“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone — we find it with another.”
—Thomas Merton, “Love and Living”
In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, The Tidings is running Father Ronald Rolheiser’s 1994 column highlighting peace making.
It’s common for us to see God’s grace and blessing in what unites us. We naturally sense the presence of grace when, at our core, we feel a strong moral bond with certain other persons, churches and faiths. That, biblically, is what defines family.
When Mary and Elizabeth meet, both are pregnant with the divine. Each is carrying a child from heaven; one is carrying Christ and the other is carrying a unique prophet, the cousin of the Christ.
Jean Beliveau was more than an athlete, though certainly he was a one-in-a-million athlete. The record of his achievements almost defies belief. He played in the National Hockey League for 20 seasons and retired with 10 championship rings.
God has given us two churches, one is found everywhere and the other is found at select places. Some of us prefer one of these and struggle with the other, but both are sacred places where God can be found and worshipped.
In 1996, Muslim extremists martyred nearly an entire community of Trappist monks in Atlas, Algeria. Thanks to the movie “Of Gods and Men,” many of us are familiar with their story and are familiar too with the extraordinary faith and courage with which these monks, particularly their Abbott, Christian de Cherge, met their deaths.
It’s no secret that today there’s been a massive drop-off in church attendance. Moreover, that drop-off in church-going is not paralleled by the same widespread growth in atheism and agnosticism. Rather, more and more people are claiming to be spiritual but not religious, faith-filled but not churchgoers. Why this exodus from our churches?
Spiritual literature has always highlighted the primordial struggle between good and evil, generally conceived of as a war, a spiritual battle. Thus, as Christians, we have been warned that we must be vigilant against the powers of Satan and various other forces of evil.
Among Jesus’ many teachings we find this rather harsh-sounding invitation: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
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