Friday, October 2, 2015

"Thoroughly wash away my guilt"

It's been refreshing to remind myself over the past week that even if I don't blog about events they still happen. There is so much going on in the world right now that it's difficult to keep up, let alone process. Beginning this evening and extending to mid-day Sunday I will be leading the annual retreat for my brother deacons of the Diocese of Salt Lake City. I would appreciate any prayers you might be willing to offer that God will bless our time together. Our specific focus will be on the various aspects of what constitute diaconal spirituality. To that end, we'll discuss Christian spirituality in general and diaconal spirituality in particular. We'll consider prayer, specifically praying Morning and Evening Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. We'll also discuss the importance of immersing ourselves in Scripture as well penitential practices and the centrality of the Eucharist. Each of these take their origin from what deacons do in the liturgy: lead the prayers of the faithful, read the Gospel and preach, lead the penitential litany, set the table of the Lord and dismiss the faithful.

Anyway, it's Friday, a day of penance during which we remember what our Lord Jesus Christ did on the Cross. It is a cliché to note that we all have our crosses to bear, but we do. We never need go looking for suffering because it has no trouble finding us. It is the Cross of Christ that can keep our suffering from being meaningless. By implying that suffering can be meaningful and even put at the service of God in His on-going mission to reconcile the world to Himself, I don't mean to imply that we will know the specific reasons why we suffer. By and large human suffering is mysterious, made even more so by our Christian belief that God is all-loving, all-good, and all-powerful. In reality, a good portion of my own suffering is simply the result of the choices I make, not all of them bad choices. We can suffer for doing what is right and good.

Because there is so much manifest suffering in the world right now it seems fitting to have as our Friday traditio the Choir of New College Oxford singing Psalm 51, Miserere Mei, Deus:

"Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love; in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions" (v 1).

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