Care and Concern: If you are aware of anyone who is in need of
assistance and has given permission to be contacted by Care and Concern,
please phone the Parish Office.
Weekday Masses 10th – 13th
No weekday Masses due
to Priests on Retreat
14th & 15th November, 2015
Saturday Vigil: 6:00pm Penguin
Sunday Mass: 8:30am Port Sorell 9:00am Ulverstone
Every Friday 10am - 12noon, concluding with Stations of the Cross and
Devonport: Benediction with Adoration - first Friday of
Charismatic Renewal – Devonport Emmaus House Thursdays
Christian Meditation - Devonport, Emmaus House
DO YOU LONG FOR SOME SPACE AND STILLNESS IN YOUR LIFE
AT THIS TIME OF THE YEAR?
30 minutes of silent prayer could change the rest of your week! There is opportunity for this each Wednesday evening at 7pm at 88 Stewart Street, Devonport. Why not come along and meditate with a small group of people and see what happens? For further information see www.wccm.org or talk with Sr Carmel
Ministry Rosters 14th & 15th
Vigil: M Kelly, B
Paul, R Baker 10:30am:
T Barrientos, P Piccolo
Ministers of Communion -
Vigil: T Muir, M
Davies, M Gerrand,
T Bird, S Innes
10:30am:R Beaton, B & N Mulcahy, L Hollister
November: B Bailey, A Harrison, M Greenhill
Piety Shop 14th
November: R Baker 15th
November: K Hull Flowers: A O’Connor
Reader: S Willoughby Ministers of Communion: M Byrne, D Griffin, K Foster, R Locket
Cleaners: M McKenzie, M Singh, N Pearce Flowers: M Byrne Hospitality: T Good Team
Greeters: G Hills-Eade, B Eade Commentator: Y Downes Readers: J
Procession: M & D Hiscutt Ministers of Communion:S Ewing, J Garnsey
Liturgy: Sulphur Creek J Setting Up: S Ewing Care of Church: M Bowles, M Owen
Reader: H Lim Ministers of Communion: P Marlow, M Mackey Procession: Parishioners Music: Jenny
Readings This Week: 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
First Reading:1 Kings 17:10-16
Second Reading:Hebrews 9:24-28
I take time to become still and read the gospel
slowly. I might like to divide this prayer into two sections. First I read
carefully what Jesus has to say about people who need to be noticed and
admired. (The religious people of the day were meant to look after widows and
orphans because they had nobody else to fight their cause.) What tone of voice
do I hear from Jesus? What desire do I sense in him? I wonder what Jesus would
criticise today. Are there any slight modifications I need to make in my own
behaviour? For the second part I might like to imagine the scene. What
expression do I see on faces? Where do I put myself? How this being enacted
today is and what part am I playing? Maybe I take time to speak to Jesus about
what touched him. I might want to speak to him about desperate women, men and
children today sacrificing their savings and trusting in the goodness of
others, or….. I slowly end my prayer with an Our Father.
Readings Next Week: 33rd Sunday in
First Reading:Daniel 12:1-3
Second Reading:Hebrews 10:11-14, 18
Gospel:Mark 13: 24-32
are asked for the sick:
Terry Reid, Betty Broadbent, Archer
Singleton, Geraldine Roden, Joy Carter, Debbie Morris, Harry Cartwright, Guy D’Hondt &
Let us pray
for those who have died recently:
Anne Shelverton, Pat Harris, Greg McNamara, Robert
Ena Robinson, Esma Mibus, Shirley Stafford, Vicki Glashower, Audrey
Taylor, Peter Hays, John Stanford and Dr John Walker.
Let us pray for those whose anniversary occurs about this time: 4th
– 10th November
Win Casey, Kevin Tolson, Annie Hood, Dean Turnbull, Jessie
Hope, Bill Stuart and Shirley Winkler.
May they rest in Peace
Behind all my reading, and speaking about what I’ve
been reading and listening to, is a profound concern for our Parish. Someone
commented earlier in the year wondering if I was unhappy being here because all
I seemed to be talking about was that we needed to change. As I mentioned then,
and I repeat today, we are all getting older and it doesn’t appear that there
are too many young families wanting to be part of our Parish Community.
How we effect any changes so that we are seen as a
community that is welcoming, inviting and family friendly as well as being
strongly Catholic in our teaching and preaching demands that we open our minds
to bigger ideas, and to do that we need to read and talk about what we have and
what we might need to do to move forward. Later tonight (Thursday as I’m
writing this) I will be watching a live stream from the Church of the Nativity
as they host a seminar on how to build a new a better parish.
Although they start from a different model (they
have only one centre) I’m certain that there are ideas which can be translated
for our needs. One aspect that all my reading has highlighted is the absolute
need for faith formation and the best means that this is being achieved in both
Catholic and Protestant Churches throughout the world is through some form of
small group interaction. Another highlight is their commitment to making people
feel welcome and wanted when they arrive and during their time with the
Great changes start with small steps. The Mass for
Children and Families this weekend is one step. The open houses over the past
two years are another. Events at MacKillop Hill, the Charismatic Masses at
Penguin, Parish Feast Day celebrations, the Single Mass Sunday’s – these are
all important small steps – but they need all of us to see that they are part
of a bigger picture and assist us by making an effort to see them as invitation
and not as inconvenience.
So please take care
on the roads and in your homes.
November 7.30pm – 9pm. Cost by donation.
Exploring the 2015 Social Justice Statement and
discerning its challenges for each of us in regards refugees and asylum
ST PATRICK’S CATHOLIC SCHOOL TWILIGHT FAIR:
Friday 13th November 4.oopm – 8.oopm
Enjoy an evening out at St Patrick’s school fair. There’s something for everyone: stalls,
rides, face painting, activities, white elephant, plants, produce, cakes
etc. Come for dinner with lots to choose
from: BBQ, Digna’s food van, Anvers’ hot chocolates plus lots more. Free entry.
