With Lent about to begin, The Good Oil has unearthed six podcasts for you to ponder – or to paraphrase St Benedict – to listen to with the ear of your heart.
BY The Good Oil*
There’s so much on offer out there in cyberspace, so what we’ve compiled is just a very small offering. Nevertheless, we hope you find in these six podcasts some spiritual nourishment and challenge – some ‘fuel’ – for your Lenten journey. Perhaps you know of other podcasts that you’d like to recommend to our readers?
Now nearing 90, Benedictine Brother David Steindl-Rast has lived through a world war, the end of an empire, and the fascist takeover of his country. He’s given a TED talk, viewed over five million times, on the subject of gratitude – a practice increasingly interrogated by scientists and physicians as a key to human well-being. He was also an early pioneer, together with Thomas Merton, of dialogue between Christian and Buddhist monastics. In this conversation from On Being’s visit to the Gut Aich Priory monastery in St Gilgen, Austria, Steindl-Rast speaks of mysticism as the birthright of every human being, and of the anatomy and practice of gratitude as full-blooded, reality-based, and redeeming.
Since 1939 Ash Wednesday in Australia is a day synonymous with bushfire. This first day of the season of Lent came in 2009 as the fires in Victoria had done their worst. This Encounter reflects on the bushfires from a Lenten perspective. At the same time, it is from the perspective of people who lived through the fires, like the Trappist monks whose monastery in the Yarra Valley was encircled by fire, a forester and seed collector whose task now is to identify trees that may live, and women who fought the fires to lose everything but their lives and the lives of their families.
“The Messenger” is a podcast about Abdul Aziz Muhamat and his life inside the Australian-run immigration detention centre on Manus Island. Aziz has sent thousands of voice messages to journalist Michael Green. In this podcast series, he tells us how he made it out of Sudan, why he’s stuck on Manus Island, and what he hopes for the future.
Forgiving can sometimes look like an impossible task. How do you forgive murder, rape, genocide? After the end of apartheid in South Africa, many expected the country to be devastated by a bloodbath. Yet, the new nation chose the path of confession and reconciliation. Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu van Furth, daughter of Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu, says that it’s possible to forgive and still pursue justice. Forgiveness is the only path forward.
Forty-six years ago in a small French village, the Canadian Catholic philosopher Jean Vanier invited two intellectually disabled men from a local institution to come and live with him in a spirit of friendship and equality. He named their home “L’Arche”, French for “the Ark”. Today, there are 138 L’Arche communities across six continents (including Australia) where people with and without intellectual disabilities share life and celebrate the gift of difference.
In an increasingly populated and connected world, it’s becoming more and more difficult to find solitude. Not only that, the desire for solitude is increasingly seen as odd, and sometimes even threatening. But do we need solitude? Or are our busier environments more enriching than time alone ever could be? When was the last time you spent an enjoyable time alone in nature? Today many of us just don’t know how to cope with being alone, mistaking it for being lonely. Solitude seekers like Henk de Velde, who’s sailed solo around the world four times, poet John Burnside, and writer Sara Maitland who lives alone on a Scottish moor, reflect on the important differences between solitude and loneliness.
* The Good Oil, the free, monthly e-magazine of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, publishes news, feature and opinion articles and reflective content which aims to nourish the spirit, stimulate thinking and encourage reflection and dialogue about issues of the day from a Christian, Catholic, Good Samaritan perspective.
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