“I wish we didn’t have to talk about this.” What parent hasn’t thought or uttered these words, taking a deep breath before jumping into a hard conversation with their child? Whether a crisis at home, a conflict at school or an atrocity in the news, tough subjects are unavoidable in families.
The thing I remember most about St. Mother Teresa, whose feast is Sept. 5, was her joy. I met her three times in my life. Once when we were giving talks on the same program; once at a Vatican Seminar on Family Life, and once when she asked me to give a week-long retreat to her contemplative novices on joy. She founded two distinct orders, the one she picked for me was her cloistered contemplative community in New Jersey.
I lost my first pregnancy to miscarriage in the late 1980s. The memory is hazy, clouded by the roller coaster of emotions and hormonal changes that a woman experiences when she loses a baby. I remember Joe and I watching the ultrasound machine anxiously and excitedly, waiting for the heartbeat that never came. I remember the doctor taking over from the technician and delivering the tragic news. And I remember crying.
Why would the government ever legalize another addictive drug? Maybe someone should ask – or rather challenge – this governor on that very issue. After all, it was not in his political platform when he ran for governor. So, why now? More importantly, how can we stop him?
Mary turned Jesus’ hesitation into a character-building moment. She knew His true talent and encouraged Him to share it with everyone. So don’t compare yourselves to others; everyone is special in his or her own way. God has gifted us all with unique talents. Let’s make them shine in each other, like Mary did for Jesus.
St. Jean Vianney is a “hard act to follow.” As a parish priest for most of the last 38 years of my priesthood in the Diocese of Brooklyn, I have never spent as many hours as he in the confessional. I may never have ‘run away’ from my parish, but I do take my weekly day off every Friday. I may have gotten better grades in the seminary than he, but I certainly would never compare myself to him in holiness.
So, did I tell you that I got a letter from the pope? Yes, that’s right, the pope. You know, the one in Rome.
This column almost made a liar out of me.
A few years ago, my husband, David, and I were asked to give a retreat to a group in the Peace Movement on the topic “Inner Peace.” If someone had asked me then what inner peace was, my response would have been different from what it is now. I thought peace meant quiet within and without, a total lack of disturbance from anywhere. Now I know no such state exists in this world. What did Jesus really mean when He told us He would give us peace, peace that the world cannot give?
A world without Jesus Christ is a world without hope – unrecognizable, within which our neighborhoods, communities, and our common humanity cannot truly flourish. For our sake and for those we must lead to Christ, we cannot lose sight of who we are, from Whom we came, and to Whom we look to return. We’ve got to roll up our sleeves, and get to work.