9 March 2012, Thoughts on the Current Cleveland Opportunity

March 9, 2012 at 18:11 2 comments

One wonders what might happen if all of us on all sides of the altar were to live up to our baptismal responsibility and assert our love for, and interest in, our Church. As we realized in our own town these past few days, some folks did just that after their parishes were closed, and the unexpected happened: Rome listened, and in a strongly worded rebuke, overturned the bishop’s mandate that closed a number of parishes. What he will do with this situation is anybody’s guess. Every one of us folks, and all of us together, who love our Church and our diocese with its rich multi-ethnic heritage needs, if we have not done so already, to develop a prayer life that will keep us open to grace around us without trying to enlist grace to support our own projects, however noble these might seem to be. The Holy Spirit is alive and well on all sides of this issue. Our role is to be alert and to respond to the promptings of grace.

It might be that our deteriorating situation has come about because so many folks were just fed up and walked away. While no one can blame them, for none of us knows the journey others have to walk, we need to pull together and live our love. It is our Church. Together we are the Mystical Body of Christ, and we may have to learn to take care of ourselves. This is our Church, not the hierarchy’s, either local or world-wide, and we have to live our responsibility. To the extent that we do not do this, we have no one to blame but ourselves. This gifted situation cannot become a power struggle. There is enough power craze at the “higher headquarters”. It has to be along the lines of walking with Jesus and each other, eagerly open to grace, and asking the strength and courage to do whatever it is that grace is calling us to do.

The folks who have assumed the ministry of leadership in the various communities have a special responsibility to make sure prayer is an integral part of their daily life. Since many other folks will key on them they need to make sure that what they are doing is truly the work of the Gospel, and that they are responding to the best of their ability to the calls of grace, and not using prayer to tell grace what they want. Their role cannot be their ego trip.

There might be some corollaries here. All involved on all sides need not expect that folks will respond the same way they always have to any given question. All need to be ready for the surprises that seem to flow from serious efforts to be open to grace. Also, none of us can expect that others agree with us on whatever position we take on anything. Our responsibility is to do our best while being rooted in our prayer practice, whatever it may me. The rest is up to grace. We don’t have to know, we just have to trust and act. Also, this current situation need not be seen as a win-lose situation. When we are doing our best to work with grace, it is a win-win situation. But, when seeking our own way and our own pet projects becomes our operational value or goal, we run the risk of turning it into a lose-lose situation.

Also, this is not a time for gloating, judging or name-calling. All of us on all sides of the current issues are good people, even, believe it or not, “downtown”. None of us has all the answers. Grace would bring us together, while the desire for power and to have our own way drives us apart. Before rancor becomes the dominant atmosphere, we have to seek forgiveness of all whom we feel have wronged us, or whom we ourselves have wronged. If we work to maintain the divisions that have risen among us we are defeated. When we hate someone they have won. We don’t want to defeat anyone. All we want is to walk with Jesus, learn to live as he lived.  Our guiding principle has to be the Gospel as understood in our contemporary life situations. We believe Jesus is somehow in everything that touches us, and we ask the grace to say “Yes, Lord” even though we might not understand fully just we are saying our “yes” to. We don’t have to know, just to trust and act with courage and integrity. To learn from the Gospel we have to study it, pray it. This is not something we do only in the privacy of our heart, but also in the many circumstances of everyday living, with whomever we find ourselves.

This decision by Rome is not a victory for one side and a defeat for another side, but a victory for all of us on all sides. All of us love our Church and our Diocese. We love our parishes. While we have special feelings for our particular parish, we know it is no better or worse than any other parish, but that, in the providence of grace, it has its own unique gifts which, united with the unique gifts of every other parish, serve to build up the People of God that is our diocese.

It would seem that grace is trying to bring us together to build up the Body of Christ. Perhaps we are experiencing growing pains, or even labor pains. The Spirit is moving among all of us, not just among folks who agree on a given situation. It might be a good time to try our best to live our “Yes, Lord”.


Entry filed under: Catholic, Church Leadership, Current Church, Gospel thoughts, Priest. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Random Thoughts, 11 March 2012 Gospel Thoughts, 18 March 2012, Jesus Heals the Blind Man

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Pat Schulte-Singleton  |  March 10, 2012 at 17:57

    Amen, Amen, Amen.

  • 2. Jim Dubik  |  March 12, 2012 at 08:55

    Wonderful, and all you said about keeping “power,” “ego,” and a sense of “winners and losers” out of the discussion is soooooo important.



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