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Nothing is as important as forgiveness. It is the key to happiness and the most important spiritual imperative in our lives. We need to forgive, to make peace with the hurts and injustices we have suffered so as not to die angry and bitter. Before we die, we need to forgive – others, ourselves, and God, for what happened to us in this life.
The Bible presents a universalistic vision of God and the world. The strength of its universalism has made it the most translated, most widely read book of all time. The main factors in its spread are the Jewish diaspora and the Christian missions around the world. The universalism of the Bible is reflected in the expansion of the Christian Churches, of which it is the founding document. Today there is an interreligious and ecumenical scholarly community that studies and spreads the Bible.
A wise old Augustinian priest once shared this in class. There are days in my life when everything from the pressures of my work, to tiredness, to depression, to distraction, to flat-out laziness make it difficult for me to pray. But, no matter what, I always try to pray at least one sincere, focused Our Father every day.
The polyvalence of the term “culture” reflects the wealth of meanings of the Latin verb colere: among them, to cultivate a field, to care for or adorn one’s body, to protect, to inhabit, to practice a virtue or study, to honor, to serve with a cult a certain god or a sanctuary. Hence there is the close relationship in Latin languages of words relating to agriculture, culture (customs and knowledge) and cult (religious or civic).
Henri Nouwen once suggested that if you want to understand the tragedy of the Second World War, you can read a hundred history books about it and watch a thousand hours of video documentaries on it, or you can read the Diary of Anne Frank. In that single memoir of young girl imprisoned and later executed by the Nazis you will see, first-hand, the tragedy of war and what war does to the human soul.
Among the managers of the Catholic part of the Church, there are not a few who seem determined to drive away anyone who looks anew at old moral positions (especially those related to sex). Those new thinkers generally believe that Christianity is not about morality, but is a living and growing relationship with God in Jesus Christ that is the foundation and norm for morality.
At the end of the day, all of us, believers and non-believers, pious and impious, share one common humanity and all end up on the same road. This has many implications. It’s no secret that today religious practice is plummetingradically everywhere in the secular world. Those who are opting out don’t all look the same, nor go by the same name.
In a particularly poignant passage in her poem, The Leaf and the Cloud, Mary Oliver pictures herself standing at the gravesite of her mother and father, reflecting on their lives. They were far from perfect and she doesn’t sugarcoat their faults. She openly names her mother’s heaviness of soul and her father’s immature faith. She knows that many of her own struggles have roots there.
Every war is a defeat of peace. Every war is pain, suffering and death. In every war, peace is a complex journey of reconstruction. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has awakened from their torpor European countries accustomed to the idea that war was someone else’s problem. The world is, in fact, troubled by numerous conflicts, mostly in Africa and Asia, but virtually all continents are affected. The map shows the tragedy of the “Third World War in Pieces,” about which Pope Francis has long spoken.
After his first arrest, the peace activist Daniel Berrigan went into hiding. After four months, he was captured, but during those months underground, although a threat to no one, he was put on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list. There’s an irony here that did not go unnoticed. Someone put up a poster of him with this caption: Wanted – Notorious consecrator of bread and wine.
Satan (the accuser), the devil (the divider), the evil one, the serpent, the dragon, the demon, etc. There is also the name “Lucifer,” meaning “bearer of light.” Originally this was a name of Christ, but over the centuries has become the r name of the angel who rebelled against God out of pride. This malign presence is recognized as having its own will and freedom, and therefore the dignity of an intelligent creature, of a “person.”
The Belgian theologian Jan Walgrave, who directed my doctoral thesis, was a true intellectual and a rare one. True, in that his thought naturally, instinctually gravitated towards the huge philosophical questions of essence and existence. Why are we here? Who are we really?
Health is therefore a universal good, but a fragile good, because its privatization destroys it. It is a global common good, which we all aspire to share and whose care requires the cooperation of all. It requires a cosmopolitics. What kind of institutions will allow us to manage this kind of situation? The UN has become a very fragile body. The institutions of the European Community have not fared much better. The World Health Organization has not been listened to. Therefore, we have to think of something else.
Many of us are familiar with an often-quoted line from T.S. Eliot; The last temptation is the greatest treason; to do the right deed for the wrong reason. This, he suggests, is the temptation of the good person. What’s the temptation?
We have many photographs of Therese of Lisieux. Her sister Celine loved using a camera and took many photos of Therese, but there’s an interesting thing to note in those photos. The British Carmelite Ruth Burrows once did a study of those photos and commented that in all of them, Therese is always somehow alone, by herself, even when in a group photo-
To be fully alive is to be able to hope, and to forgive. The Eucharist is an audacious expression of hope in defiance of a world that seems bent on its destruction. But to live fully with hope now, in this doom-laden time, we need also to forgive. We begin every Eucharist by remembering our sins and asking for forgiveness.
In this article we will try to reflect on the “vulnerable” dimensions of faith in the contemporary conflictual context. Obviously, it is not always easy to distinguish between genuine faith and fundamentalist fanaticism, the latter being either sadistic and violent, or masochistic and non-violent. Therefore, our reflections will go beyond this specific issue. We will also explain the ways a believer’s vulnerability can come to be seen as his or her true strength.
The last 20 years have seen significant progress in the fields of bioscience and neuroscience. Particularly interesting is the question of when and how “religious capacity” evolved in hominids, and how it should be understood from the biological point of view. A new volume, The Emergence of Religion in Human Evolution, tries to give an initial answer to this question.
Denominational identity in me runs deep. Born, baptized, and raised a Roman Catholic, Roman Catholicism is my second nature, like a brand on my skin. I have no regrets about the congenital grip this has on me, even though now I think of it more as a foundation than as an endpoint in my faith journey.The Roman Catholicism in which I was raised inserted me into the mystery of Christ – Jesus, the church, the sacraments, the Sermon on the Mount. For this, I couldn’t be more grateful.