A biblical formula for forgiveness

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…

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The ultimate prayer for the poor

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…

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Making a recessive journey

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…

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Disarmed and dangerous

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…

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Why is there something instead of nothing?

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? Moreover, he was also a rare intellectual in that he was an uncommon…

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The temptations of the good person

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? In John’s Gospel, Jesus asks his listeners this question, “How can you believe who…

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