FROM ST. AUGUSTINE SPIRITUALITY CENTER
April 9-15, 2017
The most solemn time of the Church year is Holy Week. It is commenced with the joyful words, “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest” Matthew 21: 9 Unfortunately, this praise is very short lived. People are swayed by the most popular position and soon they will be saying, “Crucify him.” Matthew 27: 22-23 We cannot stand in judgment of these people, because at times we may find ourselves silent in the face of issues that are not popular. We tend to want to be part of the in group; it is not fun or advantageous to career or position to be on the outside.
When a look is taken at the history of Catholics in the United States, many concessions have been made to popular opinion and even morality. The Catholic Church was bitterly persecuted in the beginning years of this country. Maryland was the only Catholic colony; Catholics were not welcome anywhere else. In the state of Oklahoma, in which I grew up, Catholicism was about 2%. Even the Ku Klux Klan was after Catholics. So, wanting to fit in and prove that Catholics were part of the status quo, we slowly slipped into the American way of life. During this Holy Week we can ask ourselves what we have sacrificed in our faith to fit in. Are we willing to be like the thief on the Cross who defended Jesus and asked to be “remembered when Jesus entered his kingdom,” Luke 23: 39-43 or the Roman soldiers who witnessed Jesus’ death and said, “Truly, this was the Son of God!” Matthew 27: 54
In the story of creation it is seen how Adam and Eve wanted to be gods and such a desire has been repeated down through the ages. In Philippians 2: 6-11 it says, “Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; …humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” This aspect of Christianity is not very desirable, but it is central to being a true follower of the Christ. A humble leader brings healing and peace; a grasping, full-of-self leader brings destruction and suffering.
As an aside, I read an interesting article in the May/June 2017 SIERRA magazine called, “Code of Silence.” The announcement of a new documentary, “In Pursuit of Silence,” is coming in June on the damage done by constant noise to our physical, mental and emotional health. “In a cacophonous world, we’re losing our capacity for deep listening, and with it, our sensory connection to the natural world.” I immediately added spiritual. Is it possible that we have lost the ability to listen to God, because we fill our day with the noise of the cell phone, let alone all the other artificial noise around us? Are we so numbed that we cannot participate in the services of this Holy Week, in which we quieten our minds, so as to engage with the momentous salvific actions of Jesus? It is rather frightening to think that we have lost the “listening” gift of our souls to the technological gift of the media. It will take much strength to balance these two gifts, so as to grow more fully as complete human beings.
Wishing you a faith-filled Holy Week,
Sister Rosemarie Goins, CSSF