Last year, I got a sweater from my wife as a birthday gift. It’s a simple grey sweater made of a linen blend, and I immediately fell in love with it. When it got cold, it became my go-to sweater to ride out the bitter Chicago winter.
The Sacred Scriptures ... 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
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.
COVID-19 continues to dominate the news. Many have surely felt hopeless in the face of this pandemic. And the loss of hope is a terrible thing. It can be lethal. But for most of us, a deficiency of it shows itself in more subtle ways: discouragement, putting our trust in everything but God, or focusing too much on the negative in the world. But hope is alive. We have to believe that.
My feet are planted quite firmly in two worlds. One foot stands in a globalized, technological, and fast-paced world. Born in the early 1980s, I am rather expectantly a child of my generation and comfortable in a digital world. The other foot, clad in the iconic sandal, rests in the displaced dirt that marks the footprint of Francis of Assisi.
In our faith journeys, sometimes, like the moon, we reflect the love of Christ. Other times, we feel mired in darkness. But God's love is unconditional and eternal, as Colleen C. Mitchell explains in this week's Franciscan Spirit video.
As Christians, we go into prayer with the best of intentions, but we often get distracted or impatient. We complicate what should be a simple moment of grace with God. Fr. Gary Caster has been there, too, and he offers some important tips for slowing down and allowing God to find us.
In recent years, a gradual illumination has come about in my life. And this has greatly affected my understanding of God’s will. In the second half of my life, this intuition or insight has made my soul feel lighter and brighter—and more joyful.
His name was Francis, the son of Pietro Bernardone, a cloth-merchant, and Lady Pica, who was of French origin. They lived in Assisi, Italy in the late twelfth and early thirteenth century. He was a man born of wealth, a leader who dreamed of knighthood and who went to war on a high steed only to be brought low to the earth in defeat and imprisonment that marked him with what has been the fate of countless soldiers and prisoners of war throughout the centuries.
“A love that fails to grow is at risk,” Pope Francis says. “Growth can only occur if we respond to God's grace through constant acts of love, acts of kindness that become ever more frequent, intense, generous, tender and cheerful.” Our pope has more to say on the subject of love: love for each other, love for God, and love from God.