CWL ULVERSTONE: Meeting Friday 13th
November, Community Room Ulverstone at 2pm.
CWL Christmas luncheon will be held at the Lighthouse Hotel
Ulverstone on Friday 11th December, 12noon for 12:30pm. Cost $25.
All parishioners are very welcome to join us! RSVP 30th November to
Marie Byrne on 6425:5774
Catholic Charismatic Renewal, are sponsoring a HEALING MASS
at St Mary’s Church Penguin Thursday 19th November at 7.30pm. All
denominations are welcome to come and celebrate the liturgy in a vibrant and
dynamic way using charismatic praise and worship, with the gifts of tongues,
prophecy, and healing. After Mass, teams will be available for individual prayer.
Please bring a friend and a plate for supper and fellowship in the adjacent
hall. If you wish to know more or require local transport, please contact
Celestine Whiteley 6424:2043, Michael
Gaffney 0447 018 068, Zoe Smith 6426:3073,
Tom Knaap 6425:2442.
I wish to thank Fr Mike, Fr Alex & parishioners for
their prayers and visits during my stay in hospital, which was a great support
for Neville and myself. I am currently
at home and look forward to seeing my friends. Thank you one and all. Kath Smith
OUR LADY OF MERCY DELORAINE REUNION:
Thursday 19th November all former scholars are invited to join together
for lunch,12 noon at Sullivan’s Restaurant, 17 West Parade, Deloraine. Please phone Sullivan’s to book 0363623264
Thursday Nights OLOL Hall D’port.
Eyes down 7.30pm.
Callers 12th November Tony Ryan & Bruce Peters
NEWS FROM ACROSS THE ARCHDIOCESE:
On November 18 the
Church celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the publication of the Second Vatican
Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, entitled Dei Verbum. This
was a significant milestone in the Church’s understanding of how God reveals
himself to humankind throughout salvation history. It opened the way for
Catholics to better understand Scripture and Tradition, and encourages them to
be immersed in the Bible. To mark this anniversary, the Archdiocese’s Verbum
Domini Biblical & Catechetical Institute will offer a seminar on Dei Verbum
and the Word of God. Speakers will be Archbishop Julian Porteous and Dr Christine
Wood at St Mary’s Cathedral, Hobart, on 18th November, 7-9 pm. All welcome!
To mark the 50th
Anniversary of Vatican II’s Dei Verbum, the St John Centre for Biblical Studies
will offer an 8-hour intensive course on “The Gospel through the Eyes of St
Mark” on Saturday and Sunday 21-22 November, 10am-2.30pm, in the Murphy Room,
Diocesan Centre, 35 Tower Road, New Town. Cost: $60/person. Bring your lunch
and Bible. Registration: Dr. Christine Wood, 6208-6236 or email@example.com, or information www.hobart.catholic.org.au A great opportunity to immerse yourself in Scripture from the Catholic
perspective outlined in Dei Verbum! All welcome.
WORLD YOUTH DAY 2016, KRAKOW
CYM have launched our facebook page so that you can follow
along and support the Tasmanian Pilgrimage to World Youth Day 2016. Please
‘like’ our page to show your support and share in this journey with our young
Tasmanians from the beginning. We need the support of all our parishioners and
friends. Visit: www.facebook.com/taswyd16
STAR WARS EPISODE VII: THE FORCE AWAKENS
FUNDRAISER:Come and see the highly anticipated
release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens on Opening Night:
Thursday 17th December at 6.00pm. Catholic Youth Ministry are
holding a special viewing of this film at Village Cinemas as a World Youth Day
fundraiser. Get all your friends and family together for one brilliant evening!
Come dressed for the occasion and be in the running for the best-dressed
competition, as well as other give-aways before the film begins. Tickets are
$30 pp and include: movie ticket, small popcorn and a 600ml drink (as well as
chances for give-aways!). This event is being held at Village Cinemas Eastlands
and Village Cinemas Launceston. We appreciate early bookings! Book your
ticket online now at: www.cymtas.org.au or by contacting Rachelle Smith on
0400 045 368
FILIPINO MASS: - On Saturday 21 November 2015 the
Bridgewater/Brighton Parish will holding another Filipino Mass at St Paul’s
Church commencing at 3.00 pm. All the community (not just the Filipino
Community) is warming invited, and Fr Leo would also like to thank the almost
the 200 people who attended the previous Mass in October of this year.
A MESSAGE FROM RACHEL’S VINEYARD - “He heals the broken
hearted…” – Psalm 147:3
If your heart is broken after abortion, wholeness and
healing are available. Attend a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat for healing after
abortion. Contact Anne Sherston on the confidential phone line 03 62298739 or
Healing Our Violence
A collation of emails from Fr Richard Rohr. You can subscribe to this email series here
Catching Violence at the Beginning
Another significant theme in my wisdom lineage is the
teaching of nonviolence. This week I'll explore the contemplative foundation of
nonviolence, and next week I'll briefly introduce several of the peace-makers
who have had the greatest impact on me.
The root of violence is the illusion of separation--from
God, from Being itself, from being one with everyone and everything. When you
don't know how to consciously live out of your union with Love, you resort to
violence, fighting people who are not like you. Contemplative practice teaches
you to not make so much of the differences, but to return to who you are beyond
your nationality, skin color, gender, or other labels. It brings you back to
your True Self, who you are in God.
When you can become little enough, naked enough, and honest
enough, then you will ironically find that you are more than enough. This is
the wisdom of the Gospel, and it is surely the Franciscan emphasis. At this
place of poverty and freedom you have nothing to prove and nothing to protect.
Here you can connect with everything and everyone. Everything belongs. This
cuts violence at its very roots before there is even a basis for fear, anger,
protection, vengeance, or self-promotion--the things that often cause violence.
One of the reasons I founded the Center for Action and
Contemplation twenty-eight years ago was to give activists some grounding in
spirituality so they could continue working for social change, but from a stance
much different than anger, ideology, or willpower pressing against opposing
willpower. Many activists I knew loved Gandhi's and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s
teachings on nonviolence. But it became clear to me that theirs was often an
intellectual appreciation rather than a participation in the much deeper
mystery. I saw people on the left playing the victim and creating
victims--exactly what Jesus did not do. It was much more subtle than the same
game on the right, but it still proceeded from an unkind and self-righteous
To create peaceful change, we first have to get the
"Who" right. Who are you? Most of us, particularly pragmatic
Americans, lead with strategic questions--what, how, when. These are secondary
questions. Before we act or react, we need to wait--wait for communion, wait
until we're reconnected to the Ground of Being, wait until we're conscious,
wait until a "yes" appears.
Don't operate out of the unconscious, don't begin with a
"no," which is the constricted and self-promoting you. When you begin
by connecting with your inner experience of communion, your actions can be
pure, clear, and firm. This kind of action, rooted in one's True Self, comes
from a deeper knowing of what is real, good, true, and beautiful, beyond labels
and dualistic judgments of right or wrong. From this place, your energy is
positive and has the most potential to create change for the good. This
permanent stance is precisely what we mean by "being in prayer" and
why we must pray always to maintain it.
I'm not telling you not to act. The Gospel wants to offer
you a way to make your action sustainable and lasting over the long haul.
People on the right tend to be perpetually angry and overly defended, and
people on the left tend to be perpetually cynical and outraged. The Gospel is
trying to call forth a refined instrument that can really make a difference
because it is a new level of consciousness altogether. The activists who are
themselves "a new creation" (Galatians 6:15b) are the lightning rods
of God's transformative energy into the world. Picture Pope Francis in his
series of talks given to Congress, the UN, the clergy, and the crowds in his
September visit to the U.S. He literally worked miracles!
Richard Rohr, Healing Our Violence Through the Journey of Centering Prayer
(Franciscan Media: 2002), discs 1 and 2, CD.
Letting Go of the Pain-Body
I do not think that violence and negativity are natural to
us. I believe you are made for love, that your natural abiding place is love,
and that you in fact are love. Your absolute foundation is communion with God
and others. This is the "deepest me" to which you must return before
you act. From this foundation, you know you must act and you will act, but now
from a place of positive, loving energy. You must start from a deep place of
The first step to moving beyond our temptation to
negativity, which is really a death wish, is to recognize it is there. Julian
of Norwich called this inner constriction "contrariness"; Freud
called it the ego; Paul called it the "flesh" or the old Adam; Merton
called it the false self. They were all describing this petty thing that tries
to define itself not by what it is for, but by what it is against. Before
conversion, we are all like this--we don't know who we are or what we are for.
This small self cannot radically connect with Being because it's always
defining itself in terms of comparing, competing, analyzing, critiquing,
judging, labeling, and positioning, which are all basically "mind games."
They are "no" instead of "yes."
The next time you are offended, consider it a
"teachable moment" and ask yourself what part of you is actually
upset. It's normally your false self. If you can move back to the big picture
of who you are in God, your True Self, you'll find what upset you usually
doesn't amount to a hill of beans! But you can waste a whole day (or longer)
feeding that hurt until it eventually seems to have a life of its own and, in
fact, "possesses" you. At that point, it becomes what Eckhart Tolle
rightly calls your "pain-body." We all have one. The pain body is
probably what Christians meant by "original sin." The only problem is
your degree of identification with it.
Tolle defines this "accumulated pain" as "a
negative energy field that occupies your body and mind." In your mind, it
makes you judgmental and negative. In your body, it makes you fearful and
angry. You can observe this energy in yourself as a knee-jerk, self-protective
reaction to everything around you. I emphasize the word reaction here because
there's no clear, conscious decision to think or act in this way. Tolle says,
"If you look on [the pain body] as an invisible entity in its own right,
you are getting quite close to the truth." Tolle never uses the word
"demon," but perhaps his term "emotional pain-body" is a
good description of what Scripture often means by a demon. Tolle says,
"The pain-body wants to survive, just like every other entity in
existence, and it can only survive if it gets you to unconsciously identify
with it,"  which is what most people do. Then you are indeed
"possessed"! In healing work and in meditation, you learn to stop
identifying with the pain and instead calmly relate to it in a compassionate
way. Some call this "taming your dragon." Ironically, your demon now
becomes a friend and educator.
For example, in centering prayer, you observe the hurt as it
arises in your stream of consciousness, but you don't jump on this boat and
give it energy. Instead, you name it ("resentment toward my spouse"),
then you let go of it, leave it on the boat, and let it float down the river.
You say, "That's not me. I don't need that today. I have no need to feed
this resentment. I know who I am without it." This is the beginning of
emotional sobriety.  Many are converted to Christ, but without this
emotional conversion their behavioral reactions remain much like everyone
else's. Thus the importance of contemplative prayer.
If you've been eating that resentment toward your spouse as
a regular meal, the boat's going to come back around in the next minute because
it's accustomed to you filling your plate with such fast, cheap food. When you
still don't give it any energy, it'll probably try a third time, too. Devils
are persistent! "You've always identified with me before," it says.
But then you must know, "Who was I before I resented my spouse? And even
before that?" This is the primary way you learn to live in your True Self,
where you are led by a foundational "yes," not by the petty push
backs of "no."
 Eckhart Tolle,
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment (New World Library: 1999),
 For more
on this, see Richard Rohr, "Emotional Sobriety" (Center for Action
and Contemplation: 2011), CD, DVD, and MP3 download.
Healing Our Violence Through the Journey of Centering Prayer (Franciscan Media:
2002), disc 3, CD.
