Radical Hospitality

There has been much talk in recent years within ministry about the notion of radical hospitality. Not merely seeking to embrace those we know, it is an openness albeit a willingness to authentically meet and walk with one another in our weakness, suffering, and challenges of life. This is the experience of encounter, and as such cannot be superficial or thought of as just an act of charity. Each of us must be vulnerable, and ready to extend ourselves beyond our pew, well past our comfort zone, beyond even the doors of the church to welcome the stranger with love.

Yet, what does this look like in REAL life?

Some 23 years ago, my then fiancé and I were traveling the 1,400 miles to visit my family in Arkansas when the blizzard of 93’ hit. Praying that the weather would let up the further south we went, we pushed onward. However, that was not to be as the interstate in front of us was closing and we found ourselves in uncharted territory on a long stretch of road near Winchester, KY. With only 2 choices available, a 6 ft. tall snow bank to our right or a jackknifed semi to our left…we chose the snow bank. Sitting there in a car now engulfed in snow, I admit, I felt utterly despondent. For, as far as the eye could see was snow and farmland and we knew no one. We couldn’t stay there forever, as our tank of gas and thereby the heat would only last for so long. So, there my later hubby and I prayed together. And, no sooner had we done so did we see a shadowy figure approaching from a distance.

With a steaming cup of coffee in hand he gingerly made his way to check on both the driver in the semi as well as us. “How are you?, he asked”  “We are ok, but a long way from home”, we answered. “Where are ya’ll headed?” “Arkansas, to visit my family but traveling from Massachusetts”, I replied. “Well, why don’t ya’ll come on in the house, warm up, let them know you are ok, and join us for dinner.” As we walked across the field and the house came into view I breathed a sigh of relief, finally ceasing to calculate fuel reserves.

With two young children in tow this beautiful family welcomed these two strangers into their home and lives that day. Inwardly, I wondered if they had even considered whether or not we were harmless or the gift that they were offering. Their gift of generosity came so natural and was so heartfelt that we very readily felt as if we had known them for years. A very good thing too, since it would be a couple of days before the roads cleared and our car could be unearthed. Even this was another example of the breath of their commitment to radical hospitality. Knowing that we had very little extra income to spare, Mike, our gracious host, called his friend who volunteered to use his tractor with chains to help rescue the stranded Camero. Then placing heaters under the engine they were at last able to bring it back to life.

The morning we left, well rested and well fed, John and I knew that God had placed these incredible people in our lives to teach us the true meaning of hospitality and Christian love. Not only exchanging Christmas cards, with the advent of social media we have made it a point to stay connected. Their children now grown, are married and beginning  young families of their own. What a legacy of Christian discipleship Mike and Connie have modeled for their children, for my husband and I , and all those they encounter.

This is the challenge for each of us in our everyday-to go forth living out our faith with radical hospitality. To accept the invitation to meet the lost, abandoned, marginalized and wounded with generous love. Since some wounds we cannot see, and anyone of us can be in need of radical hospitality at any time, we must begin to see with the eyes of the heart. This takes practice and reminders of the moments when God has taken the initiative to rescue us, unleashing his otherwise unimaginable love and mercy.

Reflect:

When and how have I been a recipient of radical hospitality? In what ways might God be asking me to witness his radical hospitality today?

Peace,

Signature

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An Engaging Faith: 2/29-3/4

You are invited to join me this week for An Engaging Faith on Breadbox Media daily at 4pm EST

Breaking into your ordinary
with the extraordinary …

We start off our week with Simplifying The Soul-Lenten Practices to Renew Your Spirit with Paula Huston, then Jamie Arpin-Ricci joins us to discuss Vulnerable Faith: Missional Living in the Radical Way of St. Patrick Paraclete Press, Jack Levison with 40 Days with the Holy Spirit: Fresh Air for Every Day.

