Before the Spanish economic crisis hit, Mercedes Gonzalez and her family lived comfortably, she working in a shoe shop and her husband and second son in construction. But one by one, over five years each of them lost their jobs.
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LAST week, with the excellent support of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO), the Association of North East Councils (ANEC) and the Customs House, I hosted a jobs summit in South Shields, looking at the crisis of youth unemployment across the North East.
“The faith of our forefathers is hanging in the balance, especially in the western world. Grandparents have a special role to play in passing it on to their grandchildren. If we don’t act now, it may be too late, as quite often our own children have little knowledge of the faith. I truly believe that grandparents are being called at this moment in history.
The so-called God particle was proposed in the 1960s by physicist Peter Higgs to explain why some particles, such as quarks - building blocks of protons, among other things - and electrons have mass while others, such as the light-carrying photon particle, do not. Higgs's idea was that the universe is bathed in an invisible field similar to a magnetic field. Every particle feels this field - now known as the Higgs field - but to varying degrees.
A VIDEO from Europe's CERN physics lab, apparently posted mistakenly on the eve of an announcement on the elusive "God Particle," reveals that a new subatomic particle has been observed in the relevant range. "We have quite strong evidence that there's something there... To ascertain its properties is still going to take us a bit of time."
Solitude is not something we turn on like a water faucet. It needs a body and mind slowed down enough to be attentive to the present moment. We are in solitude when, as Merton says, we fully taste the water we are drinking, feel the warmth of our blankets, and are restful enough to be content inside our own skin.
Though official estimates of homelessness are difficult to gauge, the USA National Coalition for the Homeless approximates that around 1.6 million people each year use transitional housing or emergency shelters. The number of people who actually experience homelessness in a given year is likely closer to 3.5 million.
Hence the Gospel can only be planted and sowed with faith. That is what Jesus wants his disciples to learn from his parables. God’s project of making a better and more humane world implies a saving and transforming power that the sower-farmer does not possess. When the Good News of God is understood by an individual or group of persons, then something starts to grow that is well beyond our own merits.
“Behold this Heart which has loved men so much that it has spared nothing, to the point of exhausting and consuming itself to show them its love.” That’s the deepest understanding of the Sacred Heart, whose feast we celebrate today.
There is always some anxiety, some worry about something that we should have done or should be doing, some unpaid bill, some concern about what we need to face tomorrow, some lingering heartache, some concern about our health or the health of another, some hurt that is still burning, or some longing for someone who is absent that mitigates our joy.
Jesus not only promised the coming of the Spirit, he also communicated to his disciples the day of the Resurrection as the first paschal gift, and the day of Pentecost as the outpouring of the Spirit on the young Church, gathered together in prayer around Mary.
Pentecost reminds us that the Holy Spirit is a power at work in a continually renewed universe, and is present in the innermost mystery of all things. Grace and science come together to offer a fuller picture of what is true: that God’s love is embodied in all humanity, and in the evolving world itself.
There are different kinds of power and different kinds of authority. There is military power, muscle power, political power, economic power, moral power, charismatic power, and psychological power, among other things. There are different kinds of authority too: We can be bitterly forced into acquiescing to certain demands or we can be gently persuaded into accepting them. Power and authority are not all of a kind.
Recent studies suggest that religious people tend to be happier and more fulfilled in their lives than non-believers. Here, a writer on religion and ethics assesses the evidence and identifies an essential component often missed.
Several years ago in an interview, John Allen asked me to draw up a list of what I considered to be the ten major faith and church struggles of our time. I took this as a healthy challenge and the list that follows is my own attempt to name the key faith and ecclesial struggles we deal with today.
The Catholic imagination — the imagination that allowed Shakespeare to sprinkle his plays with references to Catholic religious beliefs and practices in meaningful ways — also helped to create the fictive worlds of Denmark, Rome, Verona, Venice, and Illyria. The imagination that made him Catholic also helped make him the greatest writer in the English-speaking world.
There was some surprise in Justice and Peace circles recently at the sight of a job advertisement for the post of director of Caritas (Westminster) with a salary of £45,000 to £50,000 per annum. The post holder will "lead the Caritas work within the diocese with the aim of enabling the Catholic community of Westminster to respond appropriately to those experiencing poverty and social exclusion."
Hugo of St. Victor once famously said: Love is the eye. When we see with love we not only see straight and clearly we also see depth and meaning. Those searching for life through the eyes of love, like Mary of Magdala searching for Jesus in the Garden on Easter Sunday morning, see spring and the resurrection. Any other kind of eye, and we're blind in springtime.
When grace enters, there is no choice - humans must dance. W.H. Auden wrote those words and, beautiful as they sound, I wish they were true. When grace enters a room we should begin to dance but, sadly, more often than not we let some little thing, some minor mosquito bite, blind us to grace's presence.