I spoke at Serra Club, St Paul Chapter this morning and had a great time with the fine folk in our East Metro. They support vocations in every way possible.
One issue I mentioned in my talk is that being employed in the Church or being a lay leader we see a different, and sometimes even more brutal reality of Church life than others might, i.e. outsiders or run-of-the-mill parish pew-sitters.
Some might even get disenchanted, thinking that "gee, if this is what the Church is REALLY like, then why should I bother to be a part of it?" A wise friend once said "it's like seeing sausage being made... once you see it, you never want to eat sausage again."
He's got a point there. Sometimes it can get discouraging for those of us "in the trenches," lay leaders, priests, religious, all alike.
Things happen. People get alienated, discouraged, combative, disgusted.
Then along comes one of my favorite guys, Clement of Rome. He was Bishop of Rome (one could say anachronistically, Pope) at the end of the first century A.D. He must've experienced what it was like to be fully "in the fray." The 90's was time of great upheaval and change in the Church and in Roman society.
Clement has some wise words for us today. And they fit quite well with what our Lord reminds us in today's gospel, 'love one another." That also sounds a lot like our current Holy Father Benedict XVI.
I guess it takes us weak humans 2000 years to get it right.
Saint Clement of Rome, First Letter to the Corinthians, 49.
"May the person who has the love of Christ carry out Christ’s commandments.
Who can tell of this “bond of God’s love” (Col 3:14)?
Who can express its supreme beauty?
The height to which love takes us is ineffable.
Love unites us with God; love “covers a multitude of sins;” (1 Pet 4:8).
Love endures everything, bears with everything (1 Cor 13:7). "
There is nothing base in love, nothing puffed up.
Love does not divide, love does not push towards a rupture,
love does everything in peace.
Love leads all God’s chosen to perfection, and without it, nothing pleases God.
Through love, the Master drew us to himself.
Because of his love for us, Jesus Christ our Lord shed his blood for us,
according to God’s will, offering his flesh for our flesh, his life for our lives."