Through All Generations

Reflection on the daily readings for Give Us This Day, June 21st, 2022, Memorial of St. Aloysius Gonzaga: When I first started teaching high school theology, I was a mess. Arriving fresh from graduate school, on fire with a love for the Gospel and for social justice, I struggled to communicate what was in my …

Evil is not inevitable

It wasn't a particularly inspiring line from yesterday's Gospel that stuck with me during my prayer: "The ruler of this world has been condemned." And yet there it was, nearly jumping of the page. I thought, perhaps, it connected with some of the research I was doing on the New Testament understanding of salvation. Certainly, …

Washing His Feet

He limped in off the street, leaning on a wheelchair that had “2nd Floor Pain Clinic” written on the seat. On the back, it just said “PAIN” in large letters. We had just endured twelve days of subzero temperatures in Kansas City, with lows in the negative teens. At Morning Glory Ministries, a social outreach …

A Listening Church and the New Evangelization

My article on being a Listening Church and the New Evangelization has been published by the National Catholic Reporter today. You can read it here: https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/new-evangelization-has-problems-synodal-approach-can-help Additionally, I've written a short book on the Synod on Synodality called "Your Church Needs to Hear from You: What is the Synod on Synodality?" that will be published …

Into the Littleness

"Dear sister or brother, if, as in Bethlehem, the darkness of night overwhelms you, if you feel surrounded by cold indifference, if the hurt you carry inside cries out, “You are of little account; you are worthless; you will never be loved the way you want”, tonight, if this is what you are feeling, God …

Begin Again

"Let us begin again, sisters and brothers, for up until now we have done little or nothing," St. Francis of Assisi was fond of saying often. He even supposedly said it on his deathbed, as his "Sister Death" drew near. As Christmas draws near, and the New Year soon after, it might be helpful to …

Ocean of Love

"One day while I was praying, I lost all sense of God's presence," he said, and I could hear the pain in his voice. "It was just me, alone, talking to an empty room. Just talking to myself." We were at coffee, talking about faith, and about how sometimes spiritual growth can feel more like …

Our Beloved Dead

For All Souls' Day, 2021 The souls of the just are in the hand of God,    and no torment shall touch them.They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;    and their passing away was thought an affliction    and their going forth from us, utter destruction.But they are in peace.For if before men, …

Teresa of Jesus

“Let nothing disturb you,Let nothing frighten you,All things are passing away:God never changes.Patience obtains all thingsWhoever has God lacks nothing;God alone suffices.” For many, the word MYSTIC can conjure up images of stained-glass saints and ragged ascetics, or some VIP class of Christian who claims to have exclusive spiritual experiences of God, Christ, or Mary. …

Face to Face

When we gaze into the eyes of someone we love and cherish, it's hard not to see God. The light we see in these faces, and the love they evoke in us, reminds us of God's loving, sustaining presence in our lives. But when we feel alone or abandoned, it's hard to imagine that God …

Pilgrim Parents

It’s 3 a.m. and I wake to screaming. Bleary-eyed, I fumble around for the baby monitor. I can’t see a thing in the sunbright display, so I close my eyes and listen: “Waaaaaaa!” Which baby is that? “WAAAAAAAAA!!!!” I still can’t tell. Was that a raspy and sweet cry, or a shrill and loud cry? …

Little Blessings

Before I got married I asked my father to give me his blessing. I had already asked my future father-in-law's permission, and he had given it along with a lot of love and support. But for some reason, I needed my father to bless me. I'm not sure where it came from, what part deep …

Graced Transitions

My children are light sleepers, so when they fall asleep on me in the rocking chair, it can be a real challenge to get them into their crib without waking them up. Over time I’ve learned the delicate art of pressing them close during the transfer. That way, even if the chair and the floor …