Shaking Things Up

Shaking Things Up

Benedict Presents the Olivetan Monks with His Rule


I’ve been mulling over some concerns in this most interesting time of Holy Mother Church and yesterday I sought direction from one of my Benedictine mentors. Here’s what I wrote him:


Since the election of Pope Francis I’m trying to stabilize myself amid the various voices in the church interpreting the direction of the Holy Father…

It’s just an uncomfortable time, because I found Pope Benedict to be so clear and concise in his writings — (Pope John Paul II as well.)

Today my pastor (a Jesuit himself ) gave an interesting sermon which finally enabled me to formulate the question churning in my mind and heart.

Using Pope Damasus I and his constant political and religious struggles as his background, he said it’s important to interpret the times we’re in by looking back to the main movements in the history of the church.

  • the movement from a Jewish to Gentile community
  • from illegal Christianity to legal in the 4th century
  • the church under the control of emperors who placed the crown on the pope
  • 800 AD: through political maneuvering the popes obtain power; land, money military. This was the most morally corrupt time in the church
  • the era when all that power was lost, Martin Luther, the schism
  • the modern era Vatican II Pope John XXIII -to today, the post modern era


Now, here’s where my ears perked up and I understood my confusion– if that makes sense.

He said, we live in a time as turbulent as the movements that went before us. Today, so few live the gospel or even know or care who God is…

We are now a global community because of the new media. In this post modern era, he continued,” everything must be changed to fit this post modern world, to update and change the structures of the church, to connect and become relevant to the people of today.” In three years, he said, ” you will not recognize the Curia at the Vatican because this pope is not afraid to shake things up.”

I left Mass wondering how St Benedict, who we know lived in turbulent times, would respond to a call to relevancy and change of structures in order to draw the lost and pagan world to Jesus. My precious father in the faith seemed anything but relevant (nor the martyrs.)

How would St Benedict instruct me to “shake things up?”

In the spirit of St Benedict, what is to be my response to this call to relevancy?

In the peace of Christ and St Benedict,



I thought you might appreciate his simple yet direct response:

“…all are called to become more “relevant” in our relationship to Almighty God.”

Concentrate on that.“

And that will shake things up plenty.



  • St Benedict Presents the Rule via ~Wikipedia



  1. Patricia
    Dec 13, 2013

    Caroline, what a great post! I too have felt somewhat like I’ve lost my footing…as though I’m walking on uneven terrain. Pope Francis is definitely “shaking” things up, and I am a quiet little person who is comfortable with what she is used to :) Yet, he is so delightful in so many ways. I keep asking Our Lord to help me to feel more comfortable with His new vicar. I love what you shared from the homily at Mass. So interesting, and really helps to put matters in perspective. I was with a friend yesterday who was basically criticizing the formality of our past popes in contrast to Pope Francis’ gregarious style. I pointed out to her that they were Europeans, and he is from South America..huge cultural difference. I believe we are called to love and honor them all….such holy popes in our lifetimes. It’s good to look at the Church thru the ages.. Thank you so much for sharing. YOu have been in my thoughts and prayers…as always. Love and hugs to you!

    • Caroline
      Dec 13, 2013

      Patricia, I’m definitely with you on being comfortable with what I’m used to :-) It’s also difficult I think because after the recent church scandals people are not so quick to sit down and be quiet anymore. It’s a balance between obedience to the magisterium, humility, faith in the promise that the church belongs to Christ (and He will deal with it), and reason which Holy Mother Church never asks us to check at the door. There’s so much available at our fingertips today with the new media. We can read everything for ourselves and then some! It’s not an easy time, but I have to trust that despite the difficulties, like in times past when everyone wrote the church off, the truth will win out and the wolves vs. the sheep is the Lord’s problem to decipher.
      Like I told my mom…I don’t mind getting in line like a good obedient schoolgirl….but I have my hand up for questions LOL

      Been thinking of you too always…I’m still trying to get back on track after the wedding ( which was beautiful) and finishing up my class.
      Love and hugs +

  2. Nancy
    Dec 13, 2013

    It is good to kn0w that we’re praying together and are in many ways on the “same page” during this time.

    • Caroline
      Dec 13, 2013

      Thank you Nancy…it’s so good to know..I believe through uniting our prayers God will strengthen and help us during this time.
      Blessings always +

  3. Victor S E Moubarak
    Dec 13, 2013

    It is inevitable that many people, as time goes by, will distance themselves from God and even come to NOT believing in Him altogether.

    As the world progresses in many fields, (science, medicine, architecture, art etc) man will see himself as self-sufficient and almost god-like. When all the focus is on self – whether materialistically or otherwise – it is also inevitable that God is steadily wiped out of the equation of human existance. Man becomes god (in his mind at least).

    Today, (in the UK), Christianity is often mocked on TV and the media. Opinion formers go out of their way to suggest that the very belief in God is a ludicrous out-dated idea. Others follow such teaching blindly.

    As your priest said; “today, so few live the gospel or even know or care who God is”.

    With the internet and other communications technologies such ideas travel fast and find eager minds to accept them.

    And this is where we come in.

    Writing and keeping up-to-date Christian blogs and websites is vital in restoring the balance. Christ asked us all to spread His news. Many visitors to our Blogs would never have heard about Christ, and perhaps what we write may start them on a new journey towards salvation.

    We also need to pray in the sure knowledge that, however bad it is “out there”, God is still in control and is allowing it to happen.

    God bless.

    • Caroline
      Dec 13, 2013

      Victor, Thank you for taking the time to write out your thoughts here..They are worthy of a post in themselves. I agree wholeheartedly that as the world progresses in the gifts of science and man, autonomy becomes the rule and slowly God is shown the door with the flashing red exit.

      That our blogs could in any way be used as a light in this “valley of tears” is not only encouraging, but a reason to keep on even when one (like me) struggles to assign anything of worth to what I write. You on the other hand …Well, If Gertrude isn’t enough to bring a smile, Father Ignatius shares his loving wisdom with everyone he meets. :-) I love them both.

      It’s interesting as you say here, “Today, (in the UK), Christianity is often mocked on TV and the media.” Well, it took a while, but unfortunately, here in the states, the die has been cast as well.

      So we continue on, in faith trusting and blogging..I am grateful for the gracious people I meet along the way.

      Blessings always and +

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