Dom Helder Camara
When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I
ask why they are poor, they call me a communist. --Dom Helder Camara
One of my nonviolent heroes, Dom Helder Camara (1909-1999),
a truly saintly man, visited the Center for Action and Contemplation in
Albuquerque just as the U.S. began bombing Iraq in 1991. Avis Crowe, an
employee at that time, reflects on our encounter with him:
Dom Helder was described as being heartsick, and in fact had
to see a doctor for physical distress resulting from the outbreak of war. The
questions and concerns expressed by individuals [present that night] were
fairly predictable and seemed to carry a plea for solutions that would
alleviate our worry, anger and despair over seemingly insolvable global
problems. For each of these, Camara essentially had one response, stated and
restated: We need to use the intelligence God has given each of us to see one
another as brothers and sisters. We must take the time to understand other
people and not let the barriers of race and language prevent us from seeing
each other as members of the same family. God embraces all human beings. The
heart of faith is the call to love one another.
Toward the end of the evening, the Archbishop said, "If
you will live your religion, you will become different." He gave a gleeful
little laugh, as though that idea thoroughly delighted him. He went on to
challenge each of us. Remarking that we were on a countdown to the beginning of
the third millennium, he suggested we use these next nine years to live as we
say we believe, acknowledging God everywhere, living from that place within
each of us where God dwells. It was a call to be courageous and faithful. To be
who we are meant to be. 
Dom Helder Camara was a Brazilian archbishop from 1964-1985.
Under his guidance, the Catholic Church in Brazil criticized the country's
military dictatorships and worked for social change. Camara spoke and wrote
against using violence to repress rebellions that resulted from injustice and
poverty in other countries as well. In 1971, he published Spiral of Violence,
which shows how basic structural injustice leads to escalating rebellion, which
then leads to new repression. If you don't nip this spiral in the bud,
recognizing violence at its lowest structural level, it is much harder to stop
it at the later stages. 
As evidence of his commitment to justice and to the poor,
near the end of the Second Vatican Council, Camara led a group of forty bishops
who celebrated Mass in the Catacombs of Domitilla outside of Rome. (The
catacombs are where the early church would meet in secrecy before Christianity
became the religion of the Empire under Constantine.) The bishops all signed
the Pact of the Catacombs, which challenged their brother bishops to live in
humble poverty, to serve the poor, and to be open to all, no matter their
beliefs. Camara is the one who suggested bishops stop wearing fancy and
expensive rings, and the practice largely changed at that time.
Dom Helder is a saintly example of not wasting time fighting
something directly, or you will become just like it. The best criticism of the
bad is the practice of the better. Just go ahead and live positively; go to the
side and do it differently. Don't waste time with oppositional energy. In the
short run, you will have to hold unresolvable tensions, symbolized by the
crossbeams on which Jesus was crucified. In the long run, you will usher in
something entirely new and healing.  This is "third force" wisdom.
Even though Jesus exemplified this third force, his followers have been very
Crowe, Radical Grace, Vol. 4, No. 2 (Center for Action and Contemplation:
from Richard Rohr, Spiral of Violence (Center for Action and Contemplation:
2005), CD, MP3 download.
from Richard Rohr with John Feister, Hope Against Darkness: The Transforming
Vision of Saint Francis in an Age of Anxiety (Franciscan Media: 2001), 15.
The World, the Flesh, and the Devil: The Spiral of Violence
I have used Dom Helder Camara's inspired teaching on the
"spiral of violence" for many years, overlaying that phrase with
traditional Catholic moral teaching, which states that the sources of evil are
the world, the flesh, and the devil--in that order. This model simply
illustrates the three sources of evil and thus violence: the world (at the
bottom of the spiral), the flesh (in the middle), and the devil (at the top).
If evil and institutionalized violence go unrecognized at the first level, the
second and third are inevitable.
By "world," I am not referring to Creation, but to
"the System." It's the way groups, cultures, institutions, and
nations organize themselves to be in control. This may be the most hidden, the
most disguised, and the most denied level of evil. We cannot see it because we
are inside of it and because we cannot see beyond our own self-interest and
self-protection. For example, I have been a Catholic all my life and I have yet
to hear a sermon on the tenth commandment: "Do not covet your neighbor's
goods." We live in an entire world of manufactured desire or covetousness.
It is a virtue to seek to increase your goods. So it's almost impossible for an
American to see capitalism or consumerism as a problem or a moral issue,
because that is the way our world is shaped. It is in our hard wiring. It's
difficult to critique the ground you are standing on.
Thankfully, Pope John Paul II introduced to Catholic
theology terms like "structural evil," "institutionalized
sin," and "corporate evil." We actually were not free to think
this way until the 1960s, which produced hippies, worldwide upheavals, and the
Second Vatican Council. Still, only rare prophets like Dorothy Day and Thomas
Merton dare to critique systems, groups, and institutions themselves. No
surprise that Pope Francis quoted both of these American prophets in his
address to the U.S. Congress in September.
Organized religion has put most of its concern at the middle
level of the spiral--the flesh. The flesh is not primarily what we think of as
sexual sin. Rather, it is individual sin, personal mistakes that you and I
make. No one is denying that this is a level of evil and sin, and often the
most apparent one. But when we only point our finger at the second level of the
spiral, blaming individuals and punishing people, we are largely wasting our
time. It doesn't work because we haven't first recognized that culturally we
actually admire this vice. Pick any of the capital sins: greed, ambition,
excess, vanity, pride, deception, lust. All are on broad public display, and
these "sinners" are in fact the cool people. But then individuals are
supposed to confess these as private sins, not that they do anymore.
Up to now, there has been little recognition of the deep
connection between culture and corporations--which are accepted because they
give us our security and identity and wealth--and the personal evil things that
individuals do. We are wasting time trying to make people feel guilty about
being greedy when, in fact, legitimated greed is the name of the game. We can't
reward and promote it at one level and then shame it at the next level. We
can't romanticize war, but then rail against the violence in our streets. It
will not work. If guns are good in Iraq then guns are good in Idaho.
