The body bags of pandemics and wars

Sheltering in place during the coronavirus pandemic, I’m tucked away into my bedroom, where my time is defined by solitude and screens as I move between projects. Right now, I am working at my desk on various tasks: responding to emails, returning phone calls, setting up meetings. In the background, my radio hums quietly, theContinue reading “The body bags of pandemics and wars”

The coronavirus, the cross and our vocation

I wasn’t sure what it would look like, or how terrible it would be, but deep in my gut I felt something squirming. An awareness. A knowing. An intuition. I had a feeling that bad days were ahead. I am fairly certain that my intuition that we were heading toward a humanitarian crisis wasn’t unusual.Continue reading “The coronavirus, the cross and our vocation”

Three steps to changes, inspired by Dr. King

Throughout the United States we will honor the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a holiday next week. Some of us will attend parades or prayer services to feed our souls with the words of good speakers and the sound of great music. Many will participate in the National Day of Service.Continue reading “Three steps to changes, inspired by Dr. King”

Back to the basics in a time of war

In the light of the epiphany star and the glowing headlines this week, the Spirit is convincing me that it’s time for us to get back to basics, to recenter on the core values of the Christian faith. It seems that from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed, theContinue reading “Back to the basics in a time of war”

At a table with other sinners, the Eucharist unites

The first person who taught me eucharistic theology was my Lutheran grandmother. Although I have no memories of her ever uttering the words “eucharistic” or “theology,” she taught me in the way that the best teachers do: by being a living example. Grandma’s house usually smelled like freshly baked bread. Her counter was often dustedContinue reading “At a table with other sinners, the Eucharist unites”

Encouragement when the world feels like a mess

If you’re like me — and most people I know — the world feels like a mess. Maybe you’re heartbroken and horrified by the latest news coming out of Syria, by the continued slaughter of human life. Perhaps you’re worried about loved ones impacted by the fires in California — or you are one ofContinue reading “Encouragement when the world feels like a mess”

We are endangered species, but Franciscan values could save us

At my new home in Chicago, I can visit the shore of Lake Michigan, and I like to go there to pray. From my spot on a concrete slab, all that is visible to me that is “natural” is water and sky. Everything else — the concrete, the fence, the shoreline — has been constructedContinue reading “We are endangered species, but Franciscan values could save us”

Lucy’s lament, Greta’s anger and hopeful action

It was a bright June day when I heard a sister lament. The sister: she is named for light; we call her Lucy. At a community meeting, she stood at a podium and spoke into a microphone, her voice full of passion and frustration. She gave a State of the Union speech of sorts, yetContinue reading “Lucy’s lament, Greta’s anger and hopeful action”

Sacrifice, not self-care

Make sure to put your own oxygen mask on first. When a plane is experiencing difficulties and the oxygen masks drop, you have to put your own oxygen mask on before you can put on the masks of others. You need to always make sure to take care of yourself first. — self-help speakers everywhereContinue reading “Sacrifice, not self-care”

‘A bad guy was killing people’: A parent’s response to the nightmare of gun violence

It’s 3 a.m. and the moon is glowing softly through the wide bedroom window. Why am I awake? I look to the side and see that our six-month-old is sleeping soundly. A repetition of the sound that woke me, “Mama!!”, comes from the room across the hall. It’s our three-year-old who, despite a strong, independentContinue reading “‘A bad guy was killing people’: A parent’s response to the nightmare of gun violence”