Sunday, December 18, 2005

A Prayer and Examination for the Last Week of Advent

One more note on the America ad, and I promise that’s it. According to America’s apology, the ad was meant as a deliberate “assault on Catholic faith and devotion.”

It is clearly that.

But I have to wonder if those behind the ad also were attuned enough to the American Catholic scene that they knew that instead of blaming them, Catholics here would use it as an opportunity to blame and denigrate each other.

To me that’s the real tragedy here. That the prejudices within our Catholic family are so ingrained that it’s much easier for Catholics to think the worst of each other than to see that we’ve all been duped by a common enemy.

This Christmas Christ is born for all of us, whether you prefer reading America, First Things, Catholic World News, all three or none of the above. Christ is born humble in a manger, and goes to his death out of love for us, yet so often we exhibit neither humility nor love when dealing with each other, all the while proudly claiming ourselves some form of exemplary “faithful,” “Vatican II,” or “JPII” Catholics.

Could we this Christmas proclaim our unity, in humility and love, in the celebration of Christ given to us? Could we celebrate Christ who does not call us all to be the same, but who does pray that we all be one? Could we forget about the labels and just bless each other, as God has blessed us in sending us his only son?

Or will we be looking disdainfully at those Christmas-only Catholics, and turning our nose up at those who don’t celebrate Christmas the “right” way?

My prayer is that we will recognize in God-with-us the opportunity to let go of the things that prevent us from making a place for him in our lives and in our Church.

This will be my personal prayer and examination in the coming week. If you’d like, I invite you to pray it with me.


Blogger Susan Rose, CSJP said...

I've been praying for the lines to blur for a long time in this church of ours. We find so much to divide us, when really in Christ there is no [fill in the blank here] or [fill in the blank here].

There's too much rigidity on all sides, and not enough love. In my humble opinion.

3:01 AM  
Blogger Steve Bogner said...

That's a great prayer, Mark. I'll remember that prayer at Mass today and through the week.

9:47 AM  
Blogger angelmeg said...

I will unite my prayer with yours this week.


9:20 PM  
Anonymous Chris T. said...

I will join you in prayer on this one. The parable of the Pharisee and the publician has been on my mind a great deal lately.

11:30 AM  
Anonymous Jim Cork said...

Well said, Mark.

5:32 PM  
Blogger Audrey said...

Mark, thanks for the reminder. Am praying with you too.

God bless!

10:29 PM  

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