Tag Archives: DThomas

Purification and Enlightenment

One of the most challenging, most exciting and most meaningful of the “jobs” I did as a Director of Religious Education for the thirty years that I was in that profession was working with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). It was a process for those who were exploring entrance into the Catholic Church that lasted as least nine months and for some longer. During that time those in this process listened to presentations on Catholic doctrine/teaching, asked questions and discussed the answers with sponsors, catechists and among themselves, and slowly discerned whether …

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Prayer and Its Difficult Depths

Through the blog of Sean Michael Winter I came across an article, Dumbing Religion Down in the New York Times William James, Joel Osteen, and the Gray Lady BY LEON WIESELTIER literary editor of The New Republic  In it he raises several significant issues worth reflecting about in our experience of religious belief and religious practice, particularly the practice of prayer. First, there are Wieseltier’s reflections on intercessory prayer that point out its difficulties and challenges: “As the climactic pleadings were chanted, I was pierced by an intuition of the utter impotence, the wrenching sensation …

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What a Pope!

About a year ago I reflected on the book The Good Pope, which told the life story of Pope John XXIII and his incredible impact on the papacy of his time. It seems to me that Pope Francis is having a similar impact on the papacy and the church of our time. His recent interview with the Jesuit magazines showed a man with a vision and a practice that are reaching those who have not been reached in the past. I especially loved the title “A Big Heart Open to God,” which captured for me …

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The Loss of Summer

This time of the year is always a hard one for me because I love summer so much. Morning light is coming later each day and evening darkness is arriving earlier as well. The warmth of the summer sun is slowly dissipating and tinges of cool fall days becoming more frequent. I even enjoy the hottest of these summer days if I can be close to a swimming pool to jump into for cooling off. One of the things I do every day is follow the weather information in the daily paper, checking especially the …

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Millennials and the Church

Recently the ongoing discussion of why millennials are leaving the Church has been revived by a column in the CNN Belief Blog by Rachel Held Evans. It tells the story of those who are leaving the Church and the reasons why and adds that many are “drawn to high church traditions – Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, the Episcopal Church, etc. “ It seems that the attractions are a liturgy in touch with an on-going tradition and clear, consistent teaching. Another side of this discussion comes out of the research done by David Kinnamann in his book …

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Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Recently, I had the privilege of reading a book of “narrative nonfiction” that reads like a novel. It was an incredible book that captures fully the world of the subtitle “Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity.” It tells that story of the people who live in the slum called Annawadi, located in Mumbai, across from an international airport and luxury hotels. The words of the title “Beautiful Forevers” were inscribed on the walls separating the slum and the luxurious world next store as part of an advertizing campaign aimed at those in the …

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Generations Gathered

Recently, the O’Hearn (my wife’s maiden name) clan gathered for a family reunion of the four generations of O’Hearns. Great Grandmother was there, her sons and daughters, their sons and daughters and the grand and great grandchildren. It was quite an experience to see all those people and all that history in one large room celebrating and talking together. Many memories were recalled and shared. It was wonderful to see so many O’Hearns enjoying one another’s company once again. Nearly 40 people were there and as I observed and reflected on the joys and struggles …

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Seasons

I grew up with the attitude that nature was to be controlled and, if necessary, “fought” with in order to survive its onslaughts. Winter especially was a difficult season with its cold and snow, which got in the way and made living difficult. Cold was something I couldn’t stand and I spent, it seemed, the entire wintertime freezing. Spring was better because there was at least some warmth, but it never seemed warm enough, long enough. I spent many a soccer practice or game in wind and cold rain, surviving but barely. Summer was the …

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Life is Difficult

“Life is difficult,” the opening sentence of the bestseller The Road Less Travelled by Scot Peck, has been a guiding statement for me ever since reading the book. It is a reminder of the challenges that all of us face as we live the life we’re given. I’ve discovered that my ranting and raving about life being unfair doesn’t seem to change reality much, so somehow I need to deal with what is as it is. A second reflection I’ve come across over the years is the thought that what life presents is a challenge …

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Easter Season

The Lent-Easter Cycle in our Catholic liturgical year is my favorite time of that year. The liturgies are full of meaningful celebrations that focus on the challenges that life presents us. The Paschal Mystery, which we celebrate at this time, brings forward the deeper realities of our lives as persons, as communities, and as Christians. It reminds and makes present in the Eucharistic celebrations of this time our experience of God’s Love being among us in all the struggles, difficulties, joys, and ecstasy that arise in our daily experience. One of the essentials I try …

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