…and Encores of the Catholic Relief Services Columbia Trip 2016 Recap with Lisa Hendey and Sherry Brownrigg  and Saying Yes! with Albert Haase, OFM


Paula HustonMonday:
 Paula Huston
, a National Endowment for the Arts fellow, wrote literary fiction for more than twenty years before shifting her focus to spirituality. She taught writing and literature at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and currently mentors graduate students in creative nonfiction for Seattle Pacific University’s MFA in Creative Writing program.

Her first nonfiction project was Signatures of Grace, for which she served as co-editor and contributor; it earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Her book The Holy Way, which garnered another PW starred review, was a Catholic Press Association award-winner, a Catholic Book Club major selection, and a ForeWord Magazine bronze medalist for Book of the Year in Religion. Huston’s other spiritual nonfiction includes By Way of Grace, Forgiveness, Simplifying the Soul, and A Season of Mystery. A Camaldolese Benedictine Oblate, Huston is married, has four children and four grandchildren, and lives on the central California coast.

Tuesday: Jamie Arpin-Ricci, is the author of The Cost of Community: Jesus, St. Francis and Life in the Kingdom and the pastor of Little Flowers Community in the inner city of Winnipeg. He has spent two decades serving in ministry among the urban poor, both in North America and abroad. Here today to talk about Vulnerable Faith: Missional Living in the Radical Way of St. Patrick by Paraclete Press.

 

Wednesday: Jack Levison – holds the W. J. A. Power Chair of Biblical Hebrew and Old Testament Interpretation at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University and is “the most competent scholar and clearest writer on the Holy Spirit that I have known,” according to Eugene Peterson. A contributor to parade.comrelevant.com, and beliefnet.com, Jack has written Fresh Air: The Holy Spirit for an Inspired Life to wide acclaim. His writings have been translated into German, Spanish, and Korean. He joins us today to discuss 40 DAYS WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT: Fresh Air for Every Day.

Thursday: Catholic Relief Services Columbia Trip 2016 Recap with Lisa Hendey and Sherry Brownrigg This Lent, as they have for four decades, millions of Catholics around the United States will place a colorful cardboard box and calendar in their homes to begin a spiritual journey that changes lives around the world.

For Catholic families, the “CRS Rice Bowl Effect” begins conversations about Lent and their faith, about the role of charity, and about the many different people who make up our world family.  For Catholic parishes and schools, it unites communities for Lenten faith reflection around the spirit of serving those in need and the good work of the Church around the globe.  And for those who benefit from its charity, the “Rice Bowl Effect” is a key to a better life.

Friday:  Ordained a Franciscan priest in 1983, Albert Haase, OFM, is a popular preacher, teacher, spiritual director and radio talk show guest. A former missionary to mainland China for over eleven years, he is the award-winning author of nine books on popular spirituality and the presenter on four bestselling DVDs. He trains spiritual directors in the diocese of Springfield, IL. He lives in Texas. Visit his website at www.AlbertOFM.org

Worth Revisiting: Marian Consecration

Contemporary Version featuring JP II, Mother Teresa and Maximilian Kolbe

This Lent, I have decided to grow in my own understanding of Christ through St. Louis de Montfort’s Consecration to Jesus through Mary. Having taken February 20th as my start date, I have entered a “retreat” of sorts with the culmination on March 25th The Annunciation of Mary.

By Daderot on Tiffany glass

The feast of the Annunciation of the Lord celebrates the angel Gabriel’s appearance to the Virgin Mary  with the announcement that the Blessed Virgin had been chosen to be the Mother of Our Lord, and Mary’s “Yes!”  (fiat) to God’s holy plan.(Luke 1:26-38)

For me, this Marian feast day has special significance, in that it is a very real glimpse into the answer that God asks of each of us. Quite simply, and humbly, we give our “yes!” to what God has planned and willed in each of our lives. Far greater and vastly different from anything we could ever imagine, it requires we surrender ourselves fully.

