Saturday, October 21, 2006

Fratres in unum

The Psalmist (Psalm 131) wrote "how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell in unity." My brother-friend Antony from whom I learned this art of blogging upbraided me for my comment in the opening lines of my last blog. As I noted there, I have not historically been very friendly toward either the French or the Jesuits.

The reasons for my antipathy needn't detain us here. Still, however one feels about one's fellow man, we still need to be open and non- prejudicial. Antony's laubable sensitivity about my remarks made me think more deeply about how I react to others. There is always the need for civility in discourse and behavior. Thank you, Antony.

Benedict XVI made a related observation about relationships within the Church during last week's General Audience. He commented on the make-up of the Twelve Apostles. In particular he marveled at the juxtaposition of Simon the Zealot next to Matthew the tax collector.

"Simon is called "Cananaean" and "Zealot." Both expressions stress his passionate attachment to his Jewish identity. That Simon could live in harmony with Matthew the tax collector in the same community, shows us how in the Church, through the grace of Christ, differences can be overcome."

I need to hear those words and heed them. So often especially in my work I deal with varieties of Catholic folk all across the spectrum, from Latin-loving traditionalists to left-ward leaning Dorothy Day birkenstock wearers. These encounters could becomes occasions for clashing agendas, harsh words, and conflict. Revealing my own predelictions (middle of the road to conservative Catholic) could only make matters worse. And I wouldn't be helping my brothers and sisters out either. So, instead I choose to focus on the matters at hand. How can we all fulfill the mission of the Church in a more excellent way through excellence in fiscal management? It's a lesson I relearn every time I visit a parish or have a serious conversation with a fellow Catholic. I think our Heavenly Father as well as our Holy Father Benedict XVI wants us to learn this lesson also.


Bryan said...

Hi Phil. I found your blog by the way of A's blog. Looks like good stuff here. I'll certainly be back to read more of what you have to say.

Thanks for the link on the Sign of the Cross post!


shoofoolatte said...

I'm glad you qualified your statement about the French (what's wrong with the French?) and the Jesuits, Phil.

Most people would probably put me to the left of Antony (but I'm not so sure they're right), and I am very indebted to my many Jesuit teachers.

You have a very gentle manner to your writing, and I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts and perspectives. I hope you don't mind if I occasionally add mine, even though it may seem that we are not on the same page.

Phil B. said...

I am so new at this, I am not sure I can respond to you individually- but I'll try. Beth- thanks for reading and the French comment would be too hard to go into right now. Just suffice it to say that my personal experience of the Frnech is limited to those I've met here- never been overseas- at least not yet. So I really shouldn't judge based on these few (bad) experiences. In any event, I hope you'll keep reading and comment whenever Spirit moves you to do so.