Picking up on a comment below about fruit cultivation …
Just returned from the annual diocesan retreat day given for clergy and lay staff and co-sponsored by the Center and the Priestly Life & Ministry Office. A good speaker and good reflection time on the Eucharist, especially this passage coming up Sunday:
Brothers and sisters:
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters,
whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious,
if there is any excellence
and if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.
Keep on doing what you have learned and received
and heard and seen in me.
Then the God of peace will be with you.
About four items caught my eye and ear in this passage, but the focus, “think about these things,” namely, the excellent and the praiseworthy brought me back to last night’s meeting and the general tenor of strife around St Blog’s.
The extremes of bitterness, satire, holding grudges, rejoicing in others’ misfortune, and other aspects are hardly associated with truth, honor, justice, purity, loveliness, or grace. And I think many of us, in our heart of hearts, realize this.
We have been unable to hear and see directly in the apostle Paul what he did nineteen-plus centuries ago. But I think there’s enough meat in his letters to discern that the best example of living the faith comes not from the ordinary layers of life, but from the extraordinary level of the saints.
And certainly an adult level or saintly level of faith will require substantial nourishment, no doubt something more varied than one-crop agriculture. Or as I confided in a friend today, maybe it’s time the laity of this diocese realized we don’t need a bishop or a diocesan office any more to cultivate faith and theology in the next generation. We have the Scriptural and saintly resources to spread the authentic Christ-centered Good News and we require neither a particular ideology nor a budget to accomplish what we are called to do. Bishop Finn’s praise of New Wine and its graduates is practically an endorsement for anything we can effect outside of a budgetary domain. And that’s a good thing, don’t you think?