October 30, 2018

On the Sacred and Profane

One of the more puzzling aspects of the sex abuse crisis concerns St. John Paul II, the lack of push-back against Maciel and McCarrick and others. He’s the one figure over the past 50 years with the “spiritual street cred” to have done something about it. First, he had the strong personality for it. Second, he was saintly, literally. Third, he had a mystical streak that would seemingly have served him well in “seeing” what could harm the Church so devastatingly such that now even his Polish church is in trouble.

Ironically, one of the more prophetic voices seems to have been the more "liberal" Andrew Greeley. I think years ago he said it would be something on par with the Protestant Reformation.

Perhaps God in some ways is letting us be crushed that he may again raise us. Maybe St. John Paul II handled it rightly if not in view of the world but in view of God’s will. Or perhaps he, like all of us, was flawed and this is a way of telling the faithful to look at Jesus not prelates.

Ultimately wrestling with a question like this is beyond me as one of the Psalms say. Certainly even the fifth joyful mystery suggests that.

And the "best version of John Paul II” was not when he was helping defeat Communism or evangelizing the world. A priest on Twitter tweeted: “‘The best version of yourself’ is you throwing yourself at the foot of the Cross and asking the Loving Jesus for his mercy.”

Speaking of tweets, here are a few other good quotes:
“When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.” - C.S. Lewis
Roger Scruton:
“We kill in ourselves both piety and gratitude, believing that we owe the world nothing, and that the world owes everything to us. That is the real meaning of the new secular religion of human rights. I call it a religion because it seems to occupy the place vacated by faith.”
St. Augustine:
“Why God should ask us to pray, when he knows what we need, may perplex us if we do not realize that he does not want to know what we want but wants us to exercise our desire through our prayers, so that we may be able to receive what he is preparing to give us.”
Interesting lines from George Weigel column about 1970s German Catholicism:
A German baroness by birth, she had grown up in what she described as a “Catholicism hollowed out…a shell with no serious sin and therefore no state of grace [and] no encounter with Christ.”
Interesting that we almost need sin in order to goad us towards relationship.

Which means that modernity's disavowal of sin - apart from coal emissions or Megyn Kelly suggesting it was okay for a white girl to dress like Diana Ross for Halloween - is part of why there's a lack of the sense of the sacred.

It’s interesting how counter the Word Among Us meditations are compared to the typical devotional commentaries on the daily Mass readings.

A prime example was Sunday’s gospel about storing up not treasures on earth, but those things that “matter to God”. The knee-jerk, easy interpretation of things that matter to God can be summarized as loving and serving others.

But the meditation goes:

“First, that we would know his love for us personally...Second, that we matter to him—so much so that we can trust him always to take care of us....Third, that Jesus died and rose so that we could experience God’s transforming grace in our lives. And finally, that confident in his love for us, we would dedicate ourselves to loving and serving the people around us, especially those in need.”

I think the crucified Christ shows us love, but not power. The Resurrected Christ shows us power but not necessarily love. And it’s crucial to see both in part because the human mind simply has a very difficult time seeing power and love together (which is God), and for good reason given our experience - the forces of nature are powerful but indifferent to man. Elite leaders are powerful but do not love us (hence, the invention and need for democracy). Mother Teresa showed the world love, but had no power.

Interesting Eastern Orthodox critique of words of Christ being in red in bibles:
"What Our Lord did during his earthly life is as important, if not more important, than what he said. Both St John and St Luke make this point. St John ends his Gospel, ‘There are many other things that Jesus did’; nothing about ‘said’. St Luke begins Acts with a look back at the Gospel as the record of ‘all that Jesus began to do and teach’. It is Jesus himself who is the Word of God, and his actual words are only one aspect of the mystery. To highlight only the spoken words of Jesus is a reflection of a peculiarly Anglo-Saxon attitude which effectively reduces Jesus to a teacher of a system of ethics and a teller of picturesque inspirational stories. It is not for nothing that the traditional iconography of the Holy Doors includes not only the Four Evangelists but the Annunciation as well."

No comments: