Showing posts from May, 2009

The Great Emergence

Whereas tracts singing the supremacy of Jesus leave me flat, statements placing Jesus alongside other seers stir me deeply. God Is Not Three Guys in the Sky A nephew of mine insists I’m not really Catholic because I don’t worship Jesus. I say I couldn’t stop being Catholic if I tried—and I did try, for a time in my life. I suspect more and more Catholics wear shoes like mine, Catholic in spiritual outlook but not obedient to hierarchical authority. We were formed by Catholic devotions—rosary, novenas, saints, Lenten resolutions, and fondness for Mary. We stood, sat, knelt, sang, recited, and received communion in many a Mass. But we follow our own conscience, not the conscience of the hierarchy. We learned to do that after 1968 when Pope Paul VI rejected the conclusion of a commission set up to study the morality of “artificial” contraception, which advised him to approve it. Instead he repeated the traditional teaching against it. Lay people, theologians, priests, and even bishops dis

The Ascension

Today in liturgies is read the beginning of Acts, which tells the story of the Ascension. Since Easter, liturgical readings have included the resurrection appearances in the gospels. These stories gain new significance in light of contemporary resurrection appearances such as those I tell here and term “paranormal” in my blog index. Contrary to the assumptions of our materialistic culture, the inner world regularly breaks into this surface world, assuring us that life has larger, deeper meaning than keeping up with daily duties or amassing stuff. Birth and death often call attention to the inner world. The death of the extraordinary spiritual master Jesus gave birth to the great religion of Christianity. Appropriately, his followers at the time experienced him alive and elevated to higher status. Thus the Resurrection and Ascension. Recently I heard this startling idea: When we learn how to die, we’ll learn how to live. Fr. Roger Karban in NCR reflects similarly that Jesus “was constan

The other side

Carol and her father had always been close, sharing with each other thoughts not revealed to others. While she was visiting him as he lay dying in the nursing home, he pointed to things he saw floating around the room and asked, “Do you see those?” She didn’t see anything. It saddened him that she could not see what he was seeing, and this went on for a good ten minutes. Finally he had one on his knee. “It’s right here,” he said, and gently placed her hand on it. She felt only him but now it came to her. In a voice filled with wonder, she said, “Papa, I think those are the angels coming to escort you to where you need to be.” Without another word, he dropped into a deep, peaceful sleep. It was not yet the end, but a harbinger of the end. They both loved Christmas, loved it. The December after he died, she was happily hanging Christmas decorations in her living room, two of them large jingle bells. As had happened before, she felt her father's presence. He had been with her o

Peace & Mother's Day

From Gather The Women comes this message: Mother's Day was originally started after the Civil War, as a protest to the carnage of that war, by women who had lost their sons. Here is the original Mother's Day Proclamation from 1870 by Julia Ward Howe Arise then...women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts! Whether your baptism be of water or of tears! Say firmly: "We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies, Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, For caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, the women of one country, Will be too tender of those of another country To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs." From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with Our own. It says, "Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.

Death and Providence

“Oh, this is what that meant!” said Sabrina at the wake. She was being mysterious again. A few months before that, she had started reading about death and told her mother, Beata, who thought it was strange but forgot about it. After that, Sabrina mysteriously called one day and asked, “Is anyone sick?” “No. Bill and Larry have health problems, but that’s all.” “I have weird dreams about the family.” “What do you mean? Tell me what you mean.” As Beata asked for more information, Sabrina grew angry and obnoxious—not like her at all. “Just tell me what you’re talking about,” pressed Beata, irritating Sabrina further. “You don’t tell me when I’m going to tell you. I will tell you when I will tell you.” Rudely. It was like something made her not tell. “What do you mean?” “Do you hear me? I’m not going to tell you. Do you understand? We’re lucky that nobody’s sick and nobody’s died.” “Well no, nobody’s died.” “A lot of families have those things.” “Oh, I know that.” Beata felt s