Friday, June 19, 2009

Solemnity of The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Almighty and eternal God, look upon the Heart of your most beloved Son and upon the praises and satisfaction which He offers you in the name of sinners; and to those who implore your mercy, in your great goodness, grant forgiveness in the name of the same Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you forever and ever. Amen.

Dear friends, the Sacred Heart of Jesus burns with love for you, just as you are, right now and always.

On this solemnity I want to direct attention to the editorial that appears in the current issue of America, Community of Disciples. I had a phone conversation with a friend last night about just these matters. To wit, as the editorial points out: "A disciple is by definition one who has not yet arrived, but is on the way to full conversion. This more humble view of a pilgrim church always in need of purification and improvement may help to tone down the rhetoric and encourage Catholics to work together in addressing the great issues of our day, especially those involving the culture of life."

Disciples on pilgrimage is the image of the church that was retrieved by the fathers of the Second Vatican Council from the early church. Pretending to a certainty we just don't and probably cannot have, substituting ideology for faith, and trying to pit us against them is no way to engage culture, or those with whom we disagree. As St. Irenaeus wrote long ago, "the glory of God is a human being fully alive!" So, being fully alive in Christ by the power of the Spirit is of the essence of discipleship. This requires positive engagement, not negative. Our baptism does not summon us to ghettoize, as St. Paul wrote: "you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear" (Rom. 8:15).

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