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Truth & Love in the media

The desert has the biggest sky

Zion, Mojave, Red Rock. I’ve been to these deserts, walked their canyons, seen their contours. I’ve stood at the Grand Canyon and Sedona, and driven the long, lonely interstate through Utah. And it was beautiful. The experience of same-sex attraction can often land you in this desert place. For many, vulnerable community seems sparse, friendships are difficult to navigate, and God doesn’t seem entirely fair. For the Christian, we use words like “dry” or “barren” to describe spiritual difficulty. When we’re in that wild and desolate place, the words of the medieval mystic Angelus Silesius may well be our own: “The abyss of my spirit calls forever with a cry To the abyss of God; Tell me, which is deeper?” In the struggle, an easy option is to fill your life, blocking out the deepest cries of the heart. When our schedule is packed or distractions expand to fill time, our inner life ...

Valentine’s Day, Ash Wednesday, and the mystery of God’s love

I’ve been intentionally celibate since entering the seminary more than a quarter century ago, so it has been quite a while since I’ve given much thought to Valentine’s Day.  But even priests are paying attention to it this year, given the very rare coincidence – it hasn’t happened for sixty years, and only occurs three or four times a century – that Valentine’s Day falls on the same date as Ash Wednesday.   Although it seems like the quintessential “Hallmark Holiday”, the association of (St) Valentine’s Day with romantic love (what the Greek philosophers called eros) dates to the 14th century and the English poet Geoffrey Chaucer.  Heart-shaped boxes filled with chocolates came much later, in the mid-nineteenth century; they won’t be able to stand up this year to the rules for fasting and abstinence that mark the first day of Lent.  But the spirit and traditions of Ash Wednesday can actually enrich our understanding of eros, and of its ...

An identity made for love

“O Lord, who are You? O Lord, who am I?” This simple, profound prayer seems tailor-made for young people at the beginning of the twenty-first century. We’re caught up like never before in a quest to define ourselves, to understand what makes us who we are, what’s going to make someone notice and care about us. The fact that this prayer was uttered at the beginning of the thirteenth century, by the young Saint Francis of Assisi, reminds us that this human longing is a universal experience. But it’s also a challenge: it asks the question in a way that is not often appreciated today. “Who am I?” is an important question, but we often ask the wrong audience. The answer won’t be found on the Internet. It can’t be crowdsourced, or found in an online poll, or measured in likes or shares or retweets. But it seems like the more ...