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    Friday, June 29, 2007

    New Bishop story

    Here's a nice story from Archbishop Terrence Prendergast's installation
    He told a story from an 1856 book written not long after the founding of the diocese called The Christian Life by Thomas Arnold, who wrote that some converts from heathenism and ignorance, “were accustomed to leave their right arm unbaptized” to that this arm, not pledged to Christ, might continue to wreak revenge.

    “This is a great image: these warriors going into the waters of baptism with their arms held high, holding back something of their life from being immersed in God,” Archbishop Prendergast said, noting the story “contains a great message of challenge to me and to you, to all of us.”

    The priest who had told Archbishop Prendergast about this book and the story it contained had confessed it had been easy for him to tithe while on a parish priest’s salary, but far more difficult when he moved into a new salary bracket at a university. That priest asked him to imagine his upraised, unbaptized hand holding his wallet.

    “Each of us could, no doubt, discover an area in our following of Jesus that still is incomplete, where we have not yet completely surrendered to the author of life,” he said.

    Archbishop Prendergast said Christian disciples need encouragement to “embrace the implications of following a crucified redeemer, whose death and resurrection, offering new life, alone sets us free.”

    “There are aspects of our lives where we would prefer that the gospel call did not enter, or not yet at any rate,” he said.
    The big "not yet".
    Bishop Dolan also said as he began his Milwaukee assignment, that his mission was to make us all Saints. I was immediately impressed. At least it implied there may be some of us who were not Saints.
    Both these Bishops see some difference between being holy, and not. I would think they might add that there are some ramifications to being holy or not, both here and in the hereafter, yet they don't.
    The only homily I can recall that mentioned the difference was at the Shrine in D.C.. The Priest had us look up at the mosaic of the Last Judgement, and notice the sheep and the goats.
    He also pointed out that the artist had gotten who would be on Christ's right hand vs. left backwards compared to the Gospel teaching. It's as if when we look to last things, we are lately surrounded by confusion.
    Confusion could explain the silence. Better to give them hope vs. brimstone, and let the Lord sort things out.
    It clearly was not like this for 1,900 years. Last things were always before us. I would only add that in my small experience, whenever confusion reigns it reigns intensely. Which is something I would expect if caused by that Liar from the beginning.
    Is it really all fluff? Are all the many admonitions directly from Jesus in the Gospel regarding the seemingly few that will enter the Kingdom hyperbole? We seem to have the attitude that he was like our parents warning us that if we ran with a stick we'd poke our eye out.
    This mark of confusion, from the Shrine's artist, to the homilies of silence would serve the Devil well. That Liar.
    God have mercy if that Last Judgement is just. Not only the Mercy that surrounds us every minute down here, but a lot extra then.
    Life is not fair, and we'd better hope the afterlife is not fair also.


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