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…
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…
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.
My phone is a great asset when it comes to learning about prayer and living a life of faith, and connecting with the catholic community in the literal sense of the word - universally - across the vast space of the world and even across time. My phone serves many beautiful and inspiring purposes. What it doesn’t help me to do is to be more present.
We were made to worship. There is no “opt-out.” There is no real atheism. To deny god is simply to worship something else. If we fail to consciously choose what we live for, we find ourselves swept along by the tide of our age. We will spend our time the way our society spends its time. We will prioritize what our society prioritizes. We will denigrate and destroy what our society does not value. We will uncritically absorb the beliefs and practices of those with whom we surround ourselves. We will worship. The question is: who, or what?
Walking with the saints has been one of the great gifts for me in embracing Catholicism. It is inspiring and edifying to hear stories of people who have overcome tremendous obstacles and done so with great humility, holiness, courage, and self-sacrifice. They model faithfulness to Christ in all circumstances, and that model is encouraging to my in my walk of faith. Knowing that St. Catherine, in all her spiritual wisdom, struggled with this affliction and yet became one of the great Saints of our Church reminds me that it is not by eliminating our human frailty that we become holy. Rather, it is the continual surrender of that frailty to Christ. It is he who sanctifies.
The more I encounter the liminal space of waiting, the more I am able to accept that waiting has a purpose. God works in the waiting. Looking back, I can recognize God’s handiwork in many of the waiting periods of my life. At times, I’ve waited with the patient trust I had as I anticipated receiving the Eucharist (it helps when God gives you an end date). Others, such as the final trimester of my last pregnancy, have felt supernaturally long. Even in retrospect, I don’t always see God’s purpose in the waiting. But sometimes, God offers me glimpses of what he is doing. Just enough, I suppose, to encourage me to have faith for the next long wait.