Is it time to end the political pro-life movement? One blogger forwards the idea. Or given that the abortion rate has been in a slight tailspin for a decade, helped apparently by the current presidency, maybe it’s time to shift to other ideas. Some may say that there’s no time like the present to push the agenda.
I’ve long thought the best pro-life witness is pro-life action. Adoption. Support. More adoption.
Even when I was in college, I demurred highlighting my textbooks. My friends were well-equipped, it seemed, with fluorescent pens of all colors. And every used volume in the bookstore seemed filled with someone else’s study priorities.
One of my favorite spiritual writers is the Australian Trappist Michael Casey. In his book, Toward God, he offers some thoughts on lectio divina in chapter 7. I recommend the whole book, but the chapter on lectio all by itself is quite good. Fr Casey offers six “practical consequences” as the believer moves from reverence into an encounter with God’s Word. Number one is:
What is holy is our reading of the text, that is, welcoming it into a believing heart. The text itself possesses a sacredness too. No harm will be done by surrounding the book of the Bible with care and love. It helps to have as good an edition as our budget allows. We should respect and cherish our Bible–not scribbling on it–as if to impose our own poor thoughts upon the text–but reverencing it in its integrity.
I suspect my instinct for not writing in books is more nurture, not spiritual nature. But I do have in the back of my Psalter a place for a post-it note where I write the names of people to keep in prayer. It’s a tradition of which I could likely make better use.
§ 187 § By their design and construction, church buildings serve the rites of the Church and the devotion of the people, fostering their encounter with God who dwells in all holiness,(SC 122) and reflecting the faith of the people and the culture in which they live. Ideally the church building will be designed so that it also responds to the local environment. While the church building belongs to the Church, its visual aspects belong to its neighbors. In addition, there must be a concern for the impact of the building on its natural surroundings; that is, the site on which it will be located and the resources available there.
The principle of harmony with surroundings is well-taken. Not in the sense, I think, of blending in, but more of being complementary with the surroundings. These days, of course, green considerations are in play.
Keep in touch with one’s history, the bishops advise:
§ 188 § Parishioners may have some sense of the history of the parish, but it is helpful to sharpen the common knowledge of church members at the beginning of the project. This review can consider the origins of the parish; its evolving identity within the local community; and the social, political, economic, and religious elements that have shaped its life. Among other things, the parish will want to reflect on the cultures represented in its members, the geographical and historical factors that have contributed to its development, significant aspects of the community’s liturgical and devotional life, and changes that have already taken place in the building in which its members worship.
… and involve the people:
§ 189 § During the study it may be helpful to invite parishioners to contribute photographs of weddings, first communions, baptisms, and other sacramental and seasonal events. These photos, arranged chronologically, can provide graphic evidence of the changes that the church building has already undergone. The archives of local and diocesan newspapers also can provide material that will help in piecing together the story of the parish over the years.
This is more than just simple sentimentality. I think the emotional and cultural connections to the past may inspire people of the present day to maintain, advance, and appreciate the whole story of the faith community.
All texts from Built of Living Stones are copyright © 2000, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
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The self-styled War on Christmas is heating up, I see. Santa Monica was swamped with atheist displays last year. So the city government appears to have pulled the plug on anything. Fair’s fair for public property, I suppose. As long as everybody’s following the rules.
In my parishes, where there has been a tradition of outdoor decoration, we did it on church property. In one parish, people got tired of the work to set up the display. So it was retired.
Where there’s still energy for public displays of religion, I don’t see the problem with confining it to either one’s church’s property or to acts of charity and justice in the public sphere. “They’ll know we are Christians by our love,” I think, and not by the quality or placement of our decorations. William Becker, attorney for the churches:
The atheists won. It’s a shame about Christmas. Pontius Pilate was exactly the same kind of administrator.
Both sides return to court next Monday for final arguments. Let’s hope Mr Becker doesn’t bring a wash basin for the judge.