Commentary

Finding God in all things

There is, to be sure, a stress within the biblical tradition that God is radically other: “Truly, you are a God who hides himself, O God of Israel, the Savior” (Isaiah 45:15) and “No one shall see [God] and live” (Exodus 33:20). This speaks to the fact that the one who creates the entire universe from nothing cannot be, himself, an item within the universe, one being alongside of others. But at the same time, the Scriptures also attest to God’s omnipresence: “Your Wisdom reaches mightily from one end of the earth to the other, and she orders all things well” (Wisdom 8:1) and “Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there. … If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast” (Psalm 139:7-12). This speaks to the fact that God sustains the universe in existence from moment to moment, the way a singer sustains a song.

Immigration policies cause anxiety, trauma for our Latino neighbors

I bet you didn’t know that on any given day of the week you will find Latino families in South King County, gathering in one of our thrift stores to be educated, counseled and protected from a very cold world. Centro Rendu was born out of love for our immigrant Latino communities that suffer from daily exploitation, indifference and hostility. It is named after one of our founders, Sister Rosalie Rendu (a firebrand), a radical Daughter of Charity who gave her life in service to the powerless and taught the poor how to fight for their dignity.

Seeing abortion

We stand at a pivotal point in the great moral debate over abortion in our country — not because new arguments have emerged, but rather because laws so breathtaking in their barbarism have been passed, and a film so visceral in its presentation of the reality of abortion has found a wide audience. As John Henry Newman reminded us, assent to a proposition is rarely a matter of acquiescing to rational demonstration alone; instead, it often has to do with the accumulation of argument, image, impression, experience, and witness.

Stand beneath the cross with Mary

This Lent I’ve been focusing on the seven sorrows of Mary, which span Jesus’ infancy through his death and burial. The scene that comes back to me over and over in prayer is that of Mary cradling her deceased Son on her lap — the image known as the pietà.

Frank Gehry and the quest for transcendence

Though I reside in Santa Barbara, I am in Los Angeles a good deal for meetings and other events. When I’m in the city, I like to walk the downtown neighborhood. My favorite building to look at while I’m on these strolls is the Walt Disney Concert Hall, home base of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the creation of Frank Gehry, probably the best-known architect in the world. Like many of Gehry’s other buildings, the Disney is marked by shimmering metallic surfaces, curving planes, and an overall playfulness of design. Some have suggested that the theater’s exterior looks like the pages of a score that have just fallen from the conductor’s podium. That it is a captivating work of art is testified to by the crowds that regularly gather round it to gaze and to take photographs. Soon after I arrived in the L.A. Archdiocese, I heard that Gehry was actually one of the finalists in the competition to design the new cathedral here. To say the very least, it would have been interesting to see what he would have done with that assignment. 

What you can learn from the elderly

Have you ever received an unexpected message from a friend, maybe a text message or a voicemail that made your day, or even led you to change your outlook on life? This happened to me last month, in the middle of SEEK 2019, the annual conference of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students.