For goodness sake

bad news

For the sake of all the beauty and goodness in the church, let us get beyond our grumblings.

There has been a lot of bad news lately.

We are like little fish swimming in a sea of light but seeing only the patches of darkness that  actually make space for future growth.

Trouble is, we don’t see their potential.

There is something in us that longs for perfection, forgetting that if we were perfect we’d have no room for growth, no room for God working in us and with us.

Life is all about transcendence, our darkness being a teacher,  light unborn. But instead of learning from it, we try to reject it

We  tend to condemn the growing space with judgmental words: ‘disorder’, ‘clericalism’, ‘abuse. These words become labels we can put on other people.

Our faith becomes divided.

Where is Jesus our healer and teacher in all of this?

What is he trying to tell us about spiritual growth?

Recently, an Australian bishop addressing the priests’ assembly, talked about the heart of rhe church being “rotten.”

Certainly, he was carrying a burden of pain and anger, about the abuse situation, but what did he mean by “the  heart of the church?

99.5% of the church is laity.

Were they included in his appraisal?

Of the ordained, was he considering the majority of priests like himself, who are good men struggling with the shadow cast by the crimes of others?

If we look around us we see that the  dark patches in the sea of light, while serious, are very small indeed compared with the abundant grace poured out on the church.

Perhaps the dark patches are also part of grace. Maybe we could call them the giving of the left hand of God, each having a teaching that will take us to a new place in our faith.

And perhaps in all  those dark puddles there is one big teaching.

Do you think the spirit of Jesus might be addressing the  sin of pride?

Almost everything in the church is tainted by it. We all see ourselves as better than someone else, rank  beginning with the Pope, then cardinals, bishops, priests, religious.

And the laity? Of course!

We lay people are all sure we are better than people who are not Catholics.

I’m in this too,nmy mind  chanting like a child, “My school is better than your school.”

We don’t need to go far in the gospels to find out what Jesus thought about people who wanted to be better than others. ”He who exalts himself will be humbled,” is just one of many warnings.

We know the antidote to pride.

So maybe we can look again at those patches of darkness,  own them as teachings and with Jesus.

See them grow into the light of humility.

  • Joy Cowley is a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and retreat facilitator.













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News category: Analysis and Comment.