Ordinary goodness and the spiritual journey

The spirituality writer, Tom Stella, tells a story about three monks at prayer in their monastery chapel. The first monk imagines himself being carried up to heaven by the angels. The second monk imagines himself already in heaven, chanting God’s praises with the angels and saints. The third monk cannot focus on any holy thoughts but can only think about the great hamburger he had eaten just before coming to chapel.

The struggle to love our neighbor

The most damaging idolatry is not the golden calf but enmity against the other. The renowned philosopher Rene Girard wrote that, and its truth is not easily admitted. Most of us like to believe that we are mature and big-hearted and that we do love our neighbors and are free of enmity towards others. But is this so?

Millennials: Who are they really?

A seminarian I know recently went to a party on a Friday evening at a local university campus. The group was a crowd of young college students, and when he was introduced as a seminarian, as someone who was trying to become a priest and who had taken a vow of celibacy, the mention of celibacy evoked some giggles in the room, some banter, and a number of jokes about how much he must be missing out on in life. Poor, naïve fellow!

The Ten Commandments of mercy

Among the Ten Commandments, one begins with the word remember: “Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.” It reminds us to recall something we already know.

Mature patriotism and loyalty

In a recent article in America magazine, Grant Kaplan, commenting on the challenge of the Resurrection, makes this comment: “Unlike previous communities in which the bond among members forges itself through those it excludes and scapegoats, the gratuity of the resurrection allows for a community shaped by forgiven-forgivers.”

The triumph of goodness

The stone which rolled away from the tomb of Jesus continues to roll away from every sort of grave. Goodness cannot be held, captured or put to death. It evades its pursuers, escapes capture, slips away, hides out, even leaves the churches sometimes, but forever rises, again and again, all over the world. Such is the meaning of the Resurrection.

How the soul matures

In a deeply insightful book, The Grace of Dying, Kathleen Dowling Singh shares insights she has gleaned as a health professional from being present to hundreds of people while they are dying. Among other things, she suggests that the dying process itself, in her words, “is exquisitely calibrated to automatically produce union with Spirit.”

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