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Our Quest for Happiness and Meaning

Happiness and a meaningful life are inseparable. You may know people who appear to have whatever good fortune can give and are nevertheless desperately unhappy. And there are others who in the midst of raw misery are deeply at peace and—well, genuinely happy. See if you can find where the difference lies. When we go deep enough, we find that the happy ones have found the one thing which the others are lacking: meaning in life. But we should not call meaning a “thing.” It is, in fact, the one reality in our life which is nothing.
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‘Where There Is Darkness, Light’

The ground beneath the city of Pompeii began to heave days before a crisis erupted that threatened the lives of all who lived there and in the surrounding towns. At first, residents of the Roman city did not worry. Earthquakes were a common occurrence. Life went on. 
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The Power of Sleep

One of my favorite things when my daughter would come home from college was to make her breakfast, though most times I’d have to wait until late morning for her to wake. Now married and in the workforce, she stayed over our house recently and told me she’d be gone before I woke the next morning.
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What Is Your View on Reality?

Everybody looks at the world through their own lens, a matrix of culturally inherited qualities, family influences, and other life experiences. This lens, or worldview, truly determines what we bring to every discussion. 
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Notes from a Friar: The Mysterious Workings of Grace

When speaking of the word grace, it is important to clarify what grace really is. Grace is not something that we get from God. Grace is actually God working within our whole person. Sometimes you hear people speak as though God would ladle out grace. Rather, grace is the presence of God within us. Grace is God’s presence and strength given to us at particular times when we are called to act virtuously.
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A Revelation on Creation

Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’—like the poem by St. Francis on which it is based—speaks of the fragility of our ecology due in large part to the weakness of our morality. Unless we value each creature as integral to our humanity, we cannot act as responsible stewards of a global community.
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Lost in Laughter

A few years ago I was traveling home from a convention in Indianapolis with two of my coworkers when we suddenly found ourselves way off the beaten—and correct—path. Armed with only a GPS on one of our phones, we slowly worked our way through the back roads of Indiana on our way home. It was a much longer route than we had originally planned, but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.
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Standing in Solidarity against Systemic Racism

I am a white American male with a college degree and a career, and I was blessed to be raised in a loving, Catholic home by parents who valued education, hard work, and faith. Apart from a few speeding tickets, I’ve had very little interaction with the police and have never felt a chill run up my spine due to being singled out by an officer based on my appearance.
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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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