Sunday, November 30, 2008

Self sufficient in Christ

But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. 1 Timothy 6:9

How 'wicked' sad I am to hear and read of the Wal-mart worker, Jdimytai "Jimmy" Damour, being trampled to death by a mob of folks pushing to get into the store to buy stuff.

In my checkered Catholic sister career as a teacher, parish and youth minister and social worker, etc. I've seen people in great need for food, clothes and shelter and those who have enough but have this great deep want for? What? More of whatever it is that other folks have. They are not content with their life.
I don't call them savages as some have. I don't believe that any of those folks wanted to kill Mr. Damour for a Wal-mart special. In fact they were probably pushed forward by the great crowd behind them. I wonder about the many motives of the individuals in that crowd. Why did they go out at that 'unGodly' hour to stand out in the cold and wait to get in to buy some thing?

I know I want stuff too. I have the use of things. As a Catholic Sister I don't own things, but I have the use of them for my ministry. So the Community buys me a car, clothes, books, a laptop and printer, etc. Guess what? I want the latest, most powerful laptop going, but I don't get it because we tend to go practical, not the best but something good and hopefully durable.
Some of us are using Windows 95 machines.
If someone were to give me the machine of my dreams I'd be thrilled for the moment. It's enjoyable to have the latest thing, the coolest Ipod or smartphone or widescreen TV.

Does it make me or anyone happier, better, more cool? No.
I think the wants people are trying to fill have nothing to do with possessing things, with being able to give cool gifts. I believe we are trying to fill up a hole within us that no material object will fill. For me I know the One who fills my wants and needs is Jesus Christ, the Lord.
How I wish more people could know this. I am praying this Advent be more than just a season of shopping but a season of hope for the coming of Christ within us EVERYDAY.
I pray we can be like St. Paul who said:
Not that I say this because of need, for I have learned, in whatever situation I find myself, to be self-sufficient.
I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need.
I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me. Philippians, 4,11

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church

The Catholic Church just had a synod of Bishops on the topic of Scripture. The Synod sent out a letter on Oct. 24th which can be accessed here:
There will be a letter called an Apostolic Exhortation from Pope Benedict sometime soon.

While I always try to read and pay attention to letters, exhortations, encyclicals and the like from Rome (it's part of what I'm committed to as a vowed religious) I'm especially interested in this topic. Reading the Bible as a young women of 22, rekindled my faith in God and changed me from a "Sunday Mass Catholic" to a practicing Catholic every day.

Four central points concerning the Word of God were highlighted:

1. The divine Voice. in Creation, in history
2. The Face: Jesus Christ
3. The Home of the divine word, that is to say the Church, which, as Saint Luke suggested
(Acts 2:42), is supported by four ideal columns.
the breaking of the bread
brotherly communion
4. The road the Word of God walks upon
The Word of God must run through the world’s streets which today are also those of computer, television and virtual communication.

Here's a piece of what the Synod had to say in their Oct. 24th letter:

Dear brothers and sisters, guard the Bible in your houses, fully read, study and understand its pages, transform them into prayer and witness of life, listen to it with love and faith in the liturgy. Create the silence to effectively hear the Word of the Lord and hold a silence after the listening, because it will continue to dwell, live and speak to you. Make it resound at the beginning of your day so that God will have the first word and let it echo in you in the evenings so that the last word will be God’s.