I will spend some time today thoughtfully grappling with next Sunday’s readings like I am committed to doing whenever possible. However let me interrupt my usual transmission to share a fantastically reflexive piece of writing by a fellow-Catholic.
The Catholic church, has a poor record when it comes to ecumenism and interfaith dialogue (and almost anything that involves recognising dignity, autonomy and rights in “others”). This is particularly true if we define “The church” as the people who think they are the bosses of the rest of us and hand down rules. As this article shows there is also a much more beautiful grass-roots tradition on catholicism. A tradition of humility, reflexivity, focus on the public good and class struggle. A tradition of boldness in the Holy Spirit and compassion toward a partially known other. These beautiful souls within the church, tend to exist uneasily and somewhat critically within what even to them seems like a somewhat oppressive edifice.
The sort of Catholicism expressed by the writer of this article makes me able to still identify within that church. This sort of idealism and reflexivity is what I seek in looking to work in Catholic education.
Here’s the article.
I like this poem bar the last stanza (really?? You are going to ask to be smitten for not being better?). I always doubt that sentiments like that are sincere, however if they are the person thinking it needs urgent mental health help. But if there was less self-hate and masochism in the last stanza then it was a bid to be rehumanised by witnessing the suffering of “other”. To see God in the condemned and the suffering. To feel more. To be returned to a state of compassion. So because of that last bit I did not use this poem in my liturgy. However I am saving it here so when I look back on my spiritual ups and downs of the year i remember the call to compassion too!
Am I a stone, and not a sheep,
That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy cross,
To number drop by drop Thy blood’s slow loss,
And yet not weep?
Not so those women loved
Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
Not so the thief was moved;
Not so the Sun and Moon
Which hid their faces in a starless sky,
A horror of great darkness at broad noon –
I, only I.
Yet give not o’er,
But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;
Greater than Moses, turn and look once more
And smite a rock.