Friday, June 7, 2013

Years ago I read an article in which the author opined that the spiritual life was often thought of as the charge of proud knights on stallions into battle, the glint of sunshine and the reflection of bravado on the polished swords. Rather, he concluded, it is more like the halting walk of two alcoholics trying mightily to keep themselves sober throughout life. In both descriptions there is one point shared: it is not something we can tackle alone. No, the wisdom of Jesus is that He founded a Church and did not merely convey a philosophy of life. In his homily yesterday, Deacon David Hall recalled the popular notion that spirituality can be disconnected from religiosity: “I don’t need a church; I have Jesus.” However, among the very first things that Jesus did when starting His public ministry was to surround Himself with others. Every gospel writer considered that fact so important that the call of the apostles is described near the beginning of all four gospels.

Yesterday the Church celebrated the Feast of the Holy Trinity. This mystery itself is a compelling reminder that God Himself, in whose image we are created, is not an isolated singularity but a community of persons in relationship. The normal Christian life is also lived in relationship, not isolated, not alone. Perhaps the writer was correct: the spiritual life is an effort shared by sinners to receive the grace of God and help each other in recovery. Did you ever notice that at the beginning of every Catholic Mass we acknowledge our sins? It’s as though I’m at a Twelve-Step meeting and stand up to say, “Hi, I’m Bill and I’m a sinner.” I look around and see that I’m not alone and I can find strength in the shared grace that allows us not to be consumed by our sins. Father, Son, and Spirit smile in seeing us together as they are. Smile if you’re a sinner too: we are Church precisely to help each other!

May 27, 2013
Msgr. William J. King

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