Friday, September 09, 2005

Friday, September 9, 2005

Mr. Brown is returning to Washington. Why should we expect that top officials will perform well in unprecedented conditions? Lincoln had to fire generals who were trained for war.

I read the materials mailed to Parish Advisory Council members prior to tomorrow’s retreat and meeting at Kenwood Convent of the Sacred Heart (the nuns haven’t yet left). I remember that at the last, my first, meeting, I mentioned my objection to the words “seek to” in the parish’s mission statement:

We, the worshipping community of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, rooted in the Gospel and the celebration of the Eucharist, seek to make known God’s love in the world through serving one another, sharing our faith, and welcoming all.

The brief discussion that followed showed that I see differently from others.

On September 2, the diocese put out a press release saying that “The Albany Roman Catholic Diocese has found no reasonable cause to believe allegations of sexual misconduct against the Rev. Daniel Maher, pastor of Holy Cross Church” where I attend noon Mass. Copies are available in the church, and after today’s Mass I read the press release. The investigator working for the diocese certainly took more trouble than the “allegators” to try to learn the truth. The Greek Furies were more discriminating than Mr. Aretakis. His hurt must be blinding.

A person who is always justifying himself will remain blind to himself and to others. Woe to politicians and celebrities, whose whole apparatus of life exists to convince themselves and others that they are true, good, beautiful. If they succeed they lead the many along the broad way that ends in destruction, damning both themselves and their brothers and sisters. A eulogy is no ticket to heaven. St. Peter Claver was praised by God more than two hundred years before his canonization.

A mote in my brother’s eye is just a mote; a mote in my eye feels like beam—it is a matter of ”perspective.&rdquo To a holy person, his own sins must loom large. Tomorrow, Paul calls himself chief of sinners; he does not rank others who might claim that title. Everybody’s case is unique.

A small disk held close to one’s eye can block out the sun. My own blindness prevents me from helping my brothers and sisters. I think I see, which gives me many opportunities to ask forgiveness for my misjudgments. I must learn to forgive and ask forgiveness quickly. Let the beam in my eye turn into a beam of light.


Staying up late tonight as O is at a football game.

Discussing with M the other day what made Paul often hard for a lector, I wondered what literary critics thought of Paul as a writer. Here’s something I came across in C. S. Lewis:

I cannot be the only reader who has wondered why God, having given [St. Paul] so many gifts, withheld from him (what would to us seem so necessary for the first Christian theologian) that of lucidity and orderly exposition. . . .

It may be that what we should have liked would have been fatal to us if granted. It may be indispensable that Our Lord’s teaching, by that elusiveness (to our systematising intellect), should demand a response from the whole man, should make it so clear that there is no quesiton of learning a subject but of steeping ourselves in a Personality, acquiring a new outlook and temper, breathing a new atmosphere, suffering Him, in His own way, to rebuild in us the defaced image of Himself. So in St. Paul. Perhaps the sort of works I would wish him to have written would have been useless. The crabbedness, the appearance of inconsequence and even of sophistry, the turbulent mixture of petty detail, personal complaint, practical advice, and lyrical rapture, finally let through what matters more than ideas—a whole Christian life in operation—better say, Christ Himself operating in a man’s life. And in the same way, the value of the Old Testament may be dependent on what seems its imperfection. It may repel one use in order that we may be forced to use it in another way—to find the Word in it, not without repeated and leisurely reading nor without discriminations made by our conscience and our critical facilities, to re-live, while we read, the whole Jewish experience of God’s gradual and graded self-revelation, to feel the very material through which it works. For here again, it is our total response that has to be elicited.
—C. S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms, “Scripture”



Post a Comment

<< Home