To God, Who Gives Joy to Our Youth

For Reverend Raphael Barousse, OSB – Father Raph – Uncle Bubby – on His Birthday

By Lawrence “Mack” Hall

Word Count: 205

Rating: G

Summary: A poem to an aging yet forever-young priest

Image result for old hands rosary

Introibo ad altare Dei
Ad Deum qui laetificat juvenitutem meam

You look into the mirror and ask yourself
“Who is that old man staring back at me?”
Your friends tell you you’re lookin’ good – for your age
And your uncooperative body in protest creaks

But you and all of them are wrong because

You still approach the Altar as a child
As you once were, and are, and will be forever
For God will have it so, will have you so –
Enchanted by His magic – a little boy Read more about To God, Who Gives Joy to Our Youth

Jihad In Islam: What Is The Meaning Of It?

By Katie Quirk

Word Count: 2162

Rating: G

Summary: A look at a jihad, particularly non-violent forms

Muslim Man Praying


Jihad in Islam. Just looking at those words alone without any context stirs up so many different ideas in people.

For people in the west, jihad in Islam seems scary. The concept creates fear.

People see jihad in Islam as a danger to the west. They view it as a threat to national security, freedom and democracy.

You’ll often hear other words (often incorrectly associated with jihad in Islam) thrown in by the media and politicians as well: Extremist. Islamist. Terrorism. Radicalism. Infidels. Holy war. Jihadist. ISIL.

It gets people asking all sorts of questions.

What is jihad in Islam? What is the difference between radical and non-radical peaceful Muslims? What is the reason for Islamic jihad or holy war?

I’m not a scholar of Islam, but I hope I’m able to shed some light on these questions for you.

Literal Meaning of Jihad in Islam

First of all, let’s put all of the ideas that we might have about jihad in Islam aside.

The word Jihad comes from the root word jahada, which means to struggle. In Islam, this struggle is in the way of Allah.

JIHAD: From the Arabic root meaning “to strive,” “to exert,” “to fight”; exact meaning depends on context. The Oxford Dictionary of Islam

The Best Form of Jihad

It isn’t jihad in war that’s the best form of jihad. It’s jihad by telling the truth. It’s fighting evil through one’s words rather than through violence. It was narrated from Tariq bin Shihab that, “A man asked the Prophet, when he had put his leg in the stirrup: ‘Which kind of Jihad is best?’

He said: ‘a word of truth spoken before an unjust ruler’” (Sunan an-Nasa’i).

Take non-violent action by speaking out against injustice and oppression against people. Write letters to the government. Use your social media platforms and create petitions to make change. Read more about Jihad In Islam: What Is The Meaning Of It?

All Things Visible and Invisible Chapter 3

By Arthur Powers

Word Count: 468

Rating: G

Summary: The story of a miracle in Brazil.

Cross in cave

“One thousand, seven hundred and twenty this week,” Luiza said. She was seated at the kitchen table, painstakingly adding up columns of figures.

It had taken work. Luiza had gotten Isabella Gomes up to the cross. Isabella, Luiza knew, loved the attention of being sick. Somehow, with Luiza there, Isabella realized that there would be even more attention if she were miraculously cured – and she was. She talked about her cure to anyone who would listen – willingly or not. Read more about All Things Visible and Invisible Chapter 3

Little Women (2018): A Review

By Katie Hanna

Word Count: 1065

Rating: G

summary: A review of the modernized classic

Little Women 2018.jpg

A contemporary adaptation of Little Women?

The first time I saw the trailer, I was like NO THANKS, DON’T NEED THAT.  #skeptic  But then . . . a dear friend and fellow book-connoisseur assured me that the casting and themes were spot-on and that it deserved a chance.  Accordingly, I went to see it last night.

My verdict?  Overwhelmingly positive.

It inspired me.  It made me laugh.  It made me cry.  Yes, there were a few changes I strongly objected to–but overall, Real Good Stuff. Read more about Little Women (2018): A Review

All Things Visible and Invisible Chapter 2

By Arthur Powers

Word Count: 863

Rating: G

Summary: A story of a miracle in Brazil

Cross in cave

Two weeks later, on a Saturday afternoon, the bus from Salvador to Iramaia dropped a man off on the highway across from Zeca Grilo’s bar. The man was clearly sick – palsied, partially crippled – and the men loitering around the bus stop, always there on Saturday afternoons, saw him holding to the side of the bus while the conductor handed down crutches. The bus pulled away and the stranger started slowly, painfully across the highway. There wasn’t much traffic on this stretch, so it was more curiosity than concern that moved three of the loiterers to walk forward and assist him. By the time they reached the front of the bar, Zeca himself was standing in the doorway, and every man in the bar was looking their direction.

“Thank you, thank you, friends,” the stranger said to the loiterers. “Tell me, is this Santa Maria do Rosario?” Read more about All Things Visible and Invisible Chapter 2

Thank You, Mother

By Kashif Qaimi

Word Count: 645

Rating: G

Summary: A Middle-Eastern man writes in appreciation of his Ammi.

Middle Eastern Woman

You are supposed to take care of things you need in your daily life routine, but if Mother is there, she will take care of it, all of it.

I was about to leave for Karachi, and my mother was helping me. In fact, I was sitting and she was running here and there packing…

“That’s your wallet, your glasses…Oh han! Do you have your keys in your bag?” she asked while checking my shirt buttons. Read more about Thank You, Mother

Coming Back to the Meeting Between Shams and Rumi

By Ya’qub Ibn Yusuf

Word Count: 2728

Rating: G

Summary: A look at the friendship of two great minds

Shams & Rumi

In the context of a discussion of “Rumi in the Light of History”, I’d like to cast as much light as possible on the conversation that took place between Shams and Rumi when they first met. In his Introduction at the beginning of Rumi’s “Diwan”, our translator Alexander Feigin begins to tell the tale, but he quickly ends the story. Here is Alex’s account:

It is told that Jelaluddin Rumi was riding through the market accompanied on foot by his followers. Suddenly his eyes met the eyes of a wandering dervish (Shemsi Tabriz). Without hesitation the wanderer asked him:

“Who is greater among the servants of God: The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, or Bayazidi Bistami?”

“The Prophet Muhammad, the last of the Prophets, is the greatest one of them all!” Rumi answered. Read more about Coming Back to the Meeting Between Shams and Rumi

All Things Visible and Invisible Chapter 1

By Arthur Powers

Word Count: 863

Rating: G

Summary: A story of a miracle in Brazil

Cross in cave

(Bahia, Brazil – 1973)

“I’ll have nothing to do with it.” Luiza’s dark eyes flashed. “It’s irreligious.”

“Be quiet and sit down,” Luis Antonio said.

Duca would never dare to talk to Luiza like that. But Luis Antonio was her older brother – and as bossy, even bossier, than she was. Luis Antonio’s wife never challenged him.

Luca sighed. “It’s not really irreligious,” he said. “Actually, it’s very religious…” Read more about All Things Visible and Invisible Chapter 1

To the Muslim Community in the West: Thank You

    I want to thank you for all that your predecessors have given, that you give, and that your descendants will give to humanity, for all the stories of your soul that have been molded by a harsh landscape and a strong faith, as strong and supple as a spider web stretched across the entrance of a cave.