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On retreat

” Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.” – Mark 1:35

There will be no posting until at least June 28, and then light posting until early July. I am going on a 7 day retreat, followed by some personal time.

I will be praying for everyone! See you soon!

Religious Freedom

Over at my other parish blog, Adult Faith Enrichment Coordinator, and Coordinator of the diocesan Amazing God program has posted something about religious freedom that you might like to read. Here is a brief excerpt:

Dignitatis Humanae
Vatican II Declaration on Religious Freedon
“Context and Perspective”

The history of the council’s Declaration on religious freedom is extremely complex. Much of the controversy associated with the document was due to the widely perceived view (especially held by European and Latin American bishops) that the council was being asked to consider a genuine change in church doctrine, a movement away from what had been taught by both Pope Pius IX and Pope Pius X in their battle against Modernism. In fact, according to John Courtney Murray, S.J., the prime architect of this document, the question of the development of doctrine was the “issue under all issues” at the council.

The Declaration on Religious Freedom reflects the council’s effort to interface the rich doctrinal heritage of the church with the realities of a new and different world. The Catholic Church in the 1960s was coming to grips with a new self-consciousness as a world church and could no longer envision itself under the old model of Christendom under the rule of a single, unified empire.

Dignitatis Humanae begins with the recognition of the increasing awareness of the dignity of the human person, and the aspiration of people to exercise fully their own judgment in matters of faith, free of coercion and excessive restrictions on their actions. Therefore, the right to religious freedom is…

 Continue reading at the Parish Blog of St. Edward the Confessor.

Monday Musing

Today’s first reading from the Book of Kings, has a very “ripped from the headlines” feel to it. How easy for us to fall into a trap that says that “things were different back then.” Well of course they were different, but certain things are timeless, and Scripture offers us a look not only back in time, but also into our own hearts. God and the human heart are timeless, no matter what era we live in.

Ahab is the King of Samaria, who ruled the northern kingdom. King Ahab is not a very nice guy; in fact he is despicable, always fighting with the prophet. He has a wife that is even worse, Jezebel.  Ahab is sulking, because Naboth the Jezreelite won’t give the King his vineyard. Ahab tried negotiating and cajoling Naboth into this transaction, but there was no movement. Naboth will not give up what is his ancestral heritage, even if it is for something that is allegedly better.  Jezebel comes up with a cruel scheme to falsely accuse Naboth of cursing God and king, which works. Now stoned to death Naboth is out of the way; Ahab has his vineyard.

In life we are often persuaded at best, or bullied at worst, into giving up what is truly ours. In this case, Naboth’s ancestral heritage, as well as our own, is God’s love for us. How often do we relinquish our heritage to the busy-ness that engulfs so many of us, or for material wealth, or because we don’t believe we have any other choice? Worse yet are times when, like for Naboth, false accusations are made and then are accepted. Such words might not get someone killed, but they do strip us of our good name and of our place in life. If it does not happen to us, we do see such things unfold in the news on a regular basis.

The call to keep our focus on God is clear; the ability to do so is not always so easy. But like Naboth, we must remain steadfast, come what may.

Saturday Song

Gather us in…

Monday Musing

Well, here it is Monday, and I feel like I have nothing to muse about! I spent most of the weekend working on writing projects. Yesterday I posted some thoughts about the Eucharist, so if you haven’t read that, have a look.

I guess if I have to say something, I would say this today… There are so many sources of division around us. While we tend to focus on evil most typically in the form of sex and sexuality, I am not sure that I agree. Make no mistake – there are many sins of the body, but I am as worried about gluttony as I am sex. I am also as worried about the cult of the body made “perfect” through diet and exercise. I am worried about a culture in which the poor are obese and starved for nourishment and the rich pay exorbitant amounts of money for trainers, special foods and plastic surgery.

I worry about other things too… Back to division, we seem to all be cordoning ourselves off behind tall, impenetrable fences. Those who say that they belong to the right and to the left, those who claim orthodoxy and those who claim to be progressive. We have some who say that all the old ways were best and that we should go back to that, and others who say that no, the old ways need to be dispensed with, and we need to find a totally new way.

Hmmm, I guess that I *am* musing, after all.

As someone who often gets told that she is too far to the left or progressive, for the right or the orthodox, as someone who gets told that she is far too conservative by the more liberal, too far to the right, I have to stop and scratch my head.

For me it goes back to yesterday’s post and feast – Corpus Christi, the Body of Christ.

We are ONE body, made whole in ONE bread. When I self-define, I start with Catholic. Before I am an American, before I am a Republican or Democrat, before I am progressive or conservative, before I am anything, I am Catholic. All of our labels are ultimately divisive and not helpful if you ask me. Once somebody states their political affiliation or other designation, one of two things tend to happen… People want to sidle up next to them and be part of their cohort, or people want to flee. The labels make for easy pickings. Trust me – I know, I have done the picking many times (mea culpa!) myself. I still catch myself all the time.

In the end there are no divisions. We are Catholic, one body, one bread… One Lord, Jesus Christ.

Now I don’t think that I am all that smart, but I do believe this with every fiber of my being, we must focus on our catholicity, our being Catholic. Now that is easier said than done. It is not “my Catholic,” nor “your Catholic.” We are one, the very word, as we know, means universal.

So I guess that I feel very frustrated and I worry when I look at the state of the country, the world and certainly the church.

I wish that I could be more upbeat, but this is on my mind – how could it not be in the midst of a Eucharistic church?

And I am ever reminded of something from Anne Lamott, that seems to strike at the heart of what’s wrong with the gang-up mentality of sub-division. She was writing about writing in her book, Bird by Bird when , in a moment of reflection and self-criticism, she quoted her friend Tom, a priest: (emphasis mine)

“I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident. Not one of them writes elegant first drafts. All right, one of them does, but we do not like her very much. We do not think that she has a rich inner life or that God likes her or can even stand her. (Although when I mentioned this to my priest friend Tom, he said you can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.)”

We are all created in God’s image, we are all called to be One. This is not something nice to do, it is the Gospel imperative. Don’t look at me, I tend to stink at it, even though I am obsessed with the thought and write about it all the time.

I guess the image that comes to mind is that of a rope. It seems that we are often in a giant tug of war, each pulling on our end of the rope. If everyone on one side of the rope let go, so that they might join the other side, what would happen to the rope? It would go slack.

A certain amount of pulling is necessary to live in the tension, but is the rope fraying? I do not know and if it breaks, we are all to blame. And never, ever forget, Jesus’ arms are opened wide. Are we pulling on the rope or on the Lord?

Well that sure is a lot from someone who felt like they had nothing to say!

What do you think? And is it possible to comment on this without pointing the finger of blame to “the other guys?”

Got Bread? Some thoughts on the Eucharist.

I am sharing this post here today, but it was written for my personal blog, which is called, There Will be Bread, which is published at the Times Union.

Well, you would think that bread would be found here… after all, the name of the blog clearly states that “there will be bread.” That is no accident of course, as I am take the Eucharist very seriously, I believe that the bread is the body… wait, I mean that the Bread is the Body. It is all about the Eucharist for me, and about living eucharistically. So here we are on this day when we as Church celebrate The Body and Blood of Christ, with lots to talk about.

The other day I read Continue reading

Saturday Song

From Thomas Aquinas, rich words of wisdom about Eucharist, on this feast of Corpus Christi, O Sacrum Convivium…”O sacred banquet at which Christ is consumed, the memory of his Passion is recalled, our souls are filled with grace, and the pledge of future glory is given to us.” Amen.

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