Thursday, April 27, 2006

Some Rules for Effective Communication

by Fr. Rich Hasselbach

One of the most important skills a married couple can possess is the ability to communicate effectively. The word communicate comes from the Latin communicare, meaning, "to make one." Communication is NOT just speaking the process of making our thoughts and feelings clear! It is doing so in a way that brings another into our inner world gently. It is finding the deeper connection beneath all our divisions. It is discovering that where we are most ourselves, we are not ONLY ourselves.

Words are not necessarily communication - words spoken in anger, for example, drive people apart, and so are antithetical to communication. When we fail to listen as well as speak, we again fail to communicate. The process of communication is involves not only our own thoughts and feelings, it also requires sensitivity to the other. Wisdom, as Solomon knew, did not involve having the right answers - to be wise is to have a listening heart.

And so, a few guidelines for effective communication - for married couples, and anyone else who wants to genuinely communicate:

1. Listen with trust - Have faith in the other, and in your own inner wisdom. Trust that each of you has the answers to your questions and problems within

2. Listen with love - Listen to the other from within his or her experience; listen to what he or she is saying and, more important, feeling. Then affirm with or without words that you are listening and trying to understand.

3. Listen with patience - Communication is not all about words, sometimes it's about silence. Try to become comfortable with the still points in a conversation; those intervals of silence that sometimes occur in important conversations. Don't interrupt or rush to share your own experience until you have fully heard the other's experience.

4. Speak from "I" - When you respond, do so from your own experience, feelings, and opinions. Don't intellectualize and criticize what the other says, respond from your own point of reference and experience.

5. Accentuate the positive - Try to find common ground, and affirm the other as much as possible.

Remember, the truth is not an absolute value - love is. The truth without love can be devastating, The great virtue of communication is learning to speak the truth with love.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Ministry of prayer: A modest proposal

Prayer lies at the heart of the life of a disciple. Jesus’ ministry was rooted in his prayer to the Father – he prayed in the wilderness, he prayed with his disciples, and he taught that we should pray confidently, as a child would address his or her loving, doting daddy (Abba).

Paul admonished the Thessalonians to ‘pray without ceasing’ 1 Thes. 5:17; he tells the Ephesians “hold faith as a shield, …and take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. [And] with all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones” (6:16-18).

It is our great privilege to be called, as Christians, to a ministry of prayer. Each week, people in our community, and people from around the world, ask our prayers. As a community, lets commit ourselves to honoring those requests every day.

Take just 30 minutes – either alone or, better yet, as a family, and pray.

Pray in praise of the wonders you have seen and experienced that day; pray in thanks for the gifts you have received from the hand of the Lord that day; pray in supplication for your needs, the needs of the people of God worldwide.

In particular, pray for those persecuted for the faith around the world, and for the spread of the Gospel throughout the world. Every day more than four hundred Christians lose their lives for their faith, but every day thousands make a decision to follow Christ.

Pray for our world itself – for peace and freedom and justice for all people. The Gospel grows best where people are free to hear the word. But throughout much of the world there is no such freedom.

Pray for the triumph of faith over secularism. Pray for the poor and needy, the forgotten, lonely, sick and suffering – especially those in our community and in our church. Pray for the ministry of married priests, and womenpriest in the Roman Catholic tradition – that we might be useful to the Lord in the building up of His Kingdom.

Pray for each other by name - for members of your family or faith community.

Pray silently if that is the prayer the Spirit gives you to pray. But pray for no less than a half hour.

Then conclude with the Lord’s Prayer.

Finally, as Paul suggests, at other times in the day, “pray at every opportunity in the Spirit.”

Monday, April 10, 2006

Recognizing female Roman Catholic priests: It's long overdue

By Fr. Rich Hasselbach
Through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 1: 26-28).
The great work of married priests is to serve the alienated and disenfranchised Catholics -- the folks who fall through the cracks of corporate Catholicism. We bless second (and third) marriages; we welcome folks living gay lifestyles to the table of the Eucharist; we minister to the abused and neglected -- the Church’s throw-aways.

