Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Clay God Uses: Fidelis of Sigmaringen

Peace and Good! Today I am reminded about the true meaning of the word 'martyr:' witness. Fidelis worked hard for the unity of Christians, and would not compromise his adherence to the Catholic faith. What makes him a witness is that he was willing to die to defend that faith, but not to kill for it. Thus, he followed Jesus faithfully (his name means faithful). I would love to see us remove the name martyr from those who kill others and themselves in the name of God. But better, maybe we can pray to St. Fidelis to help us all resist the power of hatred while standing firm in favor of the power of God and the love Christ teaches us.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

They didn't know it was Jesus

Peace! In John's accounts of the resurrection appearances, the setting seems so unremarkable. A man in the garden, a figure on the lakeshore. I once read this gospel in the spot where tradition says this occured. It was an incredible sensation, to read the words, "They were not far from shore, just about a hundred yards," and then point to the spot. Jesus did not appear in flashes of lightning or amid wind and earthquake, but quietly walking on the lakeshore and giving some fishermen advice. God walks in the everyday world. Our task is not to make God appear among us, but to recognize His presence. That is what Francis learned to do, like the apostles learning to recognize Jesus' presence even in the humiliating and painful events of life. God help us all, too, for His love is for all of us. Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I See Nothing but Violence and Strife in the City

Peace! Blessings in the Risen Christ!

As we are daily reminded, there is much violence in the world. At the extremes we can either try to ignore it as much as possible or let it dominate our thoughts. Or take the third way: know that there is violence and evil, but never believe that they are ultimate. The reason to believe that: Jesus' death and resurrection. This is what helped Francis survive his own experiences of violence, both in the world around him and within his own heart. Thirteenth-century central Italy was an incredibly beautiful world, filled with an incredible amount of violence. Francis had experienced Assisi's war with Perugia, a very violent local affair, not as an observer but a participant. That experience of the futility of violence, when opened up by the teachings of the living Christ, helped make him an "instrument of God's peace." May St. Francis help us to be such in the world where violence still seems to reign, from Virginia to Iraq to Darfur. And with Francis may we humbly do what we can to be instruments of peace. God bless!