Cardinal Bernardin (1928-1996), who was like a father figure
to me when I lived in Cincinnati, dared to call for a consistent ethic of life
or "a seamless garment" morality. He said the Church must be honest
and start defending life in all its stages "from womb to tomb." We
must stand against abortion, the destruction of the earth, the evil of war, the
death penalty, euthanasia, and all policies that impoverish people. All of
these are anti-life. Pope Francis just repeated this lesson almost word for
word. We can't call ourselves authentically pro-life unless we stand against
all of these levels of death. Very few people are consistent here.
At the top of the spiral of violence sits "the
devil." The word "devil," like "demon," is a
personification of a power that is hard to name or describe because it's so
disguised and even idealized as good and necessary. If "the world" is
hidden structural violence, then "the devil" is sanctified and
legitimated violence--violence that is deemed necessary to control the angry
flesh and the world run amuck. The diabolical is by definition "too big to
fail" and above criticism, which is precisely what gives anything its
demonic power. It is a third level of "necessary good" to control all
the disorder and violence at the first and second levels. It is sacralized and
above criticism. This might take the form of "the military industrial
complex," as President Eisenhower called it after he left office, the
legal system, the penal system, unjust tax codes and voting rights, the highly
self-rewarding medical and banking systems, corporations over people, the
idolatry of fame, celebrities, and athletes, and even organized religion itself.
Note the first demon in Mark's Gospel is found in the
synagogue (1:23). The only way the devil can get away with being the devil is
that he must "disguise himself as an angel of light" (2 Corinthians
11:15). Devils always look like "necessary evil" or the lesser of two
evils, and thus they are "too big to fail" and too important to
expose. We need and admire them all too much. So, as we say, they "get
away with murder."
If we do not recognize the roots of violence at the
disguised structural level, we are largely wasting our time simply focusing on
merely individual sin ("the flesh"), and we have almost no chance of
recognizing our real devils, who are always disguised as angels of light
(Lucifer means "Light Bearer"). The spiral of violence is complete,
and much of history has been trapped inside of it, thinking that evil could be
eliminated merely by shaming and punishing individuals, who were often just
doing what they learned from the system and from the devil.
Richard Rohr, Spiral of Violence (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2005),
CD, MP3 download.
The Warrior Archetype
The warrior is a timeless, primal archetype at the core of
both individuals and groups. Men especially are attracted to warrior energy.
All the hunters, defenders, athletes, guards, knights, and samurais are, in
fact, telling us there's something valuable about focus, determination, and
courage for the common good. In the developed world, warrior energy is, thank
God, often sublimated into activities of business and sports. But even here, a
clear goal toward a larger good, beyond self, and for purposes greater than
prestige and power is usually absent. The true warrior has largely morphed into
the celebrity, which hardly makes it warrior energy any more.
The perennial weakness of warrior energy, according to
Robert Moore, is that it lacks breadth and depth. Focus and determination are
good, but that's not everything. The secret of a good warrior is that one must
be in tutelage to a good and wise leader. The warrior without a good
"king" or "queen" has no wisdom, no temperance, no balance,
no final goals beyond tracking, fighting, and killing the enemy.
The warrior archetype is not going away any time soon, nor
should it. Our job is to educate and redefine the warrior in the way that
Moses, David, Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Dorothy Day lived out their passion.
Warrior energy is not in its essence wrong. It takes warrior energy to see
through and stand against mass illusions of our time, and be willing to pay the
price of disobedience. It takes warrior energy to see through the soft rhetoric
of "support our troops" which cleverly diverts from the objective evil
of war. It takes warrior energy to walk to a different drum, disbelieve the
patriotic trivia, and re-believe in the tradition of nonviolence, civil
resistance, and martyrdom--the way of the cross.
The warrior in all of us is desperately searching for
something heroic, transcendent, or self-sacrificing. Mark Kurlansky suggests
how nonviolence might help us recover true warrior energy: "Pacifism is
passive; but nonviolence is active. Pacifism is harmless and therefore easier
to accept than nonviolence, which is dangerous. When Jesus said that a victim
should turn the other cheek, he was preaching pacifism. But when he said that
an enemy should be won over through the power of love, he was preaching
Nonviolence requires courageous love. Thomas Merton writes
that "non-violence implies a kind of bravery far different from violence.
In the use of force, one simplifies the situation by assuming that the evil to
be overcome is clear-cut, definite, and irreversible. Hence there remains but
one thing: to eliminate it. Any dialogue with the sinner, any question of the
irreversibility of his act, only means faltering and failure. Failure to
eliminate evil is itself a defeat. Anything that even remotely risks such
defeat is in itself capitulation to evil. The irreversibility of evil then
reaches out to contaminate even the tolerant thought of the hesitant crusader
who, momentarily, doubts the total evil of the enemy he is about to
eliminate."  Nonviolence, on the other hand, comes from an awareness
that I am the enemy and the enemy is me. I cannot destroy the other without
destroying myself. I must embrace my enemy just as I welcome my own shadow.
My father Francis of Assisi said, "I am the Herald of
the Great King." Francis never stopped being a warrior-knight. He just
found a greater king. His image of self and victory changed. His goals grew
broader, his heart deeper. He was still ready to spill blood for the cause, but
now it led him to a personal visit to the Sultan in Egypt in the very midst of
the bloody Christian Crusades. He was prepared to offer his male milk, his
blood, not for the violent death of an enemy but for the nonviolent victory of
Warrior energy needs to be wholly dedicated and given
somewhere or to something. It must be focused and released for the warrior to
know that she or he is alive and has character. Our work is to find worthy
causes and goals to receive worthy warrior energy.
Kurlansky, Nonviolence: The History of a Dangerous Idea (Modern Library: 2008),
edited by Thomas Merton, On Nonviolence (New Directions: 2007), 21.
Richard Rohr, Radical Grace, Vol. 4, No. 2 (Center for Action and
Contemplation: 1991), 12.
