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Soul Seeing

God rides the R train

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On my last trip up north, I rode the New York subways a lot. My aunt was in a Brooklyn hospital and the easiest way to get there was by taking the train from New Jersey and then walking a few blocks from Penn Station to catch the R subway to Brooklyn. All in all, it took about an hour and a half to get from New Jersey to Brooklyn.

Love is the love of being loving

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“Loretta, I love you. Not like they told you love is, and I didn’t know this either, but love don’t make things nice -- it ruins everything. It breaks your heart. It makes things a mess. We aren’t here to make things perfect. The snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. Not us! We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and love the wrong people and die. ...

Expressions of God's astonishing universe

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On Christmas Eve, I attended with Maria, my wife, the American Ballet Theatre’s presentation of “The Nutcracker” in New York. Ballet is not high on my list of entertainments, but on this occasion I was profoundly moved. What inspired me was not just the work of art, but the way I found myself present to it, taking it in, living in it. I wondered at whatever is at work in the universe, hurtling atoms billions of years ago into the life and death of countless stars, through transformation after transformation into Tchaikovsky, such astonishing music, into the beauty and grace of the dancers, and in me reflecting on how this all happens.

Praying with the eye of the soul

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Soul seeing reminds me of a visit to the eye doctor. She tries various lenses with different degrees of fuzziness until one finally reaches clarity. “That’s it!” we say in delight. Suddenly, we can see. If we look through the right spiritual lens, we may also recognize times of prayer where we hadn’t noticed them before. Some prayerful moments are as dramatic as bounding across a stage, others as humble as laundry. The common denominator is the spirit of the Creator stirring within us and our response to that voice.

Everything I'd ever need to know about God

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“Even though you get the words right doesn’t mean you get your life right.” That’s Leach’s Law No. 27 of Religious Book Publishing. I mentioned it to my friend and author Jack Shea once and he said, “Especially if you get the words right!”

We read books by Catholic authors that inspire us and think, “If only we could call them up on the phone like Holden Caulfield and be their friends and maybe even hang out with them, how happy we would be!” Maybe so. But we would be in for a surprise. They can be as melancholy as the rest of us.

I was blind, then I saw

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I saw him from a block away. He perched precariously in a motorized chair, his body slight like a child’s, hardly weighing 50 pounds in his maturity. I counted three serpentine bends in the arm that reached out to guide his odyssey, and my heart sank at the writhing distress that was this man’s whole existence. His limbs twisted like a contortionist’s. Even his face was beyond his control, gripped by grimaces many times a minute.

Ingrown toenails and the body of Christ

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A few years ago I hiked the White Mountains of New Hampshire with my family. What I had not shared with anyone was that for weeks I had been suffering from an ingrown toenail in my big toe. After a couple of hours my toe was throbbing. I could hardly walk and was slowing down the group. The children were getting frustrated. Finally, my brother stopped and said, “Sit on that rock and give me your boot.”

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In This Issue

August 15-28, 2014

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