Friendship is not fallen into but attained through countless steps or acts in which two or more people are available to each other.
You “fall into” love, but you do not “fall into” friendship. Yet you can “fall out of” friendship. At least the dictionaries and phrase books are ready for such an experience. We talk about people no longer being friends; they “had a falling out.”
What is different, what is special about friendship that makes it irregular to fall into it but not to fall out of it? One clue is this: you have to work at being a friend, while you cannot help being in love.
When John baptized Jesus, it meant something very different than it does to Catholics today.
Twenty years ago, director M. Night Shyamalan’s movie The Sixth Sense changed how viewers experienced the power of perspective. If someone stopped watching before the climactic “reveal,” they perhaps could have offered a reasonably coherent plot summary. But as soon as they reached the ending, everything they thought the movie was about had to be reevaluated, and their reasonably coherent plot summary would not have worked at all.
It’s time to rethink the crucifixion, says theologian Elizabeth Johnson.
Care for creation often falls low on the list of priorities for the majority of Christians, with many even vocal that environmental stewardship isn’t a Christian call. There’s something deeply wrong with that, says Elizabeth A. Johnson, one of the church’s foremost theologians of the 20th and 21st centuries.
There weren’t always only seven sacraments.
One summer afternoon, driving past a cemetery, I saw six bikers talking, laughing, and drinking beer, their motorcycles parked nearby. My initial indignation was transformed upon noticing a solitary beer can on a headstone. The bikers had not simply pulled off the road for a quick drink on a hot day but were reconnecting with a now-deceased friend.
All stories regarding the Assumption contain one consistent belief: Mary was no ordinary person, and as such her body was not left on earth to decay.
Assumption celebrations in the Catholic Church are a blend of the very old and the relatively new. Written stories about what transpired at the end of Mary’s life date to the third or fourth century, though Pope Pius XII didn’t proclaim the dogma of the Assumption, or the teaching Mary was assumed into heaven body and soul, until 1950. The intervening 15 centuries reveal evolving beliefs about Mary’s life and death.
If God knows everything, then there is nothing for God to learn. Right?
Learning is one of the most important things that human beings, as well as other living things, do. We eagerly teach our children, our students, even our pets, and we take pleasure when we see them mastering a new task or gaining a new insight. The person who cannot—or worse, will not—learn is someone we feel sorry for or avoid. We see growth and development as positive and the capacity to learn as being open to newness.
Put simply, natural law argues that nature reveals the difference between good and evil. But who gets to decide what is “natural”?
Broadly understood, natural law refers to a range of moral theories that rely on rational discernment of the natural order as a means of telling good from evil. Within Catholic moral teaching, natural law arguments are commonly invoked to denounce “unnatural” and therefore immoral acts: contraception, same-sex sexual relations, and many assisted reproductive technologies, for example. But where does natural law reasoning come from and just how does it connect nature to morality?
The dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and Assumption of Mary are relatively new, but the pious attitudes that inspired them are ancient.
Scholars of early Christianity are in agreement that interest in the mother of Jesus was mostly initiated by the need to clarify the church’s teachings about the nature of Christ, his relationship with God, and the salvation Christ accomplished. Through Mary the fullness of Christ’s genuine humanity was guaranteed, in opposition to those who argued that Jesus only appeared to be human.
If all of creation is good, then why does God allow evil to persist?
In Kenya there is a common call and response: “God is good” the speaker calls out and almost reflexively the room answers, “All the time, for that is his nature.” But if God is good, all the time, why is there evil? This is one of the oldest and most persistent human questions for Christian theology.
Grace is a gift of love that invites us into relationship with God.
Religious education has taught generations of Catholics that grace is a free gift of God’s favor. It is received through the sacraments and makes our salvation possible. Unfortunately, this popular conception of grace is sometimes misconstrued, presenting grace as a commodity rather than a reality experienced in our lives. From this view, “receiving grace” through the sacraments may be interpreted as getting more grace, as if sacraments were transactions imparting a quantifiable spiritual good.
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