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Religion

  • Magical moments stir the heart

    The Jan. 6 feast of the Epiphany looms large in some denominations and in many countries. This is the designated time for gift exchanges, in the manner of the Magi who traveled afar to meet, greet, and gift the Christ Child with their presence, homage, and love. In a manner far different from the commercial hustle and bustle of Christmas buying, these are the gifts of the gold of our lives, the incense of compassion, and the myrrh of suffering. They are the gifts of relationship. 

  • Winter’s cold enhances summer’s heat

    I just read an article that both delighted me and gave me pause. It called me to contemplate my winter angst. It asked for a rethinking of the statement I offer to explain away any perceived iciness or discontent. I tell everyone: “I give myself one season of discontent and that is winter!” Summer’s heat must be borne as gift. Its humidity now becomes moisture for the spirit. All is well in summertime because Winter is declared the season of my discontent!

  • Numbers make the news

    Numbers make the news! In every form of media, numbers define comedy or tragedy, fantasy or reality. Crowds fascinate us. The count of attendees marks success or failure. Grades denote intelligence. It’s all around us, infecting and affecting our perceptions. We say one person can make a difference, yet we take notice of hundreds or thousands, few or many. True, we say “the more, the merrier” as we greet unexpected guests. In the welcome, do we do intend another meaning: “the fewer, the sadder.”

  • What am I waiting for?

    It’s Advent. Actually, we are already nearing the third week of Advent and past the midway point. Many Christian denominations set aside this month of Sundays as time and opportunity for probing questions to arise and emerge. There is a sense of expectancy suffusing this season. Jingling bells and jangling nerves cannot deny, define or describe it. Unfortunately, they can serve to diffuse it and offer distractions. 

  • Silence is more than speechlessness

    I recently read an article by Carolyn Gregoire in which she proclaimed the value of silence. In our house, quiet reigns supreme. It’s not that Hubby Dear and I never talk. More to the point, it is about giving ourselves time to be still and know the presence of divinity in our midst. Even more so, it is allowing ourselves to be quiet in the presence so that we can experience it everywhere and in everyone.

  • What does it mean to be a person?

    I remember the day and time when I first heard someone refer to my infant daughter as a person. The wooden threshold of our kitchen doorway was in need of repair. I began the typical search for a carpenter to fix it and stumbled upon a delightful man who arrived with tools in hand and a smile on his face. A heavy accent indicated his Jewish heritage and made our conversation a tad stilted at first.

  • On being thanks-givers

    Note: This is an amended version of a column published in 2003 when I first became the Beacon’s religion columnist.

     

  • I am Jonah

    I hear God calling me. I don’t want to go. I don’t want to do what I am clearly being asked to do. It’s too hard. I am afraid … more fearful of what might be than of what is. So, I run away. I flee to that which is more comfortable, easier, more palatable … and far from the God who asks what I don’t want to hear.

  • Homelessness is time out of mind

    It was 2016, the year Richard Gere engaged with the invisibility of homelessness. For him, it was time out of mind. For the homeless ones, it remains enigmatic, a lengthy duration of time, longer than is readily remembered. It is also deeply embedded in a memory bank which gains interest with each passing moment. Homelessness is not a condition; nor is it a learned lifestyle. It is not so much a choice as an accepted reality. It is not desirable or desired yet it persists. Homelessness is truly time out of mind as much as it is a mind out of time.

  • The power of forgiveness is an unfolding mystery

    I often write of my ongoing admiration of Richard Rohr, OFM. However, his recent series of meditations on the power of forgiveness has me reeling with awe and kneeling in contemplation of the wonder and strength encased in clemency.