To see differently

To see differently

Feast of Saint Benedict, March 21
Of all the stories told about Benedict of Nursia, this one may be the most impacting of all on our lives. Most of us will never work miracles or found monasteries, but one thing we can all learn to do is to see. This story is about a special kind of seeing.

Benedict left the company of a neighboring abbot after an evening’s conversation about the spiritual life. The period predates both universities and books, remember, let alone televisions and computers. Personal conversation was the key to learning then—a factor that may well explain the popularity of gurus and spiritual masters in that culture. At any rate, people came in droves to talk to Benedict about their spiritual questions, the great no less than the simple.

On this particular night, it is Abbot Severanus, a deeply prayerful person himself, with whom Benedict has been talking. But then, returning to his own room, alone and filled with ideas on the spiritual life, Benedict suddenly began to see what he had never seen before: the sky filled with light “more brilliant than the sun, and with it every trace of darkness cleared away.” Then according to his biographer, Benedict “saw the whole world as a single ray of light.” Benedict had developed sight and insight.  Benedict had begun to see things differently.

The implications for us and our own lives abound.

•What Benedict saw outside of himself is what he already had inside of himself—breadth of soul, compassion and openheartedness.
•The spiritual life enlarges a person’s vision.
•When we begin to see as God sees, we see far beyond ourselves.
The Radical Christian Life by Joan Chittister•When we fail “to see the whole world in one ray of light,” we imprison ourselves inside our own small selves without ideas, without experiences, without love.
•Remember that it was after they had been discussing spiritual things that Benedict’s vision was enlarged to include the whole world. It takes a spiritual sensitivity to hold the whole globe and all its needs in our heart. Any spirituality that makes our hearts narrower than the globe is a bogus spirituality for sure.

—from The Radical Christian Life by Joan Chittister (Liturgical Press)

 

 

Women of the Well-St John the Baptist-Essex, MA

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Women of the Well

 A gathering of women — usually from 8 to 12 in number — who meet each Saturday morning at St. John the Baptist Parish Hall from 7:30 AM to approximately 9:00 AM.  “Leadership” rotates among the women as they choose and they are free to select their own topic and begin the sharing with their personal reflection.  There is no cross-talk, giving of advice or interruptions of anyone who has chosen to speak.  Confidentiality is honored and a safe and welcoming atmosphere is paramount.  We welcome any and all women — of whatever faith or spiritual practice — who may be interested in sharing their faith journey with us. Would love to have you. Please join us!

 

A United State

African-American and white men embrace after taking part in a prayer circle July 10 following a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas. Theologians and justice advocates have called upon the church to better address racism as a life issue and see it as an “intrinsic evil.” (CNS photo/Carlo Allegri, Reuters)

At the end of 2016, the nation continues to grapple with police violence toward unarmed black men, unprovoked attacks on police officers, the threat of mass deportations and the re-emergence of white nationalism as a political force. Tensions are high across the country, but many Americans, the U.S. bishops included, are eager to work against racial injustice and inequality and toward healing and reconciliation.
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New book documents Shriver’s search for the ‘Real Pope Francis’

The Pilot

BOSTON — “Intrigued.” That is how Mark K. Shriver, president of the Save the Children Action Network, said he felt as he watched Jorge Mario Bergoglio become Pope Francis in March 2013.

“His first couple of actions — from asking for blessings from the people before he blessed them as the new pope, to paying for his hotel bill, to washing the feet of those young juvenile delinquents at the Casa del Marmo — really caught my eye,” he recalled.

“Seeing all these early actions of his made me question, ‘Is he for real, or is this some kind of public relations stunt?'” Shriver said.

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Tidings of Great Joy

America magazine online
How ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ defies common sense

When “A Charlie Brown Christmas” debuted on Dec. 9, 1965, CBS executives were so sure it would fail they informed its executive producer, Lee Mendelson, they were showing it only because they had already announced it in TV Guide. “Maybe it’s better suited to the comic page,” they told him after an advance showing.

Despite six months working on the show, the animation director, Bill Melendez, felt much the same. “By golly, we’ve killed it,” he recalls telling Mendelson after a screening.

The American public disagreed. In fact, 45 percent of Americans with a television set watched “A Charlie Brown Christmas” that night, making it the second highest rated show of the week (behind “Bonanza”). The program would go on to win an Emmy and a Peabody, and it has been broadcast every Christmas season since.

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Seeing God through the eyes of a wild creature

Naturalist Joe Hutto strokes the neck of a mule deer in the Riverton area of Wyoming. The PBS documentary “Touching the Wild” features Hutto’s six-year stint with a mule deer herd in Wyoming’s mountainous wilderness. (©THIRTEEN Productions LLC)

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Soul Seeing: Nature documentaries on TV jump-start my religious imagination with startling images of God’s saving side.  Read Article Here

Source: Seeing God through the eyes of a wild creature – National Catholic Reporter

Women of the Well-St John the Baptist-Essex, MA

DSCN2625.JPG

Women of the Well

 A gathering of women — usually from 8 to 12 in number — who meet each Saturday morning at St. John the Baptist Parish Hall from 7:30 AM to approximately 9:00 AM.  “Leadership” rotates among the women as they choose and they are free to select their own topic and begin the sharing with their personal reflection.  There is no cross-talk, giving of advice or interruptions of anyone who has chosen to speak.  Confidentiality is honored and a safe and welcoming atmosphere is paramount.  We welcome any and all women — of whatever faith or spiritual practice — who may be interested in sharing their faith journey with us. Would love to have you. Please join us!

The Exodus Hits Home

The exodus hits home

Is our Catholic parish structure inadequate for supporting the needs of adult Christians?

By Father Bryan Massingale  

This article appeared in the February 2016 issue of U.S. Catholic (Vol. 81, No. 2, page 8).

Recently, my sister celebrated her “re-baptism” as a member of the American Baptist church. Like me and her other siblings, she was baptized and confirmed Catholic, graduated from a Catholic grade school, and attended Catholic high school religious education. As an adult, she was a very active member of her parish. Over the years, she was involved in youth ministry, retreat leadership, and liturgy planning. She also belonged to a women’s spirituality circle, meeting regularly with other middle-aged adults seeking to grow in their understanding of faith and commitment to discipleship.

Thus she was not a “casual Catholic,” that is, one with only a nominal or loose affiliation to the church. She is an authentic spiritual seeker, whose faith journey and exploration led her to formally end her membership in the Catholic Church.

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