Overcoming the Fear of Suffering

I hesitated to write this letter for a long time because I see my life as “normal.” No, not normal. Privileged would be a better word, if I’m being honest. For most of my life, suffering has been an abstract and unfamiliar concept. I usually associate the word with traumatic experiences like war, abuse, or…

Redeeming Our Relationship With Food

For something so essential to our survival, food poses challenges for many of us. Our society oscillates between a perspective that glorifies food, and one that demonizes it. And that does not remain external to us; we often place a moral value on food that we transfer to our sense of goodness or worthiness.  I…

Mercy for the Outcast: The Story God Wants Told

Mere moments on Twitter are enough to alert us that our culture is plagued with demons.  We live in a culture that responds to polarized politics and social values with contempt and hateful accusations that serve only to drive us further from one another, rather than seeking common ground.  Even voices claiming to speak for…

The Body of Christ According to Edith Stein

Today is the feast of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, a religious sister who died in a concentration camp in Holland on August 9, 1942. She began life as Edith Stein, a Jewish atheist, philosopher, and professor. After her conversion in 1922, Stein spent 11 years writing, teaching and living as a witness to…

When God Says No

As I was preparing to embark on parenthood, I read several books and articles from reputable sources that offered a counterintuitive piece of advice: don’t say “no” to your child.  “Don’t say, ‘no’?” I wondered incredulously. “Have modern parenting techniques really deteriorated so drastically?”  As I read on, I realized that the advice was more…

How Cheescake Changed My View of Solidarity

We are all hungry, and we all have the power to feed one another. It’s the simplest thing, to turn to one another and offer the gift of ourselves. But we’ve made a habit of withholding. We have the opportunity to be God’s tenderness and mercy for one another; how often we choose otherwise. We get in the habit of building up walls, counting our merits instead of our blessings.