For the Day of My Burial

Psychoanalysis teaches that we construct our personalities, what we might call our “character armor,” as a defense against our experience of loss. There is, perhaps, no greater human suffering than that of loss, than of facing the truth of the fact that everyone and everything that we love, including ourselves, will die. So, much of what we take to be our lives, to be our very selves, is constituted by our means of evading and forgetting the reality of loss and death.[read more]

Is Forgiveness Possible?

This lent is becoming a most challenging one for me. I have known, at one level, for a very long time that at the very heart of the Christian faith and form tradition is the call to forgiveness. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” As I’ve often noted, the great scholar of religion Houston Smith has pointed out that the 3 great monotheistic religious traditions highlight a unique aspect of the call to follow the One God “unreservedly,” as we hear in the reading from Daniel today. The Jewish tradition focuses obedience; the Islamic[read more]

Redemptive Suffering

Unless one lives in total illusion, it will cross one’s mind and heart more often than seldom that life is difficult. Of course, it is also blessed and joyful, but in the course of life each of us will find ourselves confronting the painful reality that human life is fragile and, in some foundational way, broken. We experience this in sickness, in natural and human made disasters, and especially in the way we live out our relationships and commitments to each other. In today’s gospel, then, the disciples hear from Jesus a very painful, although truthful, teaching. “It is necessary[read more]

Suffering With Christ

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. Romans 8: 16-17 In my earliest religious upbringing there seemed to be in[read more]

Love and Suffering

I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his Body, which is the Church, of which I am a minister in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word[read more]