Christian duty and panhandlers. What’s the right thing to do? For a long time I’ve struggled when approached by panhandlers, people on the street asking for money. I want to help, but I don’t want to be taken advantage of, or feed an addiction, or endanger myself.
As a Catholic, as a Christian, I know helping the less fortunate is central to my faith. In one of the most famous passages from Scripture, in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says in a parable ‘whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ ‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’
So on the street, someone asks you for change…what’s the answer? In this episode we explore this issue with Gary Sole, CEO for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in the Diocese of Cleveland.
Just to mention aliens turns some people off, but to a Christian, to a Catholic, thinking about extraterrestrial life can hold tremendous value. If you replace the word “alien” with “the other” then we start down a familiar path.
Does “the other” exist in the universe? Would “the other” mean us peace or harm? Should I will the good of “the other?” Some of the greatest Catholic thinkers wrestled with this question of “the other.” Whether you’re thinking about so-called aliens, people who live in the center of the earth, or maybe creatures at the end of the world, how we approach our theoretical brothers and sisters of the universe might tell us a lot about what our faith really means to us.
“From earliest times people have looked up into the heavens especially at night and seen the stars in that and though they had no idea just how vast it is, that we’re beginning to get a sense of still, those who are of faith you know able to say the one God I know who loves me, and created me, also created all this, and so it presses them to become even more full of wonder and adoration toward God and appreciation of who He is.”
On today’s episode we’ll hear from a Catholic Bishop and a former member of the British armed forces talking about how our duties as Christians, striving to walk the path to Heaven, and how does that square with the hell of war?
This is a big topic with many twists in turn so we’ll attempt to somewhat narrow our conversation today, and it will be driven by a single line of dialogue from the movie Kingdom of Heaven: “your quality will be known among your enemies before ever you meet them.”
Standing on the shore of a mountain lake at sunrise, you may not think you’re necessarily on a pilgrimage, but then you’re drawn toward a prayerful moment. You gaze into the raspberry and amber skies, as the lapping waves try to sing you back to sleep.
But you’re called to be present and aware of the awe.
Or maybe you hike toward an Alpine peak when you’re serenaded by birdsong; nature’s hallelujah. Again you’re very present in the moment; thankful and introspective, like a pilgrim. And then on the trail you literally see Christ on the cross.
A traveler, a pilgrim, before you thought to install a wayside chapel—a small, wooden structure to draw you even further toward God. These things are common in Europe, and in Wisconsin chapels created by European immigrants still pepper the countryside.
Today we round out our series on the Marian Apparition site in Champion, Wisconsin with a few more thoughts on making pilgrimages wherever you are. You don’t have to go far to travel deeply in prayer. Sometimes you just need to look closely around you and decide to spiritually get away.
For some Catholics who are blind, the experience of the Mass can be very different than for sighted people. In normal times, it can be a tactile experience.
But not during the pandemic.
In Scripture, Jesus is recorded as saying where two or three are gathered together in His name, there He is in the midst of them. And that goes for times when the two or three need to be two or three meters apart for social distancing. As with many Catholics, those who are blind have found technology as a way to continue to express their faith even when so much of life is disrupted. Many are also helped by an organization in New York, the Xavier Society for the Blind, which for 120 years has kept coming Catholic and inspirational materials in Braille and audio formats.
The world remains gripped by a pandemic; an unseen, but very present coronavirus has caused us to rethink a lot of things: how we work, how we spend time, how we show respect and communicate. I’ve been sitting on a fun anecdote (from a German news site) for a while, and thought these dark days are as good a time as any to share. So coming up: the story of a giant Jesus Christ balloon and the two German monks, in this short episode of Faith Full.