National Catholic Reporter
A lay Catholic weekly, bi-weekly during the summer, that contains global up-to-date coverage of news of interest to thinking Catholics.
Bread for the World
A national faith based organization founded to lobby Congress on behalf of the hungry throughout the world.
Road to Recovery, Inc
Road to Recovery, Inc is the initiative of advocates for victims of sexual abuse. Advocacy is two-fold: 1. To provide a path for the healing of victims; 2. To confront perpetrators and those who cover up the sexual assault of minors and vulnerable adult.
A timely Catholic weekly published by the Jesuits. American keeps us up to date on both news and opinion relevant to timely issues and events.
This link will keep 'parishioners-at-large' in touch with current creative liturgy sources and resources that respect a variety of 'traditions' within the Church.
Voice of the Faithful
A 'movement' of lay Catholics 'inspired' by the abuse scandal calling for greater accountability of bishops to 'Catholics in the Pew.'
Survivos' Network for those Abused by Priests or Religious
A National Network of self-help support groups for people abused by clergy or religious.
Vital information about the disclosure of sexual abuse and related issues affecting Catholics in the pew and the manner in which Bishops continue to exempt themselves from accountability
A 'lay' Catholic weekly publication with an accent on an intelligent analysis and commentary on curent issues, trends and concerns of interest to Catholics.
Bill Moyers and Company
A must link for all who desire to be kept informed of the truth about 'truths' communicated by the commercial media and the political pundists who hsve another agenda that makes truth a precious commodity.
+ December 19th in Advent
“Expect extraordinary things to happen.”
Readings: Judges 13:2-7, 24-25 Psalm 71:3-6, 16-17 Luke 1:5-15
An angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, ‘Thou you are barren and have had no children, yet you will conceive and bear a son. The woman bore a son and named him Samson. The boy grew up and the Lord blessed him; the Spirit of the Lord stirred him. [Judges 13:3, 24-25]
The angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayers has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will hear you a son and you shall name him John.” [Luke 1:13]
The editors of the daily lectionary were at their best when they assembled the Advent readings to guide us to the feast of Christmas. One after the other, they speak of the extraordinary interventions of God into human affairs. Though the texts name historical persons, they do not describe historical events. The bible contains ‘faith history,’ i.e., the authors are more interested in the meaning of events than in the graphic descriptions of divine interventions. And so they dramatize narratives about extraordinary births in order to underscore the belief that the ‘hand of God’ was at work in the unfolding of redemption and salvation.
As people of faith, we look for the extraordinary in the ordinary, especially during this time of the year. Yes, we look for miracles to change the course of human events—the end to all war, the healing of broken relationships, the cure of the sick and the paving of a new path to justice and opportunity for all people of good will everywhere.
But I think we are called to be the miracles and the miracle workers. No, not by doing magic but by rolling up our sleeves and applying the brain power and brawn power necessary to make a difference.
There are extraordinary people whom we might rightly designate as ‘messengers of God’—‘angels’ among us who by their words and deeds pave a path to peace. They are the ‘ministers of healing’ who touch the heart but who also touch the soul and help us to work things through. They are the hands of God who hold us up in difficult times and they let us know that whatever our diaspora, the Spirit of God is not indifferent to our needs.
The miracle is finding meaning in our lives whatever our call, whatever our trial or travail, whatever our disillusionment or disappointment.
Perhaps you will be that ‘angel’ to someone today.Daily Scripture Archive»
Lord, that we might see.
I was searching for a book on Christian spirituality. I needed it for a discussion group which I was to facilitate on the following Wednesday. I knew the book was in my personal library and I was certain the title was printed on the cover in white letters on a blue-green field. I searched every bookshelf without success. The more I searched, the more frustrated I became and less trustful of my memory. I began to “second-guess” myself. Perhaps I had loaned the book to someone. I became annoyed at myself for giving the book to someone without replacing it with the usual i.d. card on the bookshelf so that I would know from whom I might need to retrieve it if necessary. I failed to locate it in time for the meeting. Ugh! Can you sense the mood I was in? It was a great way to begin a faith-sharing session on contemplative prayer — and don’t ask me if I prayed to St. Anthony, patron of lost articles. I didn’t but I did ask someone else to pray!
Would you believe, St. Anthony located the book on the day after the meeting! It was exactly where I put it — next to book in the same category so that I could locate it with ease by association. The color of the cover was white, not blue-green. I know there is an explanation for short-term memory loss, but I can’t remember it. Eating several almonds a day is supposed to prevent memory loss but I can’t remember why.
This ‘homey’ anecdote is not a-typical of many life experiences. Of course, most of them deal with issues of greater concern than the location of a book. For example, I have real blind spots that sometimes make it difficult for me to the appreciate the better side of another’s personality. I may be more apt to judge authors or public speakers by their title or by the letters that follow their name rather than the quality of their character or their product. Biases can easily cloud my vision and blind me to the goodness that God has placed in other people whatever their status or title.
Steven Covey, author of Seven Habits for Effective Leaders, tells the story of his experience on a New York train on an otherwise quiet Sunday morning many years ago. People were sitting quietly reading the newspaper or just dozing. At a particular stop, a young man entered the train with his five children. The children started chasing one another becoming a genuine nuisance. It was all very irritating. So he spoke up and said, “Sir, your children are disturbing a lot of people. I wonder if you might speak to them and control their behavior?” The man replied, “Oh, you’re right. I’m sorry. I guess I should do something about it. We just came from the hospital where their mother died about an hour ago. I don’t know what to think, and I guess they don’t know how to handle it either.”
Through no fault of his own, Steven Covey was blind to the tragic event that had just occurred in their lives but it surely changed his attitude and his response to the situation. “Oh, I’m so sorry!” he said. “Can you tell me how I can help?”
There are dramatic stories about blind people who recovered their sight through surgery and the generosity of a donor and still more dramatic stories about people born blind but who received sight later in life through the hands of a skillful surgeon. Opening their eyes opened them to a completely new world. And then there is the ‘miracle’ of the Seeing Eye of Morristown that has brought ‘sight’ to millions through ‘man’s best friend’—the humble dog.
But nothing is more dramatic then a spiritual wakening such as that described in the Gospel for this Sunday. Even before Bartinaeus was cured of his blindness, he recognized Jesus as ’ Man of God,’ and Messiah. In fact, the story is not about physical blindness but about the miracle of faith. Jesus told him it was his spiritual vision that enabled him to see. “Your faith has made you whole!” It’s interesting that Mark draws a stark contrast between the faith of Bartimaeus and the blind ambition of the disciples.
There are many blindnesses to which we ‘believers’ can succumb, such as the chauvinism and sexism that still prevails in the marketplace and even in the Church, resulting in the treatment of women as inferior to or less qualified than men. Good people can suffer a
blindness to justice issuesthat distorts reality leading us to seek our own good over the good of another.
But there is yet another message in this story not immediately obvious to the casual reader. This was Jesus’ challenge to the Pharisees and especially to ‘the Twelve’ apostles who were blind to the deeper meaning of his message and miracles.
Bartimaeus, was willing to give Jesus everything, symbolized in casting off the garment of his former self. But the commitment to the stewardship of God’s word and God’s world demands intelligent engagement with this world and in our church through mutual and respectful dialogue.
And here’s one more insight from Julia Alvarez: “Those of us who are in solidarity to make this world a better place long for those tidal waves that poet Seamus Heaney talks about in this passage from The Cure at Troy:
‘History says, Don’t hope
On this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme.’
My prayer is that we will come to see our world and our church as God sees them. Lord, that we might see as you see.