Sunday, September 29, 2013
Saturday, September 28, 2013
You are welcome to come pray with us.
Friday, September 27, 2013
So it has begun.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
For example, take a recent newspaper interview with Pope Francis. You've probably heard about the interview because it's created quite a buzz. In the interview the pope discusses candidly and at length his life and his views on the faith with a Jesuit journalist. In one of the interview's most controversial sections -- titled "The Church as a Field Hospital" -- the pope delves into what he sees as "pure Gospel" and "the heart of the message of Jesus Christ." It's an old yet timeless message about the mercy and forgiveness of God, but much of the Pope Francis' comments were taken out of context and caused some splashy headlines like this one from New York Times: "Pope Says Church Is ‘Obsessed’ With Gays, Abortion and Birth Control."
A few people on the other extreme have been calling Pope Francis "the anti-pope." Everyone seems to have taken away from the interview what fits their story line. I urge you to read the full interview before you draw your own conclusions.
I think the Holy Spirit gave us a pope for our times, one who can heal our deep wounds and divisions and lead us to Christ's mercy. Yes, the pope and the Church are uncompromising on the issues of homosexuality, abortion and birth control. And so are those who disagree with them. So perhaps the best way to begin a dialogue with those who don't understand the Church is to approach them with the heart of the Gospel message, a message of love and mercy, for all of us sinners. I think the pope is saying that after hearts have been won over, minds can be more easily convinced on moral issues.
Here is how he would have us approach our fellow sinners:
"In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy. When that happens, the Holy Spirit inspires the priest to say the right thing."
"Proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the essentials, on the necessary things: this is also what fascinates and attracts more, what makes the heart burn, as it did for the disciples at Emmaus. We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel. The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow."
One of the best explanations I read about the Pope's interview came from the comments box at the end of a Catholic blog site. (The blog site has a good take on the interview, too.)
Here's what the commentator, a priest, wrote about how we are to make sense of what the pope said:
"One of the greatest signs of the holiness of the Church has always been her ability to love the sinner while recognizing the sin for what it is, a horrible offense against God. Together with that, one of the most beautiful and consoling aspects of the Church is her ability to speak the truth with love, recognizing that love is absent where truth is not proclaimed. The pope has not simply reiterated what Catholics have always believed. His words about reaching out to the marginalized and the wounded were not so much to clarify any aspect of the faith, but rather to encourage and admonish us who are working for the kingdom, to use a different pedagogy. Sometimes the truth is very hard for some ears to hear. They are too compromised. They are too afraid. Instead of beginning with sin, hell-fire and brimstone, we should begin with the gospel, the good news: God is love and he loves you. God is merciful and his mercy is for you. God heals the wounds of sin and he wants to heal you. God forgives and he wants to forgive you. God thirsts, and he thirsts to love you and to receive your love. The pope has not described himself as either a genius or a mystic. He said 'I am a sinner.' He has described himself as a sinner, and one who knows God's tender, merciful, compassionate, kind, affectionate love personally. So what does all this that he is saying mean? What should we do? Maybe a quote from Mother Teresa to her sisters can help: 'Go and find out how much God loves you. Then go and do the same!' It is kind of like the parable of the sinful woman. Her sins, though they were many, were forgiven her. She knew God's merciful love, and responded by loving God in return. The more we know ourselves to be sinners (looking at the log in our own eye), and receive his mercy for our sins (perhaps especially our pride), the better will we be heralds of the good news, touching hearts before minds, so that hearts hardened by sin (their own and those of others who have trampled upon them as on a beaten path, just like in the parable) may be softened and tilled by the sweetness of the gospel, readied to receive the word and bear much fruit. Keep up all your good work and strive for the holiness of love. God bless you."
Inspired by this Year of Faith we will be posting columns like this from Susan Szalewski about exploring and/or deepening our faith. Watch for it on Thursdays and see the Year of Faith Blog here.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
This week, our preschoolers walked
to the Sump Memorial Library.
We enjoyed the walk, especially
the animals along the way.
We listened to stories, ...
... sang some songs, and had a great time.
Then it was back to preschool for
a little time on the playground.
What a beautiful fall day!