Monday, October 22, 2007

Our Father......

Last weekend I spoke at a retreat for a friend's church on behalf of my family's ministry . Pretty nice little group of believer; young, charismatic, intellectual, hip, and actually pretty diverse. Most were in their 20's and 30's, but there were a few up closer to the 50-60 mark. Nice folks, young families and lots of single people. I have never been to their church and had never met any of them before so I was a bit anxious about having to speak to them. Now, I usually am not at all nervous when speaking in front of folks, I do it all the time, but the topic of my time was a bit of a sensitive issue. We were talking about the wounds that we receive from our fathers and how that influences our lives and our concepts of God and his divine love for us.

These types of retreats can either be open and vulnerable times of healing, or just straight up intellectual consumption.... or just "blah, blah, blah..." I was praying for the first. I was hoping that the Spirit of God would touch some people and reveal the wounds that they had been carrying around due to abusive or absent fathers or just old wounds from unfulfilled expectations. I was hoping for some healing.

My fellow speaker and I spent some time in prayer and confession together before the whole thing kicked off and just trusted God to do a work. He did. There was a lot of weeping and pain expressed, but through it people were able to release it to our Father in Heaven and receive his touch.... receive his love. It was right on.

As I go throughout life, I am constantly amazed at the deep wounds we carry with us.... wounds that can only be healed by the Lord's touch. We refuse to let him touch us though. We hide our wounds, we ignore them, we play like we don't hurt by distracting ourselves with idle pursuits, sex, and work. We run from the love that can take away our pain. We refuse to believe it is truly there. We refuse to believe.
Lord have mercy....

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sacramental Lovin'

This past weeks RCIA class was on the sacrament of marriage. Pretty good stuff actually. We got into the beauty and mystery of the union between two people, the work that it takes to unite two souls as one, and the commitment needed to walk through life without giving up on that bond. All good stuff, all things that are basic and fundamental bits of information needed to make it through a relationship.

I found it interesting that the sacrament of marriage is the only sacrament not administered by clergy. This sacrament is administered by the couple to each other, the clergy is simply there as a witness to the the event. How deep is that? The marriage as a symbol of the relationship that Christ has with his Church could be no more powerful or raw than this. Two dirty and real people created in the image of the Father joining together to create something holy and right. The spark of divine love within being nurtured into an all consuming flame that warms the soul and radiates light. So perfect.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Ahhhhhhhh........ that makes a bit more sense

So I was sittin' and talking about the reading from the Gospel of Luke a week or so back with a group of guys and we were pretty perplexed by the words of Christ. I mean, there were some basic principles in the parable that made sense, but the over all point of it was lost on us. I stumbled across this quote over at Against the Grain. One more reason I find myself walking more and more in step with the Church Universal. This is so punk rock.

From the Pope.....

Telling the Parable of the dishonest but very crafty administrator, Christ teaches his disciples the best way to use money and material riches, that is, to share them with the poor, thus acquiring their friendship, with a view to the Kingdom of Heaven. "Make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon," Jesus says, "so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations" (Lk 16: 9).
Money is not "dishonest" in itself, but more than anything else it can close man in a blind egocentrism. It therefore concerns a type of work of "conversion" of economic goods: instead of using them only for self-interest, it is also necessary to think of the needs of the poor, imitating Christ himself, who, as St Paul wrote: "though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich" (II Cor 8: 9). [...]

Catholic social doctrine has always supported that equitable distribution of goods is a priority. Naturally, profit is legitimate and, in just measure, necessary for economic development.

In his Encyclical Centesimus Annus, John Paul II wrote: "The modern business economy has positive aspects. Its basis is human freedom exercised in many other fields" (n. 32). Yet, he adds that capitalism must not be considered as the only valid model of economic organization (cf. ibid., n. 35).

Starvation and ecological emergencies stand to denounce, with increasing evidence, that the logic of profit, if it prevails, increases the disproportion between rich and poor and leads to a ruinous exploitation of the planet.

Instead, when the logic of sharing and solidarity prevails, it is possible to correct the course and direct it towards an equitable, sustainable development.

Not too bad. I would tend to agree that this is a priority. Right now a group of friends and fellow social justice type workers are looking at ways that we can facilitate these principles in a realistic way. Realistic meaning that we can benefit the poor and allow us to make a living doing it. Non-Profit sector? That's where most of us are and have been. Social Entrepreneurship/enterprise? Hmmmmmmm.... interesting possibilities. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

On Beauty and Art....

"It is impossible to doubt that the Decorator of the World shall not continue to serve to His later children, and in ever finer forms, the inspiration of beautiful things. More fearlessly than he has ever done so, the Christian of modern life will use the noble spiritual leverages of Art. That this world, the people's world, is a bleak and ugly world, we do not forget; it is ever with us. But we esteem too little the mission of beautiful things in haunting the mind with higher thoughts and begetting the mood which leads to God. Physical beauty makes moral beauty. Loveliness does more than destroy ugliness; it destroys matter. A mere touch of it in a room, in a street, even on a door knocker, is a spiritual force. Ask the working man's wife, and she will tell you there is a moral effect even in a clean tablecloth. If a barrel organ in a slum can but drown a curse, let no Christian silence it. The mere light and color of the wall advertisements are a gift of God to the poor man's somber world..."

from The Greatest Thing in the World by Henry Drummond