Category: The Word in Our World

Living the “Yes” in Dark Times

The people  who walked  in darkness have seen a great light.—Isaiah 9:1 Long nights. Short days. In my part of the world, it seems the sun is barely up before it starts to sink. We rise in the dark, do our evening chores in the dark. We live in the country,...

Happy Endings!

What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him. —1 Corinthians 2:9 When my grandchildren go to the playground, they often don’t want to leave. It used to be that when I would...

Beyond “Eye for an Eye”

Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.—Matthew 5:44 The weird thing about writing a column like this is the time lag between when I write it and when you read it. As I write this column in May, it has just been announced that Osama bin Laden...

Sharpening Our Vision

 Developing Eyes That See Jesus Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but  their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.—Luke 24:15b-16 On the Third Sunday of Easter, which this year is also Mother’s Day, we’ll hear the Gospel passage about the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. I...

Unbinding the Wounded

 Threefold Pattern of Christian Living Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.”—John 11:44 As we progress through Lent to an unusually late Easter, we hear the story of the raising of Lazarus. Once I was part of a little troupe that proclaimed this gospel at a prayer...

Confessing Our Imperfections

Don’t leap from beads to bunnies What I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate.—Romans 7:15 My granddaughter is in second grade and celebrated the sacrament of penance for the first time. Watching her skip to the confessional,...

Love Changes Everything And Everything Changes Love

Listen to your father who begot you, and despise not your mother when she is old.—PROVERBS 23:22 For the Christian, “To love or not to love?” is not the question (my apologies to Mr. Shakespeare). Our question is always, “How do I love?” How we love changes from person to...

Stop! Look! Listen! Someone is trying to tell you something

Oh, that today you would hear his voice: Harden not your hearts.—PSALM 95:7–8

Reading has clicked for my little granddaughter, and she is very proud of her new skill. She reads everything—cereal boxes, ads that come in the mail, road signs. This morning I was pondering this column as we drove through town, and as we approached the railroad tracks, she startled me by shouting, “STOP! LOOK! LISTEN!” I did. And then I explained to her the dangers of shouting at the driver.

The Grace of Growing Up: The eighth gift of the Holy Spirit

As regular readers know, my husband and I are guardians of our three grandchildren, ages seven, four, and two. They are fun, delightful, sweet kids, and we love them to pieces. They are also needy, demanding, outrageously self-centered, and drive us to distraction. In other words, they—and we—are normal.

Sometimes I can only laugh at their timing. Like when the seven-year-old insists that I show her “right now, Nana, please!” how to do something on the computer while I am up to my elbows in the poopy diaper of her squirming, equally impatient little brother. A gentle “Honey, what am I doing right now?” is the best I can manage. (Sometimes I’m not so gentle.)

The Need to Read: Christian authors who inspire and entertain

There are also many other things that Jesus did;  if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. —John 21:25

The last verse of Saint John’s Gospel is rather curious. Surely the events of the life of one man—even the God-Man Jesus—could be contained in a couple of thick volumes. Unless…the story continues?

May the Force Be With You: The Holy Spirit at work

A year ago I spent some time in India. One evening my hostess invited me to watch The Bucket List with her. Try to picture us: two women, one Hindu and one Catholic, unknown to each other until a month earlier, watching a movie about two men with terminal cancer who spend their last six months doing things they always wanted to do before they “kick the bucket.” Poonam and I sat late into the night discussing our own “bucket lists” and found we had much in common.

Holy Week 101: A lesson in simplicity

My initiation into the Catholic Church was unusual. No RCIA. Not even much instruction. I was a seeking girl/woman traveling with all I owned in a duffle bag and found myself in St. Louis under the influence of a Jesuit who introduced me to the Gospel. Within days, he baptized me.

Lenten Discipline: It’s more than giving up chocolate

Last year my Lenten discipline was to listen at Mass. I mean really listen—with my whole person. I made myself sit or stand very still, feet flat on the floor, hands at rest, back straight, eyes fixed on the reader. I was much more attentive, and my husband mentioned that my concentration helped him listen better too. This Lent, I want to continue to listen like that and also let each Sunday Gospel suggest a discipline for the week. Perhaps you’d like to join me.

Let There Be Peace on Earth

I wanted to be a writer when I was still a little girl. Dad was a newspaperman and, longing to imitate him, I learned to type on his old manual Royal typewriter. I still cannot set down a drink to the right of my keyboard because, as I learned the hard way, the carriage return would send it flying. (I can just hear my children: “Carriage return? What’s that?!”)

I’ll Be There in a Minute

A friend, widowed and with no children at home, has a house that’s too big for her. She dreams of a small, economical apartment, but she won’t move. Why? Too much stuff. Her attic and garage and basement are full, her closets and drawers heaping with old clothes and handbags, dishes, tools she never uses, and books she’ll never read.

Turning Burdens Into Blessings

I remember very lonely Christmases, when I was too old for a child’s Christmas and too young to have a family of my own. Then in my early twenties I happened upon The Wounded Healer by Father Henri Nouwen, which inspired me to consider what was missing in my life as the very source from which I could be a blessing to others. I talked to a friend who was also without family, and we decided to spend Christmas providing meals to shut-ins who lived in our downtown parish.

Appreciating Firsts and Lasts

Iwas thirteen when The Byrds released their recording of Pete Seeger’s song “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season).” It was a hard time in our family, and I sang this song with little understanding. I thought I’d always be sad.

All Life Is Good… Even when it’s not

October is Respect Life Month. I’d like to avoid this subject. I’d rather write about something we all agree on—like the beauty of fall foliage or the importance of regular exercise or the sweetness of my growing grandchildren (ages five, three, and one, thank you for asking).

The Middle May Always Be the Middle…

We adopted our sons from Guatemala. First, Philip; when Philip was two, his baby brother, Nate; and six months after that, Dan, a ten-year-old I met at the orphanage. And so it was that Philip, once an only and for a brief time the oldest, became our middle child.