In fact we ourselves are disenfranchised Catholics. With rare exceptions, if our local parishes knew of our ministry, the married priests among us would not be welcome to take up the collection there. The corporate church does everything in its power to discredit us, and de-legitimize the ministry we offer, the sacraments we celebrate. Just recently I had a wonderful couple back away from a wedding because their pastor convinced their family that, should these kids be wed before a married priest, they’d be heading to hell on skis.

In a debate last year, on the Alan Colmes radio program, the information director of the Washington Archdiocese, Opus Dei priest C. John McCloskey, told me that I (and married priests like me who continue to do ministry) should “get on with life and stop pretending to be a priest.” One of the greatest barriers I see to our ministry expanding is the patina of illegitimacy that the corporate church so deftly applies to us.

There is another group of disenfranchised Catholics -- women! Especially women who feel called to priestly ministry.

According to Rosemary Reuther, “The local parishes available to [women] are alienating and even offensive. For some this is due to the sexist language and male priesthood, which rejects in principle the possibility of women’s full and equal membership in the church.” Of course not all women feel this way, but lots do.

This is a tremendous injustice in the Church, and male priests who don’t speak out and do something to effect change are complicit in the injustice. While there may be some “mission creep” in accepting this woman, assuming she is otherwise qualified, it would be a logical next place for CITI to go in its outreach to the alienated.

Dr. Kelley A. Raab, a professor of Religious Studies at St. Lawrence University, has an interesting take on the problem. “It is my conviction,” she writes, “that women priests will not be officially permitted in the Catholic church until there are women priests. “In other words,” Raab continues, “Catholic women must be seen in a priestly role, in particular celebrating the Eucharist, in order to be approved and ordained priests [by the corporate church].”

In effect, they need to “just do it.”

For the past twenty years or more, women have been doing it -- in their own communities, often communities deprived of meaningful ministry. Nuns have little control over their sacramental life; they have to take the priests they’re sent, and they often get the dregs. Often enough they take matters into their own hand and celebrate the Eucharist among themselves, without ordained male priests presiding. Are these celebrations really the Eucharist? Of course they are. What makes Christ present at the Eucharist is the gathering of two or more in His name -- in faith. There is no special power only in the ordained priest -- the Spirit cannot be held hostage to ecclesial clericalism.

For at least a decade some pioneering women, called by local communities that identify with Roman Catholicism, have been functioning as ordained ministers. Their problem, like ours, is that the corporate church, fearing them, does everything in its power to de-legitimize them, to make the faithful think that ONLY celibate males can be, and are, Roman Catholic priests.

To again quote Reuther:

The institution claims to possess the Holy Spirit under the control of its institutional channels and to be the sole cause of grace, rather than understanding itself as, at best, a context and occasion where experiences of the Spirit may take place. It claims that only the words preached by the ordained, whom it has designated and whose theology it controls, preach a valid Word of God, and only the rituals it validates mediate relation to God. In so doing the institutional church creates a sacramental materialism that teaches people that only the actions of the validly ordained, according to its rubrics, can cause the gracious life of God to be present.

Courageous women who feel called to ministry are attempting to establish their legitimacy as priests -- and challenge the "sacramental materialism" of the corporate church. As spurious as “apostolic succession” is, (Jesus didn’t found a hierarchical church, nor did he “ordain” the apostles to the episcopacy), some women have found bishops with “apostolic succession” to ordain them, realizing that only with legitimate episcopal ordination would they have the chance of being taken seriously. “Tin can bishops” may have ordained them, but in rectories and chanceries around the country, we are likely referred to as “tin can priests,” or so Fr. McCloskey has led me to believe.

Roman Catholicism isn’t owned by the hierarchy -- isn’t that the rationale for what we do in CITI? The tradition belongs to all God’s people. And the Spirit moves in all God’s people, regardless of random distinctions of race, gender or social status. There are no Greeks, no Jews, no slave, no free, no male, no female; just radical equality before the Lord. That was the wisdom of the apostolic church.

Somewhere along the line, that fundamental equality of the children of God got lost in the burgeoning bureaucracy that became the “Catholic” Church, modeled on the organization of the Roman Empire itself, which quickly began assuming to itself both wealth and temporal power. “The institutional church of episcopal hierarchy is not the successor of [the] apostolic church, ... it arose by suppressing [the] apostolic church.”

