Thursday, September 15, 2011

An Online Retreat -- Another Gift from Creighton University

I've been wrestling with myself for a couple years now who has the better site for prayer and scripture reflections  -- Saint Louis University or Creighton University.  They're both great sites, albeit in very different ways.  Creighton wins this month, however, as it provides an entryway into its annual online retreat, which begins next week.  (Actually, you can begin it anytime, but you'll be going through it in sync with even greater numbers of other folks--if such things matter to you--should you happen to start it in the third week of September.  There's also a retreat book available for purchase, though you can participate in the retreat just fine with your mouse.)

Not sure if I'm going the online route or not this year; probably not, as I'll be going on retreat later this year in the old fashioned way (for the first time in a decade, actually).  Truly, though, it's great to have Creighton's prayer resources out there to remind us that you can go on a retreat--send your soul on a retreat--no matter your transportation options, your budget, your job schedule, or child care/family responsibilities.  Jesus was in the habit of going away to a quiet place to pray.  These days, sometimes that quiet place is in front of a monitor.  Whatever works, however you can make it work . . . trust that God will make it work.  This is the God of limitless love, boundless mercy, infinite creativity.
"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."  --Matthew 11:29-30
Just as the human body needs and deserves sleep, the soul needs its own rest--the time and opportunity to trust completely in God's love, to unfold itself in the radiant warmth of God's love.  Whatever good deeds you hope to carry out in the world, your soul needs the warmth of God's love if you hope to carry that love out into the world.  Don't kid yourself into thinking a retreat is a selfish thing.  It's no more a selfish thing than an annual visit to the doctor (even though you'll probably enjoy your retreat more than that visit with your physician).

Okay, your turn:  Have you gone a retreat at some point yourself?  Would you do it again or not?  What did you get out of it?  There's an empty comment box just waiting for you.  It's pretty empty, really it is.  Or almost empty.  Go on.  You know you want to type in your thought...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In Remembrance

Those who died on September 11, 2001, live on in many hearts, most especially in the lives of those who knew and loved them.  May we trust, through God's grace and mercy, that they also live on in God's loving embrace.

May we honor their lives by living in generous, life-giving ways.

May we acknowledge the injustice of their deaths by rejecting hatred, violence, and vengeance.

May we pray for their families, that they find peace in the years and decades to come.

May we view this anniversary, and future anniversaries, as times when we respect all human life, rather than as partisan occasions for name-calling or recrimination.

Nothing can undo this tragedy.  Nothing can help us to make complete sense of it.  But seeking God's love and mercy, and embracing the call to forgiveness and healing that is at the heart of the readings at Mass for today, is an important step in not allowing hatred and violence to have the final say in the life of our nation or our families and neighborhoods.

An old post related to September 11:  "Losing One's Life for Others--Priestly Examples," concerning NYFD chaplain Fr. Mychal Judge.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Vatican Again Papers Over Real Priorities

A great (and brief) article by Eugene Kennedy, in the National Catholic Reporter, on Rome's mixed-up priorities and retreat into medieval ways.

Benedict's Vatican is again engaging in a legalistic approach to grace.  Sadly, that's pretty darn appropriate, since its approach to just about everything else also seems legalistic.

Someday, we may once again find ourselves with a pope who truly embraces Vatican II, rather than runs away from it.  Someday, we may have a pope who--like John XXIII--opens the windows of the church and allows the church to thrive with the fresh air, rather than recycling practices that were wisely put on the shelf.  There is much hope for the Church.  The Holy Spirit is not finished with it yet.