Sunday, February 28, 2021

Parable and Conscience Meditation February 28

Glorious Cross  February 28

Veneration forever to the shroud, stained with blood, in which the body of Jesus was wrapped! (Proper liturgy of the Crosiers, second Friday of Lent).

Look at the body.  Don’t be afraid to fix your gaze on it.  Look at the face, now pale in death, but once radiating the peace and joy of living in God.  Look at the eyes, now shut to the light, but not long ago looking with love on children, the rich young man, the woman caught in adultery and bathed in tears over Jerusalem.  Look at the ears, now deaf to the sounds of life, but which once heard the lament of the widow of Naim and the cries of the poor.  Look at the mouth, now silenced, but which had spoken of the love of God, the pardon of sins and the Kingdom of Heaven.  Look at the hands, nail-marked, limp and lifeless, that touched the sick to heal, the children to bless, the hungry to feed and the possessed to be calmed.  Look at the chest, now pierced through, rigid and cold, that before heaved with emotion at the death of his friend and was a place of warmth for the head of his beloved disciple.  Look at the feet, nail-marked as well, mangled and immobile, that used to walk on water and travel everywhere with the Good News for the poor.  Don't be afraid to look long at the deceased Christ and to worship him.

The grave is the way to life.  (Baoule)

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Parable and Conscience Meditation February 27

Glorious Cross  February 27

The living elements of our tradition include . . . a commitment to the life-giving Cross (Const. 4.1).

The Cross is the most significant emblem of our Order.  Our name marks us:  the Order of the Holy Cross, the Crosiers.  In our history, many of our churches were named in honor of the Cross.  Our habit shows the Cross.  In our liturgy on Fridays, we give attention to the Cross.  Our most important feast day is the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.  Our Constitutions propose the Cross as the symbol of our total service to the People of God.  In many Crosier communities, there is a preference for the image of the Glorious Cross, of the Cross depicted with jewels.  This jeweled image does not want to deny the suffering of Christ, nor that of his Body, the Church.  But it proclaims the message of the Cross in its wholeness:  the Cross leads always to life in abundance, to glory.  The Cross, whatever its design, always evokes Gospel hope.  Through the Cross, Jesus conquered death and all evil in the human world.  The Crosier without the Cross is inconceivable.

Nobody hides his sickness from the doctor.  (Bamileke)

Friday, February 26, 2021

Parable and Conscience Meditation February 26

Glorious Cross  February 26

For you I struck down the kings of Canaan, but you struck my head with a reed (Reproaches, Good Friday).

I answer you.
The little ones always feel powerless,
    in need of someone to be their champion.
We confess that you are there
    to dethrone the Pharaohs, the Nebuchadnezzars, the Caesars.
But why do you seem to delay so much,
    leaving us far too long in the hands of despots,
    in situations where we even lose our dignity,
    in the choking grip of evil?
Are our cries not loud enough to get your attention?
Does not the stench of our spilled blood move you?
Why does the clamor of our falling not incite you to react?
Forgive this impatience and lack of confidence,
    that has made us violent people, even toward you.
If we lift the reed against you in our pain,
    take it as the howl of intercession to awaken you
    rather than the act of rebels to dishonor you.
Save us quickly by your Cross!

Nothing can escape God’s awareness, but he pretends to lower his eyes.  (Madagascar)

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Parable and Conscience Meditation February 4

Apostolate  February 4

So that our apostolate is authentic, we work for the integral development of our neighbors, always listening to them and collaborating with them and other agents of development (Congolese Regional Statutes, 3.5).

“It will not be like that among you” (Mt 20:26).  With these words, Jesus put an end to all misguided ideas about the role of leadership in the Church.  The minister of the Church, whether ordained or lay or religious, must quickly forget the model of authority experienced in worldly societies.  The text, “they lord it over and . . . enslave” (Mt 20:25) can never be the description of relationships between pastors and their so-called “charges.”  The minister approaches people as their servant and not as the master of their destinies; as guest and not as the owner of the space of their lives; as accompanier and not as director in the accomplishment of their projects.  Even in the name of God, ministers cannot lay claim to the life of another, cannot diminish the person’s responsibility.  The first pastoral act is that of listening, followed quickly by collaboration.  To begin otherwise risks ending up like “the leaders of the nations” who pretend to be “benefactors” (Lk 22:25).  It will not be like that among you.

The chief’s gourd comes from the same jungle as everybody else’s.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Parable and Conscience Meditation February 3

Apostolate  February 3

We favor those apostolic endeavors which require or are enriched by community life and which in turn foster it (Const. 22.2).

One protects what one cherishes.  If it is shared, only a bit of it is shared, that is to say, only a portion of it is given so that its integrity is not threatened, but, at the same time, allows for the cherished value to be reproduced elsewhere.  Crosier communities, in the spirit of St. Augustine, protect their fraternal life, not simply for selfish motives but for the well being of the Church and world.  Community life is a Gospel treasure that teaches religious tolerance, dialogue, solidarity, justice and serviceability—in effect, the charity of Christ.  To lose the sweetness and formative power of such an experience would certainly be regrettable for community members.  But it would also be sad for those who, outside such a community, aspire to the similar values and formation.  Religious do all to assure the integrity of their fraternal life.  At the same time, by their witness, by their practice of hospitality and by their teaching of such values, they offer community to others as a kind of “primer,” full of potential for being adapted in other circumstances.

The house chicken shows the way to the stranger chicken.  (Congo)

Monday, February 1, 2021

Parable and Conscience Meditation February 1

Apostolate  February 1

Our third source of apostolic inspiration flows from the profound human concern displayed by people in the world of today, and from the exemplary generosity and solicitude for others which characterize the truly outstanding people of our time (Const. 20.4).

Their consternation was great.  The divine order had been established.  At the moment determined, the elders were called and gathered around the Tent of Meeting—except for these two.  And now the two imposters began to prophesy elsewhere.  Eldad and Medad did not have that pastoral right!  They must be stopped!  (See Numbers 11:24-29).   But that was not the last time in history that such an event and such dismay were experienced.  Later there was someone, also unauthorized, who began to minister by expelling demons.  Imagine, a man who was not part of our entourage!  How could he do it in the name of Jesus?  He should be stopped immediately! (See Lk 9:49-50).  And today?  There are people who do not follow us but who witness to “our” truth.  When something like that happens, our response should be like that of Moses, “Would that all the people of God were prophets and that God would send the Spirit on all of them!”  We should have the conviction of Jesus, “Don’t stop them . . . because anyone who is not against us is for us.”

You never know where the termite hill will rise up out of the ground.  (Akye)