Monday, 30 April 2012

As laity are we sheep and Gerasene pigs, or Daughters and Sons of God?

(Last revised on 1 May 2012)

Yesterday, on Good Shepherd Sunday,  I wonder if  you said Amen to the Collect. Or have you learnt not to listen to these prayers over the last months? Did you find delight in it, as here? Or were you too nauseated to speak? Maybe nausea was only my reaction.  We were invited by our leaders to pray "Almighty ever-living God, lead us to a share in the joys of heaven, so that the humble flock may reach where the brave Shepherd has gone before."

I cannot counter the thought that for some six months as laity we have passively followed our leaders over a cliff, away from liturgy that engages us in the Gospel and away from the world that we are here to serve.
If that is so, then why are we so passive?? Do we aspire to be the holy huddle the Vatican apparently  wishes for? - it is comfortable, and makes few demands.

Yesterday at Mass I was surrounded by people living lives that challenged me by their goodness and self-sacrifice as they bring up children, care for elderly and infirm, and seek to create a better world....  They challenged me by their courage with pain and with loss, and with responses to the difficulties of daily living. Yet how does the Mass text gather their lives and bring their struggles to the altar?  What I heard tells us to find our identity in our sinfulness, more than in God's life active within us,  and it reduces our vision to one of clinging on to the tassels of the ordained until we reach Heaven.

The accounts of the  Curia's silencing of compassionate and insightful theologians are now legion. RC theology is no longer allowed to be a listening for the music in our lives, so the dances can become stronger, a whirl with the Spirit. It is to be about standing in ranks, saluting authority.  The Vatican will think they are doing the will of God, as revealed to them for the Church.  There seems to be an absence of critical reflection on what they are doing, the assumption that they are right, the willingness to trample over others, an arrogance in how the text was given us (a text calling us so often to humility!), and an absence of   compassion for those being silenced.

Jesus confronted those in religious authority who got in the way of the Kingdom.  Isn't it time that as laity we challenged the Vatican? Most of our Bishops and many of our priests  have chosen not to do so. Laity are less constrained. 

What would frighten me is if most of us actually think we recognise the Gospel  in the Mass prayers and in the authoritarianism.

Let us pray for a better future and to find ways to act.

1 comment:

Liz Delafield said...

In the 1980's film Labrynth, the young girl Sarah confronts the Goblin king (played by David Bowie) in the center of the Labrynth. She says "you have no power over me!" and the whole thing comes crashing down. Remember, they have no power over you! Don't accept being told what to think or what to say.