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From the category archives: Columns

Kathleen Giffin

Anxiety rampant due to society's confusion

Kathleen Giffin
January 11, 2016
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 24, 2016

We live in interesting and difficult times. I spoke to a young man today who told me how life is harder for young people now because things are more "open"; the imperative to find one's own truth, to determine one's own course and meaning in life has been broadened to include all possibilities. The result is bewilderment and anxiety in the face of infinite choices and parameters. Truth has been declared relative, biological sex has been declared irrelevant, ultimate meaning is denied and the power to define has been conferred upon the individual. No wonder anxiety is rampant.

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Fresh eyes needed to see age-old truths

Kathleen Giffin
December 7, 2015
Third Sunday in Advent
December 13, 2015

I live in a remarkably beautiful part of the world; every day I see spectacular Rocky Mountains, peaks with glistening snow caps. Often I catch sight of nature that people come from all over the world hoping to see: grizzly bears, caribou, bighorn sheep and moose.

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Simplicity clears the path to forgiveness

Kathleen Giffin
October 26, 2015
32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 8, 2015

Richard Rohr tells the story of meeting a group of women in a refugee camp in Guatemala in the early 1980's. They had been displaced from their homes in El Salvador as a result of the civil war, and all had lost family members, mostly husbands and sons. He recounted their weekly practice of walking and praying the Stations of the Cross that they had created in the camp.

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Marriage demands a mother release her son

Kathleen Giffin
September 28, 2015
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 4, 2015

Thirty years ago when I married, I don't think I considered that I was not only taking on a new role as a wife, I was also taking on the role of being a daughter-in-law. In our culture, jokes about mother-in-laws abound: They are caricatured as being interfering, snoopy, critical and demanding.

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Keep the poor ever in your heart and actions

Kathleen Giffin
August 17, 2015
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 30, 2015

I recently heard of a practice that has purportedly risen in Naples in response to the poor in their midst. People will buy a coffee or sandwich in the shops and pay for an extra one "pending." The people on the street know they can go to certain shops and ask if there are any coffees or lunches pending. If someone has paid ahead for one, they get what they need. It is a lovely idea.

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Demands to serve come at awkward times

Kathleen Giffin
July 13, 2015
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 19, 2015

My life is busy, too busy perhaps. So it was a welcome rest to have the opportunity last month to go on a train trip with my husband to a quiet place for a few days. It was about as leisurely and relaxed as a holiday can be; extra time for prayer, for walks, for rest and reconnection. On our way home on the train, sitting in our seats reading, a young man approached and asked my husband if he was a pastor, as he saw that Gary was reading a small book that looked like a Bible.

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We plant seeds and God makes them grow

Kathleen Giffin
June 1, 2015
11th Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 14, 2015

We planted some seeds in the garden a few days ago, my granddaughter and I. She carefully laid the pea seeds one after another in a row all by herself. Together we scattered the tiny carrot and lettuce seeds. She has been over to the vegetable patch a few times since then to check on their progress; the spinach peeked through yesterday but still no sign of the peas, which of course she is most interested in.

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Laying down your life is the greatest love

Kathleen Giffin
May 4, 2014
Sixth Sunday in Easter
May 10, 2015

Yesterday I had a delightful time in my garden with my granddaughter, who is almost four. She wanted to know what she could eat from the garden, so we found the first of the spring chives and the early violets. Then we searched for other flowers, finding the crocuses that she picked to put in her playhouse and the February Daphne, which I don't think she quite figured out how to smell.

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We see road to heaven; its beauty is hidden

Kathleen Giffin
March 23, 2014
Resurrection of the Lord
April 5, 2015

When our children were little, we continued an Easter morning tradition that was part of my childhood. Somewhere in the house the children would find the beginning of a trail of small Easter candies, and they would gather together and begin to follow the path. There were all kinds of rules: they couldn't run on ahead to see where the trail ended, they had to follow the trail, one candy at a time, picking them up one by one in turn, oldest to youngest, or youngest to oldest. The ones who were more capable would help those who needed direction, patiently helping them to gather their candy in turn, slowly moving along the path until all the candies were gathered.

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Difficult times can expose fire hazards

Kathleen Giffin

February 23, 2014
Second Sunday in Lent
March 1, 2015

My basement is ripped apart right now, stripped bare to concrete and studs. The catalyst was a flood just before Christmas that required the panelling and carpet to be ripped out. In the process, two significant fire hazards were discovered, one in some faulty wiring and another associated with the clothes dryer. Each had the potential to literally bring our house down. Neither was likely to have been discovered if not for the renovations we are now doing.

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