I’ve been thinking about the experience of coming home, being in a familiar place either on a routine basis or after a time of separation. We’ve all had the experience. Any more, I feel it most often when I enter a Catholic Church, especially a parish church that I don’t often attend. I’ve felt that way almost since the time we crossed the Tiber, probably because of the extensive travelling, both in the US and abroad, that I’ve done since then.
I felt this again the other day at noon Mass at the Cathedral here. I saw the baptismal font and candle, the ambo, the presider’s chair, the crucifix, the statues, the Tabernacle, things you’d see in any parish, and I felt at home, at peace, on familiar ground. Then it hit me that the things weren’t the reason I felt as I did, it wasn’t the what, it was the Who. I realized that the real reason for my feeling of being where I belonged was that Jesus was there in the Real Presence in the Tabernacle. I don’t know why that never occurred to be before because it’s so obviously true.
The Papal Nuncio to the U.S., Archbishop Vigano, spoke at Notre Dame last week and said this:
The apostolic nuncio, who serves as the Pope’s diplomatic representative to the U.S., said this is a “tragedy” for both the believer and for democratic society.
Archbishop Vigano’s Nov. 4 speech keynoted the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Church Life conference. He discussed martyrdom, persecution, and religious freedom, with a particular focus on the United States.
He cited Catholics’ duties to be disciples of Christ, not elements of a political or secular ideology. He lamented the fact that many Catholics are publicly supporting “a major political party” that has “intrinsic evils among its basic principles.”
“There is a divisive strategy at work here, an intentional dividing of the Church; through this strategy, the body of the Church is weakened, and thus the Church can be more easily persecuted,” the nuncio said.
Archbishop Vigano observed that some influential Catholic public officials and university professors are allied with forces opposed to the Church’s fundamental moral teachings on “critical issues” like abortion, population control, the redefinition of marriage, embryonic stem cell research and “problematic adoptions.”
He said it is a “grave and major problem” when self-professed Catholic faculty at Catholic institutions are the sources of teachings that conflict with Church teaching on important policy issues rather than defend it.
I’ve long felt this was a real possibility, and like many Catholics, I can’t understand why this conduct by elected officials and university professors has been tolerated by the bishops in this country. I hope they are waking up to what’s been happening and may begin to become more aggressive in opposing it, as we all must.
I’ve been trying more and more to simplify and quiet my life. As I get a bit older, I feel the need ever more urgently to find silence in life. I think we both feel this way and have taken a few positive steps toward the goal; after the wood flooring project, the Direct TV boxes were disconnected and will be returned to the satellite provider. I found this from Abbot Phillip of the Benedict Abbey of Christ in the Desert on monastic silence:
Here we touch on the theme of silence once again. There is no doubt that in the Rule of Benedict, silence is one of the most important aspects of a monk. Learning to be silent is more than just keeping the external silence. On the other hand, if one cannot keep external silence, then probably the internal silence is not very profound either. It really is a challenge for the monk to be still and silent in the face of God and with his brothers.
Two points caught my eye. First, silence must be internal, not just an external, physical lack of noise and speech. I find that too much TV greatly disrupts the possibility for internal silence. The second, even more important, is that our silence is undertaken in the face of God and also our brothers. How much easier, and maybe more holy, would our lives be if we had less to say, especially to those who might, on occasion, rub us the wrong way. How many times to we inject a comment in a situation where keeping silent would have been the wiser way? I lost count many moons ago.
Despite my best efforts, I caught a bit of Rush Limbaugh while toodling around town in the SUV. This comment concerning the Petraeus, et al, scandal was worth noting: “It’s obvious, the generals are being led around by their privates.”
"The key to interior growth is based on the fact that voluntary acts leave traces. We all know people who are very skillful at a variety of performances: craftsmen, athletes, musicians, etc. All have in common the ability to do easily and well what for others would be impossible or, at least, very difficult. They have mastered those techniques by repeating the same actions over and over again. The same rule applies in the education of the spirit: repetition. More than just training the body, this is formation of the spirit." From The Virtues of Holiness, by Fr Lorda
We're enjoying beautiful weather for November here in Colorado. Wonder how long it will last?
BTW, Happy Thanksgiving!