Grace on the Margins: Under what conditions is suffering redemptive? How do you know you're right?
Four neighbor women gather their teenage children as the smog-filtered sun begins to rise. The mothers check backpacks and bundles, all the while giving directions. Do this, don't do that. Go here, don't go there. Keep clean. Pray. Every day, pray. Everyone is frightened, confused. Each holds on to another as if existence itself depends on the feel of skin on skin. The teens hold back tears. The mothers' eyes are overflowing.
The only chapter of the International Thomas Merton Society that is located in a prison is at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution in Shirley.
Appreciation: Beatrice Bruteau, one of the most powerful shaping influences on contemporary mystical theology, interspirituality, and contemplative practice, died Nov. 16. She was 84.
Celebration Publications: The young turn our eyes to the future. But the elderly turn our eyes that way, as well. At both poles of life, we are reminded of our dual citizenships, in this world and in the world to come.
We've heard that parable many times, and I'm sure many times we've interpreted it for ourselves or heard someone explain it as a parable about receiving gifts from God -- talents, abilities -- and how important it is to use them. Not to waste them, not to let them be dormant, but to be energetic in using what God has given to us, using all our talents for good purposes so that we will hear God say, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Come enjoy the blessings of God's kingdom."
Soul Seeing: Does God ever feel that we've overlooked all God's creative efforts? Do we miss Cana miracles in our midst because we're on the starvation diet?
Do you know what a talent is? In the biblical sense, it's not the ability to carry a tune or the instinct for making a fortune on the stock market. A talent is a measure of weight, specifically the typical weight of a soldier's pack, something in the range of 75 to 100 pounds. As it is used in this parable, it refers to the weight of the coins entrusted to three servants. The talents the master gave his servants made a heavy load of very valuable coins; one talent is estimated to be worth something like a million dollars in today's money.
Vietnamese Buddhist monk has introduced meditation techniques to tens of thousands worldwide.
Editor's note: Bishop Gumbleton gave this homily at the consecration of the altar at the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart Of Mary Motherhouse in Monroe, Mich.