Tuesday, March 10, 2015

To Be Catholic Is To Be Surprised

My German Shorthaired Pointer, Finbar
For the past two evenings, I've been preaching a parish mission at St. Mary of the Annunciation Parish in Dedham, Massachusetts.  My reflections were based upon the Stations of the Cross.  For me, preaching the mission provided me the opportunity to spend a lot of time reflecting on the Lord's Passion and Death as I prepared to preach.  But it also provided me the opportunity to see two good priests--the pastor and the curate--doing such great work.  The parish itself has always had a great reputation in our Archdiocese and it was great to be with the people there.  In a particular way, the parish is known for its excellent youth ministry program.  

The students at BU are on break this week, but I've been there getting work done AND enjoying the quiet building!  Two of the students who are hanging around Boston this week have been joining me for Mass each day.  We've also found ourselves engaged in some solid theological discussions.  For me, the true face of the Church is discovered in moments like these.  We've attended Mass, eaten burgers, discussed theological questions, and have bantered back and forth a bit.  Not that I need convincing, but I do need continually confirmation that friendship is the key to the life of the Church.  This week, such confirmation was given in seeing a brother priest thriving in his pastoral ministry and in praying, dining, and hanging around with these students.  

One of those students and one of our staff at the Catholic Center have generously offered to watch my dog from Wednesday until Sunday so that I can go on retreat.  I am the beneficiary of their charity.  I am grateful that their generosity allows me to go and pray for a few days.  I hope that five days at the monastery will make me more charitable in return!

In any event, these days I am reminded (all over again) that the Church works best when we live it as a friendship.  If the Church is lived merely as a bureaucracy, as a series of programs, or as a superficial series of planned social events that never deal with the truly profound questions of the human heart, then it withers and becomes lifeless.  The Church has to meet the human heart and cause it to awaken. 

I'm feeling grateful for the people who reveal the face of Christ to me through the friendship we share in the Church.  They continue to allow me to be surprised by Christ.  And, it gives me joy when through our communion together, they also experience the continual surprise that is life in Christ.  This week, I once again experienced the newness of Christianity.  

(There's no real reason for putting a picture of my dog here except that I mentioned him in this post and I felt like posting his picture.  Several times a day, he appears before me with a ball and stares me down until I yield and start throwing the ball.)

No comments:

Post a Comment