2018 round-up

It’s been a crazy year, but a good one, and with Advent now here already I thought a quick round-up of my highlights for 2018 was in order. Family We had our youngest start kindy this year. The first few days were slightly traumatic for him and me and it’s still a bitter-sweet reality for…

Keep your eye on AI for your kids’ sake

Brain-machine interfaces. Now this issue’s on my radar, and should be on yours too if it isn’t already. And I know there is so much going on that we need to care about, but honestly, this could sneak up on us and send the other important concerns about raising our kids into hyper-drive. Read the…

Reading as spiritual practice

I’m deeply encouraged by St Teresa of Avila’s advice in her autobiography, Life, that reading a spiritual book is a good substitute for mental prayer if one finds it hard to pray. I find that keeping a dedicated mental prayer time can be both the easiest thing in the world, and the hardest, but I can always pick…

What is ‘carrying my daily cross’ really about?

As I move into middle age I see that increasingly, a big part of my daily cross is my experience of myself as I struggle to accept life as it is and be grateful for it, including the annoying and distressing bits that have been annoying and distressing me for five, or 10, or 20…

The beauty of home, and a decluttered heart

Almost a third of the year has slipped away already, and the earlier sunsets prompt us to make use of the day while it lasts. The cooler days pull many of us towards the rhythms of home. I’m often at home during the week so my days are usually punctuated by a load of laundry,…

A softer Lent of little penances

My Lenten penance this year was easy to settle on. This life in the suburbs with routines of work and a clutch of young children, shows me very clearly every day, what my weaknesses are, where I can become a bit better as a person, where I can give God a bit more leeway to…

Meet the atheist scientist who believes in miracles

Miracle-expert Dr Jacalyn Duffin doesn’t sound like an atheist when she talks about the mysterious benefit of prayer and the witness of a saintly life. She says miracles happen, and are genuine wonders upon which only believers can shed some light. Her position has garnered attention all over the world – and controversy among the…

Thoughts after reading Night’s Bright Darkness by Sally Read

Who else loves a good conversion story? I’ve known many, but found it a great grace to begin the year reading Sally Read’s memoir of her conversion, Night’s Bright Darkness. At the end of 2010 she was confirmed and received her first Holy Communion in the chapel of Santa Marta in Rome after a dramatic…

The freedom to believe

From my column in the The Catholic Weekly. Social researcher and commentator Hugh Mackay has a new book out this month with the title Beyond Belief. I’m yet to read it, but the publisher’s blurb says that it is Mackay’s examination of the phenomenon of Australians moving away from organised religion and religious institutions, while…

A spirituality of motherhood and creativity

From my Catholic Weekly column, which I was recalling today. I still very much feel that this is true about the creativity of motherhood, or at least, my experience of it. Though we live very different lives, I could relate to what the celebrated Australian artist Michael Leunig described about the way that he is able…

Jealousy sucks – smother it with gratitude

Jealousy is a destructive anxiety and a poison which divides communities, said Pope Francis recently, and families too I would add. We see its impact in the first pages of the bible, as the reason for Cain’s murder of his brother Abel. And we see it in the news headlines every day. But what about within…