A Nonviolent Reformation
Jesus lived a nonviolent life, taught it, and died it, yet
the tradition that proceeded from his teaching didn't even understand the
concept enough to have a word for it. Mark Kurlansky writes that "The
concept has been praised by every major religion. Throughout history there have
been practitioners of nonviolence. Yet, while every major language has a word
for violence, there is no word to express the idea of nonviolence except that
it is not another idea, it is not violence. In Sanskrit, the word for violence
is himsa, harm, and the negation of himsa, just as nonviolence is the negation
of violence, is ahimsa--not doing harm."  The word nonviolence didn't
even exist in the English or German languages until the early 1900s, I am told.
Gandhi coined a new term, satyagraha, because "passive
resistance" didn't truly express what he was doing. Satyagraha combines
the Sanskrit word sat--that which is, being, or truth--with graha--holding firm
to or remaining steadfast in. It is often translated as "truth force"
or "soul force." Jonathan Schell describes satyagraha as "direct
action without violence in support of the actor's beliefs--the 'truth' in the
person. The philosophy of satyagraha prescribes nonviolent action in which the
actors refuse to cooperate with laws that they regard as unjust or otherwise
offensive to their consciences, accompanied by a willingness to suffer the
Now consciousness and awareness have evolved so that we can
talk about such things. Restorative justice has only become a common phrase in
the last thirty years. Previously when people heard the word justice, it almost
always implied merely retributive justice. Yet the prophets and Jesus clearly
practiced restorative justice. Jesus never punished anybody!
The toothpaste is out of the tube. There are now enough
people who know the big picture of Jesus' thrilling and alluring vision of God
that this Great Turning cannot be stopped. There are enough people going on
solid inner journeys that it is not merely ideological or theoretical any more.
For the first time, on a broad basis, future reformations can come from the
inside out and from the bottom up, in a positive, nonviolent way. Only now is
human consciousness evolved enough to think and act this way. Before it was
quite rare, even among many otherwise saints.
The big questions are more and more being answered at a
peaceful and dialogical level, with no need to directly oppose, punish, or
reject other people. I sense the urgency of the Holy Spirit, with seven billion
humans now on the planet at the same time. Our future is either nonviolent or
there is no future.
It seems to me that true progress, or the Gospel hope that
we have, is not naively optimistic, nor is it a straight line without
regressions. It is signed with the cross, as we Christians would say. Knowing
this ahead of time will keep you on the path forward without despair or
cynicism--which otherwise will almost surely take over.
Kurlansky, Nonviolence: The History of a Dangerous Idea (Modern Library: 2008),
Schell, The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People
(Henry Holt: 2003), 119.
Richard Rohr, Dancing Standing Still: Healing the World from a Place of Prayer
(Paulist Press: 2014), 101-103.
THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS
An article by Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI. The original can be found here
At any given time, most of the world believes that death isn’t final, that some form of immortality exists. Most people believe that those who have died still exist in some state, in some modality, in some place, in some heaven or hell, however that might be conceived. In some conceptions, immortality is seen as a state wherein a person is still conscious and relational; while in other concepts, existence after death is understood as real but impersonal, like a drop of water that has flowed back into the oceans.
As Christians, this is our belief: We believe that the dead are still alive, still themselves and, very importantly, still in a living, conscious, and loving relationship with us and with each other. That’s our common concept of heaven and, however simplistic its popular expression at times, it is wonderfully correct. That’s exactly what Christian faith and Christian dogma, not to mention deep intuitive experience, invite us to. After death we live on, conscious, self-conscious, in communication with others who have died before us, in communion with those we left behind on earth, and in communion with the divine itself. That’s the Christian doctrine of the Communion of Saints.
But how is this to be understood? Not least, how do we connect to our loved ones after they have died? Two interpenetrating biblical images can help serve as an entry-point for our understanding of this. Both come from the Gospels.
The Gospels say that at the instant of Jesus’ death, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. (Matthew 27, 50-52) The Gospels then go on to tell us that on the morning of the Resurrection several women came to Jesus’ grave to anoint his dead body with embalming spices, but rather than finding his dead body, they meet instead an empty grave and two angels who challenge them with words to this effect: Why are you looking for a live person in a cemetery? He isn’t here. He’s alive and you can find him in Galilee. (Luke 24, 5) What’s contained in these images?
As Christians, we believe that we are given eternal life through Jesus’ death. Among other images, the Gospels express that in this metaphor: Jesus death, they tell us, “opened the tombs” and emptied graveyards. For this reason, Christians have never had a huge cult around cemeteries. As Christians, we don’t do much in the way of spiritual practices around our cemeteries. Why? Because we believe all those graves are empty. Our loved ones aren’t there and aren’t to be found there. They’re with Jesus, in “Galilee”.
What’s “Galilee”, in terms of a biblical image? In the Gospels, Galilee is more than a place on a map; it’s also a place inside the Spirit, God’s Spirit and our own. In the Gospels, Galilee is the place where, for the most part, the good things happen. It’s the place where the disciples first meet Jesus, where they fall in love with him, where they commit themselves to him, and where miracles happen. Galilee is the place where Jesus invites us to walk on water. Galilee is the place where the disciples’ souls enlarge and thrive.
And that is also a place for each of our deceased loved ones. In each of their lives, there was a Galilee, a place where their persons and souls were most alive, where their lives radiated the energy and exuberance of the divine. When we look at the life of a loved one who has died we need to ask: Where was she most alive? What qualities did she, most-uniquely, embody and bring into a room? Where did she lift my spirit and make me want to be a better person?
Name those things, and you will have named your loved one’s Galilee – and you will also have named the Galilee of the Gospels, namely, that place in the heart where Jesus invites you to meet him. And that is too where you will meet your loved ones in the communion of saints. Don’t look for a live person in a cemetery. She’s not there. She’s in Galilee. Meet her there.
Elizabeth Johnson, leaning on Karl Rahner, adds this thought: “Hoping against hope, we affirm that they [our loved ones who have died] have fallen not into nothingness but into the embrace of the living God. And that is where we can find them again; when we open our hearts to the silent calmness of God’s own life in which we dwell, not by selfishly calling them back to where we are, but by descending into the depth of our own hearts where God also abides.”
