Friday, October 7, 2022

Thoughts on healing

 "'Go show yourselves to the priests.' As they were going [the 10 lepers] were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God."

How interesting it is that Jesus doesn't always heal us in the moment, as he certainly can, but sometimes asks for an act of obedience first, and through that act heals us. "Go show yourselves to the priests." And how amazing that, like the lepers, we don't always recognize when we've been healed!

Today too he bids us to go to our priests for healing, not only for our confessional healing, but for solid moral guidance to be healed of the common leprosies of our time. To live within "the moral wisdom of the Catholic Church" is key to emotional healing in our lives. Look up a new book by that same title written by arguably the smartest Jesuit in this country.

Like the 10 lepers, we too are promised to experience God's healing by simply following Jesus' wishes expressed clearly through his beloved Church. 

Fr. Anthony Wieck, SJ

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Thoughts on fear


The Freedom of the Children of God
We are fearful people. We are afraid of conflict, war, an uncertain future, illness, and, most of all, death. This fear takes away our freedom and gives our society the power to manipulate us with threats and promises. When we can reach beyond our fears to the One who loves us with a love that was there before we were born and will be there after we die, then oppression, persecution, and even death will be unable to take our freedom. Once we have come to the deep inner knowledge—a knowledge more of the heart than of the mind—that we are born out of love and will die into love, that every part of our being is deeply rooted in love, and that this love is our true Father and Mother, then all forms of evil, illness, and death lose their final power over us and become painful but hopeful reminders of our true divine childhood. The apostle Paul expressed this experience of the complete freedom of the children of God when he wrote, “I am certain of this: neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nothing already in existence and nothing still to come, nor any power, nor the heights nor the depths, nor any created thing whatever, will be able to come between us and the love of God, known to us in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:38–39).

Henri Nouwen

Friday, September 30, 2022

Thoughts on faith

 "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed..." 

Growing up on the farm, we raised a derivative of mustard called canola (from which we get the cooking oil). It too begins as a tiny seed and becomes a very large sinewy bush of fluorescent yellow color, almost too bright to believe it is natural.

So it is with faith. It starts small, but if rooted deeply in the humility of the earth, sets roots there, and pushes up through the ground with force, eventually stretching out strong sinewy branches, offering a habitat to the birds of the air. Faith inspired by the Holy Spirit is even dauntless; absolutely anything is possible, including uprooting everything larger around it. Faith makes a way. You and I have the mustard seed of faith already; it need only be exercised through our doubts and fears, such that God will grow it. Like mustard, mature faith begins to offer flavoring to the bland food of our world, making our somewhat insipid experiences meaningful. And its blinding brightness points directly beyond the natural to the ever-more evident Supernatural.

Fr. Anthony Wieck, SJ

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Thoughts on peace


Peace Is the Way to Perfection

Candles in church | Photo by Pascal Müller on Unsplash

Peace is simplicity of heart, serenity of mind, tranquility of soul, the bond of love. Peace means order, harmony in our whole being; it means continual contentment springing from the knowledge of a good conscience; it is the holy joy of a heart in which God reigns. Peace is the way to perfection, indeed in peace is perfection to be found. The devil, who is well aware of all this, makes every effort to have us lose our peace.

—from the book The Joyful Spirit of Padre Pio: Stories, Letters, and Prayers

Friday, September 16, 2022

More thoughts on death


Preparing for Death
Some people say they are afraid of death. Others say they are not. But most people are quite afraid of dying. The slow deterioration of mind and body, the pains of a growing cancer, the ravaging effects of AIDS, becoming a burden for your friends, losing control of your movements, being talked about or spoken to with half-truths, forgetting recent events and the names of visitors—all of that and much more is what we really fear. It’s not surprising that we sometimes say: “I hope it doesn’t last long. I hope I will die through a sudden heart attack and not after a long, painful illness."

But, whatever we think or hope, the way we will die is unpredictable and our worries about it quite fruitless. Still we need to be prepared. Preparing ourselves for our deaths is the most important task of life, at least when we believe that death is not the total dissolution of our identity but the way to its fullest revelation. Death, as Jesus speaks about it, is that moment in which total defeat and total victory are one. The cross on which Jesus died is the sign of this oneness of defeat and victory. Jesus speaks about his death as being “lifted up.”

Henri Nouwen

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Thoughts on competition


The Pressure of Competition
One of the saddest aspects of the lives of many students is that they always feel pressured. . . . The word school, which comes from schola (meaning “free time”), reminds us that schools were originally meant to interrupt a busy existence and create some space to contemplate the mysteries of life. Today they have become the arena for a hectic race to accomplish as much as possible, and to acquire in a short period the necessary things to survive the great battle of human life. Books written to be savored slowly are read hastily to fulfill a requirement, paintings made to be seen with a contemplative eye are taken in as part of a necessary art appreciation course, and music composed to be enjoyed at leisure is listened to in order to identify a period or style. Thus, colleges and universities meant to be places for quiet learning have become places of fierce competition, in which the rewards go to those who produce the most and the best.

Henri Nouwen

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Thoughts on death


Choosing How to Live Death
You and I have to trust that our short little lives can bear fruit far beyond the boundaries of our chronologies. But we have to choose this and trust deeply that we have a spirit to send that will bring joy, peace, and life to those who will remember us. Francis of Assisi died in 1226, but he is still very much alive! His death was a true gift, and today, nearly eight centuries later, he continues to fill his brothers and sisters, within and without the Franciscan orders, with great energy and life. He died, but never died. His spirit keeps descending upon us. More than ever I am convinced that death can, indeed, be chosen as our final gift of life.

Henri Nouwen