Mission Matters: Aug. 24, 2016
This week’s “Parish Table Talk”: Ideas for a successful retreat; Ben-Hur and forgiveness; Respect Life workshop; plus this Thursday’s blog post.
Watch for this Thursday’s Post:
Holy Leisure & Delighting in People by Johanna Coughlin, Respect Life Consultant & Project Rachel Coordinator
• Organizing a successful women’s retreat: A lack of spiritual focus can make or break your event. And so do logistics. Check out the feedback received by blogger Simcha Fisher when asking about women’s experiences during retreats. See any helpful suggestions?
• Reminder: Respect Life Workshop This Saturday, August 27, the Office of Respect Life will hold its annual workshop & commissioning event from 9 a.m to 1 p.m at St. Louis Church. The workshop is designed for Parish Respect Life coordinators and their team members, but it is also open to others interested in respect for life activities. Materials for RL activities will be distributed and there will be an optional visit to the Shrine of St. Anthony after lunch. Cost: $10 payable by mail or at the door. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-547-5403 until Thursday, August 25.
• About Ben-Hur and forgiveness: Even though the new Ben-Hur movie is not doing great with film critics, it seems to be resonating with the general audience…and with Bishop Barron. He has written a short reflection on this film and its biblical significance while also focusing on its success in telling a true “tale of the Christ.” Take five to read this piece about Roma Downey and Mark Burnett’s new production.
Following Jesus – who performed healing miracles – and St. James – who proclaimed that our true faith is only demonstrated in good works – both Pope Benedict and Pope Francis have emphasized the importance of good works in evangelization. If our faith in God – as Love – is not demonstrated, it appears as hypocrisy. And young adults are not buying it – as we see in the rise of the “nones”. They seek to fulfill their aims in social justice outside mother Church, many flocking to Evangelical churches, as many of them do not understand the point of ineffective prayers, prayers that do not transform the pray-er or the pray-ee, prayers that do not result in a FLOW of grace and love from God THROUGH the pray-er, but only a temporary ecstasy for the pray-er. Parish-centered good works not only serve to bring parishioners together, working on a superordinate goal, but develop a reputation of goodness for the parish – a strong network that people would want to join and which will bring them a deep abiding joy, as Love does naturally. Absent vibrant social justice programs in the parish and appropriate support from the pastors, people might seek the truth, and grace, by other means, such as science – which many pastors and their congregants do not understand as a critical part of God’s revelation, leaving them subject to flights of fancy which do little to usher in the kingdom of God. While the sacraments are important, they are only a small part of the function of the Church, as we would surmise even from the example of Jesus’ own life – which He spent primarily in good works to establish His own bona fides, then truth-sharing.
Thank you and well said! You have certainly nailed the hammer on the head when it comes to the challenge of the new evangelization and the need to live out together the call to missionary discipleship, of which Pope Francis is such a compelling example and witness. Of course, one of the greatest gifts we have, but which adds complexity to the good news we preach, are the sacraments. In particular, the Eucharist. To continue the conversation: how do these truths fit in with our call to become evangelizing parishes? From the CCC, 1324-25: “The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’ ‘The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch. The Eucharist is the efficacious sign and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and that unity of the People of God by which the Church is kept in being. It is the culmination both of God’s action sanctifying the world in Christ and of the worship men offer to Christ and through him to the Father in the Holy Spirit.”