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Soul Seeing

Confession is about the mind-boggling mercy of God


Sept. 25 was one of those spectacular autumn days in New York. The heat of the summer had faded away, and a brilliant, blue, cloudless sky greeted the world.

At about 1 p.m., I walked out the door of the house I share with nine other Jesuits, and walked up Eighth Avenue to Madison Square Garden. I was asked to hear confessions before the papal Mass, and doing so was one of the most profound graces of my life.

Light touching my soul -- 40 years later, I'm finally ready to look at this intense moment of grace


I slid into the fourth pew from the back on the left side of Dahlgren Chapel at Georgetown University. It was a 1975 summer evening with a soft sun backlighting the five-paneled stained-glass window featuring the Sacred Heart of Jesus behind the altar. It was quiet, a solemn quiet. I was on my knees and then, in a slow-moving but eerie transition, I was no longer in the fourth pew from the back on the left side of the chapel in Georgetown University.

A good man is not hard to find


Gene Conrad, 86, got up every morning at 5 a.m. to make breakfast for his wife, Reva. Before he shuffled downstairs, he cuddled next to her and began singing the song they had sung to each other every morning since they married in 1950: "You Are My Sunshine." Reva was diagnosed with Alzheimer's 21 years ago but she glowed as she heard the words Gene sang. Gene died last week after a brief illness.

To be or to do, now that is a question


I remember the day I was afraid to leave the house. The 10 steps from my apartment to the elevator would be like walking on coals. I was only going to meet a friend for lunch but I felt anxious, and sorry I had suggested it. I wanted to stay inside, in familiar territory. What was wrong with me? It was an easy drive to the restaurant, a friendly place with a favorite table saved for me and my friend. But I wanted the security of my home. I needed to be within. I desired something I was not used to but could not describe.


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In This Issue

November 20-December 3, 2015


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