Guilt names a wrongful relationship between a man or woman and their God. It differs from regret and from awareness of having made a mistake. These we recognize and our culture guilds us to correct them. But guilt? Apart from a conviction that it is a mindset bred into me by my upbringing or my culture, we do not recognize it. Yet, if we do not and do not repent of our sin, we will live – as one man in his sixties put it – with a monkey clawing into our back with sharp claws.
Fr. Joe's blog
After the jihadist terrorist attack in Paris, a number of my friends and correspondents are sharing reflections about Muslims being terrorists, Syrian refugees bringing in clandestine terrorists, and American security being so defective. The mood of twitters is fear. It is not my mood and the reason goes back to the beginning of the pilgrimage I am writing about.
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.
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?
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?
A while back, it seemed good to remember that Jesus is always close to us and to reflect that our closeness to one another is the ripeness of obeying His commandment to love one another as He loves us....
We all live barely aware of the excellences in our selves and the splendors in our life world. We know these are there – even beautiful things, wonderful things – but we are busy, busy, and have little time to be aware of them.