Nonviolence . . . Human trafficking . . . Women . . . . The elderly . . . Immigrants' rights . . . Housing. . . Children . . . Prisoners' rights . . . Health care . . . World Hunger . . . Globalization, as it affects Latin America . . . Care of the earth . . . Seamless ethic of life

Note: The ideas and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author's and should not be ascribed to the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes or its members.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Frederick Buechner Quote of the Day: Prayer

Frederick Buechner Quote of the Day Logo 2012-2013 
We all pray whether we think of it as praying or not. The odd silence we fall into when something very beautiful is happening, or something very good or very bad. The "Ah-h-h-h!" that sometimes floats up out of us as out of a Fourth of July crowd when the skyrocket bursts over the water. The stammer of pain at somebody else's pain. The stammer of joy at somebody else's joy. Whatever words or sounds we use for sighing with over our own lives. These are all prayers in their way. These are all spoken not just to ourselves, but to something even more familiar than ourselves and even more strange than the world.

According to Jesus, by far the most important thing about praying is to keep at it. The images he uses to explain this are all rather comic, as though he thought it was rather comic to have to explain it at all. He says God is like a friend you go to borrow bread from at midnight. The friend tells you in effect to drop dead, but you go on knocking anyway until finally he gives you what you want so he can go back to bed again (Luke 11:5-8). Or God is like a crooked judge who refuses to hear the case of a certain poor widow, presumably because he knows there's nothing much in it for him. But she keeps on hounding him until finally he hears her case just to get her out of his hair (Luke 18:1-8). Even a stinker, Jesus says, won't give his own child a black eye when the child asks for peanut butter and jelly, so how all the more will God when his children... (Matthew 7:9-11)?

Be importunate, Jesus says-not, one assumes, because you have to beat a path to God's door before God will open it, but because until you beat the path maybe there's no way of getting to your door. "Ravish my heart," John Donne wrote. But God will not usually ravish. He will only court.

Whatever else it may or may not be, prayer is at least talking to yourself, and that's in itself not always a bad idea. 

Talk to yourself about your own life, about what you've done and what you've failed to do, and about who you are and who you wish you were and who the people you love are and the people you don't love too. Talk to yourself about what matters most to you, because if you don't, you may forget what matters most to you.

Even if you don't believe anybody's listening, at least you'll be listening. 

Believe Somebody is listening. Believe in miracles. That's what Jesus told the father who asked him to heal his epileptic son. Jesus said, "All things are possible to him who believes." And the father spoke for all of us when he answered, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:14-29).

What about when the boy is not healed? When, listened to or not listened to, the prayer goes unanswered? Who knows? Just keep praying, Jesus says. Remember the sleepy friend, the crooked judge. Even if the boy dies, keep on beating the path to God's door, because the one thing you can be sure of is that, down the path you beat with even your most half-cocked and halting prayer, the God you call upon will finally come. 

~originally published in Wishful Thinking and later in Beyond Words

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Do You Know How Your Tax Dollar Is Spent?

The National Priorities Project (NPP) offers information about how the federal government spent your 2015 tax dollar. Let your representative know what YOU think the government’s priorities should be.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Prayer for Vatican Conference on Nonviolence and Just Peace

Many individuals with expertise on peacemaking will gather at the Vatican from April 11-13 to reflect on Catholic social teaching related to war and ongoing violence. It is fitting that the conference opens on the anniversary of Pope John XXIII’s Pacem in Terris (1963). We are invited to be in solidarity with the participants and to pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance. NCR offers information about the importance of the Conference and Pax Christi International offers a prayer resource. For centuries the Church has held to the Just War Theory, and now may be critically reassessing that stance.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


Maryknoll’s Office for Global Concerns offers a newsletter called Encounters. In a recent posting the limitations of using GDP as a measure of progress was described.  What would YOU suggest be used to measure a country’s progress or development? What do you think the candidates for public office would suggest?    Encounters newsletter

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Banking For the Poor

How might development truly become sustainable? How might people who have no capital become equal participants in the global economy? According to Sandro Calvani block-chain technology (think Bitcoin) might well have an answer.

Click here to read his article on Global Pulse Magazine.

Friday, April 1, 2016

El Nino and Food Crisis in Ethiopia

In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis speaks repeatedly about the devastating effects of climate change and its impact on those who are most vulnerable, those who live in poverty. In a short video, Catholic Relief Services directs our attention to Ethiopians who are suffering from El Nino’s effects. You may prefer to read this one-page briefing on human need in Ethiopia. Tragically, other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are experiencing the same plight. Support for humanitarian organizations on the front lines is urgently needed.