Hope Springs Eternal

November 14th, 2020 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Our lives, especially the lives of those with Christian faith, are meant to be marked by hope. Hope is a deeply personal virtue and a public one as well, for St. Peter tells us we should always be ready “to give an explanation to others for the hope that lies within us.”

We may be tempted to think that hope is a kind of temperament, and that some of us are just naturally hopeful and optimistic while others are not. But I believe that hope is less about our disposition and more about our beliefs.

For a believer, hope comes from the conviction that each of us lives under the watchful gaze of a protecting and loving God who never forgets or abandons us. And we remember the example of Jesus’ prayer at the end of his life as he was commending his life and spirit into the hands of his Father, trusting that his Father would accept the gift and make it fruitful.

We don’t achieve hope only by our own efforts. Living with hope is a gift of the Holy Spirit that we need every day, some days more than others. And it is a gift the Spirit is pleased to give us, if only we ask for it in faith.

I Want to See

October 21st, 2020 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

In the New Testament, Jesus encountered a number of blind
people. When he asked what he could do for them, their answer
was no surprise: “Lord, I want to see!” They wanted to see the
world around them, the sky, the clouds, fields, trees, lakes,
towns and villages. They longed to see the faces of their
families, friends, loved ones, their own face, and a million other
things they had never seen.

There is, of course, another sight: the inner vision about who
we are and whose we are, which courses of action are good
and which are bad, which people elicit our love and trust and
which do not. This, too, is seeing.

Most of all, I believe that in Heaven I will see my mom and dad,
my grandparents, my sister who died before I was born, and
the brother or sister who died before being born. And I believe
that through the Holy Spirit’s power I will see Mary, Joseph, all
the angels and saints, Jesus and God the Father.

I believe this is the sight I have been promised; so I continue to
pray, “Lord, I want to see!” confident my desire will be granted

Be Still and Wait for God

September 4th, 2020 Posted in writing | No Comments »

These few words in Psalm 37 hold a lot of importance for me.

Be Still…During the first weeks and months of the Covid virus, the world became more quiet because people stayed home and there was less traffic. I wish it had stayed quiet just a little longer. I appreciate silence. I try to make sure I can find a quiet place to pray, and even if I go to a coffee shop, I often bring ear plugs. For me, Be Still isn’t hard.

Wait for God… This takes more effort. I know God wants us to ask for what we need, and Christ assures us that when we ask in faith, God will answer. But I tend to be impatient, and sometimes I want God to answer my prayers right away. It can even sound like I am demanding rather than asking. I need to remember that “God can do infinitely more than I could ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20), and trust that God knows the right time to answer my prayers.

Just six words. But they have the power to help keep our faith strong if we take them to heart.

The Colloquial Examen

August 2nd, 2020 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Saint Ignatius of Loyola was convinced of the value of what is called the Examen, a way of searching one’s day in order to become aware of where God was operating and ask how I could improve my praise, reverence, and service of God.

The Examen can be made in a very formal and organized fashion, starting by putting oneself in God’s presence, invoking the Holy Spirit, reviewing the day, looking to the next day, and ending with an Our Father.

But Ignatius suggested other ways to pray, for instance using our imaginations by imagining ourselves in a situation or gospel story often ending with making a colloquium with God. A colloquium is a way to pray in which a person would speak to God in a familiar way, like friends talk with each other.

Last summer I was working at a parish in Omaha, and almost every day for six weeks a very good friend of mine and I would either meet for lunch or take a break in the day to sit outside at a coffee shop, enjoying the day, a cup of coffee, a roll or ice cream, and talk — often starting out by one of us asking the other something like, “So, what’s been happening in your life today?”

I wondered if my Examen could be done in a similar way, and I have found that imagining God and I meeting up like that, asking each other what we’ve been doing or thinking about, is a good way for me to pray the Examen. And since (no surprise!) God and I and seem to be not always thinking about the same things, it helps our relationship grow.

If you practice the Examen, you may prefer the more traditional and formal way; but you might also want to try what I’ve come to call the “colloquial Examen.” I’ve never been disappointed when I pray the Examen that way.

Commands and Desires

July 3rd, 2020 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »


In third grade religion class, we memorized the Ten Commandments, which contained the “do”s and “don’t”s we were supposed to follow if we wanted to go to Heaven.

The “do”s were to worship God alone, honor our parents, keep holy the sabbath and rest on it. The “don’t”s slightly outnumbered the “do”s: don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t murder, don’t use God’s name in vain, don’t bear false witness, don’t covet things that aren’t rightfully yours, and don’t commit adultery (we weren’t quite sure what adultery was until the later grades, just that we shouldn’t do it).


We learned the things to do and the things not to, but that was about it. We didn’t know that what we were learning were not God’s orders for us but his desires for us and the world he wanted us to live in, where God was respected, people were cared for and kept each other safe and people could be trusted to keep their word. Thus, the Ten Commandments are, at heart, not so much a matter of obedience but love: God’s love for us and our love for God.