Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Holy Warfare

From a female theologian, the best article I have read so far on the elephant in the room:

What, indeed, might save us from despair when Mother Church shows herself infested with sin and flirting with darkness?

Please read her entire article here.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Jesus, I trust in you

These are certainly anxious times. We feel within ourselves the pain of the victims of abuse both known and unknown, and we feel anger at those who practiced abuse and those who covered it up. Many of us feel frustration with the appearance of nonresponse from our beloved Holy Father. Our human hearts cry out for actions and for answers. Meanwhile, on an individual level, we are powerless to produce either one.

I received some most excellent spiritual direction this morning from an older missionary priest with whom I have been in touch over the years. He said that the only consolation he finds in these times is from Holy Scripture and the prayers of the Church, especially the Mass and the Divine Office. He pointed out something that I had also noticed, how the daily Mass readings and the Liturgy of the Hours readings have been so relevant to our current trials. He is much wiser than I, so I am going to do my best to take his advice. He referenced Proverbs 3:5, 6: "5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."

Trust. That's a big ask these days. Who do I trust? I don't have to trust any man, whether he wears a collar or a Bishop's hat or a crown. But I do have to trust my Lord. I can't ask Him to come down out of heaven and show me His wounds in the way He showed them to St. Thomas the apostle. But when I stand before the crucifix and contemplate all He did for me, I know I can trust Him. I know that He is carrying in Himself all the pain from all the sin and injustice not just from our time but from all times. If His representatives on earth won't speak, He will take care of it. He can make the rocks talk if He needs to! And just as He healed the blind and the lame when He walked the earth, He will heal our minds and hearts and bodies if we just let Him. And I can trust His Church, because He promised that the "gates of Hell will not prevail against it." He did not promise us a Church full of only holy people; He promised us a Holy Church. The Church remains holy because the sacraments that make Her so are not tainted by the sins of the men who deliver them.

Personally, I also trust the faithful and holy priests whom I have been blessed to come to know. I am praying for them also especially now, that they do not become discouraged in their beautiful vocation.

While meditating on the Proverb above, another passage of scripture came to mind. Paul wrote to the Philippians from Rome, where he was imprisoned and where he would be martyred. And yet he sent them these encouraging words (Philippians 4:6-9):

"6 Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace will be with you."

"[D]o not rely on your own insight"(Prov. 3:5). Especially now, modern media and instant communications have tried to convince us that we can know everything about everything if we just read enough "news". But that is not the way to gain true insight. True insight comes from our Heavenly Father.

1. If your anger motivates you to write a letter or many letters, do it.
2. If you need to report something that has happened so it can be dealt with, do it.
3. If you are asked to take training that can help you spot predatory behavior or that gives you insight into how to help victims of abuse, do it.

I am doing 1 and 3. Thank God I don't have any personal knowledge that needs to be reported (2).

But after you have done the things in your power, give your pain and anger to the Lord and/or the Blessed Mother and/or your favorite saint. "in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Stop reading every article that pops up with a different opinion about the issues. Put your mind to "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely". I am going to try my best to do this in my own life.

From the opening prayer of the daily Mass for the 22nd week of Ordinary Time (this week):

"Put into our hearts the love of your name,
so that, by deepening our sense of reverence,
you may nurture in us what is good and,
by your watchful care,
keep safe what you have nurtured."

Jesus, I trust in you.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

From Cardinal Dolan -- Three Stations of the Cross for the Current Wounds to the Body of Christ

Yes, I know that the classical, popular devotion, the Via Crucis—reverently accompanying Jesus on His tortured journey from unjust condemnation by Pontius Pilate, to His repose in the arms of His sorrowful mother at the foot of the cross, to His burial in a donated sepulcher—is in fourteen steps. I love that devotion, especially on Fridays and during Lent.

But, can I offer an abbreviated one, in only three steps, that has hit me during my listening and observing the deep hurt in the Body of Christ, the Church, caused by the nauseating news of clergy sexual abuse and gross negligence by bishops?

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