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Gazing on Reality

The reality of the pandemic cannot help but hang over our daily lives. During hard times, however, it can be consoling to remember that pain and sorrow do not have the last word.

We might listen to the words of Josef Pieper, who speaks of the loving gaze of contemplation and the intuition of the “divine base of all that is.”  He goes on to say “that in spite of all appearances, underlying all things is—peace, salvation, gloria; that nothing and no one is lost; that ‘God holds in his hand the beginning, middle, and end of all that is.’ ”*

Yes, along with the grief and the sorrow, which we do need to honor, there is a deeper reality.  Even in the midst of the pain of daily life, God is working in all things for good (see Romans 8:28). God is working for good in our own lives. God does not desire sorrow for us, but when it comes, whether it is completely undeserved or even brought about by our own actions, God is present and working with creative and transformative love.

O God, open our eyes and our hearts,
that we may glimpse your transforming love
in our own lives
and in the world as a whole.

I sought the LORD, and he answered me,
    and delivered me from all my fears.
(Psalm 34:4)


* Happiness and Contemplation, trans. by Richard and Clara Winston (South Bend: St. Augustine’s Press, 1998), 84-85. (The words in single quotation marks in the citation are from Plato, Laws, 715 e.)

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Jürgen Moltmann, in the last chapter of his book, Experiences of God,  writes:

"Finally, like the particular paths of the mystic and the martyr, everyday life in the world also has its secret mysticism and its quiet martyrdom. The soul does not only die with Christ and become `cruciform’ by means of spiritual exercises and in public martyrdom. It already takes the form of the cross in the pains of life and the sufferings of love. The history of the suffering, forsaken and crucified Christ is so open that the suffering, forsakenness and anxieties of every loving man or woman find a place in it and are accepted. If they find a place in it and are accepted, it is not in order to give them permanence, but in order to transform and heal them."

– Trans. Margaret Kohl (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2007)

Loving God,
may I welcome the healing power of the cross
in the sorrows and struggles of my everyday life,
through Jesus Christ who loves me
and died for me.


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Ordinary Time

What does it mean to be Ordinary?

Routine? Usual? Typical? The same as what has gone before? Is it dull, boring, without surprise? Does being ordinary make something labeled ordinary plain? Full or overly full of "the same old same old"?

But is that what the church means when it numbers weeks between Trinity Sunday and the First Sunday of Advent weeks in "Ordinary Time"?

During these weeks we listen to the Word of God found in the Sunday Gospels. Rooted in them we hear the call to make visible the Gospel path we hear and pray each Sunday. There is nothing dull, boring, or even routine about that.

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Love Has the Last Word

In spite of all that may tend to discourage us, in spite of all we read in the newspaper or on social media, Goodness and Light are stronger than evil.

We need not fear, because we know that love has the last word.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
(John 1:5)

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Center of Our Heart


“The more we draw near to God, the more we desire to draw near; the more we are united with God, the more we desire this union, because we understand more and more that God is the center of our heart and that God alone can fill them and make them happy.”

— Saint Therese Couderc,
Letter to Mother de Larochenégly, August 7, 1867


The image is by Rose Hoover, rc, with the help of Apophysis software.

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