And the “Galilee” of our loved ones can also be found inside our own “Galilee”. There’s a deep place inside the heart, inside faith, hope, and charity, were everyone, living or deceased, is met.
5 QUESTIONS TO ASK WHY YOUR CHURCH ISN’T GROWING
Taken from the Blog by Fr Michael White, Church of the Nativity, Baltimore USA. The original blog can be found here
Growth is a sign of life. Of course, weeds also grow, so it’s important that your church cultivates healthy growth. Whether your congregation is large or small, affluent or financially challenged, old or new, we all want our churches to be places where the Gospel can grow. As one writer puts it, the vision is not to generate “megachurches,” but “mighty churches.” Healthy churches, mighty churches are about discipleship and evangelization, or what we like to call going deeper and wider. Here are five questions to ask if your church isn’t experiencing healthy growth.
Are you accessible and friendly?
First impressions don’t just count, they’re crucial. People should feel welcomed the moment they enter your doors (not to mention the key point that your doors should be open and accessible). Each week, keep in mind there may be someone attending church for the first time ever, or the first time in a long time. What steps are you taking to make them feel at home? Visitors who receive a warm greeting disengage their defenses and become more inclined to come back.
Are you organized and strategic?
Every church wants to grow and lead people to Christ, but few have a clear and effective strategy to do so. Prepare your congregations to share their faith and follow up with those they’ve invited. For those who work in churchworld, keep in mind most people do not understand, nor care about, the process and documentation needed for ministry or sacramental preparation- they just want to serve. Have trained staff or volunteers who will simplify and guide the process quickly, or else instead of integrating newcomers into your community, you’ll end up reinforcing the negative stereotypes that keep people from coming to the church in the first place.
Are you relevant and engaging?
Most unchurched people’s view of church is that it’s boring and bad. When, on those rare occasions, they show up at church we go ahead and prove them right all over again. An engaging church experience is both relevant and engaging. Sounds simple, but a relevant message is practical and powerful. If you’re confident in your content, but concerned something isn’t clicking, consider that a relevant message also requires a relevant context in order to be received. Music is incredibly important here too. You’ve got to invest in your music if you want to grow.
Do people like you and trust you?
On the surface, a church may seem friendly, but you find the ministries mired in politics and dysfunction and leaders lack integrity. Politics undermine trust, and love cannot exist without trust. Instead of being captured by grace, newcomers are just caught in the crossfire. Sometimes church leaders, from the pastor to the office receptionist, can come off as grumpy and grim rule keepers.
Are you praying, fasting, and giving?
Saint Teresa of Avila described prayer as water for the soul. Surely she would extend this metaphor to church. Your church cannot grow without individual and group prayer. Mobilize prayer events, teams, and small groups to pray for growth. Match your prayer with regular fasting and sacrificial giving. If you want to grow your church leaders need to tithe.
We live in a society in which competition is omnipresent. Competition fuels progress and keeps us on our toes. Political parties, supermarkets, car manufacturers and football teams compete with each other. And there are various Christian denominations competing for congregations. Of course, in these ecumenical days people deny that we would wish to lure worshippers from another Church. Surely Catholics are not out to win over followers of the Anglican brand, like Tesco competing with Aldi! Ian Stackhouse, a Baptist theologian, admits that there is a pressure to get bums on seats and be successful in that sense. Clergy keep a beady eye on church attendance figures and glance at each other’s car parks on a Sunday to see which is the fullest.
It has often been argued that the reason why Evangelical Christianity flourishes in America is precisely because there is a vigorous, competitive market in religion and that the Catholic Church became corrupt in the late Middle Ages because we held a virtual monopoly, and monopolies become sluggish and slack. There seems to be something to this argument. The Catholic Church was challenged by the Churches of the Reformation to reform itself, once again to give primacy to the Word of God and renew its formation of priests and laity. It could be argued that the vast renewal of the Catholic Church at the Second Vatican Council was in part because we were not the only Church on the block, and we had to be renewed or fade. And so, some will claim, it was providential that the unity of Western Christendom was broken at the Reformation. This contributed to the vitality of Christianity.
But at the heart of the Catholic tradition is a profound longing for a Church that is one and universal. That is the very meaning of the word ‘Catholic.’ However fruitful, as well as destructive, might have been the rivalries of post-Reformation Christianity, the unity of the Church across time and the globe is at the heart of our faith. We declare in the Nicene Creed our belief in ‘one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.’ The gathering of all Christians into unity is not a vague aspiration for something which might be rather ‘nice’. It is the hungering for what is at the core of our faith. A splintered Christianity is disfigured. Why is this?
Globalisation was in the DNA of Christianity from the beginning. Even when Christians were a tiny minority scattered in a few small cells across the vast Roman Empire, already we thought of ourselves in global terms. The final words of Jesus in St Matthew’s Gospel are: ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.’ (28:19)
Most religions remain deeply rooted in the culture and language of their original believers. Judaism remains the faith of a particular people and is wedded to its language and traditions. Islam is rooted in the Arabic text of the Qur’an. Hinduism is profoundly identified with the cultures of India. But from the very beginning Christianity was seeking to transcend any particular culture or language. The New Testament is not written in the language of Jesus, which was Aramaic, but in the universal language of its time, a rather coarse sort of Greek that was the lingua franca of the Roman Empire. Perhaps just 25 years after Christ’s resurrection, St Paul wrote: ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus’ (Galatians 3:27f). It was global before it was even known that we live on a globe.
Why is this so? St Paul wrote to the Ephesians: ‘For [God] has made known to us in all wisdom and insight, the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things on heaven and things on earth’ (1:9–10). If God wills to gather all things into one in Christ, then of course the Church must treasure unity, reaching across all ethnic and national divisions. This is not about wiping out all the competitors and regaining the monopoly. It is not claiming superiority for Roman Catholicism over other denominations. It is saying that our unity across space and time is a sign of what God wills for humanity.