With that, I look forward to speaking  these words of Consecration (Day 34),

“I, Elizabeth, a faithless sinner, renew and ratify today in thy hands the vows of my Baptism; I renounce forever Satan, his pomps and works; and I give myself entirely to Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom, to carry my cross after Him all the days of my life, and to be more faithful to Him than I have ever been before…

O faithful Virgin, make me in all things so perfect a disciple, imitator and slave of the Incarnate Wisdom, Jesus Christ thy Son, that I may attain, by thine intercession and by thine example, to the fullness of His age on earth and of His glory in Heaven. Amen.” ¹Signature

¹Louis De Montfort, “True Devotion” p.198.

Our Vote of Conscience

 

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A member of the League of Women Voters and a District Chairperson of the Republican party in the late 60’s, within a Democratic stronghold of the South,..my mom was truly a groundbreaker. Deciding to run as a representative in Arkansas, the deck was clearly not in her favor and yet she doggedly pushed on ahead. Extremely principled, she wouldn’t budge on issues of importance to her–life and the quality of life, education, just laws and government, and fair taxes. Not to mention, she outright refused to portray herself as anything less than this merely to speak to another audience. Her political career was all but doomed, and yet what she instilled in me was a belief that there are moral principles worth fighting for.

Though I myself never ran for office, I became quite active in my HS and undergraduate years in the political scene, resolutely campaigning for those I felt could offer a good vision for the future. Going door to door, putting up signs and holding a microphone at counter rallies, I was more than willing to speak for a cause. My entrance essay for Mount Holyoke College, in fact, was aptly entitled “An Apathetic Voter Makes for a Pathetic Democracy”.  Clever, eh? So then, what happened to dull this avid proponent of democracy into more of the subject of this essay? Experience and disappointment.

Through my 30’s, unconsciously I had begun to acquire a new mantra on the political system. Unable to feel any candidate fully or even partially represented values I held dear I had resolved to be religious but not political.  Clearly there was room for growth on both sides of the political spectrum, and the losers weren’t the candidates but the American people. Particularly I felt were those who were being enticed by temporary campaign promises, courted, then all but forgotten in the months following the election. Issues of the protection, preservation and betterment of life for those most vulnerable have been more often than not it seems, never intended to succeed either in theory or practice.  Gridlock.

However, the nice comfy perch I had found sitting above the fray by acquisition of a philosophy of moral superiority was also feeling less comfortable and more concerning. What difference was I making in the lives I proclaimed to be asserting for if I refused to take a stand, if my approach was to simply resign to throw my hands up in disgust? If I was merely going through the motions and lacked purpose in my step?  Yes, even though there may not ever be an ideal candidate it is my responsibility to vote my conscience and my faith. Then whoever is elected, they too may need a reminder from all of us that there still exists faith, hope, love and charity- and these are truly values worth fighting for.

This election you too can accept the invitation to vote your conscience..and hold politicians accountable.

Peace,

Signature

An Engaging Faith: 2/22-2/26

You are invited to join me this week for An Engaging Faith on Breadbox Media daily at 4pm EST

Breaking into your ordinary
with the extraordinary …

We start off our week with Make Room: A Child’s Guide to Lent and Easter with Laura Alary , then Jonathan Montaldo joins us to discuss Bridges to Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton, Lent & Holy Week  published by Ave Maria Press, Susan Vogt with Blessed By Less: Clearing Your Life of Clutter by Living Lightly.

…an Encore of Monsignor John Enzler with the classic Lenten devotional Way of the Cross.


Laura AlaryMonday:
 Laura Alary
 is a writer, storyteller, and religious educator. She has a B.A. from Dalhousie, an M.Div. from the University of Toronto, and a Ph.D. from University of St. Michael’s College. Laura has three creative and curious children. She leads workshops, teaches university courses, and works with children at a local congregation. Laura lives in Toronto, Canada.She joinsus today to discuss Make Room: A Child’s Guide to Lent and Easter.

