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Saint Francis and Suffering

Might the authority of those who suffer bring the diverse cultural and social worlds together? —Johann Baptist Metz I believe this profound question about suffering from a modern German theologian succinctly and precisely expresses the religious breakthrough that Christ has offered humanity. It is also foundational to understanding the unique Franciscan view of the world. True gospel authority, the authority to heal and renew things and people, is not finally found in a hierarchical office, a theological argument, a perfect law, or a rational explanation. What the crucified has revealed to the world is that the real authority that “authors” people and changes the world is an inner authority that comes from people who have lost, let go, and are refound on a new level. Twelve-step programs have come to much the same conclusion in our time.
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Faith and Family for July 21: Martha and Mary

Read LK 10:38-42 Jesus entered a village  where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.  Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? 
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Finding Light in the Darkness

Because my father was the parent who slept lightly, he was the one we awakened if we felt sick or troubled in the middle of the night. There was always a soft night light glowing by the radio in the kitchen, and I’d find my way to the kitchen table while my father set about making two cups of tea. As we waited for the water to boil he would open the back door and look out at the night sky. 
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Pathways of Prayer

You and I are sometimes like TV sets that are not properly tuned into a station. The news announcers are there talking. The station is sending out live signals. But if we have not turned on our sets, there will be no communication! This is often our problem with God. God is out there—as well as inside us—beaming forth love, goodness and inspiration. But it’s lost on us because we fail to pray, to tune in or open ourselves to God’s loving presence.
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Your (Imperfect) Holy Family

The following activities can enrich your family life. Adapt the activities to meet the needs of your family or create your own activities. Neighborhood Picnic. Gather together with several families and friends from your neighborhood or parish community for a picnic. Ask the participants to bring food and music that represent their ethnic backgrounds. At some point during the picnic, ask everyone to share a story that characterizes one’s family heritage.
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Love Letters From God

The Sacred Scriptures, on the other hand, are most fittingly likened to a honeycomb, for while in the simplicity of their language they seem dry, within they are filled with sweetness. —Hugh of St. Victor, Didascalicon
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Pope Francis on the Importance of Family

Whether you are young or old, married or single, engaged, widowed, or divorced, may Pope Francis’ words strengthen you, refresh you, and illuminate the pages of your own life story. Here are some suggestions he offers to do just that. All words below are from the pope.  
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Family: Holiness in Its Place

The life of God is not lived in a vacuum. We do not become Christians and then withdraw from relationships with others. Holiness is not something we find outside normal, everyday human activity. Any and all fruits of following Christ with Francis must show up primarily in those relationships which are fundamental: family life. Charity and prayer, penance, poverty, humility—all must have their first fruits in what we contribute to the atmosphere of our home.
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How to Rid the World of Evil

Over the years I have heard both helpful and not-so-helpful ways of thinking and speaking about evil. On the helpful side: In 1974 I interviewed the late Father Henri Nouwen about the writings of Thomas Merton on nonviolence. Nouwen was a teacher at Yale Divinity School at the time and had written a book about Merton entitled Pray to Live.
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Faith and Family for July 14: The Good Samaritan

Read LK 10:25-37 There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus and said, "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read it?" He said in reply, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself."
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