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The Weight of My Neighbor's Glory PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Saturday, 06 November 2010 10:21

Here's how I would have put my concerns if I had had the wit, talent, and holiness to do so:

"It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbor.  The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor's glory should be laid on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken.

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature, which, is you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare.

All day long we are, in some degree, helping one other to one or more of these destinations.  It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics.

There are no ordinary people.  You have never talked to a mere mortal.  Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat.  But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.

This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn.  We must play.  But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously - no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.

And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner-no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment.

Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your sense.  If he is your Christian neighbor, he is holy is almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitate - the glorifier and the glorified, Glory himself, is truly hidden."

The Weight of Glory, C. S. Lewis

When I hear Catholics talk hopefully (or gleefully!) of certain groups of Catholics - whose theological or liturgical leanings they fear and despise - leaving the Church, I know that we cannot have grasped what is at stake.  We cannot have grasped the nature of the immortal beings we are blithely hoping will leave the fullness of the means of grace.   We must recognize that it is a form of profound disobedience, a kind of blasphemy, for us to wish for, in the name of purity, what Christ himself prayed with great intensity would never happen:  that he would lose one of those that his Father had given him.

When Pope Benedict has recognized the likely possibility of a smaller Catholic church, he was merely reading the signs of the times - recognizing that European Christendom, as it has existed for the past 1200 years, (as opposed to European Christianity) is well and truly dead. That the Church must look again, as she has in the past, not to institutions or societal favor but to the power of the Holy Spirit, the redeeming work of Christ, the truth of the apostolic faith, to the deep personal faith of her people, to the fruit of profound prayer and worship, to the intercession of the communion of saints.  And to the charisms, vocations, saints, cultural creativity, and mighty deeds that arise out of such faith. The faith that gave birth to the structures and cultures of European Christianity in the first place.

But never, never that we should cease to pray for, long for, labor for, and call every man and women to encounter Christ in the midst of his Church.  That we should accept, cooperate with - or most appallingly, rejoice in - events and changes that endanger the eternal glory of millions and millions of those redeemed by Christ's sacrifice and baptized in Christ's name is an abomination.

"It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbor.  The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor's glory should be laid on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken.

All We Like Sheep . . . PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 04 November 2010 16:52

I was doing the mini-rant thing via e-mail this afternoon.  A friend who reported the response to her appeal to her pastoral council on the topic of evangelization.

"Last night was a lesson in how God asks us to be faithful, not expect to
be successful!

We have a council operating out of a dated paradigm of how church should
be...and those who are not here should be written off, or just get with
the program. Some folks are our age, or younger, with this attitude!
There is a sense that it is a lost cause, and we should just live with a
smaller, purer church. I am not willing to give up so quickly."

To which I responded with considerable heat.

"And it isn't just the older ones - now twenty something Catholics talk that way.  Just where this resistance to and loathing for the idea that we can't just depend upon those born Catholics to just show up anymore, that we might have to actually go to them - reach out to them - comes from, I don't know. Some of your pastoral council people have been reading the blogs, methinks!

How odd it is to realize that almost all Catholics I meet - on all sides of the spectrum - are not just practicing Pelagians but universalist to the core. Less than 1% of the many Catholics I've met all over the world have ever expressed worry about the eternal well-being and happiness of the those who leave.  I don't hear people expresses concern about their salvation.  I almost never hear Catholics spontaneously talk about Christ's command to make disciples or meditate upon God's eternal desire that all know him, that all be part of his Body, that all men and women spend eternity with him, that he would lose none of those given to him.

We have become a bunch of people who would not only NOT leave the 99 and go out after the one who has strayed, we'd happily drive another 30 or 60 sheep out of the fold ourselves because they weren't meeting our standards.  All we seem to care about is that they are messing with our personal dream of what the Church should be like.  How is it possible that the evangelical spirit of a St. Dominic, a St. Catherine, a St. Ignatius of Loyola, or a St. Daniel Comboni has been so eviscerated in our generation(s)?"

And then I stumbled upon the wonderful Susan Stabile's meditation for today:

"In the Gospel, Jesus tells the parable of the lost sheep. He asks he people, “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in he desert and go after the lost one until he finds it?” Not being shepherds, we smile as Jesus describes the joy of the shepherd of finding the sheep and carrying it home and then rejoicing with his neighbors at the recovery.

Jesus’ hearers, would have been struck by the absurdity of Jesus’ story. No shepherd in his right mind would leave 99 sheep alone, running the risk of their running off or being attacked by animals or coming to harm in some other way. The shepherd would unhappily accept the loss of the single sheep.

But our ways are not God’s ways and for God it is not acceptable for even a single sheep to be lost. Two days ago in John’s Gospel we heard Jesus say that that “this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me.”

Aaaah.  Deep breath.

"This is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me."

Thank God.

