Weekly Reflections

Weekly Reflections on Justice are written by the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach staff, volunteers, interns, and visiting Columban Missionaries. We hope these reflections help to guide you on your own spiritual journey working toward justice, peace, and the integrity of creation.

  • Immigrants are no Strangers

    Lenten season in this border city of El Paso, Texas is a vibrant time. Our various parishes host beautiful Stations of the Cross, retreats for all ages, and even massive reconciliation services. Additionally, the menus of many local restaurants offer Lenten meals, which are heavily influenced by Mexican cuisine such as Capirotada (sweet bread dessert), Nopalitos Asados (fried cactus), and Pescado a la Veracruzana (fried fish Veracruz style). The border is a place full of things influenced ...

  • Life-Giving Waters

    “Do you have a coin?” I was often asked while walking the streets of Santiago in Chile. The people who drank too much often hung around the street corners of the neighborhood I lived in, asking for change, in the early morning. One morning, they stopped asking me for money, because I never gave them any, and they recognized that I did this out of concern for them, not out of stinginess. “Good morning, Padre,” they began to say. So I stopped to converse with them, found out the life stories of...

  • Parched Spirits

    Like the air we breathe, water is essential for our life and well-being. The average person here in the U.S. uses 80-100 gallons in a variety of ways throughout each day. Indeed, water is so intertwined with our everyday life that we generally take this precious gift for granted, and pause to reflect on it only when we hear a story about the serious consequences that arise from its contamination. Unfortunately, in recent decades contaminated water has become a serious issue in some countries where...

  • Nonviolent Transformation

    When Jesus is seen in the fullness of glory, the disciples think it’s a one-time vision about Jesus. However, Jesus pointedly leads them back down the mountain to the valley where the work of transfiguration continues and involves all of us. Thomas Merton’s experience of transfiguration was on a street corner in Louisville. He wrote, “Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their...

  • Lenten Novena: International Women’s Day

    Women in Africa are courageously speaking out about their particular concerns in areas scarred by mining and are pointing the way to a future of smaller-scale extraction of natural resources that benefits local communities and minimizes impact on Earth. We pray that their voices be heard in discussions of implementing global goals for sustainable development. Prayer: “God of love, may we grow in our love for you, responding with justice and mercy to the cry of the poor and with reverence...

  • Lenten Novena: We Are Called to Be Fertile, Fruitful and Faithful

    “In calling to mind the figure of St. Francis of Assisi, we come to realize that a healthy relationship with Creation is one dimension of overall personal conversion, which entails the recognition of our errors, sins, faults and failures, and leads to heartfelt repentance and desire for change.” – Laudato Si’ 218. Indigenous peoples around the world call us to stand in solidarity with them and with Earth out of love, not anger or hate. Will we hear their challenge to us to break our addiction to fossil fuels that is....

  • A Lenten Lesson from Halemweg

    Was willst du denn?” (“What do you want?”), he challenged me in German. Apologies fled my mouth as he threatened me at knifepoint. “Hast du Probleme mit mir?” (“Do you take issue with me?”). His voice climaxed as he hulked toward me, and fear rushed through me as I continued sputtering confused apologies. Tucking the knife back into his jacket, he punched me across the face and stalked away. When I arrived home that evening, I knew that I didn’t remember enough about my...

  • Lenten Novena: What Have We Done to Our Earth and Our Native Sisters and Brothers?

    Residents of Flint, Michigan, have been dealing not only with contaminated water but with the psychological ramifications of knowing that authorities ignored a massive public health hazard for far too long. We pray with our native sisters and brothers that we heed this warning, hold our elected officials to greater account and take actions on our own when necessary to protect our land, water and communities..

  • Lenten Novena: Call to Repentance

    The Internet, social media and a fast-paced modern lifestyle too often cause relationships – among people, with Earth and with God – to suffer. We repent of our neglect of our neighbors, of communities most impacted by extractive industries and of all of creation. Mercy Sister Edia Lopez, who ministers with the Ngäbe people of Panama protesting a hydro-electric dam that threatens to flood their cultural heritage, calls us to change the nature of our relationships in order to achieve a new type of development that benefits people and Earth...

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