The spiritual failure to love

“The spiritual stature of a person’s life is measured by love, which in the end remains ‘the criterion for the definitive decision about a human life’s worth or lack thereof.'” — Pope Francis, On Fraternity and Social Friendship

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We lack serious discipleship

I am working my way through “On Fraternity and Social Friendship” by Pope Francis. An early section is an exposition of the parable of the Good Samaritan. It is heart wrenching to read this section in light of what happened a week ago at the Capitol and what is going on today in the House chamber.

We have lost sight of each other. We have lost sight of our ability to care, especially for those not like us.

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The tragedy of our digital isolation

Over the past 20 plus years, the richness of my life can be traced to the learning I have done with people who are not like me. If they look like me, they don’t think like me. Sometimes they may think like me, but they don’t look like me. I’ve become “comfortable” in uncomfortable spaces.

This we are losing in aces… and I feel the loss in my own life as well.

So, when I read the following paragraphs from the Pope’s encyclical, my heart fell. I’ve printed those paragraphs off and marked them up and prayed. My heart is broken.

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Is it time to quit the Church?

The past few weeks have been heavy news for the Church. For evangelicals… it’s been Willow Creek and the leadership failure of that megachurch. (Then there are those trying to cling to evangelical as “tribe” but the politics of it right now are a bad mess.)

For the Catholics, it was the grand jury findings in Pennsylvania, then another bombshell this week when Pope Francis himself was accused of hiding information on a pedophile within the Vatican. Read more

The call of prayer is to listen

Nonetheless, it is possible that, even in prayer itself, we could refuse to let ourselves be confronted by the freedom of the Spirit, who acts as he wills. We must remember that prayerful discernment must be born of a readiness to listen: to the Lord and to others, and to reality itself, which always challenges us in new ways. Only if we are prepared to listen, do we have the freedom to set aside our own partial or insufficient ideas, our usual habits and ways of seeing things. In this way, we become truly open to accepting a call that can shatter our security, but lead us to a better life. It is not enough that everything be calm and peaceful. God may be offering us something more, but in our comfortable inadvertence, we do not recognize it. — Pope Francis, APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION GAUDETE ET EXSULTATE OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS ON THE CALL TO HOLINESS  IN TODAY’S WORLD

Too often our mantra is, “Listen, Lord, for your servant is speaking!” We need to say more often, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.”

The Pope and all our political agendas

One big reason I love the pope is everyone following the Pope in the media and in Christian circles chatters about WHAT the Pope does and “what does this mean?” We all look for the right buzzwords so we can either deride his comments or praise his comments.

That’s why I love this comic strip:

Pope and Jesus

Where is the outcry

I understand the world, the media, etc., just won’t give the coverage to what is happening all over the world to Christians. True suffering. 

But, it is there, and we need to see it. Lord, hear our prayers!

The Pope addressed it in his Easter message.

“Today we see our brothers persecuted, decapitated, crucified for their faith in you, under our eyes and often with our complicit silence,” the pope said after the traditional Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) procession through Rome on Friday, which recreates Christ’s last hours before he was crucified.

Let us see the suffering. Let us pray.

The training of pastors

Pope Francis made some very pointed remarks about the need to train new priests.

Some of his comments are so needed in our training of pastors in protestant circles as well:

“Formation (of future priests) is a work of art, not a police action. We must form their hearts. Otherwise we are creating little monsters. And then these little monsters mold the people of God. This really gives me goose bumps,” he said.

We need to understand the formation of the pastor and not just give out formulas and hope to train future CEOs.

He mentioned being among the poor and quit looking for the next advancement. Hang out with the margins of society.

Help us heed some wise words, Lord.