Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Not So Much to be Defended As Shared

I know this is old news by now, but did any of you watch the Today Show segments from the Vatican last week? It was really a very nice, though not at all a fluff piece, and the Today Show crew was guided by Archbishop Dolan. Dolan's been a favorite in this household since he took Milwaukee by storm in 2002 (you can read a little bit about that at my old blog, Studeo). I think he's done a lot of great work, but a particular strength is how able he is at the important art of meeting people where they are and helping them move forward, even if it's just a little bit. A big piece of that, I think, is trust in God and a setting aside of fear. After all, a strong faith should help us to remember important things like: God will help us say the right thing at the right time and He has promised to protect his church.

When Archbishop Dolan went to New York, we watched all of the proceedings on EWTN. A particularly memorable part of what we saw was an interview he did with Raymond Arroyo. Among many other questions, Arroyo asked him about a tough moment in his time in Milwaukee, when he received a letter from a number of his priests asking him to consider having some dialogue on the question of celibacy. To many people, this seemed like a very contentious and controversial question. But Dolan always seems to know where he stands. He answered Arroyo that we don't need to be afraid of questions and that the Church is always willing to talk about things.

That was a really striking idea to me. Not an entirely new concept, but an important one that I hadn't seen with quite that much clarity before. It certainly has an application within my home too - to react kindly and patiently to any questions my children have and to develop a home environment in which they will be (hopefully!) comfortable bringing questions to me. Questions and doubts are a natural part of life and should be treated accordingly (and graciously!).

Somewhat along these lines, the interviews with the Today Show (which you can view through the link in the top line of this post) made me realize/remember that our faith is not so much something that needs to be defended (though there is a place for that) as to be shared with others. I know I sometimes get my priorities confused in this regard.

My thoughts came about also from some training that John and I did over the weekend in order to get involved in the marriage preparation ministry at our parish. The facilitator of the training very wisely informed us that we may very well be these couples' gateway into the church. That's a tall order. Thank goodness we're supposed to lean on God! :)

And on a related note...

This is a quote I really like from Archbishop Chaput's book, "Living the Catholic Faith: Discovering the Basics"...
'Go, make disciples of all nations was the last command Jesus gave to us before returning to His Father. It's a big one. How can simple people like us convert the world? That brings us back to Mary, and to the apostles at Pentecost. They changed the world by letting God change them and work through them. We don't need to be afraid. We need to be confident in the promise made by Christ Himself: 'I am with you always, to the close of the age.'

Don't be afraid of the world. The Holy Spirit is on your side. Charles Spurgeon once said, 'The way you defend the Bible is the same way you defend a lion. You just let it loose."

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