 

Tuesday: Jonathan Montaldo has served as the associate director of the Merton Institute for Contemplative Living, the director of the Thomas Merton Center, and as president of the International Thomas Merton Society. He edited or coedited many volumes of Merton’s writing, including The Intimate Merton, Dialogues with Silence, and A Year with Thomas Merton. He presents retreats Lent and Holy Weekinternationally based on Merton’s witness to contemplative living. Montaldo will join us to discuss one of the ten-volume series for small group dialogue, Bridges to Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton, Lent & Holy Week  published by Ave Maria Press.

Wednesday: Susan Vogt is a speaker, author of five books, and former editor of the Journal of the National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers. For over 30 years, Susan has worked in familyBlessed By Less  ministry for the Catholic Church. Susan and her husband have worked with ecumenical and social justice organizations including Parenting for Peace and Justice. Susan is married, has four children, and lives in Covington, Kentucky. She joins us to discuss Blessed By Less: Clearing Your Life of Clutter by Living Lightly.

 

Thursday: Fr. John Julian OJN, has practiced contemplative prayer daily since 1985 as a semi-enclosed monk. He is an Episcopal priest and the author of thirteen books. He has been an actor, a professor, a Letters to Jacob: Mostly about Contemplative Prayerparish priest, a TV commentator, a camp director, a bookseller, the dean of an experimental seminary, the director of social worker training, and has read and studied the work of Julian of Norwich daily for over a quarter century. We will be discussing his book Letters to Jacob: Mostly About Contemplative Prayer.

Felice Fridays!: Margaret Felice, Boston College alumnae and faculty member of Religion and Performing Arts at BC High in Boston MA, Opera Singer and blogger joins us for a fun an engaging talk about all things Catholic! 

Margaret Felice has been praised for her dynamic stage presence, artistic versatility, and “drop-dead gorgeous voice” (Boston Musical Intelligencer). Her repertoire ranges from classical opera to modern musical theater, from early music to the Great American Songbook, but all of her performances have one thing in common: a commitment to entertaining her audience with musical integrity and creative presentation. MargaretFelice.com

 

Worth Revisiting:Love Worth Waiting For

Those who know my husband and I closely, know that before we ever dated we were best friends. John was a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts and I a freshman at Mount Holyoke College in 1990. In looking back, every detail of our meeting and courtship was just as it was intended to be. Neither of us was initially looking for a long term relationship but honestly seeking someone that reflected the values that we held dear.

That first evening, John was in fact to be meeting someone else, who was the roommate of a friend of mine. Yet, with nothing in common and little desired conversation both had decided it was a bad idea. At dinner, he spotted me across the room and inquired from my friend who I was.  I had noticed him too, but was unsure if he was with one of the other girls. Called over to their table before leaving, I suggested that we meet in the common room for coffee.  As the conversation flowed, the more we discovered that there was indeed something very special in the other. I could not explain it, but I recognized what had been so missing in my life at the time.

Instantly, John will tell you, that he knew that I was the one- who held his heart, mind and attention from that day forward. Yet, I was not so ready to “jump”. Knowing that he was special and desperately needing a true male friend, I was fearful that a relationship would ruin this.  Reluctantly, he accepted that I was not ready to date but longed for his friendship. Through months of listening to one another tell of the faults of those we dated, and giving advice we grew closer. He was waiting for me and loving me all the while.

So it happened. Having invited him to a party that I was certain would be uneventful, I eagerly anticipated spending time with my best friend. I did not worry that we wouldn’t have anything to talk about, or that we would face that awkwardness at the end. I knew that we would enjoy the time no matter how lame the event was. What I wasn’t aware of, however, was the surprise that God had in store for me..now that I was ready for it.

We kissed. (Oh, no..I’ve done it, I lost my friend), I thought. Yet, in those moments of recognition I prayed. Father, lead me, lead us. So, upon my suggestion we decided to go take a walk and sit beside one of my favorite reflective spots beside the waterfall. Though quite picturesque, I was feeling a bit chilled in the cool New England spring air. As he put his arms around me, and we sat in relative silence..I finally understood.

