Sunday, October 30, 2011
“What good is it; my brothers, if someone say he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,’ but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2: 14-17)“Francis sympathized lovingly and compassionately with those stricken with any physical affliction and he immediately referred to Christ the poverty or deprivation he saw in anyone. He was kind and gentle by nature and the love of Christ merely intensified this. His soul melted at the sight of the poor or infirm and where he could not offer material assistance he lavished his affection.” (Bonaventure, Major Life of St. Francis of Assisi, Chap. 8, Para. 5)
Sometimes, something has to be reported on television before it really grabs you. This happened to me today. I have glanced at the stories being reported by the National Catholic Reporter, from the survey they helped sponsored concerning Catholics in America. What I missed was a fact reported by the television program Religion and Ethics Newsweekly; that 60% of American Catholics believe that you do not have to donate anything to help the poor, nor work for the poor, and still can consider yourself a “good” Catholic!
Now I really went ballistic over this. If one looked at the tradition of the Church; if one examines the lives of a majority of Catholic saints, I believe, one sees a constant theme of how important service to the poor is in the life of the Church. And I do not mean just the charitable institutions of the Church, I mean the entire community of believers. If one believes in Jesus Christ, one follows the teachings Jesus Christ, to love God with all our heart and soul; and to love our neighbors. And that does not just mean our middle class neighbors, it means all of them, poor, disabled, and foreigner.
We are called to share the love of Christ we experience through the Eucharist with everyone we come in contact, by any means at our disposal. By our words and actions, we are to show to the world the power of the Gospel we preach. If we cannot live the faith we believe in, each of us individually, then that faith is truly dead. And the world will cast us aside.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Earlier this week, we celebrated the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. What came to my mind was a story in the Little Flowers of St. Francis, in which Brother Masseo asks Francis, "Why does the world come after you?" Francis responded that people came after him because they saw how the power of God's love could work such miracles through such a poor, ignorant, sinful man like himself. It was the example of his life, this witness to God's grace working in a very human person that drew people to Francis.
What draws people to St. Francis today? For some, it might be the stories about Francis, others may have read the Francis comic book, and others may have seen a movie about him. Most, however, have been drawn to Francis because of the example given by the lives of Friars, Poor Clares, Third Order Regular Brothers and Sisters, and, hopefully, those Secular Franciscans they have come in contact with. This is the responsibility that all of us who call ourselves Franciscan share, to keep the spirit of Francis alive and fresh in our world today. We do this by reading and reflecting on his words, on his life, then seeing how we can apply his example to our own struggle to live the Gospel life.
We have a spiritual legacy to be proud of and to celebrate. If that legacy is to last through the 21st Century and beyond, we cannot be complacent. We need to allow Francis to continue challenge us to go farther, strive higher, and go deeper in our life with God.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Now when I heard about this policy, I got ill. Yes, I know canonically, bishops and pastors have the power to designate who can be altar servers, but to deny girls that honor is unwise, and reinforces the world view that women are second class members of the Church. And keep in mind that a majority of those who are active in the social, educational and charitable life of the Church are women. And that the majority of persons attending Mass are women.
In Scripture, we are told by St. Paul that in Christ there is neither male nor female. The Council Fathers of Vatican II have told us that all the baptized share in the priesthood of Christ, and all are called to actively participate in the Eucharist. Yes, each has their own unique role in that worship, but I do not see any valid theological reason to restrict the role of altar server to only males. And despite what some bishops and pastors may say, this is a matter of justice within the Church.