Living Gratefully

In the first reading, we hear the end of the story of Naaman, a Syrian general, who has just been cured of his leprosy. When Naaman comes to Israel he encounters the prophet Elisha. Naaman has come bearing all manner of riches and gifts, but Elisha wants none of it. He simply instructs Naaman to wash seven times in the Jordan River. Pretty simple and ordinary, yes? Continue reading

Being prodigal?

I have had a life-long interest in etymology, the study of the origin of words and phrases. I subscribe to the Merriam-Webster “Word of the Day”, not for the definition, but for the etymology of the word. I think it was in my first year of theology, the word “prodigal” came up. I thought to myself, “I know that one, it means having lived a less than worthy life, a sinful life.” – probably based on the older brother’s assessment of his wayward, wandering younger sibling.  Who knows? Perhaps the older brother was correct, but the word prodigal means “a profuse or wasteful expenditure.” Continue reading

Veterans Day 2018

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy

A few years ago I received an email from one of my brother friars. I thought would post its content again. The email raised the question – in the light of all the commercial sales and advertisements: Is Veterans Day really a holiday or is it a holy day? Continue reading

Patience in a digital age

Patience is a virtue that’s been vanquished in the digital age. It would be interesting to know if our threshold of annoying things that impede our “getting on with things” has changed over the years. In the 1970s my computer science class developed programs/software on the Dartmouth Time Share system. We carried around boxes of IBM punch cards that took hours to punch. When had to carry them to the data center and submit them…and wait. When the paper punch strip came out that was amazing! This was progress!. Now if my webpage take more than 200 msec. to load, I am annoyed. “Who designed this thing? What’s wrong with our internet connection?” Just some of the inner thoughts that arise when we are impeded.

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Contagious Gratitude

GratitudeI don’t remember – it has been so long now – but somewhere, sometime ago, I began to start emails, letters, cards and the like with the same phrase: “May the grace and peace of Christ be with you.” It is an expression that begins many of St. Paul’s letters, in one form or another, e.g., Galatians 1:3. It is not a scripted beginning; there is a great deal of intention about it. There are times when I am in a hurry, responding to emails, that I am reminded at the end to return to the beginning and insert the greeting. It often leads to editing of the email if there is some part that does not have grace or peace about it. Continue reading

A Way of Life

I am often given to repeating St. Bonaventure’s wise counsel: humility is the guardian and gateway to all the other virtues…and the first evidence of it is gratitude. We can all have moments in which we are profoundly grateful, but are we grateful people? The first is a description of a moment in time, deeply remembered; the second is an intrinsic condition of who you are as a person. It is at the root of your being, it is the lens through which you see the world, and it is the mode by which you engage the world. Even as I write that last sentence, I am thinking, “Gosh, I want to be that person!” Continue reading