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The Guiding Light of Spiritual Doubt

You’ve probably heard the phrase “Doubting Thomas.” The phrase’s origins hearken back to John’s Gospel, where, after Christ’s resurrection, Jesus’s disciples say to Thomas, “We have seen the Lord,” to which Thomas responds, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
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Jesus Defines True Humanity

We are in Ordinary Time—and will be until Ash Wednesday. One of the purposes of this present liturgical season is to give us time and space to reflect on what we have just celebrated at Christmas; namely, that our God became flesh and lived among us. That is a mystery of our faith: God the Son, God from all eternity, became a human being in the person of Jesus of Nazareth born of the Virgin Mary. 
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The Sacrament of the Present

As an adult, I realize now, looking back, that no one ever asked me, “If you were to live today, how would you savor this gift you’ve been given?” “If you were to live today, how would you embrace this sacrament of the present moment?”
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A New Way of Seeing

Have you heard of the Church of the Exceptional? It’s a nondenominational, interracial ministry devoted to ministering to the physically and mentally handicapped in the area  around Rutherford County, North Carolina. In 1974, then-Governor Jimmy Carter and Dr. Norman Vincent Peale were invited to present a Guideposts award to the  congregation, where thousands had assembled in a municipal center in Georgia. Before the speeches were delivered, the liturgy called for the lighting of the main altar candle.
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St. Francis: A Heartfelt Ally

I can tell you that in the church of my youth, I was weaned with an aptitude for intolerance. We knew exactly whom God didn’t care for. Who was on the outside looking in. And we made no bones about naming names. We shunned people. We damned them to hell. When I grew up, I knew in my heart it wasn’t right, but I confess that under the guise of walking the fine line, I stayed silent too long. I cannot do that anymore. I know what fear can do. And I don’t want to live that way. I don’t regret any choices I have made, but I do regret the things I didn’t do. When I chose not to speak out, I was wrong, because I read the faces of the crowd to see what placates.
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Rebuilding Our Sandcastles

On a beach near the ocean, two very young children spend their afternoon enthusiastically building a sand castle. They work eager, unabashed, and wholehearted. Giggles and laughter fill the air. After they finish, they admire their handiwork. Focused, they do not notice the rising tide. In an instant, a wave flattens their castle. Joy drains from their faces, tears run freely, and delight turns to disbelief and sadness. All their effort. Gone.
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Embracing the Now

“We should do this more often.” A middle-aged man is speaking to a woman somewhat north of middle age standing at his side. I am doing what I do best: Eavesdropping.
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Wired to Be Present

In southern Michigan, I was raised in a religious tradition that used the word grace, but were too afraid to give in to it. Not unlike the faithful band of “believers” in the movie Babette’s Feast who, when offered an extraordinarily generous gift of the feast-of-a-lifetime, make the decision to “taste” the wine, but not “enjoy it.”
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Dancing with Manatees

Not that long ago, I danced with manatees. Lord have mercy, it was good. I was in Manasota Key, Florida, my annual May gathering with my friends of thirty-five years. We swap stories and talk about the way the world would be if we were in charge. On the Intracoastal Waterway, near a congregation of mangrove trees, we anchor the boat and spend an afternoon floating, buoyed in the water, a treat for those of us who are escaping winter’s chill. The sky is dyed hope-blue, and egrets pose graceful and elegant in the mangroves.
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Facing Life's Monsters

It’s October, and the long sunlight in the afternoons and the coming chill in the air sing the approach of autumn. Fall has always been my favorite season, with hayrides and visits to the apple orchards south of Chicago with my family. It brings me deep joy.
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