The anxieties, pains, the groans of the dying prelude the imminent death; the pangs of a woman in labor herald the beginning of a new life. Jesus taught us the proper perspective: “When these things begin to happen, stand erect and lift up your heads, for your deliverance is drawing near” (Lk 21:28). “The fate of the world is in God’s hands, so I look up.”
News in Youth
A group of young Catholics calling themselves "online missionaries" will hold a social media summit aimed at discovering "strategies on delivering truth on social media" on Nov. 17.
Shusaku Endo, the Japanese author of the classic novel, Silence (upon which Martin Scorsese based his movie) was a Catholic who didn’t always find his native land, Japan, sympathetic to his faith. He was misunderstood but kept his balance and good heart by placing a high value on levity.
I do not want to die from some medical condition; I want to die from death! Ivan Illich wrote that. What’s meant here? Don’t we all die from death? Of course, in reality that’s what we all die from, but in our idea of things, most often, we die from a medical condition or from bad luck through cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, or as the victim of an accident. Sometimes, because of how we think of death, we do die from a medical condition.
Today, increasing numbers of lonely people are experiencing something close to this hell. The United Kingdom’s statistics are overwhelming. In the past two years, Childline counsellors have noticed a rise in the number of children – some as young as six – contacting them to complain of loneliness, with triggers including feeling “invisible”, feeling “ugly and unpopular” as a result of comparing themselves with others on social media, and having an illness or disability.
The Shattering of Loneliness is the fruit of that pursuit and learning: and there is much learning of a scholarly kind to be found in this former Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge, all lightly worn and always helpfully serving the overall purpose of his book, offered to the reader “companionably, as an invitation to set out”.
It is a source of great joy when a bishop, priest or religious speaks out in solidarity with victims of human rights abuses. " A few weeks after the abduction of my son Jonas, I joined a group of relatives of victims of enforced disappearances along with a few priests and nuns to have a dialogue with a number of bishops."
Jean Vanier, the Canadian philosopher and theologian and the founder of L'Arche communities, turned ninety this week. To commemorate the occasion he released a YouTube video laying out his “ten rules for life to become more human” by sharing his thoughts on life and on growing older. He speaks about success, vulnerability, listening, fear and love.
Richness does not lie in the structures, but in its members, with special mention to the most needy and vulnerable. It is my hope that my reflections will evoke in you a similar sense of thanksgiving and belonging without, of course, denying our flaws and lack of perfection.