Posted by: sisterbernice | July 9, 2010

On Being Catholic in times of woe

How does one reconcile oneself to the current woes when you are Catholic?  Over at the Deacon’s Bench (http://blog.beliefnet.com/deaconsbench/2010/07/i-like-my-faith-in-purple.html) they are pondering something similar – How and why do you stay Catholic?  I once flirted with leaving the Church but like Peter – to Whom would I go?  There are plenty of other denominations, other religions and forms of spirituality.  You could spend your whole life going from one to another but would you find what you are looking for there?  I suppose the question is what are you looking for?  If it is self-fulfillment, you might. If you are seeking fellowship, you might.  But if you are seeking God, would you find Him in those other places? 

Victims of sex abuse would tell us that they certainly did not find Him in the Catholic Church.  I think they could convince many of us of this but really He is there.  They didn’t find Him in the abuser.  Many are arguing that they didn’t find Him in the Bishops either.  I think that is a case by case situation.  For some bishops, it was about compassion and mercy to both.  For others, it was hiding the head in the sand.  For others, it was sweeping it under the carpet.  For many, it was fear.   I don’t seem to feel the same outrage toward bishops as others do.  I guess I think I have failed often enough that it is hard to throw that first stone.  I also know that redemption is offered.  And, I know of at least one Bishop who acted in the eighties so I know it wasn’t an organized cover-up.  No, it was failure of individuals to live up to their call.  Yes, I cannot throw the first stone.  And, that is how I reconcile myself in times of woe.

That, of course, offers no comfort to victims who I really do feel for and know of no way other than praying to help.  But faith does heal and prayer is effective.  I really like the prayer I published several weeks ago and I offer it again:

Prayer for Those Who Suffer

For those who suffer,
and those who cry this night,
give them repose, Lord;
a pause in their burdens.
Let there be minutes
where they experience peace,
not of man
but of angels.
Love them, Lord,
when others cannot.
Hold them, Lord,
when we fail with human arms.
Hear their prayers
and give them the ability to hear You back
in whatever language they best understand.

Submitted in January 1996 by Margaret A. Davidson
© 1996 by Margaret A. Davidson, All Rights Reserved found at http://www.yenra.com/catholic/prayers/forthosewhosuffer.html

I hope the victims will experience the healing that comes from the heart of Christ, rich, deep and warm.  They are actually closer to Him than we know, than they know.  May they experience it. May all of us in the Church remember He is there – really truly present.  Catholicism isn’t theology, it is an event – something happened.  God came among us and is still present.  I can think of only two other homes to go to – I would be Jewish or Orthodox.

Today’s readings( http://www.usccb.org/nab/070910.shtml)are rich with meaning.  I didn’t know which I wanted to choose but I decided after writing this to go with the psalm:

Ps 51:3-4, 8-9, 12-13, 14 and 17

My mouth will declare your praise.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. My mouth will declare your praise.
Behold, you are pleased with sincerity of heart,
and in my inmost being you teach me wisdom.
Cleanse me of sin with hyssop, that I may be purified;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
R. My mouth will declare your praise.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. My mouth will declare your praise.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
R. My mouth will declare your praise.

As always – I say all the prayers on this site and the sorrowful mysteries. 

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