“I had gone a-begging from door to door in a village path, when thy golden chariot appeared in the distance like a gorgeous dream, and I wondered who was this King of all Kings! My hopes rose high and me-thought my evil days were at an end, and I stood waiting for alms to be given unasked and for wealth scattered on all sides in the dust. The chariot stopped where I stood. Thy glance fell on me and thou camest down with a smile. I felt that the luck of my life had come at last! Then, of a sudden, thou didst hold out thy right hand and say, “What hast thou to give to me?” Ah, what a kingly jest it was to open thy palm to a beggar to beg! I was confused, and stood undecided, and then from my wallet I slowly took out the least little grain of corn and gave to thee. But how great my surprise when at the day’s end, I emptied my bag on the floor to find the least little gram of gold among the poor heap. I bitterly wept and wished that I had the heart to give thee my all.”
— Rabindranath Tagore
There is an old-fashioned phrase that always charms me when I see it, “a woman whose time has come.”
It describes a pregnant woman whose due date is close at hand, and it is a relic of an era where all references to pregnancy and childbirth in polite society were wrapped in rhetorical cotton. “In a delicate condition,” “In the family way,” “Expecting.”
Part of me is inclined to roll my eyes at these euphemisms, because I really believe that creating a pro-life culture demands that we talk frankly about the experience of being pregnant and giving birth. And yet. And yet. I cannot help but be attracted to these expressions, in all their affected preciousness. There is something so reverent — so deferential — in how they frame the reality of childbirth and all that leads up to it.READ MORE
Above him, there was an inscription that read, “This is the King of the Jews” (Luke 23:38). These words would spark the poignant exchange between Jesus and the two thieves. One is unwilling to consider a need for saving, mocking this innocent man suffering beside him. In contrast, the other receives the promise of paradise through a humble, contrite acknowledgment of his sins and the recognition and proclamation of Jesus as Messiah. “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42). And Jesus demonstrates God’s great mercy as He promises the good thief, on that very day, entrance into the kingdom.READ MORE
Today is the day we can discover a new way of living, a way that is truly fulfilling and empowering. We need only answer Jesus’ call and take our first steps on this adventure which, if we are faithful to it, will lead us to everlasting life in heaven.
What do you suppose drove Zacchaeus to go out and look for Jesus?
As the chief tax collector, Zacchaeus was a wealthy man and very busy. He was hated by the people who considered him a traitor and a crook. Zacchaeus had every reason to avoid the crowds that gathered to see Jesus and every reason to think that, as a sinner, he had no right to even lay his eyes on such a holy man.READ MORE
St. Dorotheus of Gaza said, “In some kinds of trees, no fruit is produced as long as the branches grow upwards; but if somebody takes a stone and binds it to a branch and pulls it down, then the branch will bear fruit. It is similar with a soul; when it humbles itself, it bears fruit, and the more fruit it bears, the humbler the soul becomes. The more the saints approach God, the more they see themselves as sinners.”READ MORE
…Pray always, without becoming weary. — Luke 18:1
For the first nine months of my daughter’s life, she didn’t “sleep” so much as she succumbed to 45-to-90-minute power naps against which she struggled viciously, like a fugitive resisting capture.
In those blurry, melatonin-deficient days of early parenthood, I don’t think I once said a nighttime prayer that lasted more than five seconds. As soon as my daughter had finally passed out for the first “nap” of the night, I hastened to make the most of my window of opportunity and tried to get to sleep as quickly as possible. Prayer was a mumbled half-thought, half-groan that went something like, “I’m so sorry, God, I’m just so tired, but I love you” as I was borne away on the irresistible current of a REM cycle.READ MORE
Naaman was cured of leprosy by dipping seven times in the Jordan according to the prophet Elisha’s instructions. Recognizing the miraculous movement of God at that moment, he returned to Elisha, proclaiming, “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel.” Naaman experienced a profound conversion as the power of God transformed him from the outside — in. He knew this was not a magical cure and from where the healing came, vowing to offer worship to no other god than the one true God.READ MORE
After hearing Jesus teach about what the future inevitability will bring and the need to offer unconditional forgiveness regardless of circumstances, the apostles ask him to increase their faith. They may have had difficulty understanding the rationale behind his teachings or found them lacking practical sense. What they are hearing is something new. After all, people had settled into what were considered acceptable protocols for dealing with sinners, prostitutes, adulterers, those who hurt you, the poor, the physically challenged, adversaries, and law breakers. Now they are presented with a teaching that turns all of this upside down and conveys God’s nonviolent vision of how human nature and the world are intended to operate. It is very possible that these early hearers of the Word found themselves ill equipped to do as Jesus taught. While truth resonated through Jesus’s words and actions, they were asking to have what Jesus had so that they could more adequately do it. They knew they needed more.READ MORE