“..in a shaken sieve the rubbish is left behind; so too the defects of a man appear in his talk” ..how truthful sincere authentic are we in our talk, conversation & relationships ? a poem “don’t be fooled by me” keeps disturbing silt & dirty deposits in my clouded relationships with others..& crucially with my real self.. “I idly chatter to you in the suave tones of surface talk. I tell you everything that is really nothing, & nothing of what is everything. A façade of assurance without & a trembling child within, & so begins my parade of masks, & my life becomes a front.” for our words & conversations of deception secrecy & hypocrisy, let us ask for Our Lord’s & our victims forgiveness..
“..the kiln tests the work of the potter; the test of a man is in his conversation..” ; Lord have mercy “..the orchard is judged on the quality of its fruit ; similarly a mans words betray what he feels..” ; Christ have mercy “..do not praise a man before he has spoken; since this is the test of man..” ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
..”the Church is in an extremely critical state, we are plunged into countless sins, & we do not even know it! You wonder why; we have churches, money & everything else; people come here every day; surely this is not nothing? But it is not thus that we judge the state of the Church. Then how? you ask. Whether we lead a truly Christian life. Whether every day we make ourselves spiritually more rich, bearing fruit, whether great or small; if we are not content simply with fulfilling the law & expediting our religious duties. Who is a better person for having frequented this church all month? this is what we must look for! After all, even a good action is only a bad action, when one does not follow it up. Do you believe that the truly Christian life consists in not missing a prayer meeting or Mass? This is nothing, if we do not derive profit from it. If we bring nothing to fruition through it, it would be better to stay at home.” words perhaps of Pope Francis in a critical week when Cardinal Pell, one of Church’s senior leaders, a Vatican insider, has been found guilty of sex abuse in Australia..with victims/rank & file Catholics decrying him for his hypocrisy ..his work recent times with a splinter group at Curia entrusted to look into child sexual abuse, & suddenly the plank bearer is outed..& the cry is for swift canonical justice..for laicisation yes but not excommunication “once a Catholic always a Catholic” is at heart of gospel & our faith practice is it not? “is there an unforgivable sin?” I asked last weekend ..& for Pell a return to his original calling into holiness at his baptism as a child of God, & his & our ongoing life long journey through falleness to redemption..& who wrote the passage I began with? Pope Francis? no; John Chrysostom 4thc Patriarch Constantinople ..take heart, the Church always has & will go through periods of crisis & inauthenticity, remorse & reformation, & it hasn’t just survived, it has grown in holiness & authenticity as a result..the Holy Spirit will never allow the Church to implode but “she” shakes us out of being splinter & plank bearers into becoming real cross bearers..weak/flawed & yet authentic/graceful..in week when we had Requiem Mass for our Fr Antony Hain..by coincidence or work of Holy Spirit, read fine story from desert fathers..“some brothers went to see Fr Antony hermit/ monk..on boat met an old man who was going that way too; the brothers did not know him. Seated together, they talked about the sayings of the Fathers & Scripture, as well as their work manuals.[their weekly log of good works & Lenten resolutions ] the old man kept silent. Arriving in harbour, they found the old man was going to see Fr Antony too. When they came to him, Antony said “you have found in this old man a good companion for the journey.” to the old man he said “you have found some very good brothers, father” the old man replied “yes, they are good, but their barn has no door, & anyone may go inside & untie their donkey” he said this because brothers said everything that occurred to them.” RSB Ch 6 gives wise advice on “restraint of speech” the Church has never entirely approved of monastic rules that require absolute silence.” Lent begins on Wednesday; a season I suggest to refrain from splinter spotting & plank ownership & become silent birdwatchers..season for genuine prayer; not recited words & babble but feelings felt held heard & watched..”prayer is like the kingfisher..all you can do is be where he is likely to appear & wait” I’ve waited many a year to see a kingfisher & by brook, watching water & pondering in silence, I saw flash, & thought then & still “was that a kingfisher?” closest I’ve got to seeing one..photo in DT 2wks ago nature reserve nr Leeds; sign in shallows of lake said “no fishing” & sitting on sign were two kingfishers..birdwatchers & fishcatchers in harmony & no sign of splinters/planks.. where words of prohibition were so unnecessary as to draw a wry smile..reminds me of our Holy Hour here each Sat morning an hour of complete silence in presence of our own kingfisher in Blessed Sacrament..me sitting in confessional helping remove splinters from injured broken hearts, & realising how large/lifethreatening is my own plank & hypocrisy ..”a mans words flow out of what fills his heart”..so “now” [Pope Francis’ word], can I suggest you take a selfie; & watch & smile your way into Lent..Lent “ a joyful season” & it’s not a misprint.. [8thSunYrCLk6;39-45]