Change

Saint Teresa of Avila once wrote that if we feel the need to change something in someone else, the first thing to do is consider what might need to change in us. If we find ourselves judging others and creating unnecessary separation and conflict, we need to quickly turn our attention inward, and pray that by our Lord Jesus Christ’s mercy we be delivered from this habit of separation and judgment.

-Br. Nicholas Bartoli, SSJE

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Mercy

In an era when it is easy for drone-equipped nations to quite literally rain down fire from heaven on their enemies, Jesus calls on us to be vigilant, discerning, and inclined always to mercy—for he shows us a God whose power is declared “chiefly in showing mercy and pity.”

-Br. Sean Glenn, SSJE

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Fear

“Why are you afraid?” Jesus asks us. Jesus longs to hear why. Jesus longs to be invited into your fear. And if you’re afraid that you are going to lose your life, or lose some part life, you don’t need to be afraid even of that. Why? Because it’s going to happen. We all are going to lose our lives; we’re all going to lose the life that we now recognize. But Jesus assures us that in losing our lives we find life. Not to fear.

-Br. Curtis Almquist, SSJE

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Wisdom

When we seek knowledge apart from God, we run the risk of seeking it only for our own benefit, and we are tempted to forget God’s demands for justice for all. When we acknowledge that all knowledge belongs to God and is given to us by God, we are more likely to employ that knowledge in the service of God and of others. True wisdom begins and flourishes in right relationship to God.

-Br. David Vryhof, SSJE

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Worthiness

Do we feel worthy, dignified and endowed with purpose at our core? Or do we feel unworthy and useless? Some of us have been enslaved or dominated by the will of powerful people or institutions. We may be victims of racism or classism, ageism, sexism, or heterosexism. If so, the false story “I am not worthy” has been planted deep, and the effects can be devastating for our relationship with God. Genuine penitence gives voice to our feelings of guilt but accepts the foundational truth that, while personal and collective sin is inevitable, it cannot displace our inalienable worthiness in Christ.

-Br. Keith Nelson, SSJE

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Welcome

All of us – no matter who we are or what our lot is in life – are welcome at the table. Be assured that whether you’re in the front of the line or at the end, there is an abundance, and we will all be fed.

-Br. Jim Woodrum, SSJE

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Weakness

We’re taught that adopting certain ideas or identities will empower us. We’re told that following certain leaders will make us great. Jesus turns the tables. He calls us, over and over again, to join him and respond to him in weakness. He assures us we have nothing to fear when we’re weak, because God’s power is made perfect in weakness.

-Br. Lucas Hall, SSJE

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Disciple

A disciple is more than simply a follower. A disciple is more than simply a student. A disciple is someone who is in training to become something, and the posture of a disciple is to sit at the feet of the teacher.

-Br. James Koester, SSJE

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Worth

It is not usually helpful to point out another person’s sins and shortcomings. What people need far more is a loving acceptance and affirmation of their worth, a kindly forbearance towards their weaknesses. This compassionate acceptance we must exercise not only towards others, but also towards ourselves.

-Br. David Vryhof, SSJE

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