After the cross, exuberance

It’s funny where you can learn a lesson and catch a glimpse of the divine. Recently, in a grocery store, I witnessed this incident:

Catholic Voices - A sinner whose sins are forgiven

I met Father Matthew Kelty in 2001, while on retreat at the Trappist Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky. I remember him saying, “I’m Matthew Kelty. I am a sinner whose sins are forgiven.” That totally spoke to me. Since then, it is my deepest self-definition: I am a sinner whose sins are forgiven. And because I have been forgiven often, I have learned a lot about mercy.

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.

Praying for a simpler, more spontaneous faith

About 30 years ago, one of my brothers-in-law, Chuck, bought a tattered old scrapbook at a thrift store. It was apparently compiled by a young woman in the 1870s. Not having a blank book in which to preserve her treasures, she had glued all sorts of mementos to the pages of an existing book. Inside one finds newspaper clippings, poems, serial stories from “ladies’ magazines” of the day, and bits of homespun wisdom.

Catholic Voices - What I like about being Catholic

A friend once asked me what I liked about being Catholic. The question seemed a bit odd to me. I told her I liked the fact that Catholicism is true. I don’t think that was the answer she was expecting. I have since discovered that many people have never considered the possibility that a religion could actually be true, or that a person might become religious after being convinced of the truth.

Catholic Voices - The power of art in the home

Mass on Sunday, grace before dinner, some religion classes — that about sums up my Catholic upbringing in New York City, except … over my bed as a child hung a picture of a woman in blue lovingly gazing down on three children: Our Lady of Fátima. Little was said about Mary, but she was always there, looking not just at those Fátima children but also at me. I grew to believe Mary cared about me.

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