From My Reading

“[There is a particular resistance] that invariably crops up any time we consider times of genuine solitude. It is the almost overwhelming feeling that we will be passed over. Now, what we say is, “I want to be available to help whenever there is a crisis or problem.” But what really concerns us is that people will get along quite well without us! You see, this strikes right at the root of our fear of becoming unimportant, unneeded, insignificant, useless.

This is precisely why solitude is such a fundamental discipline of the spiritual life. As long as we are at the center of the action, we feel indispensable. And we are sorely tempted to micro-manage everyone around us … for their good, of course! But genuine experiences of solitude undercut all the pretense. In the very act of retreat we resign as CEO of the universe. We entrust people into the hands of God. We allow others to develop and grow without our constant oversight. This, in time, gives us a precious freedom when we are among people—the freedom to serve and be served without the slightest need to manage or control either people or circumstances” (Richard Foster in Renovare’s Weekly Digest for May 19, 2017).

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“Unless you’re putting on the mind of Christ, I don’t know if you’ll ever see the face of the Christ in the other, or the face of the cosmic, or the face of the people of God in the other. You may be a highly efficient social worker or a marvelously compassionate do-gooder, but you will not necessarily be a Christian contemplative” (Joan Chittister, OSB in Sojourner, June, 2017).

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“There are two main ways we think about poverty.  If we lean right, we tend to attribute poverty to individual choices, like having a kid outside of wedlock or not finishing high school.  And if we lean left, we attribute poverty to what sociologists like to call “structure” – big historical forces like the loss of a factory base or legacies of racial discrimination.  But there’s a third way of understanding poverty, and that’s the relational way:  The rich and the poor are bound together in relationships of mutual dependence and struggle. In relationships of landlords and tenants, more rent means, literally, less money for tenants and more money for landlords” (Matthew Desmond author of Evicted in an interview in Sojourner, June, 2017).

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“Only our personal experiences of unconditional, unearned, and infinite love and forgiveness can move us from the normal worldview of scarcity to the divine world of infinite abundance. That’s when the doors of mercy blow wide open! That’s when we begin to understand the scale-breaking nature of the Gospel. Catholics and much of the world are now stunned to observe a pope who exemplifies this worldview in our time. We can no longer say it is impossible idealism” (Richard Rohr in Daily Meditation, May 24, 2017).

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