Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me…I bind to myself today.
From St. Patrick’s Breastplate
Pope Francis was supposedly elected by the College of Cardinals to initiate reforms in the Vatican. For many Western Catholics, this meant doing something about the clergy abuse of children. Things looked hopeful for awhile; with the creation of a papal commission to propose reforms. The commission was headed by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM Cap, Archbishop of Boston, MA; and included some survivors of clergy abuse.
Now, the last clergy abuse survivor on the commission has resigned. She has cited resistance from Curia members to proposed reforms; including a court to try bishops who either failed to deal with incidences of abuse or who protected accused priests.
While members of the Roman Curia deny this; there are reports of Curial officials just ignoring papal directives for reform. They may be figuring that they can wait out this Pope.
Maybe it is time for Pope Francis to take at one lesson from Trump; and became a “papal bull” on the Curial “china shop.” Maybe it is time to break it all down and begin from scratch!
(This my first post via e-mail.)
Since last Wednesday, “Ash Wednesday,” the Catholic Church, along with other Christian churches, began a 40 day period of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. This leads up to Holy Week, and the commemoration of the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Today, the First Sunday of Lent, the sanctuary of our church is decorated in somber, purple; with no flowers. We process in, not with hymns, but chanting prayers, begging for God’s mercy; and for the intercession of the saints.
The scripture readings for today, first tell of how our first parents, gave into temptation, and brought sin and death into the world. Then we hear the Gospel, the “Good News,” of how Jesus resisted temptation, and began the journey that would lead to our liberation.
So how will we spend these days of Lent; will we intensify our spiritual lives? Will we “repent and believe the Good News?” Will we be lights to a world so threatened by darkness, by hate, and violence. Let us “prepare the way of the Lord, and be witnesses of the power of His Love!
“Let the earth bless the Lord; praise and exalt Him above all forever!…Frost and chill, bless the Lord! Ice and snow, bless the Lord!” (Paraphrase from the Book of Daniel)
New England has just been through its first major blizzard of 2017. With some delay, I was able to make it to and from work without incident (or frostbite!).
Now, we have blue skies and bright sunlight reflecting off newly fallen snow. It is the beauty of it, that makes me glad I am a Massachusetts man. (Most of the time!)
Over a cup of coffee, I would first apologize to you, then say: “THE N.E. PATRIOTS ARE GOING TO SUPER BOWL!!!” There; sorry, but I had to get that out of my system!
Now, over a cup of coffee, I would share with you my concerns over the Presidential Inauguration that took place last Friday in Washington D.C. Never in my life, have I been more worried about the person whom the nation has elected to guide it for the next four years; and there have been some past Presidents, that while I may have fiercely disagreed with them, I respected them.
Of equal concern to me has been the type of nation that this election has revealed. Public television recently showed a program, entitled “The Divided State of America.” We seem to be a country that is more separated, that is more angry, and refuses to speak to another, in a respectful manner. Even in the American Catholic Church, there is little agreement; a survey of Catholics who voted showed that a majority of white Catholics voted for Trump; a majority of Latino Catholics voted for Clinton. It is interesting that in today’s Sunday reading from St. Paul’s First Letter to Corinthians had this statement:
For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers and sisters, by Chloe’s people, that there are rivalries among you. I mean that each of you is saying, ‘I belong to Paul,’ or ‘I belong to Apollos,’ or ‘I belong to Cephas,’ or ‘I belong to Christ.’ Is Christ divided?
Could we change the wording, and have “each of you is saying, ‘I am for Trump,’ or ‘I am for Clinton.’ Is Christ divided?” We, as a community of believers, need to realize, need to experience that around the altar of the Lord, we are one with Christ; we are all united in the Body of Christ. This is something we all need to work for.
Over a cup of coffee, I would share with you that the Catholic Church, and many of the Christian churches are in the middle of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Acknowledging that we are a divided worldwide community of believers; many people are working to find a path to unity. We realize that we need prayer, because apart from Christ, not drawing on the power of His grace, we can achieve little. Before I carry my empty cup to the sink, I leave you with a prayer that was distributed in 2008:
O God, source of perfect unity, pour out your grace upon your Church at prayer. Heal the divisions and mistrust past years have wrought among your children. We pray without ceasing for conversion of heart and a deeper faithfulness to the gospel. We pray for a closer relationship with Christ Jesus who prayed ‘that all may be one.’ Fill us with the desire to unite ourselves to his prayer of unity. May we live as one, as you are one, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.
“Someday,” is a word with many uses. It is used by those of us who prefer to put things off; “Someday, I will learn to paint.” Someday, I will lose weight.” “Someday, I will become that better person.” Life challenges us to not wait for someday, but to begin now to be all we can be.
In the life of faith, also, we use the word: “Someday.” How many of us make promises to God? That someday, we will have a deeper prayer life. That someday, we will become better Christians. Jesus challenges us to begin today; that “someday,” becomes “now.”