- Okay, well, I started this post this morning. It’s now almost Sunday. Go me.
- First (er…secondly) – I’m on Snapchat. Amywelborn2. There is hardly anything there now, but I’ll be using it in Italy in a few days, so I’m in the practice mode..get on and check it out, if you like. No link because you just have to download the app.
- Snapchat is what the kids all use – obsessively – now, but just over the past few weeks, I’ve detected a Movement of the Moms in the app’s direction. Perhaps this is what we do to try to tame the evil possibilities of things like this? We sense that if we start using it, they’ll all flee?
Anyway, it’s an interesting app. Annoying in some ways, and certainly not as easy to find people with as any other. I only follow a few people because I can only find a few people on it. I was really inspired to get on by Catholic Traveler Mountain Buterac, who posts almost daily Snaps (as the kids call them) of his life in Rome as well as his travels with tour groups. He does a great job and offers intriguing and illuminating slices-of-life from another part of the world. Here’s a blog post he just wrote about how he uses Snapchat as an evangelization tool.
Randomly, I’m also following an account called EverestNoFilter – a couple of guys who are currently scaling Everest and Snapchatting away. Really interesting and just so amazing to think about what is possible with technology.
Periscope is also on my list for this week – I plan to do a couple of ‘scopes (um…as the kids say) to practice for Italy, although I am not quite sure how I fit in with the bulk of broadcasters who seem to be either 1)Young people whose broadcasts are entitled “Bored….Talk2Me” or 2) MOTIVATOR, PASTOR, KINGDOM-BUILDER, LULAROE CONSULTANT!
It’s just a tool….keep saying it…it’s just a tool.
- Listened to a great podcast of my favorite BBC4Program, In our Time. The episode was about a man named Titus Oakes who was responsible for a rash of intense anti-Catholic activity in 1670’s England. The fuel for the fire was already there, of course, but his fabrication of a Popish Plot to assassinate Charles II was the spark that got it going. They didn’t give as much time as I would have liked to the actual victims of this plot – the Catholics who were arrested and executed – but otherwise it was the usual informative, fair-minded In Our Time broadcast.The old Catholic Encylopedia has an excellent summary of this wretched episode in English history.
- Today is the feast of St. Matthias, who was chosen to take Judas’ place among the Twelve. We don’t know much about him, but Benedict XVI brings him into his General Audience address on Judas.The betrayal of Judas remains, in any case, a mystery. Jesus treated him as a friend (cf. Mt 26: 50); however, in his invitations to follow him along the way of the beatitudes, he does not force his will or protect it from the temptations of Satan, respecting human freedom.
In effect, the possibilities to pervert the human heart are truly many. The only way to prevent it consists in not cultivating an individualistic, autonomous vision of things, but on the contrary, by putting oneself always on the side of Jesus, assuming his point of view. We must daily seek to build full communion with him.
Let us remember that Peter also wanted to oppose him and what awaited him at Jerusalem, but he received a very strong reproval: “You are not on the side of God, but of men” (Mk 8: 33)!
After his fall Peter repented and found pardon and grace. Judas also repented, but his repentance degenerated into desperation and thus became self-destructive.
For us it is an invitation to always remember what St Benedict says at the end of the fundamental Chapter Five of his “Rule”: “Never despair of God’s mercy”. In fact, God “is greater than our hearts”, as St John says (I Jn 3: 20).
Let us remember two things. The first: Jesus respects our freedom. The second: Jesus awaits our openness to repentance and conversion; he is rich in mercy and forgiveness.
Besides, when we think of the negative role Judas played we must consider it according to the lofty ways in which God leads events. His betrayal led to the death of Jesus, who transformed this tremendous torment into a space of salvific love by consigning himself to the Father (cf. Gal 2: 20; Eph 5: 2, 25).
The word “to betray” is the version of a Greek word that means “to consign”. Sometimes the subject is even God in person: it was he who for love “consigned” Jesus for all of us (Rm 8: 32). In his mysterious salvific plan, God assumes Judas’ inexcusable gesture as the occasion for the total gift of the Son for the redemption of the world.
In conclusion, we want to remember he who, after Easter, was elected in place of the betrayer. In the Church of Jerusalem two were proposed to the community, and then lots were cast for their names: “Joseph called Barsabbas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias” (Acts 1: 23).
Precisely the latter was chosen, hence, “he was enrolled with the eleven apostles” (Acts 1: 26). We know nothing else about him, if not that he had been a witness to all Jesus’ earthly events (cf. Acts 1: 21-22), remaining faithful to him to the end. To the greatness of his fidelity was later added the divine call to take the place of Judas, almost compensating for his betrayal.
We draw from this a final lesson: while there is no lack of unworthy and traitorous Christians in the Church, it is up to each of us to counterbalance the evil done by them with our clear witness to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.
The sentence I bolded in particular helped me pin what is missing in the current Big Theme of “accompaniment.” The emphasis is on God’s initiative, God’s mercy, God’s love for us. All well and good. And a truth that needs to be heard and embraced by all of us. But as I listen to this repeated so frequently, I start to feel infantilized, and not in the good sense in which Jesus speaks that we are all to be like children – open and trusting, – but rather in the sense that I am being told that I am helpless and, more than anything else in my life, need to be patted on the head and told I am okay.
But Catholic spirituality has always emphasized personal responsbility – sometimes to an exaggerated extent that ends up laying heavy, needless burdens, but which also always ends up being reformed and corrected in the course of things. But the fact is that the story of God’s people, from Israel through the Gospels, is the story of people whom God encounters and then invites to accompany him – a journey that requires sacrifice and even radical change. Paul is quite clear: our goal is to put on the mind of Christ, not seek confirmation of the rightness of our minds.
The Good News that is the climax of this story is the gracious gift of the Incarnation – yes, God accompanying us in the flesh – but then inviting us to him. The act of the Incarnation is not a blanket pronouncement that Creation is once again sanctified. It is an invitation for those of us who have fallen to move in the direction of the One.
Face it. When Jesus invites people to “follow me” in the Gospels, what always follows is sacrifice. Sometimes that sacrifice is articulated by Jesus himself:
Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it
…everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life.
Other times we just see it from the events unfolding: the apostles leaving their livelihood and their families. Matthew and Zaccheus leaving sinful livelihoods behind. The women of Luke 8 leaving their homes – where they presumably had responsibilities – to become a part of Jesus’ band.
We hear a great deal about accompaniment these days, and it is a good thing for us to hear: that we are not alone in the world and our true home is with God. Many people feel as if their decisions and habits have cut them off from God, irrevocably. This is not a new story. Understanding that, it is then my turn. I am gifted with freedom. Freedom to ask, freedom to respond.
What must I do?