The turning point happens at the very bottom, where things are bleakest.
Have you ever wondered what it was like for the first disciples to see Jesus in the light of the Resurrection?
Imagine being inside a dimly lit, windowless room and then suddenly walking outside into the brightest part of the day. The sunlight is all around you; everything is bright. By reflex, you close your eyes to protect them. You try squinting, maybe even using your hand as a visor to cast a little shadow on your now teary, hypersensitive eyes. You may see a blurry figure here and another there, but you can’t focus or gaze at anything. You alternate between blindness and misperception. Read more at OSV.
There are not a lot of reasons for optimism, but there is every reason for hope. Optimism is either the result of a calculation of the available evidence that warrants the assumption of a positive conclusion, or it is naïve wishing. Hope, though, is personal. More to the point, hope is founded on fidelity to the promises of Christ—we believe that he is who he has shown himself to be and we trust that what he says is true. The one who slayed death is more than capable of guiding us through the perils of the digital world, fatherless societies, biblical illiteracy, violence and abuse, and every kind of exploitation that our young people endure or perpetuate. Our part is to trust Christ and to give ourselves over to the mission of evangelization, sacrificing our comfort, shyness, anxiety, and concern for our own status along the way. That’s hope in action.
Moreover, the whole synodal process is entrusted to Mary, the Blessed Mother. She remains Our Lady of Hope because she gives everything to her Son, who redeems us. As the preparatory document for the synod offers in its closing section: “In her eyes every young person can rediscover the beauty of discernment; in her hear every young person can experience the tenderness of intimacy and the courage of witness and mission.”
When Jesus says that of this man he himself will "be ashamed when he comes glory," I take him to mean that filling your heart with lies and deception so as to trade yourself away for any profit whatsoever - whether Whales or all of England or the whole world - will reduce you to nothing in the end, and glory of the Lord will pass right through you. There will be nothing there for his glory to light up. But the one who in his heart of hearts "acknowledges the truth" (15:2), will be a person of flesh and blood whom Son of man makes to shine like the sun.
Jesus is obedience incarnate. He is nothing other and nothing less than everything the Father gives to him. To consume his words, to consume his works, to consume his example, and, in the end, to consume his very life--his body, his blood--is to receive nothing other than his uninterrupted obedience to the Father.
Perhaps there is no greater threat to our own security than the gods we create out of our own expectations. These gods constantly swirl in our hearts and masquerade in our imaginations. There is the god of my own convenience; the god of my condition; the god of my hidden agenda; the god of my private religious worldview. These gods get broadcast far and wide by the "crowds", who present an divine image that serves some end that they or we or I seek for their or our or my own purposes.
...The outsourcing of the authority to shape desires and instill motivation is the real issue here. Any reform of the college admissions process that does not question the power the process wields is limited from the start. While the continual evaluation of what counts for what in the admissions process is the responsibility of institutions of higher education, the continual evaluation of the extent to which our society grants the power to shape the lives of young people to an admissions process in the first place, in whatever form it takes, is a responsibility that falls to all of us. Young people are likely to become what we form them to be, according to the way we form them. What really commands the tide is the operative image of what we consider a well-educated, well-formed young person to be when they grow into mature adults.... Read more at Inside Higher Ed
In Deneen’s reading, liberalism appears as one of the latest but certainly neither the first nor the last wholesale attempt to undo the meaning of the world, re-envision the meaning of the human being, and reconceive of the project of liberation. Whether Deneen’s critique is aimed directly at liberalism in particular or modernity as a whole is an open question, but what is clear from his sweeping (anti-)cultural and political analysis is that the basic assumptions that drive policy and education and commerce and technology ripen into a seemingly irresistible way of living and moving and having being. By his own prescriptions, Deneen calls for a return to smaller communities, more particular cultures, and more intentional practices in order to recover a sense of citizenship and a project of liberty worth living for. Furthermore, though, if Deneen’s diagnosis, when reflected upon theologically, is also detecting a “fall story” in terms of the biblical view of creation, the human person, and freedom, then Deenen’s civic and political recommendations will also have religious analogues.... Read more at Church Life Journal
On a scale of 1 to 10—with 1 being totally passive and 10 being absolutely active—where would you rank Mary’s performance in the Annunciation narrative? On the one hand, the angel takes the initiative, does most of the talking, and seems to decide when the encounter begins and ends. Mary didn’t come up with this plan, she doesn’t negotiate any of the terms, and something is done to her. Sure seems like sheer passivity. On the other hand, she does say “yes”, so maybe there’s some traces of activity here, though perhaps not as much as one would like. ... read more at FemCatholic
In October 2018, bishops from around the world will gather at the Vatican to discuss the pastoral issues and pressing needs of young people, with a special eye toward how they are being prepared (or not) for the demanding task of “vocational discernment.”... read more at OSV
If a young child figures out the truth about Santa Claus, he typically is instructed not to tell other children for fear of spoiling the story for them. But if a child believes in Santa, she is never instructed to keep the story to herself. This does not appear odd, until you consider the children of parents who intentionally choose not to introduce the Santa story in the first place. ... read more at OSV
The “communion of saints” is a definitive mark of the Christian imagination conformed to the mystery of salvation: the communion of holy persons invites and demands an act of faith for Christian belief to build toward completion. In fact, it is the exercise of fidelity to the promises of Christ in the face of death that gave this expression its primary meaning for Western Christianity. This meaning was carried into and is now borne by the Apostles’ Creed, “the most universally accepted creed in Western Christendom.” Every saint has a history and so does the article of faith that attests to the communion in which they share. The lives of saints arise from the work of God in the world while the article symbolizing their communion arises from the Church’s reflection on the life of faith in the Spirit. ... read more at Church Life Journal
Between the time I went to sleep and the time I woke up on the night that stretched from Oct. 1-Oct. 2, a gunman opened fire on thousands of people at an outdoor music festival from an upper floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. It wasn’t until I dropped off my kids at school and turned on the radio in the car that I learned of what had taken place, about how more than 50 people were killed, about how hundreds and hundreds were injured, and about how thousands of lives were permanently changed in the passing of one night. ... read more at OSV
There are some prayers so tender and so true that they seem to say everything that needs to be said with only a few words. From the sanctuary of St. Joseph Church in South Bend, Indiana, such a prayer arose with melodic sweetness, offered on behalf of many from Catholic singer/songwriter Audrey Assad: “I’m a broken stone, so lay me in the house you’re building.” ... read more at OSV