It's All Happening in November PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 04 November 2010 15:30

There is a lot going on this month.  Join our dauntless teachers in Illinois, Memphis, Seattle, Detroit, Brooklyn, and Idaho for some life-changing, fun, and high energy formation.

First of all, Fr. Mike will be celebrating his birthday tomorrow in his home town of Washington, Illinois where he and Keith will be teaching a Called & Gifted workshop at St. Patrick's Catholic Church.  Local boy makes very good.  We're informing Keith about the uber-secret birthday thing (you didn't hear it from me!) so that he can torment Fr. Mike in whatever way his fiendish, sci-fi writer's brain can come up with.

The following weekend (November 12, 13) it will be Memphis, Seattle, and Detroit.

There will be a Called & Gifted workshop at Incarnation Catholic Church in Collierville, TN while the dynamic Fr. Bryan will be teaching another C & G at  St. Madeleine Sophie parish in Bellevue, Washington (hey Eryn!).

Meanwhile, I will be spend November 13 giving a day on discerning personal mission and call at the Archdiocese of Detroit's Women's Conference.  (It will be a good time so y'all come now, ya hear!  And come up and introduce yourself!  I'd love to meet you.)

Afterwards, I'll have three discernment-related regional gigs in the Pontiac, MI area.  Then I'll be winging my way to Brooklyn, NY where Keith and I will be meeting up at Most Precious Blood Church on November 19 and 20 for another Called & Gifted workshop.   This will be so cool since it will be our first workshop in the Diocese of Brooklyn and my first chance to experience that wonderful town.

Fr. Mike will be offering a retreat in Gooding, Idaho that same weekend at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church while Fr. Bryan will be teaching a Called & Gifted workshop at St. Bridget's Church in Seattle.

Which I think will be our 446th live C & G since I offered the first one as a volunteer to 20 hand-picked people in Seattle in the fall of 1993.  What an amazing, fascinating, blessed journey it has been to catch a glimpse of what God is doing in his sons and daughters.



Feel Rich Quick! Visit the Global Rich List. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 02 November 2010 16:26

Feeling financial stress?  Here's a quick, painless remedy for the recession blues.

Visit the Global Rich List and see where you stand in comparison to the other 6.9 billion humanoids on the planet.  All you have to do is enter in your yearly income and hit enter and you'll probably feel like an instant millionaire.

I know I did.  My modest Institute salary puts me in the top 4% of the human race.

We have been blessed more than we know.  And we have the capacity to be more of a blessing than we usually imagine.


Moved to Tears by Voting PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 02 November 2010 16:14

Once upon a time I lived in Swansea, the old Welsh mining town and harbor where Dylan Thomas grew up.  It was about Swansea that Thomas quipped:  "This town has more layers than an onion and everyone of them can move you to tears."

I thought of Thomas' comment because I just returned from voting where I had a Mr.-Smith-Goes-to-Washington-Jimmy-Stewart moment.

I returned strangely moved.  Maybe it was the sheer dim, shabby, thread-bareness of it all.  Maybe it was the dusty church hall, the battered tables, or the elderly volunteers with their lists and stickers.  Or the cheap red paper signs reminding potential last minute campaigners (there were none) that they must stand 100 yards from the door to the polling place.

I think that what finally brought tears to my eyes was the earnest little woman who carefully stood where she could not see how I had voted and yet where she could direct me to the woman who would process my ballot and who also carefully did not look at what I had or had not marked on the simple cardboard sheet I was turning in.

For all they knew, I was voting against their candidates.  For all they knew, I was delivering a blow to their most cherished civic ideals.  And yet they devoted themselves to ensuring that I exercised my right to do so in complete freedom and anonymity.  In thousands of precincts around America - in blue, red, and purple states - tens of thousands of other volunteers were enabling millions of my fellow citizens to do the same today.

All the frantic noise, the vast sums of money, the sturm and drang of the election had come down to this quiet, sober moment.  Presided over by a humble, self-forgetful army of civic servants whose names most of us will never know.

I just had to say “thank-you for your service" to the woman who took my ballot.  If it wouldn’t have disturbed the hush of the moment, I would have tried to thank all the volunteers present.   We owe them.  We owe all who ensure that year after year, our experience of voting is dim and threadbare and ordinary instead of violent or marred by corruption.

In the context of human history, that qualifies as a major achievement.  God bless all who make it possible.

The LA Making Disciples Day was a Huge Success! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Sunday, 24 October 2010 20:33

I just wanted to spread the word that our "Come and See" introduction to the Making Disciples process drew 800 participants and receive a very enthusiastic response.  Bishop Wilkerson of the San Fernando region was very pleased.  The Bishop admitted that he had originally predicted that only 80 - 100 people would show and he was delighted to be wrong.  Our amazing LA team had everything organized down to the letter and did an outstanding job.

Monday, we're repeating the same day for 128 Catholic school teachers in Palmdale.

Thanks to all of you who prayed!


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