I never imagined that I would end up in prison. I was in Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution as part of a year-long volunteer program with the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry. I tutored in adult basic education and taught creative writing.
Before working at Baylor, I was a little scared of inmates. I thought, Will I meet a murderer? Teach a murderer? It seemed so foreign, so far beyond my capacity for understanding. When I started volunteering, I discovered that while I knew which...
On Monday Pope Francis warned against excessive rigidity. Speaking during the homily at morning Mass in the Casa Santa Marta, the pope said that God gives us the freedom and the gentleness to be merciful.
Drawing inspiration from the Gospel reading of the day which tells of when Jesus, who was teaching in the synagogue, healed a crippled woman and ignited the anger of the righteous, Pope Francis said, “It is not easy to keep to the path indicated by God’s law.”
The reading of...
Lecturas: Eclesiástico (Sirácide) 35, 12-17. 20-22 | Salmo 33, 2-3. 17-18. 19 y 23 | 2 Tm 4, 6-8. 16-18 | Lc 18, 9-14
Como si de una subasta se tratase, empezó el hombre a recitar la lista de sus méritos para demostrar que él era el merecedor de las bendiciones divinas. Todo lo que dijo era cierto. Cumplía la ley, contribuía económicamente, mantenía las costumbres y preceptos (probablemente hasta se los enseñaba a sus hijos). Sólo le faltó gritar como en las...
October 31, 2016Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time (C), Nov. 6, 2016
St. Augustine defined martyrdom in this way: “It is the reason why, not the suffering that constitutes the martyr.” The “reason why” is the martyr’s “witness” (Greek martys ) to the truth, regardless of the consequences, strengthened and guarded by God to remain faithful. The Christian understanding of martyrdom does not require that one must die, though at various times throughout history, including our own, Christian witness has led to death....
October 31, 2016
The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola center on the nitty-gritty process of making decisions—“elections” in Ignatian-speak—actions carried out under the influence of a gracious God. St. Ignatius suggests three possible intellectual and emotional “times” of one’s life “in any of which a sound and good election can be made.” I have, over my 59 years as a Jesuit, made elections in all three of these times. But St. Ignatius’ guidance is not a preserve just for Jesuits. All human beings...
Pope Francis said a good shepherd is one who follows Jesus rather than power, money or cliques and is never embittered, even if deserted by everyone. He was speaking at his morning Mass on Tuesday, celebrated in the chapel of the Santa Marta Residence.
Taking his inspiration from the Second Letter to Timothy, the pope’s homily was a reflection on the difficulties faced by apostles such as Paul, who are deserted by everyone at the end of their lives.
“Alone, begging, abandoned...
La fe es mucho más que un asunto de “pidan y se les dará” (Mt 7:7). Es una actitud de vida, una confianza en que el proyecto de Dios se cumplirá para todos y que el Reino y su justicia prevalecerán (Mt 6:33).
El juez injusto del Evangelio representa la otra cara de la moneda. Si es juez, debería impartir justicia. Sin embargo, es injusto, egoísta e indigno de su cargo y posición. Su soberbia de poderoso es tal que “ni temía a Dios ni respetaba a los hombres” (Lc...
October 24, 2016Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time (C), Oct. 30, 2016
Since there are so many books in the Bible, each coming from a particular time and place, it can be difficult to make generalizations about what the corpus of biblical literature states. Given the historical conditions and cultural and political realities of each book, not to mention developing theologies, what “the Bible says” often depends on the time period in which a book emerged. Each text was written by human authors who “made use of their...
October 24, 2016
In the 10 years since My Life With the Saints was first published, I hope that I have gained a bit more wisdom on the Christian life. This has come as the result of some hard knocks, some retreats, some conversations with insightful friends, some experiences in prayer and some counsel from spiritual directors, mentors and even psychologists. For me, this wisdom comes mainly in the form of insights. I see an aspect of the Christian life more clearly...
Pope Francis said Jesus asks us to perform good deeds with humility and reject a “cosmetics” religion that is concerned with its outward appearance and pretending to be what it’s not. The pope was speaking at his morning mass on Tuesday, celebrated in the Santa Marta residence.
The inspiration for the pope’s homily was taken from the day’s readings of St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians and the gospel account when Jesus rebukes a Pharisee for concentrating on the outward appearance of...