A Confession

4 Sep

 

iStock_000003007286Small

Mother Teresa is now St. Teresa of Calcutta—but she will remain our Mother Teresa who became an inspiration for millions. She was like Jesus, she lived for others. She was counter-cultural.

She struggled with darkness of soul. She rarely felt the joy of the presence of God. Yet, she persevered.

Mother Teresa had the moral conviction and strength to do what Jesus asked her to do.

The thought of such sanctity, strength and courage has led me to think long and hard about my own faith.

I’m afraid I’ve become what Bishop Barron calls a “Beige Catholic”—or a “Comfortable Catholic,” as someone else suggested.

Jesus called it “luke warm” faith.

In other words, my tendency is to seek the comfort of fellow believers, to cozy up to the Jesus of mercy and, all too often, to turn away from his demand that I take up my cross and follow him.

Jesus challenged the pride and false faith of the Pharisees. He embraced the poor, the neglected and abused in society. Jesus became one with those who suffer and with the oppressed who were denied justice.

He embraced the Cross for our salvation.

And yet, I choose to rest comfortably here, in the bosom of our wonderful parish, where love and faith fill every cell of my being.

And well I should. A good parish is a wonderful place to be.

Yet, at eighty-two yeas of age, nagging questions give me no rest:

  • Have I done all I can do to bring the light of Christ into my world?
  • Isn’t this messy world now someone else’s problem?
  • Do I ignore my Christian duty because I don’t want to pay the cost of true discipleship?

And, how do I respond as society drifts farther from the Gospel?

  • I sit and fume over same-sex “marriages” and bathrooms.
  • When it comes to cohabitation, even among Christians, I manage a disapproving frown.
  • I am angry about politicians who promise even more discord and desperation in our nation.
  • I bemoan the exodus of so many Catholics—young and old—from the Church our Lord Jesus founded.

I pray, write and preach. But what do I DO about it?

Perhaps I shrink at the demand of Jesus to love no one and nothing more than I must love him—and to love others with the same love he gives me. Perhaps I’m not willing to pay the price of such a commitment—it’s much safer just doing what I’m doing.

Father Charles Pope, Archdiocese of Washington, has said that in the first three centuries, there were thirty-three popes, thirty were martyred and two died in exile. They gave their lives.

In a reflection on Scripture, America magazine reminds me that Jesus is asking for my life. He wants me to take up the cross of true faith, the saving message of the Gospel and accept the light of the Holy Spirit. He begs me to give myself entirely to his mission of salvation of all people.

But I can’t do this alone. Nor can any one of us.

Together we must bleach the beige out of our Catholicism. We must cast aside our comfy blankets. Authentic Catholicism must come even more alive in us if others are to believe.

With apostolic zeal we must eagerly take up the cross and the mission that Jesus has given us.

Many Catholics believe that we will face increased persecution.

The cost of true discipleship may well become more evident. But the cost pales in the face of God’s love for us. No cost is too much if we, as did Mother Teresa, love him and everyone for whom he died.

Mother Teresa, pray for us.

 

 

Advertisements

2 Responses to “A Confession”

  1. Taorminashoe@aol.com September 4, 2016 at 8:02 am #

    Not for publication: My message is personal. Deacon Henry, I was thinking of dropping you a note as I have been watching some programs about Mother Teresa on EWTN. Your blog skirts on my thoughts. I have had a recent birthday, 76, right behind you, trying to grasp the years. It is always a time to take stock. I tend to think that I did not do what I could have or would have, but many memories came to mind of my life in FL. To my surprise, I realized that I did quite a lot, met a range of people, and attempted to use my time in doing good things. The realization was not to puff myself up. It was an encouragement to me in prayer that I had value for myself and others. Along with hardships, God gave consolations in being close to or connected to people whose lives are well known to us in the faith. In present days I no longer can do a fraction of the former activities, limited by mobility and health issues. There is much time for reflection when I am awake. Dick Stone would say that he felt as though he was in the aridity of the desert…something to that effect. In speaking with my son, he parroted this back to me. I didn’t ask if he was experiencing this, and put in my heart that he remembered hearing him say that. The Prayer Group at Epiphany and other churches was a place of comfort and growth. My present response in Christianity is through the social media, daring to openly discuss issues, and to counter false assumptions about the faith and the Pope when they are put forth by others. I realize being truthful may cost breaks in relationships. So be it. I have a little story about my connection with Mother Teresa. Years ago I read a book about her named “Something Beautiful for God,” by Malcolm Muggeridge. He was a frequent guest on TV shows and as I recall became a Catholic. Artists painted her image, an ideal subject, so iconic in her sari habit and deep wrinkled face. The thought stayed with me that she said she was a pencil in God’s hands, and whatever she did was for Jesus. To care for the dying, and diseased, all for Jesus. I remembered this as I combed the hair of an elderly woman sitting on her commode bench in a nursing home. It was unpleasant. No matter. All for Jesus. While organizing files I found a prayer booklet by Mother Teresa with a signature. Wondering if it was printed or in ink, I slightly ran my finger over it. I brought it to Fr. Mallen. He asked where I had found it and then told me she gave it to him in Miami and he asked her to sign it. During radiation treatments and the aftermath, I would pray for those who would enter the same room, and for those who were responsible for treatments. My prayer was, “All for Jesus.” For an entire year my eye burned and I prayed. Lymphoma and I have been in a strange relationship for many years. As a Catholic, I don’t know what color I am. I trust that God knows my heart. My mother would say to me when I was young that she didn’t understand how I felt about my faith. She said she went to church, “But you, you want to fight for your faith.” Not always I guess. I think I have been up and down the ladder like all of us, hoping just as Social Security judges our benefit by the time period of highest income…something like that, that God will look at my “best” period. Peace, Antoinette M. Kanaskie

    • Henry Libersat September 4, 2016 at 7:40 pm #

      Dear friend Antoinette,

      Thanks for you most welcome response. I will not personally forward your comments, but I\’m afraid people will read it on my website. For that reason, I will eliminate it once I send this to you.

      This blog was a doctored version of the homily I gave this weekend. I was somewhat disappointed that I did not receive one comment–favorable or unfavorable.

      The homily was designed, hopefully, to help people identify with any of the “problems” I listed.

      Apparently, I failed to do that.

      I spoke with Dick Stone recently. For better or worse, he hasn’t changed a bit,, although he is having trouble reading these days.

      Thank you dear friend,

      Henry

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: