Most all of us worry about aging, especially in how it affects our bodies. We worry about wrinkles, bags under our eyes, middle-age fat and losing hair where we want it while finding it in places where we don’t want it. So every now and then, when we look in a mirror or see a recent photograph of ourselves, we are shocked at our own faces and bodies, almost not recognizing ourselves as we see an old face and old body where we are used to seeing a young one.
Normally none of us likes feeling sad, heavy or depressed. Generally we prefer sunshine to darkness, lightheartedness to melancholy. That’s why, most of the time, we do everything we can to distract ourselves from melancholy, to keep heaviness and sadness at bay. We tend to run from those feelings inside us that sadden or frighten us.
Christian de Cherge, the Trappist Abbott who was martyred in Algeria in 1996, was fond of sharing this story: He had a very close Muslim friend, Mohammed, and the two of them used to pray together, even as they remained aware of their differences as Muslim and Christian.
Aware too that certain schools of thought, both Muslim and Christian, warn against this type of prayer out of a sense that the various faiths are not praying to the same God, the two of them didn’t call their sessions together prayer. Rather they imagined themselves as “digging a well together.”
“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone — we find it with another.”
—Thomas Merton, “Love and Living”
In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, The Tidings is running Father Ronald Rolheiser’s 1994 column highlighting peace making.
It’s common for us to see God’s grace and blessing in what unites us. We naturally sense the presence of grace when, at our core, we feel a strong moral bond with certain other persons, churches and faiths. That, biblically, is what defines family.
When Mary and Elizabeth meet, both are pregnant with the divine. Each is carrying a child from heaven; one is carrying Christ and the other is carrying a unique prophet, the cousin of the Christ.
Jean Beliveau was more than an athlete, though certainly he was a one-in-a-million athlete. The record of his achievements almost defies belief. He played in the National Hockey League for 20 seasons and retired with 10 championship rings.
God has given us two churches, one is found everywhere and the other is found at select places. Some of us prefer one of these and struggle with the other, but both are sacred places where God can be found and worshipped.
In 1996, Muslim extremists martyred nearly an entire community of Trappist monks in Atlas, Algeria. Thanks to the movie “Of Gods and Men,” many of us are familiar with their story and are familiar too with the extraordinary faith and courage with which these monks, particularly their Abbott, Christian de Cherge, met their deaths.
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