Friday, November 30, 2012

The time for contemplation

Here's something Thomas Merton said that I had not come across before today:
"The time for contemplation is the spring that feeds our action, and our action will be as deep as the spring. We need time to allow the spirit to clear the obstacles - the clinging debris and mud - that keeps the spring from flowing freely from its clear, deep source. And we need time for the spring to overflow into insightful and compassionate action."

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Feast of Christ the King

Image from Wikimedia Commons

I have long admired the Jesuit priest, Fr. John Kavanaugh who died earlier this month. Here's something he said in a reflection about yesterday's observance:
In answering Pilate, Jesus says that his kingdom is not of this world. It is a kingdom not fought for with old means of warfare. Rather, it testifies to truth. It will not kill for the truth, it will die for it. If Jesus is king, he will be a suffering king. He will not demand ransom. He will be ransom. He will win, not by spilling the blood of others, but by offering up his own.

Over the centuries Christians have had trouble with this new kind of king, so much have we hungered for the earthly assurances of conquest and control. But it is equally true that the centuries have seen men and women who recognized in Jesus a kingliness that summoned nothing less than the loyalty of a free human heart. Something was unlocked in them when they discovered a "lord of life" whose ambition was not to dominate humanity but to save and serve it.
Those words, "the loyalty of a free human heart", are very powerful. If this is what Christ wants from us, how can we possibly justify the oppression of others or even stand by passively when we see that oppression?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day, 2012

"Election Day in Philadelphia"

Did you know that at one time Election Day sermons were customary? Here's an excerpt from a more up to date one by Forrest Church:
But, in the largest sense of the word, neither [candidate] is going to save us. Here the old Puritan preachers were right. The votes we cast for president are much less important than the votes we cast with and in our lives. Then God, greater than all and yet present in each, will save us. God will save us by looking through our eyes, and touching our hearts, and applying our hands to the saving work of neighborly love. Conversely, wherever you see neighborly hate, God is absent. God's love unites us, it doesn't divide us, either within or among ourselves.

If the United States of America is about anything it is about unity amidst diversity. E pluribus unum. Not one for many, but out of many, one.
May we all pray for our nation this night and extend compassion and lovingkindness in our prayers both to the candidates we support and to the candidates we oppose. And let us do what we can to make our nation just and good whatever our personal political outlook may be.