This week I spoke via email with some friends of mine, and they are both priests. And they both shared some course correction for me from my last post.
My first correspondence was actually before I wrote the blog, and I read it afterward and went “ooof”! It was hard to hear but I needed to hear it, and I will share some with you.
Remember how I talked about preaching, and getting out and witnessing? Well I guess that still holds, because we are called to do that. So I am nor changing that, and you can’t make me! But Father had an interesting insight to my comments to him about social media and this blog.
In your situation, your family is your audience. You can’t tell what fruit will come about years from now in them, seeing their dad, their spouse, their son… to see that man keep the faith. Is there a better witness? Won’t that be told to many outside of that circle in years to come? Won’t God do the authoring, without you needing to plan it?
It seems to me that you worrying for the world is a distraction from your vocation right now. Your vocation got very local awhile back, which is battling disease with faith and in the arena of the family. That’s it. The rest of us out here aren’t feeling great about our mission anyway, even though we do our best at it. You’re living out the 5th sorrowful mystery, while you’re wanting to be back in the 3rd luminous instead. But the cross was a greater moment than the whole public ministry. How blessed are we all to share in Christ’s cross, whenever that comes, how great a witness to know him and love him in that moment, much more so than in public ministry. Remember, the disciples even ran away because it was a witness too heavy, too seemingly wasteful and confusing for them. But that’s the great mystery. Live it daily. Love everyone around you. Love Christ in every moment. He watches and he will use you in whatever way he wants, from right where you sit.
Ok, so he’s right. I focus a lot on social media, and even this blog, believing that it is a way to evangelize, and it probably is. But for all of that, how powerful the message. Jesus built His church through His public ministry, but without the mystery of the crucifixion and Resurrection, there would be no church. So which is the worthier part? Seems obvious to me now! I can definitely be here, in the present, more, and try to love. It doesn’t preclude me from preaching or blogging but it is a huge wake-up call. As St Theresa said to someone who wanted to do big things like her in India, “Go home and love your family.”
Definitely deeper than I ever expected, and a reminder to all of us that God works through the big and the small, and that our thoughts are not His thoughts. A bit of friendly chat on a topic I like led to an unlooked-for direction, to borrow from Tolkien.
Then I got a follow up email, this time unlooked for and from a different priest, who thought of me when he read Cardinal Sarahs speech.
We will not rediscover an understanding of the dignity of the human person unless we recognize the transcendence of God. Man is only great and most noble when he falls on his knees before God. The great man is humble and the humble man is on his knees!
My friends, if we sometimes despair in the face of the powers of this world, if we sometimes lay down our arms before the powers of this world, remember that no one has the power to take away your freedom to kneel! If impious priests abuse their authority and brutalize you to prevent you from kneeling to receive Holy Communion, do not lose your calm and serenity before the Eucharistic Lord. Do not resist them, but rather pray for these priests whose behavior blasphemes and profanes him whom they hold in their hands. Try to imitate the humility of God and let your heart, your will, your intelligence, your self-love and your whole interior being kneel. It is God’s exclusive domain. A man on his knees is more powerful than the world! He is an unshakable rampart against the atheism and folly of men. A man on his knees makes Satan tremble in all his pride!
All of you who, to the eyes of men, are without power and influence, but who know how to kneel before God, have no fear of those who want to intimidate you! Your mission is great. It is to “prevent the world from destroying itself”!3
I speak especially to you who are sick, weak of body or mind, you who suffer a handicap, whom society finds useless and wants to suppress: when you pray, when you adore, you are great! You have a particular dignity because you uniquely resemble Christ crucified! If you allow me the expression: the whole Church kneels before you because you bear Christ’s image, his presence! We wish to serve you, love you, console you, please you. We wish also to learn from you. You preach us the Gospel of adoration in your suffering. You are a treasure!
I would like to point out that I am a whiner, a complainer, a demanding patient who grunts and squeals at getting what I want, I am a wimp when it comes to pain, and I am frustrated and distracted easily from my duties. So while I am honored that he thought of me, most likely this is also Divine spiritual direction to what I need to be doing. Not what I am doing. I’m like the apostles who couldn’t stay awake at Gethsemane.
I thought I would share these bits with you all because they were so helpful to me, to course correct, and maybe you also could find something in them that would help. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.
Anyway, have you been outside?! It’s downright lovely in Virginia!