Tag Archives: Paris

Waiting in the Dark

4 Dec
Photo via Flickr user Alexander Boden

Photo via Flickr user Alexander Boden

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. –John 1: 1-5

It is Advent. It is cold and dark.

We Minnesotans are a people who understand true darkness and cold. Every year we hunker down, turning inward, sure that the darkness will prevail. Then, our pupils adjust ever so slightly. We find our Smartwool, dust off the teakettle and light candles. We snuggle by the fire. In Advent, we remember that there is a baby on his way. Hope breaks through the cold. Light prevails. Jesus, the light of the world will draw near. We can almost hear his heartbeat in this sacred time of waiting.

Violence in Paris, Minneapolis, Colorado Springs. The darkness is all around us. We get this Advent thing. We’re living it.

When the light goes out, our instinct is to rush to turn it back on again, to get comfortable, to go back to normal. In Advent, we sit in the darkness. We acknowledge it. We wait for our eyes to adjust, and we realize there is enough light in the darkness with which to work.

This waiting in the darkness is not passive. It’s active waiting. It’s, as Nouwen points out, becoming more present in this dark and cold time and place.

Patience is not waiting passively until someone else does something. Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are. When we are impatient, we try to get away from where we are. We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later, and somewhere else. Be patient and trust that the treasure you are looking for is hidden in the ground on which you stand. –Henri J.M. Nouwen

Giving Thanks Through it All

27 Nov


The world is crying. Yet we are called to continue, from the depth of sorrow, to give thanks.

Lord, hear my prayer;
listen to my plea for mercy.
I call on You in the day of my distress,
for You will answer me.

-Psalm 86:6-7

Thank goodness for the Psalms. There are as many psalms as there are human emotions. A psalm for every season, every combination of sentiments we have inside of us. The psalms give us words to pray and pray and pray again even when we can barely speak, even when we’re not sure if we believe every word, even when we are close to losing hope.

The psalms reflect the wonderful paradox in our faith. We see a broken world. We sit in the hurt of the attacks in Paris. We look for our place in support of innocent Syrian refugees. We know that sin, sickness and death will always exist. Yet we believe in a God who comes into this broken world, who lives with us, walks with us. And we have faith that this God will conquer sin and death. So in the midst of brokenness, we believe in and respond with hope.

This Thanksgiving, in the muck of horrible news and a world in pain, we find words in the Psalms to help us continue to give thanks.

O give thanks to the Lord, for he
is good,
for his steadfast love endures

-Psalm 136:1

This life is Bountiful. And as the singer-songwriter Peter Mayer so joyously puts it:

You don’t just say grace
Before you dig in
You stand and dance and sway
Around the kitchen
And feast your eyes, astounded by
What you’ve been given
Before you even
Sit down
In Bountiful

I am thankful. I cry with the world. I give thanks. I sit down in bountiful.

Gospel Reflection for November 29, 2015, 1st Sunday of Advent

24 Nov

Sunday Readings: Jeremiah 33.14-16; 1 Thessalonians 3.12-4.2; Luke 21.25-28, 34-36

“Stay watchful.”

(Luke 21.36)

Advent begins with a gospel that imagines Jesus coming in glory. The gospel fairly froths with frightening images. Scary gospels can hardly worry us more than our everyday headlines and breaking news. Refugees swarm north across border after border, seeking a safe future for their families. Climate change threatens our planet.

Beginning next Sunday in Paris the United Nations sponsors the 21st meeting among nations to negotiate a limit on global warming to 2 degrees celsius. We are inextricable bound together on our home planet. We are all neighbors profoundly called to cooperate and survive together. What we know we want for our own families is what refugees and immigrants are seeking – safety, education, a future. Jesus insists that the loving actions he teaches and lives will get us through not only every day but any day.

Who do you see as a source of hope we humans can help build a world in which all can thrive?

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Refugees Are Dear Neighbors

19 Nov

Good Ground Press is a ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.  Our congregation has published the following public statement in regard to Syrian refugees:

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet are heartbroken and outraged by the recent violence perpetrated around the world in places like Paris, Beirut, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.

As we join the world in grieving those killed and injured in these attacks, we refuse to allow the actions of radical groups to push us to respond with anything but love and mercy. We urge people around the world and their governments to embrace the refugees fleeing violence and hatred and welcome them into the sanctuary of our countries. Syrian refugees, fleeing a brutal civil war, are themselves victims of ISIS.

Certainly, preventing any future attacks is of utmost importance, but refusing the deserving, carefully-vetted Syrian refugees who are in the process of being resettled in the United States is not the answer. These refugees go through multiple layers of interviews and rigorous security checks. These measures ensure that we can both welcome these refugees and ensure our national security.

We were challenged by Pope Francis in his address to Congress on September 24: “Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War. This presents us with great challenges and many hard decisions. … We must not be taken aback by their numbers but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation in ways that are always humane, just and fraternal. We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Mt 7:12).

Our charism calls us to love God and love the Dear Neighbor without distinction. We will not distinguish people by religion, color or creed when they cry out for mercy. Let us all respond to our Dear Neighbors with love in their hour of greatest need.

The sadness of so many killed in the terrorist attacks spreads through families and coworkers and touches us all.  In response to our expression of solidarity with our French colleagues at Bayard-Presse in Paris, we heard today:
“Thank you for your message which provides warm thoughts.  The week has been quite chaotic.  One of our freelance editors has been killed in the concert hall Bataclan.  We keep hope that peace will recover but the middle east is fully at war and we pay a very high price in front of this situation.”

War brings with it so much to mourn on every side.

Sister Joan Mitchell, CSJ
Good Ground Press

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