Rooted in God

As one who came of age in the Church immediately following the Second Vatican Council with its proper restoration of the meaning of the Incarnation for our humanity, I have always found the foundational spiritual teaching of today’s reading from Jeremiah a difficult one to comprehend fully and truly appreciate. “Cursed is the one who trusts in human beings. . . .” Yet, if I hear the entire sentence which qualifies the “curse” as applying to one who trusts human beings solely, then I can begin to recognize its truth in my own experience.[read more]

The Helper Is The Help

Adrian van Kaam says that every human person we encounter is an appeal to us. He describes that appeal as, “Please be with me and for me.” Van Kaam is saying that whatever we “think” we are asking for, we are always, at a deeper level, making this appeal for the presence of the other with us.[read more]

Return To Me

On this Ash Wednesday, we are at first summoned by the words of Joel to “return to me with your whole heart.” When I was a boy, my mother would on every Ash Wednesday repeat the words of one of her colleagues at work. “Oh, this is the day that all the Catholics come to work with dirty faces.” Unless the word “return” strikes us to the core of our being, all today is is the one on which we walk around with dirty faces.[read more]

Friendship and Fear of the Lord

In today’s reading from Sirach we hear both inducements toward and warnings about relationships. We are told that we all have many acquaintances in life, but very few confidants. We are also told to test our friendships. At first glance, this may seem a bit harsh and even somewhat cynical to us. Yet, the truth is that in every relationship that has the possibility of deepening, we are always consciously or unconsciously testing the other. Sirach tells us not to be too ready to trust another because what is deepest in us is so vulnerable. Thus, we tend, in a[read more]

Wisdom and the Common Project

It is somewhat striking that in our time we speak so little, and even think so little, of an aspiration to become wise. For much of humanity’s history, cultures and societies would so desire to identify the wise persons among them and to seek their guidance. These would become revered by their society because of a sense that they knew something about the true significance and purpose of human life and, perhaps, could communicate this wisdom to others. Our society, on the other hand, reveres the wealthy and the powerful. If we look at who is given recognition and memorialization[read more]

Wisdom and Prayer

In today’s gospel Jesus, along with Peter, James, and John have just come down from the mountain where the transcendence and glory of God had been made manifest in Jesus. According to Mark the disciples “had become extremely afraid” at this wisdom of God made manifest. It is all far too much for them. It perhaps is not accidental, then, that as they, with Jesus, come down from that experience of what lies beneath “the common, ordinary, unspectacular flow of everyday life,” they encounter an intractable problem. A father has brought to the disciples his son who is possessed by[read more]

Why Are You Resentful and Crestfallen?

In his view our basic human task in life is to seek and then give form gradually and tentatively, in dialogue with our world and our times, to “the unique image of Christ [we] are called to realize.” Integrity, meaning, purpose, and consonance flow from our faithfulness to this life task.[read more]

Darkness and Light

If we say, “We are without sin,” we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing.  If we say, “We have not sinned,” we make him a liar and his word is not[read more]

Mastery or Mystery

Great and wonderful are your works, / Lord God almighty. / Just and true are your ways, / O king of the nations. / Who will not fear you, Lord, / or glorify your name? / For you alone are holy. / All the nations will come / and worship before you, / for your[read more]

Formation and Purgation

Indeed, if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, once reconciled, will we be saved by his life. Romans 5: 10 Today we celebrate the Feast of All Souls.  We pray for all who have died in the belief that our love of them[read more]