The following is a poem that I later wrote that summer. I waited to give this to him after we were engaged for Valentines Day 1992.

The Waterfall   (1991)                 by Elizabeth Reardon 

The waterfall cascaded down onto the lake below,
I marveled at its beauty and watched as moonbeams shone.
I hadn’t known the lake to look as lovely as that night,
For within his arms and loving heart I was now held tight.

In friendship had I known this loving heart before,
I never thought that ever I could ask for any more.
But suddenly I realized that this was but a start,
That every second of my life he would be a part.

To hold me, love me, and share the vast wonders of the day-
To walk along a mile with me down steep and narrow ways.
And when we are no longer young to our grandchildren I will tell,
Of the sparkling waterfall, and the painted lake-
when their grandfather kissed his southern belle!

This Valentine’s Day as we stop to express our love for those that continually bless our lives let’s remember how God never ceases to surprise us!

Love,

Signature

Wit & Wisdom:Be Transformed

“The saints are living and practical proof that Christ’s philosophy works. The saints show us that it is possible for a human to be fully transformed in Christ” 

 Rediscover Catholicism, Matthew Kelly

This Lent we are asked to engage in a transformation, a continual conversion of heart. To do so, however, we must become vulnerable- recognizing and forgoing our attachment to sins, habits, and impediments to change. Then we are better able, as Richard Rohr, OFM would say, to “get out of the way enough” as to be influenced by God’s will for our lives. The grandest works of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are worth little if done without an inner turning to God. Likewise, once we experience the profound love and mercy for our repentance and  take on a “radical reorientation of our whole life”(1431 CCC) it is very difficult for this transformation not to overflow. For, all those we encounter- our families, co-workers, neighbors, and even strangers can then be witnesses to God’s love in our lives.

Take a moment today to consider what this transformation in Christ might look like, by listening to the saints and soon-to-be saints in their walk of discipleship.

“Your first task is to be dissatisfied with yourself, fight sin, and transform yourself into something better. Your second task is to put up with the trials and temptations of this world that will be brought on by the change in your life and to persevere to the very end in the midst of these things.”
St. Augustine

“There are in truth three states of the converted: the beginning, the middle, and the perfection. In the beginning they experience the charms of sweetness; in the middle the contests of temptation; and in the end the fullness of perfection.” Pope St. Gregory the Great

“First let a little love find entrance into their hearts, and the rest will follow.”
St. Philip Neri

“We need silence to be alone with God, to speak to him, to listen to him, to ponder his words deep in our hearts.  We need to be alone with God in silence to be renewed and transformed.  Silence gives us a new outlook on life.  In it we are filled with the energy of God himself that makes us do all things with joy.”  Blessed Mother Teresa

“Let us allow ourselves to be touched by this love, to be transformed, so that the resurrection may really be realized in us. I invite you, therefore, to live the Paschal Triduum intensely.” Pope Emeritus Benedict

“Breathe that in: the doorway to joy is GIVING.Give whatever. Many give for the purpose of holding the title in giving. Yet there are those who give nothing of material yet give a smile from their heart, for it is the energy within you that are giving that matters most – not the form, what comes from your heart in that moment of your giving, that is what touches life, that is what will transform your world.” St. Germain

“Everything in life especially the things we like least about ourselves and our life situation become, from God’s perspective, the place of divine transformation and an invitation to intimacy with God who is present to all that is human..The abuse we may have suffered, and the difficult situations we face daily are the places where glory works itself out in us. Our specific woundedness is integral to the unique image of God that each of us is.” St. Thérèse

“We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become. If we love things, we become a thing. If we love nothing, we become nothing. Imitation is not a literal mimicking of Christ, rather it means becoming the image of the beloved, an image disclosed through transformation. This means we are to become vessels of God´s compassionate love for others. ”
St. Clare of Assisi

“While it is quite true that the essential vocation and mission of the lay faithful is to strive that earthly realities and all human activity may be transformed by the Gospel, none of us can think we are exempt from concern for the poor and for social justice…” Pope Francis (Evangelii Gaudium 201)

“And do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
so that you may prove what the will of God is,
that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” St. Paul (Romans 12:2)

Peace,

Signature

 

An Engaging Faith: 2/15-2/19

You are invited to join me this week for An Engaging Faith on Breadbox Media daily at 4pm EST

Getting ready for Lent with great invitations for Reflection and Action!

