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Accepting God’s Unexpected Gifts

The word change normally refers to new beginnings. But transformation, the mystery we’re examining, more often happens not when something new begins, but when something old falls apart. The pain of something old falling apart—chaos—invites the soul to listen at a deeper level. It invites, and sometimes forces, the soul to go to a new place because the old place is falling apart. Most of us would never go to new places in any other way.
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The Peace Prayer of Saint Francis

Though written in simple language, Saint Francis' Peace Prayer provides rich material for spiritual reflection. The following are some of my thoughts on the Peace Prayer inspired by the lines of this prayer and by the example of Francis.
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Praying with the Saints: All Are Welcome

We love, Scripture says, because God first loved us (see 1 John 4:19). That’s also why we pray—because God’s love melts our chill, sparks our desire, ignites our love. The saints exemplify what happens to people who respond wholeheartedly to these divine initiatives: They are transformed, as sparks of love leap up into a great blaze of union with God.
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Be Present

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and suddenly noticed a look in their eyes as if they were circling the moon? The pace of today’s hectic society—with all of its competing priorities, multimedia blitz, and information overload—is full of distractions that pull us out of the present. Tuning in to our breathing can be a way out.
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A Franciscan Response to America's Racial Unrest

The death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, has thrown this country into a crisis. How can we heal? Mark Soehner, OFM, provincial minister of St. John the Baptist Province in Cincinnati, Ohio, quotes Pope Francis: “My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.”
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Saint Anthony Novena Day Nine: May Christ Deepen Our Love

"We beg you, Lord Jesus, bind us with the love of you and our neighbor so that we can love you deeply with our whole heart, and not be separated from you." –Saint Anthony of Padua
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Saint Anthony Novena Day Eight: Stay United with Your Healer

"No one is closer to us than he who healed our wounds. For the Head is one with his members. Let us therefore love him as our Lord and God." –Saint Anthony of Padua
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Saint Anthony Novena Day Seven: See the Depth of Christ's Love

"During the meal, Jesus took bread, blessed it and broke it as a sign that his body would be broken, too, through his freely accepted death. The humanity of Christ is like the grape because it was crushed in the winepress of the cross so that his blood flowed forth over all the earth....How great is the charity of the beloved! How great the love of the Bridegroom for his spouse, the Church!" –Saint Anthony of Padua
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Saint Anthony Novena Day Six: Let God's Light Shine Through You

"When a crystal is touched or struck by the rays of the sun, it gives forth brilliant sparks of light. When the man of faith is touched by the light of God's grace, he too must shine with his good words and deeds, and so bring God's light to others." –Saint Anthony of Padua
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Saint Anthony Novena Day Five: See Christ in Those Who Suffer

"Today Christ stands at the door and knocks in the person of his poor. It is to him that we open when we give aid, when we give ourselves to those in need. For he tells us plainly, 'Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.'" –Saint Anthony of Padua
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