Most of us take good health for granted. We might suffer from an occasional cold or infection, although with Covid-19 lurking around the corner, this sense of security has been diminished. Recently I have been trying to get rid of an infection, despite healthy food, saline solutions and paracetamol, something more substantial was required. Penicillin was the answer.
This leads me to ponder the state of the Church in general. It seems that clericalism and abuse scandals are like an infection. They have festered for some time and have not been dealt with appropriately. Despite Vatican Two and the caring attitude of Pope Francis, some habits and behaviours of other clergy are challenging to deal with. People have been hurt and are continuing to be hurt and not heard. Apart from the issues about sexual identity or preferences and the inequality of women, to name a few; there is also the inequality of lay versus clergy. We need each other. Without a congregation – of lay people – there is no need for priests. Without priests, the lay cannot celebrate the Mass. Well that is the understanding of the Catholic Church.
We are created in the image of God; we are invited to Co-Create with God. In an earlier blog (Seek my face) I described the three faces of God. The God within, the God out there, and God always with us. I wonder if the antidote to clericalism, (grumble and crumble), lies in the invitation to Living the Gospel as St Francis instructed his brothers.
Gospel living for me is following St Francis. Praying and meditating on the Gospel, involves simple living with an awareness of our growing edges. Or as Chantal Fouchi puts it: “To live simplicity... means to treat everything in life as a pure and total gift from God”. In Gospel living, we treat others as you want to be treated, recognising that each and every person is worthy and has dignity. It is about Social Justice. I also think it is about focusing on Creation spirituality, with the emphasis on original Blessing.
Luke’s gospel (17:21) states that the Kingdom of God is within you, or amongst you, depending on the Bible translation you use. God planted a seed in each and every one of us. The God spark leads us to that place of inner peace, of union with God. I believe we all have to nurture that connection, in the same way we nurture a young child, or those we love. By being attentive to God, we grow the seed and sustain it into a flourishing relationship.
So the antidote to clericalism, (grumble and crumble for me), is about my spiritual practice, which includes centring prayer, Lectio Divina, liturgy, walking, chaplaincy and many forms of craft that sustains my creative spirit and helps me to go within.
Do you have an antidote that helps you to remain focused on the Divine and distracts you from the grumbling and crumbling of church life?
Seek Peace and find it within.