***A few things on my mind today. It is April 15. You think taxes. I think camino. Five short months from today we will board a plane (yes, tickets have been purchased) and fly to Paris. After spending the night there, we fly (cheaper than the train, go figure) to Biarritz, then make our way to St. Jean Pied de Port to begin the walking portion of our camino. God willing, all of this will happen and nothing will befall us before or during. We’ve both seen some setbacks of various sorts, but we press on – ultreia! My thanks go to many of you out there. In late July when I began to write about our pilgrimage, waves of generosity kept knocking me over, they still do! And my gratitude has me spring back up and keep going. If this has no context, click here to begin, or simply search the blog on the term camino.) Remember, if you have any prayer requests, you can send them to me now or at any time leading up to departure. And please pray for us! Thank you!
***My alleged blog hiatus, which has not been very hiatus-y. I’m working on a double super secret project, and it goes far more slowly and painfully than I imagined. I press on. Once again, I beg your prayers please. Thank you.
***The election campaign. I won’t say much except to say that there is so much to be upset about. Talk about being knocked over by waves! What throws me down and tosses me around in regard to this are waves of anger, negativity, and a vitriol the likes of which I have never seen. Who ever you support, can you support them in a positive manner? I know, how boring! Division is the tool of the devil and that one is very busy right now. The Catholic bishops have been unusually silent about the election from my point of view. Sadly, the connection has been made, and not without some good reason that the Catholic church and the Republican party were somehow aligned. If you are Catholic, or if you think that Catholics are either nuts or brilliant for this kind of talk, I suggest some short reading material. My fellow Albany Times Union blogger, former classmate, and friend Walter Ayres has been up to some most excellent writing on the topic of Catholic social teaching and voting. Expect something different and check him out here.
***Last night I got pretty fired up about how Director and Editor in Chief of Catholic News Service, Tony Spence was forced out of his job. It seems that the USCCB was under a lot of pressure from some very ultra-conservative Catholic blogs after Spence tweeted about the recent LGBT legislation in North Carolina.
The groups came after Spence because they said his tweets showed that he was not in support of church teaching. OK, fair enough (well, not really) even if that were the case, and I do not believe that he crossed any lines other than those of justice and human dignity as he understands it through Catholic social teaching, was this forcing out in line with any Catholic justice? From what I understand through reading, and I may not know some vital detail, he was forced out due to extreme bullying by one side. It strikes me as odd that most of the sites that came after him are sites where Pope Francis is frequently castigated and criticized. How Catholic social teaching and rule-and-law following is that? Not very if you ask me. Just this morning I picked up a book that was to be put away for “the season,” Stations of the Cross (Community Prayer Edition) by Timothy Radcliffe, and the book flipped open to the Sixth Station, which reads:
The face of God became flesh in the face of Jesus, smiled upon sinners with tenderness. He looked with pleasure on pompous little Zaccheaeus up in the tree and decided to stay with him rather than the self-righteous respectable people. He smiled upon Levi, another tax collector, and called him to discipleship. He looked with kindness on Peter after he had betrayed him.
That is why I am not so quick to want to throw out those with whom I vehemently disagree with. And I do not want them throwing me or anyone else out. It is a sad day for the USCCB if that is indeed what happened here, political-style pressure and bullying resulting in some smaller, purer church model that cannot possibly be eucharistic in character.
Another reminder of how God uses all for good is today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles, where that vile apotle-hater-in-chief Saul was blinded by Christ in order to be called. It is impossible for me to not look back a few days, to an earlier chapter of Acts where we see Saul involved in the martyrdom of Stephen. These words open that reading from Tuesday:
Stephen said to the people, the elders, and the scribes:
“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears,
you always oppose the Holy Spirit;
you are just like your ancestors.
Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute?
They put to death those who foretold the coming of the righteous one,
whose betrayers and murderers you have now become.
You received the law as transmitted by angels,
but you did not observe it.”
Either way, someone has been left on the side of the road and left for dead. Will we be the law-abiding Levite rushing off to our duties, perhaps with a glimmer of desire to help, but no time and fear of ritual impurity? Or will we be the good samaritan who cares?
I have so many prayers for the Church that I love so much, but that seems to have fallen prey to the very division of darkness that I spoke of in an above paragraph. Who have we become and why? I have no clue and it is time to go to work. Peace to you people, thanks for reading. Maybe we can we make a promise to be kind to someone today? Especially if that person is annoying or even potentially dangerous? God is full of surprises, don’t put grace in a vacuum.
Rant over, I’m out. Peace!