It is completely faithful to the Roman Catholic tradition, writ large, to accept the orders of female priests – hearkening back to the practice of the apostolic tradition. If Dr. Raab is correct, though, (and I think she is) paradoxically the church (understood as the People of God) must recognize women priests before the institution's corporate leadership will be able to accept their service. The church needs married priests for exactly the same reason. We have common cause with these women!

But for women priests to succeed their ministry needs to be accepted; they need credibility; they need legitimacy. The corporate church will never give that to them, but, in a small way, on behalf of the people of God, married priests can -- by accepting these women as our sisters and co-laborers in the vineyard of the Lord -- and honoring their priesthood. Unless the ministry of the ordained female clergy gains a foothold in praxis, the corporate church will not find its way to welcoming women in priestly ministry. The same may be said for the ministry of married priests in the Latin Rite.

We may ruffle a few feathers by accepting female priests and their ministry; we may turn some folks off. Isn’t that exactly the risk Jesus ran when, against the advice of more cautious and prudent heads, he ate and drank with tax collectors and sinners, when he picked corn on the Sabbath, and when he openly challenged the hypocrisy of the religious elites of his day.

Can we accept the proposition that the hierarchy has the right to call the shots for the entire Catholic tradition, even when the shots it calls are unjust, unwise, or unkind? Isn't CITI's rejection of that proposition a foundational principle of its being? If we believed that the Corporate church couldn’t be challenged on its narrowness, each one of us would have, long ago, heeded Fr. McCloskey’s advice and gotten on with our lives. We didn’t, and we can’t, because we know the Spirit calls us to ministry.

So do these women!

Yes, there are risks associated with this (as there were dangers associated with Jesus own ministry to the outcasts). Accepting women as a “Roman Catholic” priests may make CITI look less “Catholic” itself -- cause married priests to lose some credibility. I would rather lose credibility, though, than be complicit in an injustice.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Married Priests Available for Holy Week Services

--For immediate release--

Holy Week and Easter services, considered among the most holy in the Catholic Church, will not take place in many of the U.S. parishes this year due to a shortage of priests. Recent and continuing sexual abuse revelations have resulted in shortfalls and churches closing in most dioceses, leaving parishioners with no Lenten rituals., a free referral service of CITI Ministries (Celibacy Is the Issue) offers married priests in almost every state, for confession and Holy Week services including Easter Mass. Church law has provisions for the use of married priests either in or out of the church building, when no priest is available. The request, however, must be come directly from the people, without permission from anyone.

Over 50,000 individuals have been spiritually served by married priests over the past 10 years, with baptisms, marriages, anointings of the sick, funerals, in-home Mass and other needs. In the spring of 2005, the parishioners of Sacred Heart Church in Natick Massachusetts, one of the 80 parishes scheduled to close in the Boston diocese, called a married priest for Easter Mass in an outdoor setting. 250 attended.

According to founder/president Louise Haggett, "CITI is not a protest organization. We see our work as an adjunct to the church and it has been quietly applauded by several bishops. We exist only to provide ministry where needed because of the tremendous shortages. We also serve many people who have been turned away by the Catholic institution: divorced Catholics, interfaith situations and others. We believe that by just doing it--using married priests, they will become the norm in the church the way female altar servers did. People ignored the Vatican in the 1980s and used female altar servers anyway. Now they are 'legal.' We can do the same with married priests.?"

More information is available at http://www.rentapriest.comor by calling 1-800-PRIEST 9 (774-3789). According to Haggett, ?No one should be without Easter services, and it's unlikely that any hierarchical figure will stop the grassroots effort of "just doing it without permission," because Canon 1752 says, "'the salvation of souls'is always the supreme law of the church."

CONTACTS: Louise Haggett, 207-729-7673

MJ Harris, 386-445-1476

(Celibacy Is the Issue)
14 Middle Street, Suite 2
Brunswick, ME 04011
1-800-PRIEST 9 (774-3789)

Contact: Louise Haggett, Pres. 207-729-7673; cell: 508-740-3365

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Limbo, Infants and the Afterlife

By Sidney Callahan

Forty-some years ago, at the baptism of our fourth infant son, I murmured a half-serious doubt to a fellow graduate student, “Should the church really be baptizing babies without their awareness?” One month later this question came back with a vengeance, when on my 28th birthday I discovered our baby dead in his crib, a victim of what is now called sudden infant death syndrome. In this crisis of pain and shock, I found great consolation in the church’s communal faith and practice of infant baptism. I could imagine placing Thomas in Christ’s loving arms. Had not Jesus commanded his disciples to “let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs” (Matt 19:13)? And how lovingly Jesus responded to distraught parents as he healed their ill children.
I dwelt on the scriptural promises that in God’s coming kingdom there will be no more dying of infants, and every tear will be wiped away. In this “not yet” time before the risen life, I could take courage from the witness of other devout women who had lost their children but kept their faith in the God who loves us like a mother.

