Memory and forgiveness

502abc1410abc1122e8ef52ff8a34df5It is as if I am being pursued by them,  so constant is my pace when it comes to them. What am I talking about? A few topics that have been an obsession for me for most of my life, even during my earliest days.

One of those topics is the Holocaust. When I was young I was aware that my father had grown up in a Jewish family, but that he no longer practiced that faith. My mother was Catholic, and after visiting many churches in the years before I was 5 or 6, we ended up Catholic too. (I was baptized in a Catholic church about 5 months after I was born. Honestly, I’m not sure how that happened in the 50’s given the irregular status of my parents marriage and general lack of church attendance at the time, but somehow it did.)

That said, my obsessive curiosity about Judaism started at an early age. And while I cannot tell you how old I was when I first became aware of the Holocaust, I can tell you that the tumble down the rabbit hole of interest came quickly and with intensity. Perhaps it began with Anne Frank’s diary? Who knows? Whatever it was, I was hooked for life.

By time the Continue reading

America the beautiful

ATB Lemon Bougainvillea

Lemon and bougainvillea, Tucson, AZ June 2019

For all of my complaining, I do love this land. If I didn’t, I would not have so many issues with what has happened and with what continues to happen. During the past week, a friend mine was posting photos of all 50 states, many of them taken by her during a lifetime of travel. Another friend sent a video of his 4th of July on Lake George. Between the two of them I was inspired to do something.

From last August to this moment I have been to Arizona three times, New Mexico, Texas, and Pennsylvania twice, to Florida, Alabama, North Carolina, Maryland, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Tennessee  once. The big one was going to Alaska. I flew there stopping in Seattle for about 2 hours – does that count?

Not every state ended up in this little video, but lots of places did. So yes -while I complain a lot, I also love the great and remarkably diverse beauty of the United States. Everywhere I went, politics aside, I met the nicest people. America is indeed beautiful.

None of this gets anyone off the hook for the ugly behavior that treats human beings as less than human. Maybe we can rise to the promise and ideal that all men and women are indeed created equal. And if you  – like me – believe in God, that we are all each created in the image of that same God. How can we mistreat others or diminish them if we think of it like that?

Feed them yourselves

World Refugee Day Borys Fiodorowicz“Children as young as 7 and 8, many of them wearing clothes caked with snot and tears, are caring for infants they’ve just met, the lawyers said. Toddlers without diapers are relieving themselves in their pants. Teenage mothers are wearing clothes stained with breast milk.” – From ‘There Is a Stench’: No Soap and Overcrowding in Detention Centers for Migrant Children, New York Times, June 21, 2019

Mary Jesus in CageA 14-year-old girl from Guatemala said she had been holding two little girls in her lap.“I need comfort, too. I am bigger than they are, but I am a child, too,” she said. –From Attorneys: Texas border facility is neglecting migrant kids, AP News

Today we celebrate the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. Today’s Gospel is embedded upon my heart. When the disciples were pretty much about to dismiss the crowd because they were in a deserted place and seemed to lack the resources (or the will) to care for them. Jesus said to them:

“Give them some food yourselves.”

Today he might add that toothbrushes, sleep, Continue reading

Moral courage

Today Jon Stewart showed more moral courage in this nearly nine minute speech to Congress than most people show in their lives.

Meanwhile, up the road from DC, at the USCCB meeting in Baltimore, the scene was a little different.  Bishop Robert Barron talked about why young people have left/are leaving the church. He spoke of how Jordan Peterson (sorry, not linking to his page, you will have to go look yourself) has connected to young people through social media. (Here is a link to Jack Jenkins’ report on Religion News Service.)

USCCB

At which point I had a moment. Wait, what? What? Who? Why?

giphy

Of course, Catholic Twitter, which was on fire all day, had some fine responses. My first favorite came from Villanova professor of Religious Studies and Theology, Dr. Massimo Faggioli. That was quickly followed by a clever retweet by David Gibson who heads up the Center on Religion and Culture.

On this crock

Of course my wry laughter over their tweets was not enough for my distress over everything else – both at the Congressional hearing with Jon Stewart, nor the USCCB meeting.

It all feels incredibly frustrating, even when tempered with a little dark humor. Moral courage is hard to come by these days, in any circles. When we see it, we know it. May God grant more of it to the Church; we need it. Holy Spirit, please – lead the way.

Each one heard

266297.pToday, Sunday, June 9, 2019 is Pentecost, that great feast of the promised coming of the Holy Spirit.
At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd,
but they were confused
because each one heard them speaking in his own language.

Yesterday I read this at church, and as I stood at the ambo, I was filled with a Holy Spirit moment of my own. Having practiced the reading enough to memorize some of it, I was able to look up and out at the congregation before me, I had one of those Thomas Merton moments. If you are not familiar, one day he was standing on a street corner and saw through new eyes, in a Pentecost-like moment.

42b3fc66-c2d1-4bd7-9291-7bc6f6e931fcEveryone looked the same – yet so different to me at that moment. Not unlike what we read in the Acts of the Apostles, “When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together.” Yes, here we were, a church full of Catholics, a big church – literally and figuratively – gathered as one in Christ. At a time when I feel deeply upset and highly frustrated about the Church, I felt awash in a wave of love.

Somehow that love eluded me today as I read some things in the newspaper that were upsetting to me.  In these fractious times, as we grow Continue reading

Disturbances

Disturb us Adonai Shabbat

Shabbat is over until Friday night, or Sunday – depending on your faith practice. That said, I found this graphic on my computer and it has been rubbing up against my consciousness, so I figured I better pay attention before the next sabbath sneaks up on me.

Honestly, I find Sunday to be one of the more stressful days of the week. Saturday feels more relaxed, even if I do more errands. And I typically attend mass on Saturday at 4PM. So what is it about Sunday that Continue reading

Clear conscience – updated

Lentz, Joan of ArcI think that it was Joan of Arc that got me thinking about this. She was burned at the stake after being condemned by an ecclesial court and not too long after, declared a saint by the same church that executed her.  (CORRECTION: It took a long time, my initial source was apparently incorrect. Joan was not beatified until 1909 and canonized in 1920.) She followed her conscience and the Church caught up to her, albeit late. That is conscience formation!

What is it to form our conscience? I’m not speaking in general, but rather as a Roman Catholic today. This is an important question and one that I fear is not well addressed in contemporary American Catholic circles. Like everything having to do with God, it is not a matter of transactional information, but Continue reading