The blessed chrism represents our new life in Christ and the fact that we are marked and set apart by God.
In the ancient Near East, olive oil was used for healing, sealing, and strengthening. Athletes in ancient Greece would use it to limber up and soothe their muscles before competing. Oil was also poured on the head of guests as a sign of hospitality. Prophets were anointed with olive oil, and they in turn anointed kings.
A family is not just a mom, a dad, 2.5 kids, and a dog. Extending family relationships changes how we think about faith, church, social justice, and God.
It’s impossible to fully understand God. So humans come up with metaphors to try to explain our conviction of a loving God who holds us in community with each other. These images are rooted in our own experiences and cultures; the biblical image of God as a shepherd may not be as meaningful to people living in cities today.
The course of grieving is never smooth, but worship gives students a place to process their loss.
Not two minutes after transcribing my last interview for this story, my phone rang. An undergraduate student at St. John’s University, where I work, died suddenly just before Holy Week. I had just spent weeks listening to stories of loss from students and ministry professionals across the country. Now here was death, seeping hurt into my own home. My heavy heart grew heavier. I felt helpless.
Fossils remind us that we are one tiny—albeit, important—note in the magnificent song of God’s creation.
On a cold, overcast December day, I found myself taking in with delight the natural world of millions of years ago during a visit to Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Natural History. I had a case of what I call “discernment blues,” though perhaps the official Ignatian term is desolation. There had been several deaths in the community in which I live, my grandmother’s health was declining, and several close friends were leaning on me for emotional support.
Animals are part of God’s creation. But will they join us in heaven?
Humans have kept animals around for centuries. At first it was for hunting purposes, pest control, and general working tasks. It did not take long, however, for animals to start being bred and kept as companions. According to a 2015–2016 American Pet Products Association (APPA) survey, around 79.7 million households in America are home to a pet. It is clear animals hold a special place in our hearts. So when they die, as with our loved ones of the human variety, of course we want to know what becomes of them. Where do they fit into the world God has created?
Let’s ordain women deacons—and also rethink ordained ministry in the church.
Over the past week, friends and acquaintances, news media and Catholic media have been all over this women deacons story. It’s exciting, no doubt, and my friends and acquainances have been practically breathless with elated praise for the pope’s interest in the possibility of women deacons in the Roman Catholic Church.
I want to rejoice with them. But I have mixed feelings.
Can globalization exist without marginalization? For Miroslav Volf, the answer lies in differentiating between happiness and joy.
What does it mean to live well? Is it to have a comfortable life, with the latest iPhone and a week-long vacation every year? Or is it to live a life of faith, working to create justice in the world? And are these two worldviews necessarily opposed to each other?
Marian images serve as compensation for the core male images of king, lord, and father. But compensation is only a partial remedy.
In recent years a number of religious thinkers have begun to speak of Mary as the feminine face of God. Whether they appeal to the history of religions, to psychology, to the Christian history of Marian piety and theology, or to current Latin American and Hispanic devotional practices, these thinkers seek to remedy one of the problems of male-dominated religion by stating that god has a feminine dimension, which is made known through Mary.
Since the Reformation, Protestant traditions have been shifting and changing. Beliefs about Mary are no exception.
Growing numbers of Mexican Americans are converting to Pentecostalism from Catholicism, and some are bringing their devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe with them. In many cases, this devotion occurs mainly in the privacy of the home, but Guadalupe’s religious and cultural importance cannot be stifled. Pentecostalism, which places great importance on the inerrancy of scripture, honors Mary’s role as the mother of Jesus but does not feel there is enough biblical evidence to give her any larger role in the work of salvation.
When Christ became human, he also became part of the vast body of the cosmos.
In our day concerns about ecology are rising. Climate change, pollution, and extinction of plant and animal species make us question harmful human treatment of the natural world.