I wonder when U.S. Christians began to lose touch with Jesus. The thought has crossed my mind from time to time in recent years, but lately it surfaces daily. My heart sinks as Christians in the news and on my Facebook feed rally behind building a wall on our southern border and denying Muslims from war-torn countries entry to ours. I'm baffled as Christians brazenly proclaim, "America first!" while professing to follow the Nazorean carpenter who declared more than once, "The last shall be first, and the first will be last."
In these post-inauguration days, complete with worldwide anti-Trump protests, I have been reflecting upon my Facebook wall. It's a small Facebook wall, since I follow only my extended family on my personal page and open up other Facebook pages to a public space.
I am gripping ski poles through fleece-lined mittens, my feet secured to cross-country skis. My arms and legs slide back and forth, propelling me forward along the trail. I have only been in these woods on this bright Saturday morning for about 10 minutes, but my warm breath is already fogging up my thick glasses.
After a fire destroyed the Islamic Center Mosque in Victoria, Texas, hundreds of people of diverse faiths came together in a show of compassion and solidarity.
A Zambian village's two-week ceremony welcomed young women to adulthood, culminating in a prayerful, joyful gathering of family, friends and neighbors. Truly, God was in this place, and I and came away with a heart full of gratitude.
"Wow, he's hot!" I exclaimed recently as I gazed at a good-looking guy in a television commercial.
The young woman standing next to me looked at me in shock.
"You can't like guys, you're a nun!" she said indignantly.
My immediate reaction was: "Yes, I can!" I proceeded to explain to her that a woman does not shut off her sex drive when she joins a monastery or convent, even if that might make life a bit easier.
Notes from the Field - Most people would agree that time flies. But for me, it did not. My year of service was slow. The year never seemed to end, but I appreciated that I had more time to enjoy the year and to do the work that I set out to accomplish.
An international network of priest associations and reform groups gathered in Chicago last October. I was eager to see if wounds previously felt by the group around women's issues in the church had healed. Would there be any movement in the group's willingness to accept women in more visible liturgical roles? Or would the same fears and concerns resurface?
Notes from the Field - Two of the biggest gifts I received from my time at Franciscan Mission Service were courage and confidence. I typically avoid the spotlight at all costs. But God has a sense of humor and ways of pushing us to overcome the things we're afraid of.
What drew me to Thomas Merton (and still does) was his deep inner search for truth and light, his inner yearning for God.
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