Jan 15 2018

To hunger and thirst for righteousness

Your weekly reflection from Unbound


Every week we offer a prayerful reflection from a member of the Unbound community. This week our reflection was written by Senior Writer Larry Livingston.

What must it be like to want something so intensely that your entire life becomes about pursuing it?

Sadly, it’s not unusual to see such desire in those consumed by destructive impulses, but what’s it like to be so passionate about justice that you’re willing to lay down your life to bring it about?

Truth be told, most of us never experience such intensity of desire. Surely, we want to do good, but we get bogged down by distractions, temptations and compromises. We settle for being less than heroic.
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Jan 10 2018

Taking a humble view

Your weekly reflection from Unbound


Every week we offer a prayerful reflection from a member of the Unbound community. This week our reflection was written by Managing Editor Loretta Shea Kline.

A set of 11 principles known as “Gentle, Balanced Leadership” guides the Unbound community in the U.S. and around the world. This leadership style flows from our organization’s core values, mission and roots in Catholic social teaching, among other influences.

Unbound’s late co-founder Bob Hentzen once described the concept this way: “With this form of leadership, we believe the pilgrim family of Unbound will continue at a sustainable pace to be a liberating force of love in our world today.”
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Jan 3 2018

On wisdom and imagination

Your weekly reflection from Unbound


Every week we offer a prayerful reflection from a member of the Unbound community. Throughout the Advent/Christmas season, we’ve offered a special series of reflections on the Sunday readings. This final reflection for The Epiphany of the Lord is from Senior Writer Larry Livingston.

True story. For a while, when I was a child, I thought there was a mysterious land somewhere called Orientar that was ruled by three kings. Despite the unusual structure of their government, the idea made sense to my 6-year-old brain. After all, every Christmas season I’d hear people singing, “We three kings of Orientar…”

Eventually, of course, I figured out that the words were actually “Orient are,” and that it only meant the kings were from the East. But when you’re 6 such things don’t register. I did what any kid that age would do. When information was lacking, my imagination filled in the missing pieces.
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Dec 25 2017

Wrapped in love and salvation

Your weekly reflection from Unbound

A Peruvian mother hugs her three daughters.
Every week we offer a prayerful reflection from a member of the Unbound community. Throughout the Advent/Christmas season, we offer a special series of reflections on the upcoming readings. This reflection for Christmas Day is from Writer/Editor Jordan Kimbrell.

When the kindness and generous love
of God our savior appeared,
not because of any righteous deeds we had done
but because of his mercy,
He saved us through the bath of rebirth
and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
whom he richly poured out on us
through Jesus Christ our savior,
so that we might be justified by his grace
and become heirs in hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7)

Growing up, my family tried out a few different Christmas traditions. Some stuck, some didn’t. But one of my favorites has always been on Christmas Eve.

My sister and I would gather around the tree, oftentimes with Chipmunk Christmas music playing in the background, and search for the boxes marked “X-mas Eve.” We knew what would be inside, yet we still felt the anticipation of finally opening a present from under the tree.
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Dec 20 2017

God’s true dwelling place

Your weekly reflection from Unbound


Every week we offer a prayerful reflection from a member of the Unbound community. Throughout the Advent/Christmas season, we offer a special series of reflections on the upcoming Sunday readings. This reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Advent is from Senior Writer Larry Livingston.

The first reading for the Fourth Sunday of Advent finds King David troubled by the notion that, while he lives in a palace, the Ark of the Covenant (representing the presence of God) is housed in a tent. The king wants to build what he considers a more suitable dwelling place for the Ark, but God, speaking through the prophet Nathan, puts a halt to his plans.

David is reminded that all throughout his life God’s glory had been manifested most profoundly through David himself, not through any structure built by human hands. It was God who had taken the boy from the pastures and made him king. It was God who guided David’s armies and brought him victory after victory. And it was God who would make of David a great nation and, from his descendants, raise up a mighty savior for the people.
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Dec 13 2017

Listen to the voice in the wilderness

Your weekly reflection from Unbound


Every week we offer a prayerful reflection from a member of the Unbound community. Throughout the Advent/Christmas season, we offer a special series of reflections on the upcoming Sunday readings. This reflection for the Third Sunday of Advent is from Unbound preacher Father Greg Schmitt, CSsR.

John the Baptist, whom Mark described in last Sunday’s Gospel and whom John describes this week, is certainly a man of conviction with a humble assessment of himself. He acknowledges that he’s not worthy to loosen the sandal strap of the one he’s announcing. His lifestyle is austere. He eats locusts and wild honey and he inhabits a desert out-of-the-way place.

For all of that, he was amazingly magnetic, though whether or not he was likeable is open for debate. He certainly did not engage in party-pleasant conversation. But something about him drew crowds of people who put themselves to great trouble to see him for themselves. A round-trip pilgrimage to John’s desert encampment from Jerusalem would mean about a 36-mile walk (uphill going back) over rough wilderness terrain.