I identified with Mary at the foot of the cross and even more with the two saints whose memorial (appropriately) was celebrated on my dread birthday, Saints Felicity and Perpetua. These two young mothers were separated from their children and martyred for their faith in a North African Roman amphitheater. Perpetua and Felicity, her servant, went steadfastly to the arena to be torn apart by wild animals. Perpetua had received a vision of the future life, and she and Felicity were confident of meeting their Lord. Felicity had given birth while in prison and went to meet her death still streaming milk, a heroic model for me as a bereft nursing mother flooded in milk and tears.

In our family’s crisis we were also helped by an outpouring of practical support from friends, relatives, neighbors and the priests of the parish. Slowly we were able to go forward, as we had to do, with three little boys under 6 to take care of. I could identify with King David, who wept, fasted and lay prostrate all night praying for the life of his infant son; but when his courtiers finally dared to tell him that the child was dead, David rose up. He ate, washed, dressed, went to worship in the temple and explained why to those who attended him: “He will not return to me,” but “I shall go to him” (2 Sam 12:23).

In the onward journey of our family, sadness was assuaged by the birth and baptism in the next four years of two more sons and a daughter. Life must triumph over death and loss. We moved from Cambridge, Mass., to New York and became incredibly busy raising five sons and a daughter, completing professional degrees, writing books and pursuing demanding careers. Still, the theological question of suffering and the problematic challenge of infant death never receded from my thoughts.

Good News, but the Question Remains

Now word has come that theologians in Rome are beginning to reconsider the destiny of infants who die without baptism. This is good news, if for no other reason than that it demonstrates that the church since the Second Vatican Council understands that it is an ever-reforming, ever-learning church, continuing its pilgrimage toward an ever fuller understanding of God’s infinite graciousness. Christians can progress toward God as truth, in response to the authority of Scripture, church tradition, reason and human experience—including feminine experience.

For me, gratitude for the solace brought by the church’s sacramental practice of infant baptism does not solve the question of the future of the unbaptized babies who die; nor even more crucially, does it address the more urgent problem of the destiny of all the human beings who die unbaptized by the institutional church. It seems important to propose that the discussion of baby limbo be but the beginning of a wider theological reconsideration of Christian hopes for the afterlife.

At this point it seems clear that there is growing agreement that unbaptized babies could not be denied the presence of God. It is too hard to accept a vision of the risen Christ reversing his loving reception of children or ever deciding to deny babies the presence of God’s light. Could we imagine, for example, that if we had not had Thomas baptized in the first weeks of his life, he would have been eternally separated from God, from his baptized siblings and from all of his family? Surely this would contradict the merciful words of Christ, who said, “Look, I have opened a door before you which no one can close” (Rev 3:8).

Even now the church has moved far away from the harsh and pessimistic stance of St. Augustine, who thought that most of mankind would be damned, including some baptized babies who died before the age of reason. To uphold such a view, one must exaggerate the severity of the corrupting effects of original sin and see human nature not as wounded but as completely depraved. This older view of baptism also runs the risk of turning the sacrament of baptism into an isolated act of magic.

Yes, baptism can be affirmed as the great sacrament of birth that incorporates new members into Christ’s body. But the birthing takes place through the power of the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit blows where it listeth. To insist that all the unbaptized will be denied God’s presence limits the reach of God’s mercy and love and seems to be a wrongheaded act of premature foreclosure, if not sinful presumption.

