Sorry not much blogging this week. Along with everything else crazy busy and Lenten we’ve been having our first school mission with Fr Luke and Br. Felix–two of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. They’ve been at St Joseph’s Catholic School for three days, and the students have been enthralled. I love this pic of the friars in London.
I’m passionate about introducing our kids to vibrant, dynamic and cutting edge Catholicism. In fact I’m passionate about this not just for our kids at St Joseph’s Catholic School, but for everyone. What on earth is the point of what C.S.Lewis called Christianity with water? Give me the full blooded stuff! Christianity with water is the weak hearted compromising pablum that actually does more harm than good. What I’m talking about is a kind of complacent, sentimentalized, do gooder religion that doesn’t do much good except if you’re suffering from insomnia.
While they were here I took the friars over to Bob Jones University art gallery, and in telling them the story about Bob Jones I related how the old boy was a good ole fire breathing, stompin’ and sweatin’ and yellin’ evangelist. At the same time Bob Jones Sr. was tender hearted. he loved people and genuinely loved saving souls. Of course I have my criticisms of fundamentalist Protestantism, but at least it has some guts and backbone.
This is what the Catholic Church most needs in this age: we need to stop all the internecine quarrels about this form of liturgy or that form of church music. We need to grit our teeth and put up with one another and open our hearts and minds and learn from one another. Mostly we need to all draw closer and closer to Christ, soak up his Spirit and each in our own way according to our own vocation and charism live out cutting edge Catholicism.
The question then arises, “What is ‘cutting edge Catholicism’?” It is nothing less than being transformed into the image of Christ, and what I have found in my journey is that no particular group or religious community or personality type has the monopoly. It should go without saying, but I’ve found saintly, joyful, simple Catholics who are traddies and trendies. I’ve met sour, legalistic, self righteous and angry traddies and trendies. I’ve met the real thing amongst charismatic Catholics, liberal Catholics, conservative Catholics and just plain bread and butter Catholics. Likewise I’ve met phoneys and frauds and pharisees in all of the above groups.
What I want for me and what our Church and our world needs most is that indefinable air of authenticity. It is hard to pin down, but it always has a sense youthful curiosity mixed with the wisdom of age. It always has a sense of seriousness mixed with zest for life and a joyful sense of humor. This person takes others seriously, but does not take himself seriously. He is patient with fools, but not with tomfoolery. He is modest but not prudish. He loves to pray but is bored with mere piety.
The friars I was with this week had these gifts. I want some.