Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Different way of looking at Church

Daily I receive by e-mail a brief meditation from Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM, a friar based in Albuquerque, NM.  Over the past few weeks his reflections have been centered on St. Paul's theology of the Church as Body of Christ. In his November 27 reflection he writes:

"For Paul, you do not live in the world and go to church.  You live in the Church and go to the world.  Take off your head, shake it and put it back on; because that was not the way any of us were trained to think."
 This thought provoking statement is a great summary of the direction that my own thoughts of taken over the past month.  My province's chapter at the beginning of the month had as it's theme "Where our deepest longing meets the world's great need." This theme certainly resonates with Richard's vision of Church.  Basically it tells us that the Church exists for the world, not for itself.It exists to bring the Gospel to the world and that doesn't mean to go out and try to convert everyone.  It means to bring love, justice, mercy and compassion to the world.  If we concentrate on that there will no doubt be many conversions.  This morning's Gospel from Matthew 5 gives us the beatitudes, wonderful statements that we are blessed by being poor in spirit and by working for justice even when we are persecuted.  It tells us that we are blessed when we are meek and lowly.  This is surely not the message of the world that tells us we are blessed by being rich and powerful.

  During the past month we have seen the Tuscon incident and several other acts of violence in the streets of our country.  In the past week we have witnessed the uprising in Egypt.  It is to issues such as these, not to mention the many who suffer from hunger and poverty, undocumented immigrants, etc. that our eyes must be turned as Church and while I don't deny that many in the Church are focused in this way too many of us are more focused on rearranging the candlesticks at the altar and worrying about who can clean chalices or trying to retreat to a Church of the past that never really existed because nostalgia is always unreal.

  So let's focus and being Church rather than going to Church. If we do that all kinds of wonderful things might happen, and the pews might get filled in the process as well. Finally, as I come to the end of this reflection my attention was just called to a wonderful blog entry by a wonderful young friar from my province, Dan Horan, OFM.  In this blog entry he raises the question "What makes a space Sacred?" after giving a lecture on Thomas Merton. Does a Church building make it Sacred or is it that we come together in faith and love?  Just click below to see more
 Dan Horan, OFM--Dating God

1 comment:

  1. Richard Rohr's commentary is fantastic. Thanks for posting that nugget.

    Dan Hennessey