Creating a Community of Care

Chapter Talks

“To sorrow in the suffering of the world together may be what we need to embrace now, something beyond hope, deeper than hope, which is to honor our grief of a changing world. . . Rather than anchoring our hope beyond the struggle, always projecting ahead, perhaps locating joy within the struggle through our full presence can be our essential gesture at this moment in time.  To feel the pain of now and not look away.  To act not with the hope of moving forward, always forward, but to see the wisdom of stepping sideways as we create a different space, a more conscious space in the direction of pause, where we can breathe and gather ourselves so we can gather others around us and create a community of care, even within our own families, especially our own families” (Erosion, at 273). I find these words of the writer Terry Tempest Williams profound and not unfitting for this 32nd Sunday’s liturgy where we are encouraged to stay awake, to be present, to be ready for the encounter with the Lord. She is saying that our tendency, way too often, is to project forward, especially to project our hope forward…always forward and the suggestion is that perhaps we do this when we are clearly not ready.

November 08, 2020 Read More

All Saints - A Golden Chain of Witnesses

Chapter Talks

“The eyes of the saint make all beauty holy and the hands of the saint consecrate everything they touch to the glory of God, and the saint is never offended by anything and judges no one’s sin” (New Seeds of Contemplation, p.24). These words of Thomas Merton are packed with meaning. First he says the ‘eyes of a saint make all beauty holy’….This vision or seeing is possible for everyone…the eyes that behold beauty connect the beauty with holiness…what is seen is beautiful and it is holy, imbued with Divine life….Then the ‘hands of the saint consecrate everything they touch,’ treating everyone and everything as holy, as gift of God

November 01, 2020 Read More

Hear O Israel

Chapter Talks

How do we love God? We are commanded to love God with our whole heart, soul and mind? This is the first commandment. From an incarnational reality, what does this mean? Well, Jesus implicitly gives the answer when he says the “second is like it” (Mt 22:34-40). Jesus means that to love one’s neighbor as one’s self is like the first commandment…the two are intimately connected and cannot be separated. To know what Jesus means by ‘love of neighbor’ we can turn to other teachings of Jesus: we are called to love our enemies; and if struck on one cheek we are to offer the other cheek; we are not to retaliate, either by word or by hand (Mt 5:43-44, Mt 5:40). To give another example, we have the story of the ‘Good Samaritan’ (Lk 10:29-37). Jesus tells this story in response to the question he is asked: ‘Who is my neighbor’? ‘My neighbor’ in Jesus’ mind and heart is expansive, it includes everyone: my enemy, the one who thinks different or whose views are different, who acts different, the one with whom I am in most conflict with right now, and even the one who would strike me down.

October 25, 2020 Read More

An Attitude of Care

Chapter Talks

“Contemplation…leads us to an attitude of care….,” says Pope Francis (September 16, 2020). Have you, have I ever thought that this is one important fruit of a contemplative practice? The ‘care’ Pope Francis is referring to is care for one another and care for creation. They belong together. If we just care for one another and don’t give the same care for creation, then, there is a ‘split’ in our caring. Our caring is not whole or complete.

October 18, 2020 Read More

Accepting the Invitation

Chapter Talks

Once again, we have a parable that Jesus uses to teach the word of God. The parable for this 28th Sunday is a wedding feast that a king has prepared for his son. If we were to do a scholarly review of the text, we would see that the early church used this parable by adding on its own moral precepts through inserting allegory into the parable. There is nothing ‘wrong’ with this, but it can elude the underlying meaning of Jesus’ message in this particular parable. For example: the servants sent out to invite people are ‘mistreated’ and some ‘killed’. And then the king sends ‘his troops’ who go and ‘kill those murderers’. So: what happens to Jesus’ earlier teaching on ‘Love your enemies’…and ‘if you are struck on one cheek, offer your other cheek’? Remember in an earlier chapter talk I mentioned that the Jesuit scripture scholar Fr. John Donahue stated that Jesus in his parables disorients us in order to orient our minds and hearts to see as God sees. Jesus disorients human ways and he challenges the old way of ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’ with the radical call for love…indeed our love must extend to include our enemies.

October 11, 2020 Read More
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