Franciscan Spirit Blog

Notes on paper | Photo by Álvaro Serrano on Unsplash

Notes from a Friar: The Theology of a Poet

Emily Dickinson said that she never went to church. But one thing is certain: She was a woman of deep faith.

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Pope Francis Said What?

You may recall Pope Francis’ statement a couple of years ago concerning God’s love. First, the pope said: “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! Even the atheists. Everyone!” That statement shook a lot of people up. And it is true: the Church has always taught that Jesus died and redeemed all of God’s children. But a lot of people drew several incorrect conclusions: “Well, if atheists are redeemed, it really doesn’t matter what we do, right? We’re home free.”

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Syrians on the Run

“Who is my neighbor?” That question is perhaps the most provocative one in all the Gospels (Lk 10:29ff). Jesus answers his wise inquisitor with a parable. It begins: “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.”We have seen as much in Syria over the past 4½ years. Robbers—the Islamic State and opposing Syrian-government force—came into their cities, towns, and homes and attacked them, one way or another. 

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Anima Christi: A Mystical Prayer

This prayer touches us on a profound level. The words are most sacred and, with the Spirit’s help, they can lead us into an immediate union with Christ. The Anima Christi (Soul of Christ) has been attributed to St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491–1556), but historians say that it predates Ignatius by as much as a century-and-a-half. Also, a long tradition tells us that it was a favorite of his.

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American and Catholic

I recently drove a couple hours down the highway on a great adventure. I live in an old home. Previous owners had discarded the doors that once separated the downstairs rooms. I wanted to fill one large opening with something from an antique salvage store. I found two broken and beaten old French doors covered in dust that I figured would be perfect for my house. I called my wife to share the good news. Amy wanted to know how broken and beaten the doors were. I assured her that I could restore them.

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Pope Francis and the Preacher

When Pope Francis arrived at Joint Base Andrews on September 22, 2015, the families of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden led his greeting party. The Obama family’s presence in the party demonstrated how much the United States had changed since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led a voting-rights march from Selma to Montgomery 50 years earlier. In 1965, when wide swaths of African Americans were excluded from voting, the idea of an African American president was hardly dreamed of by the average American, black or white.

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Ordinary Time, Not ‘Boring Time’

We’ve finished the Christmas season and are into Ordinary Time—or as a friend of mine calls it, “Boring Time.” But it is anything but boring, because, from a human point of view, it is a time to catch our breath and to reflect on what we have just celebrated—and what is to come. It has its own significance, which we humans need.  If you’ve ever been to some big family celebration—let’s say a wedding—you know that everyone was hyped, and that added to the excitement. “A good time was had by all,” as the saying goes. But we can’t stay on an emotional high forever.

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