Who would you walk 36 miles to see? And would you expect something more than the message that you needed to repent of your sins? A lot of ordinary people came out to John, probably with some heartfelt motivations. Some priests and Levites also came out, not because they were interested in repentance, but because they needed to keep their finger on the pulse of any religious movement. They came for answers.
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Dec 6 2017

The time is now

Your weekly reflection from Unbound


Every week we offer a prayerful reflection from a member of the Unbound community. Throughout the Advent/Christmas season, we offer a special series of reflections on the upcoming Sunday readings. This reflection for the Second Sunday of Advent is from contributing writer Maureen Lunn.

All too often I find myself putting off doing the things I want to do, whether waiting to pursue lifelong goals or procrastinating on small daily tasks. This “I’ll get to it later” mentality permeates so many aspects of life and stunts my own personal growth. But I’m able to do it — to put off things like cleaning or praying or reading a book or calling a relative to catch up — because my quality of life doesn’t depend on it.
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Nov 29 2017

The Grandeur of God

Your weekly reflection from Unbound


Every week we offer a prayerful reflection from a member of the Unbound community. Throughout the Advent/Christmas season, we offer a special series of reflections on the upcoming Sunday readings. This reflection for the First Sunday of Advent is from Unbound preacher Father Dave Noone.

“Be watchful. Be alert.”

When I read those words of Jesus in the Gospel for this First Sunday of Advent, I thought of other words written by the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins back in 1877.

“The world is charged with the grandeur of God,” he wrote. “It will flame out, like shining from shook foil. …”

As I travel from parish to parish making appeals on behalf of Unbound, I have learned to “be alert” and “watchful” for people through whom God’s presence seems, in the imagery of the poet, to emanate like a flame and speak to me in incredibly meaningful ways.
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Nov 22 2017

Thankfulness ‘is in their blood’

Your weekly reflection from Unbound

An image of a Guatemalan woman holding a basket of lemons.
Every week we offer a prayerful reflection from a member of the Unbound community. This week our reflection was written by Senior Writer Larry Livingston.

In 1863, at a time when the country was being ripped apart by civil war, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving. In his proclamation, Lincoln implored all Americans to pray that God would “heal the wounds of the nation.”

Lincoln understood the intimate relationship between suffering and gratitude. He knew that it was important for people to take time to reflect on the blessings they’d enjoyed as Americans, especially at a moment when those blessings were being threatened. He knew that only people who had experienced the darkness could fully appreciate the light.

That is an insight shared by families throughout the world who’ve been touched by Unbound. They know what the generosity of sponsors means for them. They understand that they’ve been offered an opportunity to make their lives better, and they’re filled with appreciation.

Bob Hentzen, our late co-founder, often helped lead Unbound awareness trips to countries where we work. He observed how profoundly moved sponsors would become when personally thanked by the people in the communities they’d visit.

“Sometimes the outpouring of gratitude is so great that the sponsors get on overload,” Bob said. “And at the end of the day they say, ‘Bob, I can’t take it anymore. I’m embarrassed.’ And I say, ‘Relax. These people must thank. It’s in their blood. It’s in their creation. They must thank, and they’re going to thank you over and over and over again.’”

Today, when we witness so much suffering around the world and at home, it would be good for us to follow the lead of Unbound families, who, as Bob said, have thankfulness in their blood. Then we will be guided by gratitude for what we have and hope for what we can, together, become.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Please pray

Gracious God, creation overflows with your generosity. Every new day, every breath we take, every life that touches ours is a gift to be cherished. Bless us with awareness of the abundance of blessings in our lives so we may ever thank you, and may our gratitude lead to resolve to extend our blessings to others. We ask this in your most holy name. Amen.

An image of Unbound moms sitting in a circle.
Nov 15 2017

Staying true to the mission of Christ’s hope

Your weekly reflection from Unbound

An image of Unbound moms sitting in a circle.
Every week we offer a prayerful reflection from a member of the Unbound community. This week our reflection was written by contributing writer Maureen Lunn.

One of the first things I learned when I came to be a part of the Unbound community was that there’s a strong connection to the organization’s co-founders and the communities Unbound serves.

I learned that Unbound is all about relationships. Authentic relationships.

Authenticity can be a tricky word, often confused with honesty or accuracy. To be authentic means to stay true, to be real, not to imitate or have false appearances. At Unbound, it’s among the set of values we adhere to when it comes to leadership.

This tenet of authenticity in our commitment to gentle, balanced leadership calls us back to the values of our co-founders and keeps us true to the families we serve. It’s reminiscent of Paul’s letter to Timothy, in which he writes that the authentic faith he saw in Timothy, he recognized in Timothy’s mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5). This message is echoed in Unbound today. So much of what I’ve learned about our co-founders and the sponsored children and families first served by Unbound more than 35 years ago, I see reflected today in our staff and the families participating in our programs.

For us, authenticity means to stay true to who we are and who God has called us to be from the beginning. The result is a global family whose members aim to continually remind one another that God is with us, and in us, no matter who we are or where we live.

That is the mystery that binds us together as one authentic community: Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).

Please pray

Oh God, you are the one true God. Thank you for revealing yourself to us through your Spirit and your son, Jesus Christ. Help us to stay true to who you are, remembering that you are the one who empowers us to better our world with hope, love and authentic service. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.