Tuesday, June 1, 2010

For the Love of God

On the eve of my 55th birthday I laid my neck on the line.
It has not fallen into the basket yet, but the day is young.
I stood against a swelling tide, I stood for my faith.
So here’s the thing. I am catholic, and to this day thrill at what that means to me;
thrill at the rich heritage I have gained there, and the universal embrace
(Give me a heart as big as the universe ~ St. Frances Cabrini) it has required of me.
And I have a growing dis-ease with those that would reduce the meaning
of that immense reality – catholic –
to a meanly constricted model of rubrics and doctrines
as if they existed with any value at all
outside of their relationship with and service to all humanity.

Everything, everything that exists in the church
serves one purpose and one mission only;
to draw us all, all deeper into the truth of God’s love for us and all creation.
Christ- love incarnate. The scriptures are pretty clear…
The Love of God has been poured out into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. Romans 5:5
For God so loved the world that he sent his only son. John 3:16
Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8
Seek eagerly after love. 1 Corinthians 14:1
God is love and those who abide in love abide in god and god in them. 1 John 4:16
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love,
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
1 Corinthians 13
A new commandment I give to you, love one another as I have loved you.
John 13:34

In Christ the only thing that counts is faith working through love.

Those who in their own righteousness fling church teaching like a weapon might do well to revisit the preface of her catechism before turning her plowshares into swords.
The whole concern of doctrine and its teaching must be directed to the love that never ends. Whether something is proposed for belief, for hope or for action, the love of our Lord must always be made accessible, so that anyone can see that all the works of perfect Christian virtue spring from love and have no other objective than to arrive at love.
1 Corinthians 13:8; CCC #25

The same is true of canon law, which upholds this foundational guide “when in doubt, to err on the side of mercy”. It is a dangerous thing to forget the demand of the gospels regarding God’s mercy. "Whatsoever you do to the least…you do to me!" Matthew 25:40

These teachings humble me.

What frustrates me about this 'crusade' of some of my fellow catholics is their presumption to speak as the authoritative voice of 'The Church' and quite readily dismiss and even condemn the sincerity and sound faith of the majority of good folks quietly living out their christian witness day to day.

What breaks my heart is a profoundly felt resistance to diminish, by our own choice of words, the very mission of Christ.

Words are powerful! So I am compelled to speak out as St. Paul said; Since, then, we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I believed, therefore I spoke," we too believe and therefore speak.
2 Corinthians:4

So, to those quiet followers with wide embrace, I urge you on!
I stand with you as one who seeks to carefully and faithfully express
in my words and life the good news that is Christ for the life of the world.
May God's own spirit lead us all toward the greatest change;
the ever deepening conversion that turns us more fully to Christ,
and through Christ, to the whole world.
"I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known
in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them."
Jesus' prayer to God the Father in the gospel of John 17:20

May Christ find a dwelling place of faith in our hearts,
May our lives be rooted in love, rooted in love.
Ephesians 3:17

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