The prophet Joel extolls the people of God to rend their hearts and not their garments to be touched and broken and changed at a deeper level than what is visible, a profound, inner conversion, one of the heart. And God will find us in the most beautiful ways. All we have to do is open the door. Find out what happens when I open a door and start seeing Christ on the other side.
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I love musicals. I love watching them, discussing them, debating about them, criticizing them, comparing them. I work out listening to soundtracks from esoteric musicals from the 1960s. I appeared in musicals every year from when I was 5 to 22, and wrote a musical in lieu of a philosophy final. God can find us wherever we are, and God found me right where I love to be: in a theatre.
For the first time during my break, I was able to concentrate on something. I began sketching a chubby leg, two hands hovering above a halo. This was the infant Jesus that would become the object of my prayer over the Christmas season. What I created also became my prayer, a prayer to be less active and more present.
Today is Inauguration Day. So much has happened leading up to this day that we offer this moment to God, to bless, to protect, and to guide this day into the way of peace. Pray with us today as our country takes time to transition and change.
What is discipleship? What is mere discipleship? The opening line of my newest poem, “Mere Discipleship,” says that “mere discipleship sheds easy excuses, burns hot and bright,” and that line is just the beginning of unpacking a process of following Christ. Are you a disciple? Are you a mere disciple? How do you know? Pray with me in today’s reflection and discover how I uncover that I am a mere disciple.
I arrived early to be an earwitness to the night shift’s report to the dayshift. I admired how the nurse with whom I was to work that day seamlessly received the report that I could only, at best, make half sense of. Knowledge decanted from the mind of one nurse to the next distilling indispensable bits from any distasteful dregs about the previous night. The final tipoff from the drained night-nurse was her impression that our heart transplant patient would soon begin to recover consciousness as the effect of the heavy drugs diminished. It turns out this night would be about two hearts.
Imagine it’s Christmas morning again. You reach into your stocking and pull out a hefty lump of clay with directions attached. You’re to make clay figures of the most important people in your life and arrange them in a way that represents each person’s personality and role in the group dynamic. What does the scene reveal? Christopher Alt reflects on a family therapy technique, the Nativity, and allowing ourselves to be molded more deeply into God’s divine embrace.
Seven of my Jesuit brothers and I were ordained as deacons on September 20th. I’m helping out at a great parish in South Boston and have been incredibly grateful to dive head first into ordained ministry. I love preaching, assisting at Mass, and chatting with parishioners. But the baptisms have been the highlight.
I might be exhausted from the pandemic, or frustrated that I can’t control a math class, or anxious about the election, but that all pales in comparison to everyone I’m praying for. What my students have taught me, though, is that behind this faux-humility is my false belief that I can probably resolve my exhaustion or frustration or anxiety by myself. My students have taught me so much about prayer. Read and reflect with me about wisdom that can arise from seventh graders.
Perhaps, like me, you are discerning how you should spend your holidays? You are praying and asking God to show you how to be present to your loved ones and still keep them safe. As I pray with all my anger, frustration, loneliness, and hunger for loved ones this holiday season, I am reminded that God often provides for us in ways we don’t expect or even necessarily want.