A Passage Through India

During most of human history, there was no need for inter-religious dialogue. Men and women spent their entire lives in largely homogeneous societies with little or no interest in other cultures, lifestyles and religions. Today, we live in a pluralistic environment in which we must interact with strangers for our livelihood and survival. A timid…

Peace on Earth

There was something prophetic about Pope Francis throwing open the holy doors of mercy just as Syrian refugees were preparing to begin a new life. For some, at least, hostility in a war-weary country is being replaced with hospitality in a new land. The current refugee crisis reminds us that the Christmas story is as…

The Light in the Darkness

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. (Isaiah 9: 2) Many ancient religions have a festival to celebrate this light. Jews have Hanukkah and Hindus have Diwali. The Japanese festival is Tōrō Nagashi (Festival of Floating Lanterns)….

Building Bridges

With all the brouhaha surrounding the recent Synod on the Family, it may be tempting to think that Pope Francis’ only legacy will be one of deep questioning about coherence between our understanding of holy scripture and the practices of religious traditions in the church, especially with regards to the quality of mercy. But for…

Health and Hope

Hope and Health

The language of hope permeates contemporary healthcare literature. People who are hopeful appear to be more resilient to physical and mental illness, and more likely to recover if they are afflicted. As well, many studies reveal that there is a positive correlation between faith and wellbeing. It may be that if faith is an effective…

Joyful Hope

Much has been written recently about resilience, sometimes defined as the capacity to handle chronic and acute stress with internal resources that have been built up on a foundation of meaning. Children who learn coping skills at an early age are better able to face adversity as adults with the help of positive understanding. When…

On Hope (Part II)

A review of literature in the domain of psychology, published in 2010, reveals a disconcerting cleavage between the secular and theological understandings of the nature and construction of hope. What some researchers call hope is nothing more than wishing for a particular outcome. Such wishing that may easily lead to disappointment and ultimately to despair….

On Hope

I was recently invited to make a presentation to a group of psychotherapists on the subject of hope. As this is one of two foundational aspects of my ministry, along with joy, I was keen to do as good a job as I could in the short time available. I chose to compare and contrast…

Wind of Change

Your hurt is people’s broken brotherhood…Defeat our Babel with your Pentecost.” These verses, from a hymn by Fred Kaan, join our hurt to that of Jesus, and our deepest desire to the will of God. God’s will is not a private matter, but a plan that covers all of humanity, indeed, all of creation—a plan…

Patronage of Ecology

April 22 will be Earth Day. According to an unsubstantiated tradition, Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron of ecologists, was born on that date in 1181 or 1182. Regardless of the veracity of this claim, it is an indisputable fact that Saint Francis remains for us today an important symbol of the link between religion…