Newer views of baptism can be seen in the present pastoral practice of baptizing infants only if there will be a Christian family to bring up the child in the Christian community. Few now think that agnostic parents who do not approve of their infants being baptized are committing mortal sin or dooming their children. My own agreement with the new, nonmagical approach to baptism has withstood the grandmother test. While I deeply regret that I have unbaptized grandchildren, I have never secretly baptized a grandchild in the bathtub (with the counsel of my holy pastor, I might add).

Those who want to defend older views about the necessity of the institutional liturgical act of baptism for salvation will persist in defending the idea of limbo as essential. They will have to look backward to find supportive statements of long-dead popes and out-of-print, pre-Vatican II moral manuals. I saw such an approach displayed in an extremely conservative newspaper that arrived in the mail. The lead article deplored all efforts to let limbo lapse. These fervent folks (few in number, I hope) embrace the teachings of Pius X. They go on to attack the statements of then-Cardinal Ratzinger, who thinks that the concept of limbo seems “unenlightened” and can be dropped, since “it has always been only a theological hypothesis.”

In this newspaper’s theological perspective, Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, is a “dangerous progressivist” and part of the liberal conspiracy that is ruining the church. This pope, along with Pope John Paul II, is castigated for being influenced by that “popular modernist,” Hans Urs von Balthasar. Balthasar is seen as a danger because he has dared to hope that all might be saved.

If such narrow supporters of past norms were to win the theological arguments over limbo, then the church would have to be seen not only as regressing but also missing out on an important chance to initiate a spiritual dialogue with modern culture on the nature and destiny of human life. A clear sign of the times can be found in the increasing concern and interest in the United States about what happens after death.

A flood of new novels, plays, television series and nonfiction books are focusing on the existence and characteristics of the afterlife. I can hardly count the number of recent novels I have read that feature narrators who are dead. Many more millions of books are sold that purport to describe the five people you will meet in heaven or give dramatic accounts of near-death experiences and what they mean for the life to come. Much of this material offers thin gruel and slim pickings for those seeking spiritual nourishment.

Yet another development evident in the present cultural mix is the spread of Eastern and indigenous religious influence. Beliefs in karma and reincarnation are entering mainstream consciousness. Or perhaps they have never left. It is fascinating to note that in the medieval town of Montaillou, the Inquisition found heretics preaching reincarnation and the transmigration of souls. Such beliefs served, among other things, to console grieving mothers of dead infants; they were assured that the souls of their dead children would be reincarnated in their subsequent pregnancies.

Modern revivals of beliefs in reincarnation should not be dismissed in new theological reflections. Rather they can be taken as the signal for Christians to take seriously the insight that spiritual growth takes time and experience that may not be available in one brief life.

Growth After Death

Christianity, with its teaching on purgatory, has always accepted the belief that a chance for spiritual growth can exist after death. At the very least, purgatory is defined as a process of purification and positive transformation. While limbo for babies should be dropped as an inadequate theological hypothesis, a reconsideration of purgatory could be spiritually important. The idea that more opportunity for positive growth beyond the end of this life implies the possibility of some form of ongoing dynamic process in God’s “fullness of time.” What we know of the evolutionary story of creation seems to validate the possible existence of continuing spiritual development that transcends this life.

For that matter, it has taken billions of years for our human species to evolve. It is easy for those who believe in some form of universal future purgatory to conclude that for most of humanity one brief lifetime may hardly be enough to become what God desires us to be. Moreover, millions of the human family have died in infancy, or miscarried or been aborted; they have not had a chance to obtain consciousness or self-awareness.

Countless others of those who have been born and survived have had lives that were stunted and afflicted by the ravages of disease, injuries, natural disasters and sinful acts of evil. These lives have had little chance to develop or to hear and understand God’s good news. Are these deformed lives never to have a chance to grow and flourish? I have faith that a maternal and loving God never fails in the desire or the creative means to draw beloved creatures Godward. God never suffers from empathy fatigue.

Moreover, we can be certain that no spiritual journey is ever taken alone in a world with created co-creators. New thinking on the afterlife will have to make salient the communal cooperative reality of Christianity. St. Paul asserts that “the life and death of each of us has its influence on others”; how could this not be true in the afterlife? To pray for the dead and invoke the help of the saints is an ancient Christian practice of great wisdom.

