And the Winner Is....

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Our new-found pastime, as we walk around our neighborhood known as the M Streets, is to admire the lawn displays for the festivals of our culture - Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Some are subtle, some comical, some "go big or go home."  My favorite in this season may be found in the accompanying photo.  It may be found amidst a myriad of Snoopies, oversized Santas, candy-canes, and a few jolly R2D2’s! Therein I find a doctrine of the Church contained.  The Wise Men represent we the nations in our diversity on the way to the Christ Child.  They look a little non-plussed, but game for the journey nonetheless. Their conveyance, the Church itself, is a rusty and old-fashioned airplane, barely fit for travel, but against all odds, still in the air, for the purpose of carrying that light.  In spite of the trip’s risks, they are dressed for a party.  

So may we understand ourselves this Nativity-tide, and be grateful for the light we too are given still to bear. 

Peace

+GRS

On Pope Francis, the Lord's Prayer and Us

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Recently the Pope called for a new translation of the clause of the Lord's Prayer, “lead us not into temptation,” for God does not require of us harmful events and effects. He intends for us good, and leads us away from harm. All this is true enough, though there has been, in the history of theology, more to say. Since the Lord is all-powerful, He does permit us to wander into temptation. Thomas called this his “permissive will” which is tied up with the mysteries of His creating us freely to love and obey Him.  We may recall that God's Son prayed that the cup of suffering might pass from him, and then rose up to face what His Father asked of Him. 

There is one more thing to say here, and it has to do with eschatology, the doctrine of the last things so important in Advent.  The word for “temptation” refers to the testing, the great trial, which must come before the Kingdom. This is where the example of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane is pertinent. This is the moment of witness before the world, literally of “martyrdom,” of a public and costly “Yes” to Jesus. He does require this of His saints according to His will, though we like Jesus may pray to be spared it. The saints did not try to get themselves martyred, but they needed to be faithful.  

Shall we then stop speaking of being “led” to or from “temptation?” I don't think so. All I have said is background to the smaller, daily summons to each of us to rise up and witness with our lives. 

Peace

+GRS

 

 

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