Yesterday, the Sister Servants of the Eternal Word celebrated the Rite of Perpetual Profession for one of the sisters.
My boys were serving. I had dropped them off early, run off to do some errands, then returned. I arrived in the middle of Bishop Baker’s homily. He was talking, at that point, about Flannery O’Connor, explaining the purpose of her use of the outrageous and extreme. As she said herself, I am interested in making a good case for distortion because i am coming to believe that it is the only way to make people see.
Even though I didn’t hear the first part of the homily, it seems that what he was saying was that in our times, radical, strong signs are what are going to draw people’s attention to the reality of sin, redemption and grace. To the reality of Christ.
And as he continued, he spoke of religious life and its center: The poor Christ; the chaste Christ; the obedient Christ.
Most of the sisters are well under 50. Their primary apostolate is their retreat center – check out the schedule.
Then later in the day, we went to Mass again. (“Again????”) – Saturday evening vigil Mass at the Cathedral, where we heard a strong, moving homily on that most telling, revealing Gospel passage:
As a result of this,
many of his disciples returned to their former way of life
and no longer accompanied him.
Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe
and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”
The homilist pointed out that when the disciples left, Jesus didn’t stop them in their tracks by saying, in effect, “Kidding! It’s just a metaphor!” And he expanded the moment, clearly, but subtly, into the broader issue of difficult truths, generally. This is it. There are hard, mysterious truths. But they are true and express reality, nonetheless. So our choice remains – do we leave, or do we stand with Peter, in the presence of Jesus, here.