I am just back from a prayer pilgrimage. We visited holy places and we felt their holiness. As we went and prayed, I thought about the “middle class holiness” that Pope Francis sees all around him. So I considered what “holiness” might be for us middle class Americans.
Paul says to the Galatians, “For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery”(5:1). Similarly, in the Ignatian tradition we often speak of interior freedom. What does this freedom consist of and how do we grow in it?
The discussion continues about whether the Big Bang poses a conundrum for science and for religion. For science, because of its commitment to “random selection” – viz. pure chance without any causes of anything. For religion, because of the Genesis narrative about how God created all things.
The “news” comes to us as heaps of raw facts and feelings. It continually massages our values, aims, and purposes. If we let it come into our souls raw and unfiltered, the “news” can burden us and even do us real damage.
While giving a weekend retreat and listening to what a lot of people have on their minds, I began to wonder about what things run through my own mind. Where are my own thoughts? What do I concentrate on?
Like many people, much of the events of the past few days of my life have taken place against the backdrop of the Pope’s visit. Here in Pacific Time, when I wake up and go downstairs to get my first cup of coffee, I have encountered my brothers watching the addresses to Congress and the UN. Music from the vespers at St. Patrick’s Cathedral provided a soundtrack to my office hours at the University of San Francisco.
Tonight something hit me as I drove across the Bay Bridge from an evening class in San Francisco to my home in Berkeley.
The words of wisdom this month on the calendar hanging next to my computer read, “what people really need is a good listening to.” Listening. It seems we talk about it a lot which, I suppose, adds to the irony that we actually do it so rarely.
The Church tries to remember in early September the Cross of Jesus and the sufferings of the Lady Mary. These are dense mysteries directly related to the dense mystery of the sufferings we go through. St. Paul told the Romans, We are reconciled to God by the death of his Son.” (5:10)
In the past, it has seemed odd to me that we celebrate the birthday of Jesus’ mother. We don’t know the date, of course. So celebrating it seems to the more sensate types a bit over the top. A nice thought but do we need to make a whole liturgy of it?