Posted on April 23, 2014 by Fran Rossi Szpylczyn
“Let us ask ourselves today: are we open to God’s surprises”? Pope Francis, The Church of Mercy
Pope Francis’ name seems to be on the lips of many people. There are so many Catholics who are invigorated by his words and way of life. One of the things that is most surprising is the number of non-Catholic friends who bring him up, and generally with great regard. As I have said in other posts, he has not changed on iota, not one element of doctrine, but he has changed the way that people see the Church, and how people see the papacy.
The Church of Mercy, A Vision for the Church, by Pope Francis (Loyola Press, $16.95, 150pp.) brings together homilies, papers, and audiences from our beloved “Bishop of Rome.” This treasure trove of communiques from the first year of his papacy offers readers a chance to truly spend time with Francis’ as he presses on Continue reading
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Posted on April 22, 2014 by Fran Rossi Szpylczyn
mer·cy ˈmərsē/ noun noun: mercy; plural noun: mercies1.compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm. “the boy was screaming and begging for mercy”
synonyms: leniency, clemency, compassion, grace, pity, charity, forgiveness, forbearance, quarter, humanity…
Mercy. It is not a new word, but we seem to hear more of it lately. I feel as if I do, anyway.
Mercy matters. Mercy is at the heart of Christ. God if rich in mercy – go read the definition next to the photo again. There is so much evidence for Continue reading
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Posted on April 19, 2014 by Fran Rossi Szpylczyn
Χριστὸς ἀνέστη! Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη!
Khristós Anésti! Alithós Anésti!
Christ is Risen!
Truly He is Risen! Every blessing to
one and all. Alleluia!
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Posted on April 17, 2014 by Fran Rossi Szpylczyn
True authority presents itself in service and flows downward. Authentic change presents itself in justice through community and flows upward. Transformation happens when they meet in they dynamism of the Spirit. This is only accomplished through life in Christ.
I have washed feet and I have had my feet washed. No surprise that the getting washed was more challenging than the washing. Well, except for maybe when I had my feet washed by someone with whom I had a difficult relationship.
As a former corporate executive and leader, I can tell you that you can’t make anyone do anything. As an ordinary human, I can tell you that cannot make someone love you. Of course you can force people to do things, you can chase someone to no end, but no real authority, change, or love will come from that. The only change will be the disintegration that comes from anything to discomfort all the way to hate. This is not the integrity that emerges from the love known as agape.
Whatever you do this Holy Thursday, whether you get your feet washed or you wash those of another, don’t think of any church service as a nice re-enactment. That is why the Eucharist is different, we are not re-enacting anything, we are not “getting” anything, we are not forced to something.
Eucharist is about what we give in love, put at the service of world in Christ. Eucharist is about how we are all transformed into what we are becoming. This can only happen in community, it is not a moment that is between any one of us and Jesus alone, it is about the whole, the entire Body of Christ – which is Continue reading
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Posted on April 14, 2014 by Fran Rossi Szpylczyn
We are almost there, these final days leading to Easter triumph and resurrection. But first we must walk the Via Crucis with Jesus, suffering and dying. How will you walk with Jesus this week?
Perhaps the better question is this, how will we each stay with Jesus this week? The comic to the left is cute and funny enough, but then again, it is not funny at all. How do we fail to stay awake? How do we continually find ways to distract ourselves? How do we avoid what must be done?
As for me, I can name many ways in which I do not watch and pray, far too many to enumerate for you today. Yet, Jesus continues to ask me to stay, to watch, to pray, remain in faithful vigil. So once again, I make my meek attempts.
May your steps this week be blessed with the grace attentiveness to and hope in Christ.
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Posted on April 8, 2014 by Fran Rossi Szpylczyn
When I was newly returned to the Catholic church, I bought a book on the seven last words of Christ during Lent. I’m not sure what book it was, the title now long forgotten, but I read it and struggled with it, finally bringing to to my priest, who was also my spiritual director. The look on his face when it handed to him was quite clear, something was wrong. As it happened, it was a reprint of a much older book, and the essence of the volume in my hands was harsh. Let’s face it, the Crucifixion is harsh, but the book offered a theology that was focused on nothing but suffering. The priest then gave me a much better book on the topic and my reading continued.
Needless to say, I cautiously approached all other books with the words “last words of Jesus” on the cover, rarely finding one that fully fed me. When I saw that Dan Horan OFM, had written a book about Jesus’ last words, I was instantly curious. The Last Words of Jesus, A Meditation on Love and Suffering from Franciscan Media, is an updated look offering us a fresh way of seeing the Cross.
In conversation with someone recently, I said precisely that, that this book is “updated” and “offers us a chance to see the Cross in a fresh way.” Those comments were met with a rebuttal about how there is no Continue reading
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Posted on April 7, 2014 by Fran Rossi Szpylczyn
How is your Lenten journey going? Mine has been up and down, but today I was given the gift of a little revelation along my Lenten path. The Holy Spirit illuminated a shadow on my heart, the light of which caused me to not take a familiar and well-worn, but circular path to nowhere, but to take the turn, however slight, in another direction.
This makes me wonder what would happen if I slowed down more, asked more questions, sought more silence, listened more attentively, and then acted in accordance with all that. This tells me that I need not wonder, but to slow down, ask more questions, seek more silence, listen more attentively, and then act in accordance with what is revealed to me by the Spirit.
How old am I? Slowly learning, learning slowly, but still on the path. Thanks for being here with me. Thanks be to God. May we carry one another in prayer on this journey, at Lent and always.
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