Yves Congar OP, the greatest ecumenist of the twentieth century, discovered his theological vocation when he was a young Dominican friar and was overwhelmed by studying John 17, where Jesus prays that the disciples may be one as he and the Father are one. Congar called it ‘the apostolic prayer of Jesus for Christian unity’ and he gave his entire life to heal the divisions between the Churches. Our celebrations of the feasts of the saints show that we are a community that transcends even that most radical of barriers, death.
In the opening paragraph of Lumen Gentium, proclaimed by the Second Vatican Council, it is written that ‘the Church is in Christ like a sacrament or as a sign and instrument both of a very closely knit union with God and of the unity of the whole human race.’ Notice that the Church is a sign of unity. This does not mean that everyone has to become Catholic. What matters is that the Church makes visible what it means to be human: to be human is to belong to the whole of humanity, indeed the whole of creation. The Church must be one because humanity is called by God to be one.
So the Church challenges any identity which uniquely privileges our national or ethnic origins. I am a Christian before I am British or Irish or Polish. This is why tyrants have always feared and opposed the Church, from the early Roman emperors who persecuted our ancestors, through Henry VIII, Napoleon to Mao Tse Tung. Even in today’s China, the universal community of Catholicism is seen as uniquely threatening to the rule of the Communist Party. Patriotism may be fine, the love of one’s own country, but nationalism is incompatible with Christianity if it makes demands that are absolute.
Globalisation is an ambiguous phenomenon, a blessing and a curse. It is knitting humanity into unity across the globe. We are aware as never before that we have brothers and sisters all over the planet. When I opened my emails this morning in Toronto, having just flown across the Atlantic from England, I found an email from a Japanese writer asking about the translation of one of my books, a message from a Ukrainian writing in Italian, and an invitation to go and speak in Colombia! Globalisation has lifted millions of people out of poverty, especially in China and India.
But the global market has also produced vast inequalities of wealth and wounded the unity of the human family. The poor are confronted every day with the images of a paradise from which they are excluded. ‘Advertisements for ice cold Coca Cola, redolent of youth, vitality, happiness and the wealth of the United States, look down on societies where only the rich can afford clean water.’[i] Corruption is globalised, too. ‘We are living through an unprecedentedly corrupt period in world history. It has, admittedly, always happened but not on the same scale.’[ii] Think of FIFA. Globalisation is often experienced as the imposition on everyone of Western and especially American culture, and as the humiliation and subversion of ancient cultures and civilisations. It fuels the violent aggression of ISIS as well as empowering it through social media.
What about Christian globalisation? This has often been experienced as oppressive and imperialistic. Missionaries of God’s word were often also apostles of Western culture. But we have come to see with ever greater clarity that true Christian globalisation should be about cherishing the common good to which every culture contributes. We cannot ultimately flourish apart from each other. Catholic Social Teaching is about much more than good and just politics and economics. It is an expression of humanity’s shared destiny in Christ.
Louis-Joseph Lebret, a French Dominican economist who profoundly influenced Pope Paul VI, wrote that ‘the spiritual common good’ is:
the potential of intelligence, scientific understanding, wisdom and social skills; of intellectual, moral, artistic and pedagogical traditions; the potential of humanity’s material masterpieces and its institutions as well. It is culture, humanism – all of it leading to an eternal destiny. God is in fact the absolute and transcendent common good for all human beings, just as God is their origin and their fulfilment. Christ is the common good of humanity.[iii]
And yet many Christians who are not Roman Catholics, and some who are, may have a fear that a global Church easily becomes oppressive of difference. In recent centuries the Church has been held together in unity by a structure of centralised power which has often been intolerant of dissent.
First of all, it is easy to underestimate the vast diversity within the Church, even when it has most sought to exercise control. Catholicism is nowhere near as monochrome as many suspect. People forget that the Roman Catholic Church includes 23 autonomous churches, each with their own rites and canon law, from the Coptic Catholic Church in Egypt to the Syro-Malabar Church in India. These are all just as much part of the Catholic Church as the members of the Latin Rite.
There is also the extraordinary diversity of theological and spiritual traditions: Benedictine, Franciscan, Dominican, Carmelite, Ignatian. The Church holds within itself Catholics from every nation of the earth who think, pray and gather in their own ways. In our Father’s house there are many dwellings.
Catholicism is irreducibly plural and inalienably one. Indeed from its beginning, the extraordinary gift of God’s grace has been the Church’s ability to hold together diversity and unity. We have four gospels in a single New Testament, and they do not by any means say the same thing. A friend of mine was trying to explain to a group of prisoners why the gospels contradict each other. One of them said: ‘Of course they disagree. If they didn’t everyone would suspect that it was a put up job.’ Jesus Christ in his very person embraces the biggest difference imaginable, one person who is divine and human; the doctrine of the Trinity is all about difference in unity.
Secondly, it must be admitted that the Catholic Church, especially since the Reformation, has often been fearful of diversity. Original thinkers, such as the Dominicans and Jesuits who prepared the way for the Second Vatican Council, often were silenced unjustly. The Church was nervous of the new. But the Holy Spirit, at work in all of the baptised, has ensured that renewal does take place, and Pope Francis above all is eagerly working for a Church in which the vitality of the Spirit is not repressed. The global unity of the Church is so central to its identity that it must always be treasured, whatever the cost.
Fr Timothy Radcliffe is a member of the English Province of the Order of Preachers and Director of the Las Casas Institute at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford.
[i] Ian Linden, A New Map of the World (London, 2003) p.95.
[ii] Zoe Cormack, ‘Everyone’s at it’ in Times Literary Supplement, 27 September 2013, reviewing Laurence Cockcroft, Global Corruption: Money, power and ethics in the modern world (Pennsylvania, 2013).
[iii] Paul Houée, Un éveilleur d’humanité (Paris, 1997) p.21.