Jim Forest

Holy Fools

By Jim Forest

Few taunts are sharper than those that call into question someone’s sanity. Yet there are saints whose acts of witness to the Gospel fly in the face of what most of us regard as sanity. TheRussian Church has a special word for such saints, yurodivi, meaning holy fools or fools for Christ’s sake.

While there is much variety among them, holy fools are in every case ascetic Christians living outside the border of conventional social behavior – people who in most parts of the developed world would be locked away in asylums or ignored until the elements silenced them.

Perhaps there is a sense in which each and every saint, even those who were scholars, would be regarded as insane by many in the modern world because of their devotion to a way of life that was completely senseless apart from the Gospel. Every saint is troubling. Every saint reveals some of our fears and makes us question our fear-driven choices.

Once Upon A Time there was a young woman

By Jim Forest

“She is unmarried and pregnant, appears to be in her mid – teens, and is nearly penniless. Religiously obsessed, she suffers acute delusions. Her pregnancy, she claims, was caused by God. She asserts that she is still a virgin. Given her age and psychological conditions, an abortion is clearly indicated, yet her religious scruples deter her from accepting one. Further counseling is urgently required.”

But there were no social workers at the time, abortion didn’t I occur to anyone in her family or neighborhood. In the impoverished culture of northern Galilee twenty centuries ago, social engineering had chiefly to do with maintaining the wells. Mary Child managed to be born. She named him Jesus.

Jean Goss Lives

The Story of a Great Peace Builder

By: Jim Forest

Jean Goss has been to the Philippines many times. His seminars on active Non- violence influenced our Bishops in that fatal Pastoral Letter which sparked the last days of Marcos. In a later visit, he personally confronted General Fidel Ramos using an interpreter, to complain of certain activities of the Cafgus. He and his wife Hildegard gave a special retreat on Non-Violence to the Columban Sisters and Fathers. His powerful, strong presence is unforgettable. One of his great phrases: “Peace-building is not difficult, it is impossible...without the grace and help of Jesus Christ.”