After praying with next Sunday's Gospel, we mused briefly and critically upon the mantra "No priest no Eucharist, no Eucharist no church." We have had Eucharist on demand for decades. We briefly pondered this question: to what extent has this led to a merely cultural Catholicism of belonging and Mass going?
A more fundamental question that challenges everyone of us is: how can we do Church better?!
* need for communities of people with faith not religion.
* need for a mystical church - with people who grow towards the heart of God, know God is closer to them than they are to themselves, a mystical church that unites cosmology and care for the poor - informed by good scriptural scholarship
* need for growth into mystery not assent to the idol of a diminished and bounded version of orthodoxy
* need for dialogue between laity and those seeking to exercise authority
We need discernment in order to respond to challenges and need - including the challenge posed by the depressingly authoritarian and centralising trajectory of our archdiocesan leadership...
We began comparing what was done in West Kilbride (link below) with the process underway in our Archdiocese. Here we are told there will be a single meeting of the Archbishop with each cluster to review resources and talents. This has uncommunicated goals and unclear wider context. (Is this the only such meeting, or a first step in a long process?) Saved from depression by running out of time, we had glanced at St Bride's website enough to observe that contrasts lay in West Kilbride having an open and balanced structure for its process. Prayer, discernment engaging the community, external facilitation, listening were among characteristics we would like to become apparent here also.
We observed how many clergy have not had the opportunities that congregations have made for themselves over the last 60 years: the recent world-wide gathering of the Good Shepherd sisters came to mind as an example - with the talks from Br Pinto being linked below, also.
We brought all the above into prayer with Eph 3.
Some resources that came to the minds of participants included:
St Bride's Church, West Kilbride: follow link on the menu bar to "embracing change" for accounts of parish and North Ayrshire Deanery initiatives, including:
Embracing change - a process of preparation - with external facilitators
Deanery event - 29 June 2014
Br Philip Pinto,cfc
Presentations to the Good Shepherd Sisters - Congregational Chapter 2015
Finally, three quotes to encourage you to read this - also from Br Pinto - and the above:
1. "I do not believe that we are living any more in a time of transition. That is too tame a word to describe the upheavals taking place. I believe we are in a time of chaos and more than ever we need to be aware of the action of the Spirit hovering over the waters and calling forth life.”
A time of chaos demands risking. The only real ‘sin’ in such a time is that of inactivity, of waiting for the dust to settle before we do anything. The call today is to risk acting to the best of our ability, knowing that only this will allow the future to unfold".
2. "A religious movement is born out of a moment of radical insight. But all too often this movement is domesticated and trapped in a system of beliefs and regulations that produces an event to be celebrated rather than an experience to be lived anew. That is why Carl Jung said, “organized religion is a defence against having the religious experience.”
3. "It is not that there is no sin, but that when God looks at us, God does not first notice sin! Our images of God keep us chained and locked up in superstition and fear".