The Place of Dissent At The Table and The Challenge Of Unity

This weekend the Roman Catholic church celebrates the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, which is also known by the Latin, Corpus Christi.

One place my mind goes to as I ponder and pray about this essential feast is that the etymology of the word companion is literally, “bread fellow.” Please note the name of this blog and read (or re-read) the Henri Nouwen quote under the header!

In 1 Corinthians 12 we are ever reminded that we are many parts, one body. This is the challenge of our Christian lives – to become that One Body. I am ever aware of the notion that it is not “my” way nor “your” way, but one way… The Way of Christ. Now the real fun begins as we all have many different ideas about that!

We must, I think, envision a table where all gather in peace, unity and into integrity, which is the figurative and literal “re-membering” of the Body of Christ.

However, it is simplistic and frankly, dangerous to imagine a table with no dissenters.

What is the place of the dissent at the table? This morning I am doing my housework, paying some bills, considering the religious and practical elements of our weekend and thinking about these things.

I am reminded that all dissenters are not prophets… However, it seems to me that in some way or another, all prophets are dissenters.

How do we know the difference? And do we know the difference in our own time? Consider the many prophets, Jesus chief among them, who were rejected heartily, even unto death, in their own time.

This is why I am more a questions than answers person. The questions are the pathway, the answers are the portals, the portals lead to other pathways. I hope to always walk these pathways with my companions; sometimes even in dissent.

As an aside, as I conclude, the study of theology, something close to my heart represents this. Theology means, faith seeking understanding.

It is always seeking, moving. That, in and of itself, seems like a form of dissent. Being Roman Catholic is very much about being counter cultural.

What dissent even means deserves our thought and discussion.

Two recommended posts for today, both of which relate to this topic:

  • Fr. Austin Fleming, the Concord Pastor, reflects on the meaning of Eucharist here.
  • Mirror of Justice has a post about a Loyola University Chicago School of Law panel, sponsored by Lumen Christi, about the role of Catholics in public life today. Among the panelists was Melinda Henneberger, journalist, author, editor and Roman Catholic, whom I had the pleasure and privilege of meeting in the past year. 

Don’t feel like reading? Here is a song for you. Some people love it, others will find it abhorrent. I am in the former!


    Veni Creator – An Interruption to my Pentecost Story

    Pentecost. Jarring. Unnerving. Compelling. Ultimately – uniting.

    I highly, highly recommend reading Austin Fleming’s blogpost about Pentecost and this video by clicking here.

    Austin says, if Pentecost teaches us anything, it’s that the Spirit comes in every language, upon all peoples and with a desire to brings us together as one. Some will argue that this means we all need to sing the same song, in the same language, but I doubt the Spirit is so limited.” 

    I am always reminded of a Pentecost homily that I heard about 20 years ago… “Easter makes me unafraid to die. Pentecost makes me unafraid to live.”

    Pentecost is so unlikely… and if you read me regularly, you know that unlikely is the theme of my life.

    Now please… Go and read Austin’s post – it is brilliant.

    Pentecost Novena 2010 – Day 1

    Last year I was able to offer a novena for these days between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost. This is an important and powerful time of prayer – the post resurrection Jesus has ascended into heaven and has promised us the Holy Spirit, which we know will come on Pentecost.

    If you are from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany you know that we just had our annual catechetical event, Spring Enrichment. This week kept me pretty busy and as a result I have not been able to prepare a novena this year.

    One of the gifts of the internet and blogging is community and one of the gifts of community is that we can share.

    Great friend of the blog, Father Austin Fleming, who blogs at A Concord Pastor Comments, is offering a novena on his blog. I am linking to it here and will keep a link to it on the sidebar of the blog until Pentecost.

    Thank you Father Austin for giving us a chance to pray with you and your readers.

    From his blog:

    The oldest novena is the prayer of the first disciples (Mary, the apostles and other believers) from the time Jesus ascended to his Father (40 days after Easter) to the feast of Pentecost. These nine days are a time for us to pray for the coming of the Spirit upon the Church and upon each of us. Each day of the novena you will find a post with scripture and prayer for that day. For your prayer, I’ve added a widget at the top of the sidebar with 17 musical selections for Pentecost.

    Pentecost Novena to the Holy Spirit – Day 1

    From the scriptures:

    Amen, amen, I say to you,
    you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices;

    you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.
    When a woman is in labor,
    she is in anguish because her hour has arrived;

    but when she has given birth to a child,
    she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy
    that a child has been born into the world.
    So you also are now in anguish.
    But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice,
    and no one will take your joy away from you.John 16:20-23

    For reflection…
     Continue reading at the link….