New call-to-action
 
Subscribe
Entries related to: poverty

The Belly of the Whale

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.
Read More

The Security to Be Insecure

At the time of the Second Vatican Council, we Catholics were very self-confident. All indicators of numbers, vocations, money, and influence were positive and growing. There was no reason to reform or self-criticize. Our identity was clear, our boundaries were clear, our sense of the absolute was grounded and founded. We knew who we were and, ironically, we were therefore free to criticize ourselves, even from the very top.
Read More

Owning Our Cultural Biases

We’re living in a time when the far right and the far left in almost every institution are using the eccentricities and evils of the other end to justify their own extremes. There seems to be an emergence of reactionary and protectionist thinking all over the world, which then serves as justification for people’s overreacting on the political left.
Read More

Hidden in Plain Sight

Saint Francis of Assisi stepped out into a world being recast by the emerging market economy. He lived amid a decaying old order in which his father was greedily buying up the small farms of debtors and moving quickly into the new entrepreneurial class. Francis stepped into a church that seems to have been largely out of touch with the masses. He trusted a deeper voice and a bigger truth. He sought one clear center and moved out from there.
Read More

The Franciscan Spirit in Over-the-Rhine

In 2009’s Crazy Heart, Jeff Bridges won a well-deserved Oscar for playing Bad Blake, an aging country singer, failed father, drunk, and warrior poet. The film’s theme song, “The Weary Kind,” is playing in my office as I write this. Piercing the gravel-laden and unforgettable delivery of Ryan Bingham’s voice are the sounds of the neighborhood in which I work: police sirens, pedestrians, and blaring car horns fill the air. The chorus of the song reflects the journey of the film’s protagonist, but it’s just as true of the neighborhood I’m in: “This ain’t no place for the weary kind.”
Read More

Reality Check for Our Children

“I want.” “Why can’t I?” “It’s not fair.” “Can I have?” Oh, if I had a nickel for every time I heard one of those phrases come out of the mouths of my four kids. I exclude my youngest only because, at the age of 2, she automatically wants everything.
Read More

Saint Francis and Lady Poverty

Today we are immersed in a consumer-driven society. More always seems to be better. But Francis of Assisi believed differently. He knew that if we can rid ourselves of material burdens, we can be truly free.  
Read More

Mother Teresa: Extending a Loving Hand to All

  On December 13, 1979, Mother Teresa went to the Iranian embassy in Rome. America was concerned with the fate of the hostages taken when the American embassy in Iran was seized by Islamic revolutionaries led by Ayatollah Khomeini. “I have come to see you about the American hostages,” Mother Teresa said. “I come as a mother who longs for her children. I am willing to go to Iran or to talk to the Ayatollah on the telephone.”
Read More

Mother Teresa and Francis of Assisi: Two Saints, One Spirit

Every day after Holy Communion, Mother Teresa and her community would say the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis. The foundress of the Missionaries of Charity carried with her a small reproduction of an old painting of Francis in which the weeping saint holds a cloth to his eyes. “He’s wiping his tears,” she said, showing the picture to the Franciscans around her. “I think he’s crying after receiving the Stigmata.” She treasured this keepsake, remarking that it is different from other items given to her, which her sisters and friends would sometimes “steal.” “I would never give this away,” she said, smiling. Why did Mother Teresa admire Francis? And why did she think that he has had an impact on her life? “I suppose it’s because Francis of Assisi tried to imitate the poverty of Christ so closely,” she said.
Read More

I Was Homeless

Bible reading has gotten me into trouble over and over again. This began to happen when I went to live in subsidized housing for two years. There, the social worker, who was the assistant to the director, threatened me with a day-treatment program for the mental health-challenged because, as she said, I was “reading that book so much.” She seemed to have limitless power over the residents of the five housing complexes in town, so I gave away my furniture and left my little apartment with my Bible and not much else.
Read More