 Greg Wolfe with God For Us, Monsignor John Enzler with Everyone’s Way of the Cross, Catholic Relief Services trip to Columbia Recap with Lisa Hendey and Sherry Brownrigg,   Encore with Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle

and repeat co-host Tony Agnesi! 

Monday: Greg Wolfeis editor of Image, one of America’s leading quarterly journals. He serves as Writer in Residence and Director of the low-residency MFA in Creative Writing program at Seattle Pacific University. His literary imprint, Slant Books, is published by Wipf & Stock. Wolfe’s books include Beauty Will Save the WorldIntruding upon the Timeless, and The Operation of Grace. He has served as a judge for the National Book Awards. He is here with us today to discuss God For Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Lent and Easter, a book he is co-editor of along with Greg Pennoyer.

Tuesday: Monsignor John Enzler , a native Washingtonian, Monsignor Enzler has more than 40 years of experience as a priest, leader and advocate serving the needs of the most vulnerable in our community. Msgr. Enzler has long been involved in the work of Catholic Charities. His commitment to the poor and underserved extends beyond his work for Catholic Charities to include service on the boards of national and local organizations. 

He joins us to discuss the classic Lenten devotional Way of the Cross written by his father Clarence Enzler (1910–1976) , first published in 1970.  A prolific author, Clarence Enzler published articles in many national magazines, including The Ave Maria, and he wrote three books. He held a doctorate from Catholic University of America and was a deacon in the Archdiocese of Washington. 

Wednesday: Tony Agnesi Catholic Storyteller, author and blogger Tony Agnesi is on fire with his Catholic faith. His Sunday blog, Finding God’s Grace and Wednesday snackable podcast have an International audience in several languages. In 2015, Tony was a finalist in the Religion/Spirituality category for the 15th Annual Weblog Awards, the Bloggy’s. He is a member of Radio and Television Hall of Fame.
He is a member of the Catholic Writers Guild and is a frequent contributor to Shalom Tidings magazine and is a monthly guest on An Engaging Faith on Breadbox Media.Tony and Diane, his wife, of 43 years, live in Wadsworth, Ohio. They have two adult sons, a beautiful daughter-in-law, and grandson, Nico, the love of their lives.You can read and subscribe to his blog and podcast at http://tonyagnesi.com.

Thursday: Catholic Relief Services Columbia Trip 2016 Recap with Lisa Hendey and Sherry Brownrigg This Lent, as they have for four decades, millions of Catholics around the United States will place a colorful cardboard box and calendar in their homes to begin a spiritual journey that changes lives around the world.

For Catholic families, the “CRS Rice Bowl Effect” begins conversations about Lent and their faith, about the role of charity, and about the many different people who make up our world family.  For Catholic parishes and schools, it unites communities for Lenten faith reflection around the spirit of serving those in need and the good work of the Church around the globe.  And for those who benefit from its charity, the “Rice Bowl Effect” is a key to a better life.

 

Friday: Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, is an award-winning Catholic writer, speaker, retreat leader, and host of Catholic Mom’s Café and Everyday Blessings for Catholic Moms on EWTN. A wife and mother of five, Cooper O’Boyle was recognized as one of the Top Ten Most Fascinating Catholics in 2009 by Faith & Family Live. She enjoyed a decade-long friendship with Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and became a Lay Missionary of Charity. For many years her spiritual director was Servant of God John A. Hardon, S.J., who also served as one of Mother Teresa’sBringing Lent Home with Pope Francis spiritual directors. Donna  is the author of several books on faith and family, including the Bringing Lent Home series, Rooted in LoveMother Teresa and Me, and The Kiss of Jesus. She has been featured in a number of religious publications and on Catholic radio, and is a frequent guest on EWTN’s Bookmark, Sunday Night Prime, and EWTN Live. She lives in Connecticut with her family. Here to talk to us about her Lenten book, Bringing Lent Home with Pope Francis.

