A good reminder that neither the Church nor its members chooses who will be evangelized and saved. God’s grace invites very soul. The question is: are we on board with the effort?
27. Evangelization will also always contain – as the foundation, center, and at the same time, summit of its dynamism – a clear proclamation that, in Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man, who died and rose from the dead, salvation is offered to all (people), as a gift of God’s grace and mercy.[Cf. Eph 2:8; Rom 1:16. Cf. Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaratio ad fidem tuendam in mysteria Incarnationis et SS. Trinitatis e quibusdam recentibus erroribus (21 February 1972): AAS 64 (1972), pp. 237-241] And not an immanent salvation, meeting material or even spiritual needs, restricted to the framework of temporal existence and completely identified with temporal desires, hopes, affairs and struggles, but a salvation which exceeds all these limits in order to reach fulfillment in a communion with the one and only divine Absolute: a transcendent and eschatological salvation, which indeed has its beginning in this life but which is fulfilled in eternity.
Salvation is begun by the events of evangelization. But evangelization itself is but the start of a “transcendant and eschatological” journey. What does that mean? Certainly not that believers are absolved of a certain urgency, an initiative to cast our nets. But we don’t have to rely on the finished product coming from our own hands either. The mystery of salvation might require we sponsor no conversions to Christ, but that we plant a lot of seeds, knowing that some of that effort will take root and others will reap for the Reign of God. The ultimate realization of the Reign of God will be realized not even if or when every human being acclaims Christ, but when we gather in the final fulfillment of God’s plan–whatever that looked like.
Only a couple of minutes into his homily, Cardinal Dolan, who noted that all were gathered “to salute a great Bishop of Rochester,” got to the prevailing sentiment of the occasion.
“Why don’t I just say it, what’s in all our hearts. Matthew, we love you very much,” Cardinal Dolan remarked, setting off thunderous applause that became a standing ovation.
Cardinal Dolan was wondering later about the Garbage Plate. Please, archbishop, stay on that diet!
I remember that Matthew Clark was regarded with deep suspicion by some when he came to Rochester in 1979–directly from Rome. The previous bishop had, at his predecessor‘s urging, been appointed from among the pastors of the diocese in 1969. That still seems a generally sensible idea, one that Pope Benedict occasionally endorses, such as here, and that occasionally is rejected, sometimes with disastrous results, such as here.
In the early 80′s, I was thinking it better to form my own opinion on a bishop rather than swim with the current. I would occasionally cross paths with Bishop Clark in my formation years. he was always friendly, inquiring about my studies. He seemed more up-to-date on them than my pastor. I remember being most impressed with Bishop Clark as a skilled and prayerful presider, especially at confirmations.
My Kansas City bishops in comparison were dry and difficult presiders and preachers. Bishop Finn did restore the Eucharist for confirmation. And forty-minute homilies were trimmed somewhat. Give me a good prayerful bishop who engages ars celebrandi–who cares for his politics or ideology. Speaking of which, if one were to judge the need for a successor bishop in Rochester, one might have thought that an appointment would be coming the day Bishop Clark turned 75. The counters on the conservative web sites are gone, and the Catholic Right is still grinding its teeth.
Without getting into specifics, BLS opens the discussion by suggesting traditional symbolism for the design of the font:
§ 68 § Water is the key symbol of baptism and the focal point of the font. In this water believers die to sin and are reborn to new life in Christ. In designing the font and the iconography in the baptismal area, the parish will want to consider the traditional symbolism that has been the inspiration for the font’s design throughout history. The font is a symbol of both tomb and womb; its power is the power of the triumphant cross; and baptism sets the Christian on the path to the life that will never end, the “eighth day” of eternity where Christ’s reign of peace and justice is celebrated.
Six sides (tomb, Friday) or eight sides (womb, Sunday)? Stone and suggestive of a mausoleum? Colors in tile or frescoes?
Iconography–that’s the term used. In my parish, we have the ambry set nearby, and a cross inlaid into the bottom of the font.
My own recollection of baptism, which was conducted in a baptistry, is that behind the priest, I saw a stained glass piece that contained the Apostle’s Creed. A helpful “crib sheet,” but I tried to focus on the water instead. Something less literal would be great. What do you think of this banner over the cathedral font in St Mary’s, Winnipeg?
working with dioceses and parishes to introduce the apostleship to more people
developing the Eucharistic Youth Movement, which is the branch for children and teens
Makes sense to me. Many parishes already have such a structure–some variation of a “prayer chain.” The digital version of the AoP is probably about ten years late. But better late than never. More:
Membership in the Apostleship of Prayer involves a commitment to beginning each day with a prayer offering one’s life to God and praying for the needs of the universal church and the intentions of the pope. Members promise to end each day prayerfully reviewing their blessings and failings.
The morning offering and prayers are the basic membership requirements, and in many countries the apostleship has no registration, no groups, no fees, and no special meetings. The Jesuits estimate that about 50 million people fulfill the membership requirements in the apostleship and its youth wing, the Eucharistic Youth Movement.
Reviewing blessings and failings is nothing more than the daily examen. More tools are probably needed to instill that a bit more deeply.
Otherwise, what do you think?
about Todd Flowerday
A Roman Catholic lay person, married (since 1996), with one adopted child (since 2001). I serve in worship and spiritual life in a midwestern university parish.
Neil has been a blogging collaborator for the past several years on Catholic Sensibility. He brings his unique experiences from theology, spirituality, and the ecumenical sphere. Pay special attention to each one of his posts.