Monday, 7 January 2013

If You Know What A Ciborium Is - Read On!

I went on a pilgrimage yesterday. You see, Fr Aidan was taken ill on his way to say Mass in a nearby village, so Sylvana and I, both Ministers of Communion, took Jesus to our sister- congregation.  I drove, Sylvana cradled the ciborium and we enjoyed a time of solemn joy in the presence of God.

These are rare moments - those of allowing the privilege of faith bring me close to 'Other'. They are also indescribable, so I'll not try.  Not today anyway.

Our duty discharged, and with an empty ciborium, Sylvana and I used the journey back to talk.

I have to be careful. Sylvana is a 'cradle Catholic' and would be shocked at some of what I think and say and do. I strive to be authentic, without stirring the pot. Cowardice? Consideration? About 60/40. Maybe 70/30.

Sylvana is a truly good woman, which I most certainly am not,. She is French, born in Marseilles, raised in Egypt, and has a heart that embraces the world. She has a fundamentalist attitude to the scriptures that, if unchallenged by her heart, can be troublesome. I always come away from conversations with Sylvana worrying that I may, in order to keep the peace, have compromised my principles. I do right to worry.

So as an act if penance, I copy below Fr Richard Rohr's meditation for today, which often seems to be saying just what I want to say. So- for the Sylvanas everywhere:

Seven Underlying Themes: Richard Rohr's Teachings

Fundamentalism”Misses the Fundamental

My dear friend, Dr. Gerald May, made a distinction years ago that I have found myself using frequently. He says spirituality is not to encourage willfulness, but in fact willingness. Spirituality creates willing people who let go of their need to be first, to be right, to be saved, to be superior, and to define themselves as better than other people. That game is over and gone; and if you haven’t come to the willing level—“not my will but Thy will be done” as Jesus says (Matthew 26:39)—then I think the Bible will almost always be misused.
I would like to say that the goal in general is to be serious about the Scriptures. We have often substituted being literal with being serious, and they are not the same! (Read that a second time, please). The point I would like to make is that literalism is not to take the text seriously at all! Pure literalism in fact avoids the real impact, the real message.Literalism is the lowest and least level of meaning in a spiritual text. Willful people use Scripture literally when it serves their purposes, and they use it ‘figuratively’ when it gets in the way of their cultural biases; willing people let the Scriptures change them instead of using them to change others.

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