My favorite saint is St. Ignatius of Loyola, whose feast day is July 31. Born into a Spanish family in the Basque country in the northern part of Spain, Inigo had a conversion experience during his convalescence after a cannonball shattered his knee in a battle at Pamplona. His imagination, courage, valor and striving toward excellence has caught my attention and informs my spirituality. In fact, it is these same traits that offer insight and direction to the Society of Jesus and all their ministries and works throughout the world.
After three months at sea, four Carmelite sisters stepped onto shore in Maryland 222 years ago this month, prepared to establish the first order of nuns in the 13 colonies.
This week, when news broke that the Episcopal Church voted to approve services blessing same-sex relationships, I had a couple of thoughts. First, “Hooray!” And then -- *record scratch* -- “Wait. They got to vote on marriage equality?”
I sat with a mixture of awe and disgust as I read a Huffington Post article about obesity in the Latino community. The opening sentence, "Feel bad telling your gordito that he can only have one helping of flan?", was so brazenly derogatory that I could barely believe a major publication would be willing to attach its name to it.
Prior to the revisions to the Roman Rite last year, English-speaking Catholics proceeded the Eucharist by praying that God might deliver us from evil, grant us peace, keep us from sin and "protect us from all anxiety." These, one might argue, are the necessary prerequisites to receiving the sacrament with singleness of heart: protection from sin and evil, peace and freedom from anxiety.
My sisters and I shared many funny times listening to the combination of words and phrases our dad would manage to put together. In fact, we thought we easily could combine all his sayings into a book that would, at least for us, be pretty hysterical. He is an eager learner, active do-er and impatient wait-er. This combined with his matter-of-fact certainty genuinely cultivated a fondness for his company and for his insights.
My father is both happy-go-lucky and masipag, a Tagalog word meaning joyfully hard-working, generous and diligent. His most common phrase when asked about whether or not he would do something or try something is, "What da heck."
This courage to try new things and to generously do everything to make things work guides my own ethic and continues to shape how I discern.
"Wow, girl, that person must be the best in their field. You get to work with the crop of the cream!"
"If you just put it in your mind, you can overcome your sickness. Just tell your body it's not sick."
Wisconsin is facing a divisive recall election Tuesday. The election pits current Gov. Scott Walker against recall challenger and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who lost to Walker in 2010. Barrett supporters are dissatisfied with Walker's elimination of collective bargaining from many public jobs, among other issues. Walker supporters think Barrett supporters should just suck it up and deal with a governor who was elected just two years ago. The recall election is splitting neighbors, co-workers and family members. It's the talk of my home state.
In a lecture to a group of teenagers, theologian Stanley Hauerwas retells one of Søren Kierkegaard's last parables to illustrate how most Christians think of the resurrection. In the story, a prince is one day riding through his fields when he sees a beautiful peasant girl. Being of noble birth, he is careful not to overwhelm the girl with his power and riches and decides to masquerade as a peasant in order to fairly win her love.
My parents are celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary on Monday. In the same vein as other recent milestones, my parents do their best to invite everyone and throw a big party. We had a huge celebration when they each turned 50, 55, 60, 65 and even 70 for my father a few years ago. We have tons of food -- no, really, Filipinos have enough food to ensure that everyone there would be able to eat for days, just in case an earthquake broke out and we all were stuck there together -- entertainment that only "American Idol" or "The Voice" can rival, and many, many stories.
What strikes me the most is how integral the church is to my parents' story.
A dictatorship is threatened by that which speaks to the heart of a people. If one can crush that which stirs the soul, a dictator needs not worry about the soul being stirred to resistance.