Peter Knott SJ

True Joy on a man's face photo from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Richard_Joy_Thomas.jpg
Many people suffer from a kind of guilt. They don’t seem able to enjoy healthy pleasure without feeling guilty about feeling good, almost apologetic about their good luck.Instead they tend, unconsciously, to associate depth and religion with what’s grey and sad. In the name of  religion they are stoic rather than joyous in acceptance of pleasure. Many suffer from an incapacity  to take in life’s more simple pleasures in genuine delight. They always seem to be nursing some guilt...
Full moon at night
Why would nature design things so that, as humans, just as we reach the pinnacle of our maturity and get more of a genuine grip on our lives, our bodies begin to fall apart?  Why do we suffer so many physical ailments as we age? What might nature have in mind when the ailments and physical weaknesses of age begin to play some havoc with our days and nights?The late James Hillman in his book, The Force of Character answers these questions with a metaphor.  The best wines have to be...
Hurricane
To be a human being is to be endlessly distracted. We aren’t persons who live in habitual spiritual awareness who occasionally get distracted. We’re persons who live in habitual distraction who occasionally become spiritually aware. We tend be so preoccupied with the ordinary business of living that it takes a hurricane of some sort for God to break through.C.S. Lewis, commenting on why we tend to turn to God only during a hurricane, once put it this way: God is always speaking to us, but...
A child's brown eye from LibreShot.com
Seeing implies more than having good eyesight. We may well be seeing physically, yet not seeing the meaning of it. Truly seeing implies more than having eyes that are simply open.For instance, in the Gospels, we see Jesus doing a number of healings. He heals lame people, deaf people, mute people, people with leprosy. What is important to see in these various miracles is that usually there’s more at issue than just physical healing.Jesus is healing people in a deeper way.  He is healing the...
A painting of sunrise over dark water
God’s grace-full presence is everywhere, but our response is often muted.‘When grace enters a room we should begin to dance but, sadly, more often than not we let some little thing, some insect bite blind us to grace's presence.’  W H AudenGiven the complexity in our everyday lives, shadows of some type are invariably present. There can be some irritation in any situation in life, some element challenging pure grace within almost every moment of life. Life rarely comes to us pure, free...
Sunrise - Copyright Graham Loveland and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons.
Death is a stark reality of our existence.  No one  escapes its clutches.  Faced with this there is, understandably, a tendency even among Christians, to fear it and avoid the subject.  Yet the question stares us in the face:  what us the meaning of life and death?The answer is in what we  celebrate at Easter, because One death changed the meaning of all deaths.  The death of Christ on Calvary reversed the meaning of life.  Whereas the world sees death as...
What Can I Know a word cloud
Given the speed and change in our world today,  the increasing specialization and fragmentation inside higher education, and the ever-increasing complexity of our lives, we may find ourselves wondering just how much we really know. What can we know amongst all the complexity and sophistication of our world?Well, we can know our own light, our own moral centre. Ultimately we can know what's most real and most precious to us and this is the most important knowledge of all. Next to such...
Future, next exit
No-one, surely, likes to think of their life-journey as simply moving along fixed,  pre-determined lines until the destination long-ago chosen for them is reached.This is why cross-roads are important; a place to pause, consider our options, and then set out on the path we have now freely chosen. But if cross-roads offer choice, they also offer the possibility of making a mistake. At a cross-roads, we need to be particularly confident of the direction we want to go in.One source of...
V&A_-_Raphael,_The_Miraculous_Draught_of_Fishes_(1515)
It is easy to mistake an unhealthy form of piety for the genuine response that God wants of us;  that is, to enter into an intimate relationship  with Godself and then try to help others have that same experience. We see this everywhere in Scripture.For example, in Luke’s Gospel, after witnessing a miraculous catch of fish, Peter responds by falling at Jesus’ knees and saying: “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” At first glance that would seem the appropriate response, an...
Honest to God in prayer, young woman prays outside
'O Lord, you have searched me and known me' says Psalm 139. Let­ting God come to know us is essential, as it is in any relation­ship. Letting yourself be known by God means more or less what it means in any friendship: speaking about your life, sharing your feelings, and revealing yourself openly.When we're not honest in a re­lationship, usually the relationship begins to grow cold, distant, or formal. If we're avoiding something unpleasant, the relationship de­volves into one defined by...

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