Be quiet: What do you do on a silent retreat?
The most common question about my retreat is also the simplest: What exactly do you do?
All you have to do is show up—and shut up,” said the Jesuit priest, drawing a final chuckle from a group of 40 people settling down for a week of silent retreat. God would do the rest, we were all promised; we had done our part by getting there.
A year in the Promised Land
A student abroad observes how past and present shape the future of the Holy Land.
October 4, 2010
Via dolorosa: Walking the Stations of the Cross while on chemo
When you're on chemo, the Stations of the Cross take on a whole new meaning.
Growing up Catholic in the 1970s, I remember the older women in our parish staying after Mass and praying before the Stations of the Cross. They would walk silently and slowly, stopping to pray at each of the 14 depictions of Jesus' final hours. I learned to think of the stations in the same way I thought of the rosary: They were for old people, a throwback to a pre-Vatican II time, and they held no meaning for me.
Help yourself: The importance of self care for caregivers
Racing through life with a death grip on your to-do list isn’t good for anyone you’re trying to help. And Jesus wouldn’t approve, either.
"When I was in Germany in September of 2010,” says Robert Wicks, “I was giving a talk to chaplains who had been working with the military in Afghanistan and Iraq. Just when I was getting ready to give the presentation, one of the colonels came up to me and said, ‘Before you go up to speak, I just want to caution you that there are a lot of ghosts in this room; there’s nothing left inside them.’
No stereotypes need apply: The depth and vibrancy of Irish culture
The kids in the Catholic seventh grade classroom—Hispanics, Filipinos, African Americans, and my own Irish American offspring—took on a project to highlight three aspects of their cultural heritage. As the teacher listened to the kids brainstorming, he turned to my child and said, “Three cultural traits of the Irish? That’s easy: drinking, drinking, and more drinking.”
The next day we met with the principal, who turned pale as she listened. The teacher apologized to my husband and me. There were no fisticuffs.
Heavenly bodies: Are we souls, bodies, or both?
Flesh and blood deserve equal billing with spirit and soul when talking about human nature.
The children next door are sidewalk theologians—in their spare time, of course. Modern children lead unnaturally busy lives. They go to school five days a week and attend Sunday school on weekends. They have an exhaustive activities schedule coordinated by their parents. And they also play, among the most sobering and time-consuming responsibilities of childhood.
Don't get comfortable this Lent
Lent’s 40 days should disturb our consumer complacency.
To eternity and beyond! Faith and space
Forget about terrestrial matters for a moment and think outside the blue planet.
Our American Spirit is stuck--and I'm not talking about that intangible dimension of our national identity that keeps us upbeat and confident in these "tough economic times." I mean that little multi-wheeled, remote-control land rover that's been combing the sands of Mars since 2004 in search of signs of life.
From Russia with love
An icon of Catholic social justice, Catherine de Hueck Doherty found that living among the poor helped her find stillness and peace.
For me, the distinct pull toward Russian spirituality was not something that developed over time. Rather it descended all at once like a warm cloak on a cold night.