 

 

Worth Revisiting {Ash} Wednesday

Ash Wednesday Edition!

Today as we begin the season of Lent I thought that this beloved Catholic funny was definitely worth revisiting!  Beyond the obvious, when many of us have left with just a smear across our forehead, I see myself. (As a bit of perspective, I have actually corrected the cross of ashes on my forehead more than once in my life!) For so many years, I have let my own desire of perfectionism determine the outcome of success. It is a fruitless game of never fully being pleased. and where often the reason why we even tried gets lost in our own sense of pride.

True, this time of Lent is intended to work on those things in our life that distance us from God. However, we cannot do this solely on our own, nor were we ever meant to. Rather than seeking control, by forcing a square peg in a round hole, we are to allow God to chip away at our sins and challenges. To shape us in the true image we were always intended to be.

This is why I encourage you this Lent to let go of who you think you once were, or who others have defined you to be to allow God to accomplish His work and what he wills within you. These next 40 days are a gift- an invitation to carve out space and time for both quiet reflection and dialogue. If you decide to pick up a devotion this Lent, whether it be the rosary, adoration time, daily mass, Bible study, Liturgy of the Hours, or the Examen..agree to make it meaningful. Rather than passively going about this time be purposeful in seeking direction and unhurried in reaching a destination. Keeping in mind that our faith is a journey- one in which Our Father not only meets us but leads and indeed carries us home.

Peace,

Signature

A Child’s Perspective: “Dear Pope Francis”

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Dear Pope Francis: The Pope Answers Letters from Children Around the World (Loyola Press)

With the incredible appeal of Pope Francis, there has been understandably a vast array of books on him or by him featuring his homilies, angelus’, addresses and encyclicals. Yet, I am so thrilled to be able to preview a book composed of letters and questions by children and the tender responses of Pope Francis.

While I could tell you how I felt reading these personal and heartfelt correspondences..I thought that instead I would share a few of my son Thomas’ thoughts as we read these preview pages together.

I asked him, “So, Thomas, what do you think?”

Pope Francis brings out the most of everyone’s questions in faith. He speaks to each child from his heart.

(Thomas, age 10, United States)

I really like the question from Alejandra, “Why didn’t God defeat the devil?” and Pope Francis’ response that he already defeated him “in his own way” on the cross. This relieves me so much because I dislike Satan and the evil things he does. (Thomas, age 10, United States)

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I think Pope Francis’ choice for a miracle is a good one because I do not wish that children or anyone else would suffer. When Pope Francis says that it’s ok to cry, that is different from saying that crying won’t change anything. He cries because he feels for us and loves. (Thomas, age 10, United States)

To Karla, You ask if everyone good or bad has a guardian angel. I feel bad for the guardian angel that has to accompany the people that do bad things! I am happy though that people are never alone and they have a guardian angel to guide them. (Thomas, age 10, United States)

Knowing that God wants us to all be saved makes me feel grateful. If I make a mistake and am sorry, he forgives me.(Thomas, age 10, United States)

To Pope Francis: Thank you, yes Jesus wants me to be his friend. But to be a good friend, you say that this means that Jesus wants me to talk to him, and spend time with him. This makes me happy because then everyone gets to be friends with Jesus!(Thomas, age 10, United States)

As you can see, the dialogue between hearts is intended to continue with each child, parent and teacher that picks up this beautiful conversation of faith. Children have a remarkable way of meeting situations and others with a profound honesty and simplicity. Perhaps this is why we too are called to be like these children in seeking the Kingdom of heaven. 

Peace, Signature