Love

Dominican Friar praying the Rosary
Chastity and celibacy are often confused. Celibacy means single either by choice or circumstance. Chastity for the married means faithfulness; for celibates it means abstaining.One of the main goals of chastity is to love as many people as pos­sible as deeply as possible. That may seem strange to those used to defining chastity negatively - that is, as not having sex. But this has long been the tradition of the Church. Chastity is another way to love and, as such, has a great deal to teach...
Pope Francis has presided over a Mass that included a wedding ceremony for 20 couples from the Diocese of Rome. The celebration in St Peter’s Basilica comes three weeks before the start of the Synod on the Family and is the first wedding that Francis has performed since being elected pope 18 months ago.The last time that a pope presided over such a ceremony was in 2000, when it was performed by Pope St John Paul II. At the ceremony on 14 September, Pope Francis took each couple through...
A 1663 Edition of The Spiritual Exercises, Burns Library Boston College via Flickr
Many people would say that while intellectually they believe that God loves each one of us, personally, eternally, they find it hard to feel this deeply. We may be helped by reflecting on St Ignatius’ conclusion to his Spiritual Exercises, a ‘Contemplation to Attain Divine Love’Firstly, I think about what God has done for me’, and ‘how much he has given me of what he possesses.’Second, says Ignatius, I think about the way God ‘dwells’ in all his...
Image of Christ in Glory with flames. Photograph by Lawrence Lew OP at flickr.com
I have come to set the earth on fire and how I wish it were already blazing. ...  Do you think that I have come to establish peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three. (Luke 12:49, 51-52) This saying of Jesus is often misunderstood. We may claim that our lack of charity, lack of respect, and the divisions we cause are the divisions to which Jesus is referring when he said he is bringing fire to...
Sun breaking through the clouds
One of the reasons why we struggle with faith at times is that God’s presence in us and in our world is rarely dramatic, something impossible to ignore. God doesn’t work like that. Rather God’s presence, much to our frustration and impatience at times, is something quiet and seemingly helpless inside us, rarely making waves. Because we are not sufficiently aware of this, we tend to misunderstand the dynamics of faith and find ourselves habitually trying to ground our faith precisely something...
Image of a flame by Wendy at flickr.com
‘The lusts of the flesh reveal the loneliness of the soul’ said Dag Hammarskjold, the former Secretary General of the United Nations. And this insight was more than just a theoretical one for Hammarskjold. He knew loneliness and unfulfilled desire. As more of his journals are being published in English, we are becoming more aware that Dag Hammarskjold was both a man of extraordinary moral integrity and extraordinary spiritual depth.  However, Rolheiser notes that not everything was whole in his...
Last Judgement
"Have you ever done something simply on principle, because it was the right thing to do, knowing that you couldn't explain it to anyone, without there even being a good feeling attached to your act.  If you have done this, you have experienced God, perhaps without knowing it” (Karl Rahner SJ). Jesus would agree.  He made the point in his parable of the Sheep and Goats (Matt 25.31f ).  At the end of time we will all be judged according to our helping or failing to help others.  These are the...
Man praying
Christ invites us to love each other as he loves us.   He doesn't say, love each other according to the spontaneous movements of our heart; nor, love each other as society defines love, but rather; ‘Love each other as I have loved you’ (John 15.12).  How well have we done that over the centuries?  How well do we do it today? Loving like Christ means loving our enemies, turning the other cheek, reaching out to embrace those who hate us, praying for those who oppose us.   Have we forgiven those...
Rebrandt, Return of the Prodigal Son
Angels rejoice over one repentant sinner.'  We can hear certain words or phrases so often they can lose their effect.  Earlier generations may have been happy with that kind of expression - like 'Lord Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me a miserable sinner.'  But today people even question the reality of sin;  they wonder if the psychologists and sociologists haven't put sin out of business.   It may be that a scientific age has to go through a phase of rejecting anything that cannot be...
A picture of Socrates
Listening to a radio programme about Plato’s dialogue ‘The Symposium’ led Harry Eyres, Financial Times columnist, to reflect on devaluation.*  The devaluation in question was not of the pound, but of the language of love. The Symposium is a discussion of the nature of love, consisting of speeches made by participants at an Athenian dinner party held in 416BC.  So we are talking about a work of literature written nearly 2,400 years ago. A prevailing view is that anything written that long ago...

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