Gathered together once again in the presence of God’s living and effective word, we are revealed for who we are before God and others and, even better, God is revealed, yet again, in our midst. Like the author of Hebrews (second reading) who understood the power of God’s word to cut to the quick of all matters so as to lay bare the truth, the 12th-century doctor of the church Bernard of Clairvaux was similarly convinced. “The word of God,” Bernard wrote, “is not a sounding but a piercing word, not pronounceable by the tongue but efficacious in the mind, not only sensible to the ear but fascinating to the affection. God’s word is not an object possessing beauty of form, but rather, it is the source of all beauty and form.
Sept 28-Oct 10, 2012
THE TRIUMPH OF CHRISTIANITY: HOW THE JESUS MOVEMENT BECAME THE WORLD’S LARGEST RELIGION
By Rodney Stark
Published by HarperOne, $27.99
As Rodney Stark sees it in The Triumph of Christianity, several factors enabled an obscure Jewish sect to become the world’s largest religion. Here are some: Jesus Christ admonished his followers to preach the Gospel to all nations, and they did. He commanded them to practice works of mercy, which they also did. Christian commitment to mercy mitigated suffering and attracted converts. As Stark explains it, Christianity was an island of security in the midst of the squalor, misery and illness of ancient cities.
Stark writes for the general reader based on his belief that “if I can’t say it in plain English, it must be because I don’t understand what I am writing about.”
Writing from a sociological and historical angle, he also refutes what he calls misconceptions concerning early Christianity. He argues that Jesus Christ may not have been poor, that his parents were sufficiently well-off to travel to Jerusalem on Passover.
The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth's goal hasn't changed in 200 years: bring education to the marginalized, especially and significantly, women and girls.
On Dec. 1, the order's bicentennial day, the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in Botswana will open a formation program to admit young Botswanan women into the order.
Essay: I’ve been thinking a lot about the way images, entertainment, the news and language socialize us into accepting a perpetual state of violence.
Some bridges are hard to negotiate, but Bridging Hope is a significant start. Many feel overwhelmed by world poverty, yet finding a trustworthy way to alleviate it is the first step.
The tiny town of Suchitoto, El Salvador, is made up of 82 rural communities and an urban center, a cobblestoned town filled with colonial architecture.
Viewpoint: It seems that the older I get, the more reflective I become. I tend to move slower but think deeper.
Early in the presidential race both candidates seemed to have noted studies suggesting that reducing carbon emissions to slow global climate change ranks close to the bottom of voters’ concerns.