Scientific discoveries of the embedded and entangled nature of matter confirm the interactive ecology of spiritual reality. But the recent Catechism of the Catholic Church gives little attention to purgatory and not much more to heaven. (Limbo rates no entry at all.) Instead there is the brief assertion that “the mystery of blessed communion with God and all who are in Christ is beyond all understanding and description” (No. 1026). This must surely be true, but historians of the faith have also pointed out that attention to the “all” could be ignored in the exclusively “theocentric heaven” propagated by 17th-century Protestant divines.

More attention now can be paid to the assurances of the catechism that “the blessed continue joyfully to fulfill God’s will in relation to other men and to all creation” (No. 1029).

Surely, this is where St. Théresè of Lisieux’s intention to spend eternity doing good works on earth comes into play. Those “roses” she sends include a message: Of course the friends of God continue to take joy in healing and renewing creation. If we meditate enough on the mercy and love of a God who proclaims “I am making all things new” (Rev 21:5), then we can envision an afterlife where human friendship and love can be healing those in need of transformation.

Perhaps the new concern for infants is the beginning of a deeper understanding of God’s mercy. The church may be taking to heart the greatest promise of love, “a bruised reed I will not break or a flickering wick extinguish.”

Sidney Callahan is a psychologist who has taught moral theology and is a columnist for Commonweal magazine.

Happy Birthday to Meister Eckhart

Meister Eckhart: March 27
By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

Meister Eckhart (1260-1329) was a Dominican priest and theologian who exerts a hold on many contemporary spiritual writers. Long ago, he made the startling declaration that God and human beings are already bonded together, already in intimate contact. The only obstacle is our consciousness and the dreadful construction of dualism that constricts our ongoing divinization. This mystical understanding got him in trouble with the Catholic church, and in 1326, he was accused of heresy. He responded but the bull of Pope John XXII issued on March 27, 1329, speaks of him as already dead.

On this anniversary of his death, his cogent and soul-stretching quotations are invigorating. They nourish us and challenge us to step into the spiritual adventure with him. Pick one of the quotations — all are by Eckhart, and we note the book where we found it. Make the quote your own by placing it on your desk or carry it in your wallet. Read the quote during the day and let it seep into your consciousness.

God Is Everywhere
"One who truly has God will have Him in all places, in the streets and in the world, no less than in the church."
(Meister Eckhart, from Whom God Hid Nothing)

A Book about God
"Every creature is full of God and a book about God."
(The Reinvention of Work by Matthew Fox)

Spiritual Transformation
"A person works in a stable.
That person has a breakthrough.
What does he do?
He returns to work in the stable."
(Meditations with Meister Eckhart by Matthew Fox)

What God Expects of You
"God expects but one thing of you, and that is that you should come out of yourself in so far as you are a created being and let God be in you."
(The Perennial Philosophy by Aldous Huxley)

Why We Miss God
"God is at home in us, but we are abroad."
(Call to Purpose by Richard Solly)

The Laughter Behind Grace
"God laughed and brought forth Jesus. Jesus laughed and brought forth the Holy Spirit. All three laughed and brought forth us."
(Elder Wisdom by Eugene Bianchi)

The Inward Work
"The outward work can never be small if the inward one is great, and the outward work can never be great or good if the inward is small or of little worth."
(The Reinvention of Work by Matthew Fox)

The Underground River
"God is a great underground river that no one can dam up and no one can stop."
(Wrestling with the Prophets by Matthew Fox)

God Is Still at Work Creating
"God is creating the entire universe, fully and totally, in the present now."
(Wrestling with the Prophets by Matthew Fox)

Do Justice
"If you want to discover who you are, do justice engaging fully in order to change things."
(Earth Story Sacred Story by James Conlon)

Let Go of God
"In order to find God, we must let God go.
There above the mind, God shines."
(Why Not be a Mystic? by Frank Tuoti)

God in the Soul
"God is not found in the soul by adding anything but by a process of subtraction."
(How, Then, Shall We Live? by Wayne Muller)

Everything Praises God
"Everything praises God. Darkness, privations, defects, and evil praise and bless God."
(Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh by Matthew Fox)

No Bad Luck
"However, I have never had bad luck. This is because I live with God and always feel that what He does is for the best. Whatever God sends me, be it pleasant or unpleasant, I accept with a grateful heart. That is why I have never had bad luck."
(The Inner Treasure by Jonathan Star)