Authority, transformation, and dirty feet

hi-pope-kissing-feetTrue authority presents itself in service and flows downward. Authentic change presents itself in justice through community and flows upward. Transformation happens when they meet in they dynamism of the Spirit. This is only accomplished through life in Christ.

I have washed feet and I have had my feet washed. No surprise that the getting washed was more challenging than the washing. Well, except for maybe when I had my feet washed by someone with whom I had a difficult relationship.

As a former corporate executive and leader, I can tell you that you can’t make anyone do anything. As an ordinary human, I can tell you that cannot make someone love you. Of course you can force people to do things, you can chase someone to no end, but no real authority, change, or love will come from that. The only change will be the disintegration that comes from anything to discomfort all the way to hate. This is not the integrity that emerges from the love known as agape.

jesus-washing-peters-feet-by-sieger-koderWhatever you do this Holy Thursday, whether you get your feet washed or you wash those of another, don’t think of any church service as a nice re-enactment. That is why the Eucharist is different, we are not re-enacting anything, we are not “getting” anything, we are not forced to something.

Eucharist is about what we give in love, put at the service of world in Christ. Eucharist is about how we are all transformed into what we are becoming. This can only happen in community, it is not a moment that is between any one of us and Jesus alone, it is about the whole, the entire Body of Christ – which is Continue reading

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Stay, watch, remain, pray

1932412_10152279350617438_613759620_nWe are almost there, these final days leading to Easter triumph and resurrection. But first we must walk the Via Crucis with Jesus, suffering and dying. How will you walk with Jesus this week?

Perhaps the better question is this, how will we each stay with Jesus this week? The comic to the left is cute and funny enough, but then again, it is not funny at all. How do we fail to stay awake? How do we continually find ways to distract ourselves? How do we avoid what must be done?

As for me, I can name many ways in which I do not watch and pray, far too many to enumerate for you today. Yet, Jesus continues to ask me to stay, to watch, to pray, remain in faithful vigil. So once again, I make my meek attempts.

May your steps this week be blessed with the grace attentiveness to and hope in Christ.

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Lenten Reflections – April 14, 2014

Today’s reflection is from parishioner Doreen Salse.
burning candleLess than one week until Good Friday. I feel as though I am sitting with a friend on death row. It’s odd that in all the Lents I have gone through – or at least those I paid attention to – that this thought hasn’t struck me before.

I think of sitting with my nose pressed against the plastic in the visitation area, if that’s how it works, trying to read every inch on the surface that dear face with all my might. Trying to capture it, etch it into my mind so that I would never in my life forget it. I would want to conjure it up at night, taking the image with me into my dreams, lock it in a place where I could keep it safe and protect it always.

When my godmother died, I wanted a memory of her that would never fade, and I asked her if she would give me her blessing. She looked at me with the most profound tenderness, and I realized she was sad for me. Not for herself, because she knew she was going, but for me because I was staying, and it would be hard for me to stay here without her.

Would you look the same way at me, Jesus? A wistful smile at my attempts to be brave in the face of losing you? Would that smile hold just a little bit of pity because even after all these years of hearing what you had to say, you know that hearing you is not the same as listening to you? Am I one of your disciples that you shook your head sadly at? If I had listened closely, I would have known that beyond the suffering, the dusty road, and the jeering just a week away, there would be a moment when the sky would open and the earth would shake with the terrible fury of the Truth. That truly, this man was the Son of God. What part of that do I not understand in my spiritual adolescence?

As I end this Lenten journey, let me look beyond what I fear are your and my final hours. Let me see only the start of your spectacular promise that you will rise again and those of us who believe in you, too, will never die.

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We have a winner!

PrintJane Pelletier has won a copy of Dan Horan OFM’s book, The Last Words of Jesus, A Mediation on Love and Suffering. Congratulations Jane, I think that you will enjoy this book.

Thanks to all who read the post, and to all who commented. There will be more book reviews soon, and while not all reviews come with a chance to win a book, I hope that they help sort out some books new and old. I say old, because there are many fine books that I have not reviewed, that I hope to post about.

The next review will be right after Easter, and it is a real doozy! Just kidding, but it is on a very important book that I think many of you will want to read. Stay tuned. And no, I can’t tell you the title just yet, but you will all recognize the author. (Such mystery!) What books that you’ve read lately really hit you? What reviews might you like to read? Let me know in the comments!

Blessings to all as we enter Holy Week!

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Lenten Reflections – April 10, 2014

Today, parishioner Bill Thornton talks about where we are in Lent as seen through the Letter to Hebrews.

hebrews-12_1_4x6Many of the readings in the Liturgy of the Hours (The Holy Office) for this week are from the Letter to the Hebrews. Maybe this is just the luck of the draw, but I prefer to think that this shows an intent of the Church to remind us of the messages of Hebrews that are so consistent with where we are in Lent.

Hebrews is a unique book in the New Testament and an important one. We do not know its author (we used to think that it was an epistle of Paul, but today’s scholars don’t think so); we do not know the circumstances of its composition; we do not even know whether it started out as a letter or not. What does seem to be true is that it was written before the destruction of the Temple and that it was meant for Continue reading

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Love and last words – a book review and giveway

PrintWhen I was newly returned to the Catholic church, I bought a book on the seven last words of Christ during Lent. I’m not sure what book it was, the title now long forgotten, but I read it and struggled with it, finally bringing to to my priest, who was also my spiritual director. The look on his face when it handed to him was quite clear, something was wrong. As it happened, it was a reprint of a much older book, and the essence of the volume in my hands was harsh. Let’s face it, the Crucifixion is harsh, but the book offered a theology that was focused on nothing but suffering. The priest then gave me a much better book on the topic and my reading continued.

Needless to say, I cautiously approached all other books with the words “last words of Jesus” on the cover, rarely finding one that fully fed me. When I saw that Dan Horan OFM, had written a book about Jesus’ last words, I was instantly curious. The Last Words of Jesus, A Meditation on Love and Suffering from Franciscan Media, is an updated look offering us a fresh way of seeing the Cross.

In conversation with someone recently, I said precisely that, that this book is “updated” and “offers us a chance to see the Cross in a fresh way.” Those comments were met with a rebuttal about how there is no Continue reading

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Lenten Reflections – April 7, 2014

burning candleHow is your Lenten journey going? Mine has been up and down, but today I was given the gift of a little revelation along my Lenten path. The Holy Spirit illuminated a shadow on my heart, the light of which caused me to not take a familiar and well-worn, but circular path to nowhere, but to take the turn, however slight, in another direction.

This makes me wonder what would happen if I slowed down more, asked more questions, sought more silence, listened more attentively, and then acted in accordance with all that. This tells me that I need not wonder, but to slow down, ask more questions, seek more silence, listen more attentively, and then act in accordance with what is revealed to me by the Spirit.

How old am I? Slowly learning, learning slowly, but still on the path. Thanks for being here with me. Thanks be to God. May we carry one another in prayer on this journey, at Lent and always.

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