings show us how and why.
 

A good man is not hard to find

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Gene Conrad, 86, got up every morning at 5 a.m. to make breakfast for his wife, Reva. Before he shuffled downstairs, he cuddled next to her and began singing the song they had sung to each other every morning since they married in 1950: "You Are My Sunshine." Reva was diagnosed with Alzheimer's 21 years ago but she glowed as she heard the words Gene sang. Gene died last week after a brief illness.

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In This Issue

December 2-15, 2016

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