Diocesan Siberia

Diocesan Siberia

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If this priest were a pastor in my diocese, he’d be sent to diocesan Siberia; you can’t preach like that around here and stay to tell about it.

Father actually talks about sin and the need for repentance. His show, Word for a Wounded World is currently on EWTN.

There were three priests in my area who had his gift of exhortation in preaching. When you left a Mass they celebrated, you were convicted– but, you knew God loved you and you knew someone just had the courage to tell you the whole unvarnished truth. None of them are here anymore. Well, they are, but you’d have to drive to…yes, diocesan Siberia to find them. I haven’t seen or heard of them for a few years. One occasionally use to preface his homily with this admonition:

If you don’t like what I say, it’s alright..There’s a file at the bishops office with my name on it.

I got to thinking about these dear priests as I read the second reading from today’s Divine Office: the Pastoral Guide by St Gregory, pope. He begins first by saying that there is a time for a spiritual guide to be silent, but also a time when he must speak, for an indiscretion in either regard can lead to error. If a pastor lacks this discernment, he may not have the foresight to speak what is right openly for fear of losing the favor of men.

 

“As the voice of truth tells us, such leaders are not zealous pastors who protect their flocks, rather they are like mercenaries who flee by taking refuge in silence when the wolf appears.”

 

And it is the prophet himself, he says, who reproaches them,

“They are dumb dogs that cannot bark…You did not advance against the foe or set up a wall in front of the house of Israel, so that you might stand fast in battle on the day of the Lord.

To advance against the foe involves a bold resistance to the powers of this world in defense of the flock. To stand fast in battle on the day of the Lord means to oppose the wicked enemy out of love for what is right.”

 

St Gregory is more than convicting as he continues,

 

“When a pastor has been afraid to assert what is right, has he not turned his back and fled by remaining silent?

Whereas if he intervenes on behalf of the flock, he sets up a wall against the enemy in front of the house of Israel.

Therefore, the Lord again says to his unfaithful people:

Your prophets saw false and foolish visions and did not point out your wickedness, that you might repent of your sins.”

 

That you might repent of your sins.… With the exception of one other priest I have the privilege of knowing, that’s an old fashioned message round these parts. You’d be hard pressed to find, “the word of reproach” which is,

“…a key that unlocks a door, because reproach reveals a fault of which the evildoer is himself often unaware. That is why Paul says of the bishop: He must be able to encourage men in sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.”

St Gregory ends by saying that it is the ordained priest who is given the task to preach because he goes before,

 “..the terrible judge who follows.”

And I think he has the audacity to be politically incorrect (imagine that). Listen to this:

“If, then, a priest does not know how to preach, what kind of cry can such a dumb herald utter?”

Yes, well I suppose St Gregory would be banished to Siberia too if he preached that in a homily around here.

I’m especially concerned for our priests in light of the opening of the two week family synod today. Pope Francis warned the participants against hypocrisy, pride and greed, encouraging them to “serve the church with freedom, creativity and hard work.”

Let’s pray they don’t get creative with Holy Mother Church and her 2,ooo year old deposit of faith, the public revelation of Holy Scripture and tradition.

 

One of the most discussed topics at the 2014 synod promises to be a controversial proposal by German Cardinal Walter Kasper that would make it easier for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive Communion.

Pope Francis has said the predicament of such Catholics exemplifies a general need for mercy in the church today.

—-Catholic News

Please dear bishops, don’t get creative with the truth; we can’t afford any more pastors who adhere to sound doctrine being banished from our midst.

What stirs me from today’s gospel reading and the parable of the landowner, is that as ‘vintage time’ draws always nearer, the Lord will expect to see fruit from His people, from His church. Jesus’ craftily posed question to the tenants asks;

What will the owner do to the tenets when He comes?

Depends upon what kind of fruit His vineyard has produced.

The kingdom of God will be taken away from from those who abuse the gift of the Son of God.

‘Fruit,’ is a metaphor for repentance, conversion and actions that manifest such conversions.

—Father John R Donahue, SJ via Magnificat, Oct. 2014, p.78

I hope the day doesn’t come when I need to borrow a coat for the drive to ‘Siberia.’

Pray for us, Holy Mother of God, that our priests, our people, and our Church,

may be found worthy of the promises of Christ.  Amen.

 

 +PAX

2 Comments

  1. Nancy
    Oct 5, 2014

    Oh my heavens, this is wonderful. “Your prophets saw false and foolish visions and did not point out your wickedness, that you might repent of your sins.” I have not heard a homily about sin (locally) in decades. There is a lot about getting along with people and saying hi to each each other at Mass. Please may I hitch a ride with you to “Siberia?” I’ll bring the coats.

    • Caroline
      Oct 5, 2014

      Nancy, let’s get a van so we’ll be prepared to load it up with whomever would like to come along..
      And I’ll take you up on the coat because I don’t own one :-) +

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