This is what I think: The predictable reactions are getting old

This is what I think: The predictable reactions are getting old
DePorres Pages Podcasts

 
 
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Context does not matter any more. Any type of statement or opinion about even a slightly complex topic, gives rise to immediate predictable reactions. There is no consideration to reflect on what is written. Instant reactions are more about what team someone is on, and less about the actual content. It is true in politics, and sadly, it is true in the Church as well.

Consider the latest bit of news concerning the statement written by Pope Benedict. Immediate reactions revolved around one’s “team”. The “Pro-Benedict” team believes the letter it is the best thing ever written. Church troubles are all the result of Pope Francis. For “Pro-Francis” team, it is the worst analysis of any situation ever given. It is seen as a direct attack on Pope Francis. Truth is, it is neither. Pope Emeritus Benedict raises some valid points, gives compliments to Pope Francis for his efforts at changing Church law to address the abuse crisis, but misses the mark in some ways too.

To be sure, we do not always recognize our own hypocrisy. The very people who were most vocal speaking against anyone criticizing Pope John Paul or Pope Benedict are now the ones who are criticizing openly Pope Francis. Those critical of Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict are those who are now getting defensive about any criticism about Pope Francis.

Increasingly it is not just we have short memories, we choose to deny what we remember. Reactions and things spoken are immediate. What we said in the past simply never happened. If we don’t like what is said, or what is written, we simply dismiss it as “fake news.”

Just imagine how things might be different if we took time to listen to one another, to reflect on complex ideas, and resisted the urge to say something immediately. Sadly those of us who profess belief in Jesus Christ often act too much like secular politicians. It is a modern day example of Saint Paul’s words: I am for Paul, I am for Cephas, I am for Apollos. Are we not all for Christ?

When I read the first reactions to Archbishop Wilton Gregory’s appointment to Washington, too many immediately were critical. Why not offer prayers for the Archbishop in what will undeniably be a very challenging ministry? Why not hope he will act for the good of the Church in a challenging role? No, some people’s first response was to criticize, not to pray. The reaction to Benedict’s letter is no different.

Benedict raises valid points about the world today. It has become more secular. Politicians cheer laws to enshrine abortion. The congress will not commit to caring for a baby that survives an abortion attempt. Increasingly, we see ourselves as the only moral authority. At the same time, there is the question of causation and correlation that Benedict does not address. He assumes causation.

Perhaps if we could set aside our “teams”, and pray for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in our decisions, we would all be better off. We all need to more fully and completely reflect the person of Jesus. The call to holiness is universal. We should hear this call. We must become more like Jesus. Calling for more just treatment of immigrants and refugees does not mean that we also do not stand against abortion. We welcome the stranger, we protect the unborn. We heed the command not to kill. When we become more like Jesus, we recognize the decay that comes from failing to admit God’s moral authority. When we become more holy, we see the Church, and our membership in it, in a way that leads all to a deeper relationship with the Lord Jesus who saves.

Not Just for Benedictines: Pray and Work

Readings for Today

To Pray and To Work.  Ora et Labora.  This is the motto of the Benedictines. We celebrate today the founder of the Benedictines: Saint Benedict. Most versions of community life have their roots in the ideas of Saint Benedict. The motto suggests a pattern for life.  The Benedictine Order is a contemplative one, so it is easy to see the value of prayer in what is done. But they also needed to be self-sufficient, and so they worked. So today there is a question for each of us: How is it we sanctify our work? How does our work inform our experience of God?

Homily given at Mercy Hospital, Creve Coeur, Missouri, on July 11, 2018
Picture Courtesy Pixavbay

Not Just for Benedictines: Pray and Work

Not Just for Benedictines: Pray and Work
Daily Homilies

 
 

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Readings for Today

To Pray and To Work.  Ora et Labora.  This is the motto of the Benedictines. We celebrate today the founder of the Benedictines: Saint Benedict. Most versions of community life have their roots in the ideas of Saint Benedict. The motto suggests a pattern for life.  The Benedictine Order is a contemplative one, so it is easy to see the value of prayer in what is done. But they also needed to be self-sufficient, and so they worked. So today there is a question for each of us: How is it we sanctify our work? How does our work inform our experience of God?

Homily given at Mercy Hospital, Creve Coeur, Missouri, on July 11, 2018
Picture Courtesy Pixavbay

Daily prayer for July 14, 2017

Gracious and holy Father,
grant us the intellect to understand you,
reason to discern you, diligence to seek you,
wisdom to find you, a spirit to know you,
a heart to meditate upon you.
May our ears hear you, may our eyes behold you,
and may our tongues proclaim you.
Give us grace that our way of life may be pleasing to you,
that we may have the patience to wait for you
and the perseverance to look for you.
Grant us a perfect end–your holy presence,
a blessed resurrection and life everlasting.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Homily for Friday, July 11, 2014

Readings for Today

Ora et Labora.  To pray and to work.  Today as we celebrate a great saint.  So much of what we experience in religious life today we owe to St. Benedict, whose holiness we acknowledge today.  Work and prayer.

The Rule, the way a life of Benedictine community, forms the basis of community life even today. This fifth and sixth century saint, but the man who desired the quiet solitude of the deep spiritual relationship with God. This desire came at a time when the world wasn’t quite the difficult circumstance. There was war, the church was in disarray, and it would’ve been all too easy to give up in despair.

This was not Benedict’s course of action. He sought God, first by himself, and eventually community. His program for spiritual growth was certainly no easy thing. Some of his early followers left because they found them too strict. But eventually, the wisdom of Benedict became apparent.

His path of spiritual growth was quite simple. In order to support themselves, the monks needed to work. In order to grow in the face the monks needed to determine the meaning of their work, and to deepen their relationship with God. This required regular commitment to both communal and personal prayer.

In thinking about Benedict, we also need to think about our own pathway to spiritual holiness. Our work may not be producing tremendous liqueurs for which many Benedictine communities are known, but just the same our work needs to be sanctified. We do need to ask the question what work does God require of us to grow in holiness? How does the work that we do help us to become holy? Here the Benedictine motto can be of some assistance. To pray and to work. Our work becomes sanctified because we bring it to the Lord.

Seek spiritual assistance of St. Benedict. Ask them to help you to pray and to work.