“Ecological Conversion”

LS - ecological conversion

This is a key quote in this document, because it underscores the fact that belief is evidenced by action. Pope Francis is stressing that when we have a living and vibrant faith, it is going to manifest itself in the way we interact with everything. In this case, valuing creation as a gift of God — seeing in it the “caress of God“– should change the way we interact with that gift. We should not be cavalier in the way we use the earth. And here’s where we delve into turning off the vehicles instead of idling for ten or twenty or thirty minutes; to not using plastic straws and plastic bottles; to all the everyday ways we can be better stewards of creation.

#intentionalcatholic #realfaithrealworld #faithinaction #theologyofthebody #creation #environmentalstewardship #steward #green #greenliving #gogreen #climatechange #laudatosi #laudatosii #catholic #socialjustice

“Ridicule expressions of concern”

LS - ridicule

This is the first of two hard-hitting quotes that should cause us to examine our consciences and our biases. It’s easy to make fun of “tree huggers,” isn’t it? To view concerns about environment as secondary (at best) or pagan (at worst). Tune in tomorrow for the second half.

#intentionalcatholic #realfaithrealworld #faithinaction #theologyofthebody #creation #environmentalstewardship #steward #green #greenliving #gogreen #climatechange #laudatosi #laudatosii #catholic #socialjustice

 

Market Forces Can’t Protect Creation

LS - market forces

#intentionalcatholic #realfaithrealworld #faithinaction #theologyofthebody #creation #environmentalstewardship #steward #green #greenliving #gogreen #climatechange #laudatosi #laudatosii #catholic #socialjustice

Breaking Through

Resurrection WindowIn my parish, this window is one of three forming the back wall of the music area, where I have “lived” for the past nineteen years. Every once in a while, the setting sun illuminates the resurrection beam. It’s a glorious moment.

Holy Thursday was cloudy and chilly all day. But in the middle of Mass, the sinking sun broke through the clouds and sent this beam of light coursing down the image of Heavenly power breaking through into the humdrum, workaday world. Juxtaposed against the anxieties I have been contemplating in recent weeks (and months, and years), as well as against the Triduum whose celebration we were just opening, it felt particularly meaningful, and particularly pregnant with hope.

This is my wish for a blessed and hope-filled Easter for all those who love the Lord.

Happy Holy Thursday!

EG-Eucharist medicine

The Eucharist is a medicine we all desperately need–ourselves every bit as much as the people our minds leap to when we start trying to identify “the sinners” of the world.

I share this thought on Holy Thursday, as we gather to remember the institution of the Eucharist. I’ll be leading the choir and praying for the Church tonight.

#intentionalcatholic #eucharist #evangeliigaudium #realfaithrealworldHave a blessed Triduum.

 

An Award Nomination

In my “other” life, part of what I do is writing and composing for the Church. Recently I found out that my newest song from WLP, “Show Us Your Face,” was named as a finalist in the Association of Catholic Publishers’ “Excellence in Publishing” awards for 2019. You can hear it on the “listen” tab at this link.

Show us Your Face - cover small

Two other songs are in the running, both of them fierce competition:

Rise Again, written by my friend Christian Cosas; and Struggler, by Brother Isaiah and the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. Hope you’ll listen to all three!

What Do We Do About The Sex Abuse Crisis?

Of everything we heard yesterday at Mass on Palm Sunday, these are the words that leaped out at me. If Jesus’ life and message were so threatening when he was living and breathing and working wonders (“when the wood is green”) that they could hand him over to one of the most brutal forms of execution ever known, then what we’re experiencing today, “when it is dry,” shouldn’t be a surprise.

We’ve been talking about a Church in crisis for so long, I think we’ve tuned it out. And it’s not just a crisis within the Church; it’s a crisis that consumes the entire world. The stark division between U.S. political parties is mirrored within the Church, with people on both sides picking and choosing what issues matter and which ones to pretend are irrelevant–as if doing so is not, inherently, an offense against God Who makes no such distinctions. The one thing we all agree on is the horror of the abuse crisis, but we’re so busy pointing fingers at scapegoats (Vatican II! Homosexuals! Clericalism!) that we substitute outrage for action.

I’m not browbeating anyone here, because I’m as guilty as anyone else. I think most of us feel helpless, and enraged by our helplessness. Composer and recording artist Sarah Hart posted this video a few days ago, and all I could think was, “But what do I do?

When we look back at Church history, we hear about the antipopes and Catherine of Siena scolding the Pope to get back to Rome where he belonged. We hear about the Reformation. But not until the last few months have I begun to consider what it must have been like to live through those earlier existential crisis moments within the Church.

We’re living one now. And it’s awful. The strength of our Church–its apostolic hierarchy, which protects us from the human fickleness–is working against us, because the system is stacked against the lay people. What power do we have? How can we actually impact anything?

Catholics are not accustomed to speaking out to our leadership. To saying, “This is wrong. This is not the Gospel.” We were taught that they knew the Gospel and could be trusted to lead us in it. All we had to do was keep our mouths shut and do as we’re told.

But you know what? That facile approach to faith is a cop-out, because we, too, are called by our baptism to be “priest, prophet, and king.” We can’t just show up on Sundays and trust that it’ll all work out. We have to stand up and speak. And not just about the travesty of the abuse scandal, either.

But saying that terrifies me, because I was taught to respect the call of the priesthood. Which I do. I have known a number of good, holy men over the years whose commitment and realism have helped me grow in my faith. Since day one, I have been praying for God to call one of my children.

But respect does not mean blind, unquestioning obedience. Look where that got us! We, the laity, enabled the crisis by putting priests on a pedestal, acting as if their vocation is better and holier and more important than ours. By separating them, isolating them, and viewing ourselves as second class citizens in our own Church.

I don’t know what the solution is. All I know is we can’t  just keep going to our prolife meetings and choir practices and pretending like the problems will go away if we just ignore them. We need to recognize that some within the Church are using this as an excuse to further their own pet agendas (high church and scapegoating of gays, to name a couple).

This is not okay. We need to stand up and do something.

But what?

The voice of God

LS JP2 quote

Pope Francis quoted St. John Paul II in Laudato Si’. This is how I feel about creation. Yesterday I spent two hours hiking four miles in a local state park. I set off anxious, my brain buzzing; I returned to the car with painful toes and a peaceful spirit and quiet mind. To be in nature is to spend time with God.