- finish your phrase
... what the heck is this? can anyone
those pictures show us mostly
greyer heavier slower fewer but ... we're not done yet ... what
carmelites do ... goes on ... all over the americas ... the past
year or so has challenged a number of us with heart trouble ...
but there's no problem with our Heart ... we've still got a good
one ... and we act on it every day ... when i look at us i don't
just see greyer heavier fewer... i see us more stubborn in our
pursuit of good work ... more imaginative in our approach to solving
problems ... more conscious of the action of the spirit in our
lives ... more open to inevitable changes... maybe i'm the cockeyed
optimist .. i dunno ... there are things to worry about ...
but we aren't just worried ...
looking at these and other pictures i was surprised by the joy
kindness and outright love in our faces ... when we puddle up
at these chapters, the past and the future become palpable ...
the other day during a lull in the procedings i started mentally
flinging out filaments from myself to others in the room whose
lives have intersected with mine in meaningful (i.e. life-shaping
) ways ... in only a few moments the place was thick in my webby
in chapel two days
ago i found myself accidentally seated in a back row alongside
five essential members of my (immense) private gallery of heroes
... nowadays i never see or talk or write to them ... only one
had been a literal teacher of me ... but they've each taught me
... i sit beside them and wonder ... who's out of place in this
row ... has the student yet surpassed the teacher ... doesn't
feel like it ...
when i look
at us ... this gathering of mostly old churchmen (average age
of the province: 64) ... i don't see or feel what i sense very
strongly in other gatherings ... i don't get the clericalism,
the insularity, the self-satisfied pomposity, the i'm-more-orthodox-than-you'll-ever-be
gamesmanship, the fear that drips from every other image i've
ever seen of priest and bishop and cardinal meetings ... we do
not dress formally here ... we're family ... there's no one to
impress ... we know and are known ... and i know for a fact that
we (the vastest number of us) carry this commonness & humility
out into the work we do ... the lives we lead...
over the past few years events in the world-wide
church have given me (and of course not only me) reason to grieve,
to become angry, to feel like it's not my church anymore ... at
times i've thought ... what am i doing ... associating myself
with this oppressive institution that's so slow to change so blind
and hurtful in so many ways ... maybe i should walk away ... but
i remember that my little corner of The Church is carmelite ...
and the carmelites have never (or not for very long) lost sight
of what's important ... my carmelites are able - in this very
day - to speak such words as:Standing
in the prophetic tradition of Elijah, we commit to educate ourselves
personally and communally, and to strive to eliminate the many
forms of discrimination in our world, including, but not limited
to, discrimination based on age, gender, race, mental or physical
challenges, or sexual orientation.
... and ...The
"seamless garment" of Catholic social values requires
that we speak out on issues of poverty, globalization and the
oppression of children and women; it requires that we announce
the good news to all peoples, and not allow the gospel to be captured
and utilized for political purposes with limited ethical vision.
... and ...Realizing that one cannot give what one does
not have, each Carmelite, on a daily basis, will commit himself
to the challenge of nurturing not only his own personal prayer
life but also of contributing to the quality of the prayer life
of his local community.
are still my carmelites ... working to express the truth of the
person and message of jesus to a world that sorely needs it ...
and i am most blessed and challenged to be among them still.