Burning down the house

EDITMustBurn (1)This morning a friend sent me an op-ed from the Washington Post. It was written by Marc Thiessen; in full disclosure I am not a fan of his work. Thiessen, a former speech writer for President George W. Bush, wrote a book defending “enhanced interrogation methods.” Most of us would call that torture, and it does not square with Catholic teaching, and Thiessen is Catholic. So that is where I stand on him; needless to say I did not love this column and its distinctly not Catholic gloom and doom outlook.

Today I also read a column by the editor of the Albany Times Union, Rex Smith. It too was about burning churches, but took an entirely different tack. In full disclosure once more, I first met Rex in the Albany airport in 2007, when I walked up to him and introduced myself, much to Mark’s chagrin! And years later I began to post my blog as part of the paper’s blogging platform, something I continue to do. Continue reading

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Real power

We are invited to follow Jesus to the Cross every day of our lives, but no more so than on this day, Good Friday.

EDIT MDTP Good Friday notre dame fireJesus death on the Cross was an exercise of what appeared to be power on the part of the Romans, but instead was an expression of fear. Mary DeTurris Poust, in her book of Lenten reflections, Not By Bread Alone from Liturgical Press offered a powerful thought for this day, and I leave that with you for your prayer and contemplation. Once again the Cross at Notre-Dame Cathedral after the fire provides us with inspiration and hope.  This is an image how real power resurrects, even in the midst of the worst death.

What will we die to today? Our ego? Our hubris? Our fears that puff us up or tamp us down? Our distractions or addictions? Whatever it is, we in one way or another have prayed to be transformed by Christ during our Lenten journey in the desert with him. How willing are we in the end to be transformed? Are we willing to trust the small turns of transformation of each Lent and each day of our life as we die to the lure of some overnight event, such as winning the lottery or suddenly no longer wanting to take a drink? Or are we still hoping for something that will externally change our lives? All the while Jesus continues to beckon from within.

Transformed or not, we are all called to remember that in our daily lives and exercises of power and our use of, or response to fear of the power around us. In God is the strongest power, the power that saves into eternity. We must remember that, especially today.

Many people object to the symbol of the crucifixion, many Christians even. But without crucifixion there can be no resurrection. One is entirely dependent upon the other, they cannot be separated, although it is the Cross that triumphs. If we are left uncomfortable by the Cross, maybe it is time to die to our literalism and to be born in the hope of the Cross. God does not choose to punish us cruelly. We all do a bang up job of doing that to one another and ourselves. God invites us to eternal life. That is real power. Are we ready?

Must burn

D4OfvVBX4AUj-UMThis image of the interior of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame after the fire is haunting. In the darkened sanctuary a cross stands, shining in the distance.  The words of Viktor Frankl remind us “what is to give light must endure burning.” 

Upon awakening from a night of fitful sleep I thought about  Fluctuat nec mergitur. This Latin phrase translates more or less to she is tossed by the waves, but does not sink.”  Since at least 1358 it has been used as the motto by the city of Paris. Today the city of Paris, the City of Lights, or in French, La Ville-Lumière has been tossed indeed. The Cathedral of Notre-Dame rests in the remains of smoke and ashes after a devastating fire, but it has not sunk, nor has Paris itself. Yet when I woke up, I had to wonder if it had really happened.

*****

Here we are on Tuesday of Holy Week Continue reading