Christus Vivit 110: Life In Common vs Isolation

Chapter Three of Pope Francis’ Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation wraps up: 

110. Yet let me also remind you that, “when we live apart from others, it is very difficult to fight against concupiscence, the snares and temptations of the devil, and the selfishness of the world. Bombarded as we are by so many enticements, we can grow too isolated, lose our sense of reality and inner clarity, and easily succumb”.[Gaudete et Exsultate 140] This is especially the case with young people, for whenever you are united, you have marvellous strength. Whenever you are enthused about life in common, you are capable of great sacrifices for others and for the community. Isolation, on the other hand, saps our strength and exposes us to the worst evils of our time.

Yes. It’s well-known that communities are a strength–not just for themselves but for the individuals committed to them. This is especially true when they are open and diverse, not turned in on themselves.

You can access the full document on this link at the Vatican site.

The text in color is © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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Equal Or Better Pay

Megan Rapinoe (May 2019) (cropped).jpgI see former Crystal Palace, now Atlanta United manager Chris De Boer has weighed in on the pay dispute with the US women’s national team in his sport. On another social media platform I’ve weighed in to oppose equal pay. My reason? At this moment, I think the women’s team have earned more for country and sport than the US men, who, while vastly improved over my childhood team that never managed to get past Canada in qualifying, have yet to really threaten, let alone win a World Cup.

Pay in sport isn’t based on ability. One might say that soccer and hockey players are better athletes than baseball or football players. But those last two sports have greater incomes than the former two.

Pay in professional sport is less dependent on the quality of athleticism and more on the deep pockets of owners and the fanbase that supports it all. The latter may be strongly influenced by the amount invested in promotion.

ICON USA Soccer Ball Size 4, Official US Soccer Ball Navy/Pink ColorI wonder if US soccer master control doesn’t sell our women short by the relative lack of promotion, compared to the men’s team. I think Megan Rapinoe, pictured above, has publicly stated her willingness to have the discussion with the mostly male braintrust and be part of a well-discerned solution to the problem of pay.

In the meantime, my own stance is that the US women should be paid more than the men. At least until the next World Cup cycle ends.

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Scripture for the Sick or Dying: Luke 12:35-44

Care for dying persons remains a part of Christian charity, as it has been from the time of Jesus. Here is one reading we heard at the core of this past weekend’s gospel passage.

At it’s root, Jesus is speaking of the end times. That event has faded from first century importance, and the topic seems to connect more usually with the end of an  individual’s life. As such, perhaps this passage works best for a person who is facing death. Let’s read:

Jesus said to his disciples,
“Gird your loins and light your lamps
and be like servants
who await their master’s return from a wedding,
ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.
Blessed are those servants
whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.
Amen, I say to you,
he will gird himself,
have them recline at table,
and proceed to wait on them.
And should he come in the second or third watch
and find them prepared in this way,
blessed are those servants.
Be sure of this:
if the master of the house had known the hour
when the thief was coming,

he would not have let his house be broken into.
You also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect,
the Son of Man will come.”

The parable suggests preparation. In the context of the end of life, that can be a very profound exercise. It will vary from person to person. Sometimes it means reconciliation with estranged loved ones. It might be a form of settling accounts with God: getting past regrets, confessing serious sin, or maybe settling into a final routine of prayer. What does Jesus promise? He gives a beatitude (“blessed are”) for those who listen and act accordingly. A person in hospice knows the time is near, the Lord is coming soon.

Peter interjects a question that might be on our lips:

Then Peter said,
“Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?”

And the Lord replied,
“Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward
whom the master will put in charge of his servants
to distribute the food allowance at the proper time?
Blessed is that servant
whom his master on arrival finds doing so.

Truly, I say to you,
he will put him in charge of all his property.

Jesus’ second beatitude is like the first: he blesses the person who embodies two virtues: faithfulness and prudence. That latter can be very difficult at times. I suppose the integration of it comes and serves well at the end of life.

For an in-depth treatment of the Pastoral Care rites, check this page that outlines our examination from a decade ago.

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Christus Vivit 109: Renewal

109. If you are young in years, but feel weak, weary or disillusioned, ask Jesus to renew you. With him, hope never fails. You can do the same if you feel overwhelmed by vices, bad habits, selfishness or unhealthy pastimes. Jesus, brimming with life, wants to help you make your youth worthwhile. In this way, you will not deprive the world of the contribution that you alone can make, in all your uniqueness and originality.

An interesting and essentially Ignatian approach here: notice Pope Francis does not tell the young person to pray, at least in so many words. He counsels a person to seek a conversation. This mirrors Luke 11, post-Lord’s Prayer. Ask for renewal, and seek the hope for putting aside a former life. The only way to achieve this, to cooperate with God’s grace, is the insistent knocking–badgering God if you will–to help set one’s will to renewal.

You can access the full document on this link at the Vatican site.

The text in color is © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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The Armchair Liturgist: Who Welcomes Whom

I don’t travel much on weekends, but occasionally I find myself in a church where some announcer (lector, songleader, or priest) welcomes me. I appreciate the thought. Even in the rare non-Catholic service I might attend, I strive to make myself at home: singing the songs, responding vocally when prompted, closing my eyes and praying when I can.

For my current parish, I’ve given our songleader a brief script in which the welcome’s emphasis is placed on visitors and newcomers. Earlier this summer, one of my people did a little improv and welcomed “everybody.”

Now, my wife disagrees with my hrrumph and says that it is nice to welcome everybody. On the other hand, I lean to the notion that if parishioners have any kind of ownership, this welcome is misplaced.

Sit in the purple chair and play Solomon between nice and grumpy. Welcome parishioners? Guests and noobs only? Or word it somewhat differently to make nice before Mass begins?

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Christus Vivit 108: Commitment, Dedication, Sacrifices

We’re getting close to the end of Chapter Three of Pope Francis’ Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation. Speaking of being fully oneself, the Holy Father takes inspiration from one of his country’s poets.

108. If this is to happen, you need to realize one basic truth: being young is not only about pursuing fleeting pleasures and superficial achievements. If the years of your youth are to serve their purpose in life, they must be a time of generous commitment, whole-hearted dedication, and sacrifices that are difficult but ultimately fruitful. As a great poet put it:

“If to regain what I regained,
I first had to lose what I lost;
If to achieve what I achieved,
I had to endure what I endured;
If to be in love now
First I had to be hurt,
I consider what I suffered well suffered,
I consider what I wept for as well wept for.
Because in the end I came to see
That we do not really enjoy what we enjoyed
Unless we have suffered for it.
For in the end I realized
That the blossoms on the tree
Draw life from what lies buried beneath”.[Francisco Luis Bernárdez, “Soneto”, in Cielo de tierra, Buenos Aires, 1937]

You can access the full document on this link at the Vatican site.

The text in color is © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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Christus Vivit 107: Being Fully Oneself

Chapter Three of Pope Francis’ Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation continues, with encouragement not to be a conformist. Is that really the message of the Holy Father? I think at worst, peers and international corporations can be a danger.

You read, please, then decide: 

107. Don’t let them rob you of hope and joy, or drug you into becoming a slave to their interests. Dare to be more, because who you are is more important than any possession. What good are possessions or appearances? You can become what God your Creator knows you are, if only you realize that you are called to something greater. Ask the help of the Holy Spirit and confidently aim for the great goal of holiness. In this way, you will not be a photocopy. You will be fully yourself.

You can access the full document on this link at the Vatican site.

The text in color is © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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