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  • As they were coming down from the mountain, the disciples asked Jesus, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” ~ Mt 17:9a-10

    It is right and just that we should set aside dedicated time every day to pray, but we don’t have to stop there. Weaving an ethic of awareness of God’s presence into the fabric of everyday allows us to have a running conversation with our Lord. The 17th-century Carmelite monk Brother Lawrence endeavored throughout his life to practice the...

  • Jesus said to them in reply, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.” ~Mt 11:.4-5

    In a 2014 graduation speech at the University of Texas (Austin), U.S. Special Operations commander Admiral William McRaven declared: “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” His point was that a mundane action, carried out in a...

  • Here’s how Truman Capote sets his short story, entitled “One Christmas”:

    I had a new suit. It had a card pinned to the lapel with my name and address. That was in case I got lost. You see, I had to make the trip alone. By bus. Well, everybody thought I’d be safe with my tag. Everybody but me. I was scared to death; and angry. Furious at my father, this stranger, who was forcing me to leave home and be away...at Christmastime (36).

    It is easy to see how the father in the story did not...

  • When Justin Trudeau became Canada’s prime minister on Nov. 4, 2015, he wasted no time showing how his Liberal Party’s government would be markedly different from that of the outgoing Conservative Party, which had held federal power under Prime Minister Stephen Harper for almost 10 years. Mr. Trudeau’s swearing-in ceremony featured contributions from Inuit throat singers, a Cree drummer and a...

  • Archbishop Mark Coleridge thinks some of his fellow prelates are afraid of confronting reality.

    As the head of the Archdiocese of Brisbane on the east coast of Australia, the archbishop was a delegate to the synod of bishops in Rome in 2015. There, he said, he witnessed healthy disagreement about issues important to families during the two-week meeting—prompted by Pope Francis’ call for open and honest dialogue. That debate has continued more than a year after the synod came to a...

  • Not so the wicked, not so; they are like chaff which the wind drives away. For the Lord watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes. ~ Ps 1:4, 6

    Most of us are so removed from agricultural realities that we fail fully to embrace the image of chaff in today’s psalm. I recall a field trip with one of my children many years ago to a historic farm where the docent demonstrated the process of threshing and winnowing. The grain was spread out on the threshing...

  • Following a tradition started by St. John XXIII in 1958 and continued by his successors, Pope Francis went this afternoon to Rome’s Spanish Steps to pray in front of the statue of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception that towers over the piazza. There he asked her to intercede with God to help and protect the inhabitants of this city and the citizens of the world, and especially children, families, workers and the unemployed.

    “I come to you on this your feast,...

  • I drive to the Dakota Access Pipeline (D.A.P.L.) protest in late November with a mix of mild apprehension and marvel. I am apprehensive over the chance of violence and arrest, and I marvel at the beauty of the Standing Rock Reservation’s vast, undulating prairie landscape. As I travel I begin receiving from this sacred land a felt infusion of spiritual spaciousness, a cleansing of soul clutter. As I top one of countless enfolding hillcrests along North Dakota highway 1806, the Oceti Sakowin...

  • Cambridge, MA.—Today is Dec. 8, and so it is a month since the election that saw Donald J. Trump defeat Hillary Clinton. In contemplating the election results, the ensuing formation of the new government, and the deep despair and anxiety among many of my friends and colleagues and students, I have been tempted to join those chanting “not my president.” There is so little reason to have any faith at all in Mr. Trump, his intentions and his words, and his competence for office. It would be...

  • Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” ~ Lk 1:38

    Luke does not tell us exactly what Mary is doing when the angel Gabriel appears, but artists from Italian Fra Angelico in the 15th-century to the British Pre-Raphaelite John William Waterhouse in the 20th-century portray her in quiet reflection, an open book nearby.

    Whether she was actually in solitary reverie—an improbable scenario, given the demands daily life placed...