In light of the breaking news dominating the Catholic blogosphere re Fr. Corapi, I like to quote one of my favorite lines from C. S. Lewis (as reported by Walter Hooper):
" . . . I asked Lewis if he was ever aware of the fact that regardless of his intentions he was "winning worship" from his books. He said in a low, still voice, and with the deepest and most complete humility I've ever observed in anyone,
"One cannot be too careful not to think of it."
I'm no media personality but even in my little corner of the traveling world, I have found Lewis' phrase extraordinarily helpful and have repeated it to myself dozens of times on the road.
An amazing thing is happening in a Chicagoland parish that we have worked with over the past two years. They have come up with and are implementing the most amazing parish mission statement I have ever read. This Mission Statement and Guiding Behaviors document has been worked on and discussed by the Staff and Parish Council and is now the parish's official document.
To spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, offering people the means to Eternal Life in Jesus—through our sacramental life and our apostolic witness. To this end, we will form disciples and send every member out as an apostle to work for the transformation of our world—home, neighborhood, and workplace—through the power of the Holy Spirit.
1. We will prepare every parishioner to live their faith in the world as intentional disciples of Jesus Christ, recognizing their secular competence and forming them to evangelize individuals, human structures, and culture in light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
2. We recognize that every baptized man and woman is called by God to a state in life and a specific work of love (vocation), and as a community pledge to help each person discern that vocation so as to answer their call from God and take personal responsibility for the Church’s mission to the world.
3. We honor the charisms and recognize their importance both in building up the Body of Christ and in fulfilling our evangelistic mission to the world. Therefore, we will help every baptized man and woman discover their charisms and help connect them with opportunities to utilize these charisms in the world and in the parish.
4. We will always strive to remain centered on the Eucharist and the Sacramental life of the Church and pledge our fidelity to the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church
5. We will take seriously Christ’s call to acts of Charity and Social Justice so as to transform the world, seeking to restore creation to all its original dignity. In particular, we will apply the gospel to issues of injustice and need in our town.
Today is also the Catherine of Siena Institute's 14th birthday. This is a snippet of a post I wrote four years ago for our 10th birthday: The Existential Cost of Love.
"Perhaps it is because the Institute just celebrated her 10th anniversary but I've been meditating upon the experience of the past 17 years since I received my call. My conclusion would have to be Dickensian: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
I can hardly put into words how astonishing, fulfilling, fruitful, and graced a journey it has been overall or how demanding, relentless, exhausting, and heart-breaking large parts of it have been. People are sometimes surprised that I don't answer with simple monosyllabic enthusiasm when asked how I'm doing. That's because "good" or "great!" doesn't begin to cover the waterfront.
In this, I don't imagine that I am different from most intentional disciples (and/or parents!) in mid-life, maxed out and overwhelmed by our commitments and vocation(s) (although I am feeling unusually relaxed because I've just finished a once in a lifetime 6 week sabbatical).
It is always infinitely more complicated and cross-grained to actually live a vocation than to dream about it or even say "yes" to it at the beginning. And how many of us begin to withdraw our "yes" in small or large ways when the inevitable, chronic struggles and pain associated with any significant work of love begins to rear its ugly head. How many of us feel that there is something wrong with us, with our discernment, with our situation, with our faith, when the price of love in a fallen world comes due? (Here I am not speaking of the sort of suffering which is not an intrinsic part of our vocation(s) and should move us to appropriate change.)"
What is your experience? Where have you or are you living the exhilirating, hair-raising cost of long commitment love? What has made it possible for you to keep on keeping-on? Are there specific blessings and rewards that those who are faithful to a long obedience receive that have surprised you?
This is a good conversation for the Feast of the Sacred Heart.
LOL! Take a few minutes on this Feast of the Sacred Heart to watch this very clever and funny video. (The guy in the video looks so much like Fr. Mike - except that Fr. Mike is better looking, of course - and this is so like how his brain works that I couldn't shake off the feeling that I was watching him)