As a preamble, Sarah read Luke 6:27-36
"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.Then she also read the 23rd Psalm.
"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Also affected by the election, Elizabeth brought in the following along with the material she had intended to discuss.
[The verses below reportedly were engraved on the wall of Mother Teresa's home for children in Calcutta, and are widely attributed to her. However, according to The New York Times, the verses actually were written by 19-year-old Kent Keith in a motivation booklet for high school counselors published while he was a student at Harvard in 1968. In 2002 Dr. Keith was communications director at the Honolulu YMCA.]The reading that we actually discussed was from the beginning of Chapter 2 of God Hunger.
People are often unreasonable, illogical,
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, People may accuse you
of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some
false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone
could destroy overnight.
If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis,
it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
This hunger is better than any other fullness;As always, we got off on tangents after a while.
this poverty is better than all other wealth.
-C. S. Lewis
God comes to us not as food but as hunger, not as presence but as distance felt, not as fulfillment but as longing, not as love consummated but as desire enkindled.
God does not take away our loneliness but intensifies it.
God does not answer our questions but floods out soul with ever-expanding mystery.
God does not soothe that "old ache" but deepens it.
God does not open the door but prompts us to go on knocking.
For our hunger is a joyful longing.
Our hunger is God made present.
Let us Pray
Do not take away the hunger of my soul
or let me fill it with spiritual trifles,
ready to hand,
sweet to the taste,
but good for only a moment's satisfaction.
Deepen my hunger.
Enkindle my desire.
Come to me
in the longing in my heart,
for in my emptiness
you are present.
Sarah talked about how she was frustrated with the whole "I'm moving to Canada thing," and she had a wonderful analogy about how if you're Catholic you shouldn't become UCC just because you're frustrated with the hierarchy in the Catholic Church; you should only become UCC if for you God is more fully present in UCC than in Catholicism. She said she had used the same analogy in reverse when struggling herself a few years ago with staying in the Catholic Church and reasoned at the time that you don't leave your country just because you're frustrated with the administration.
Cassidy talked about how we are products of our experiences and that if we had had different experiences we would be different people, so we should be aware of the fact that if we had had different experiences we might be those people we so dislike, and that if they had had different experiences they might be different people and that we could try to be those different experiences for them.
Liz brought in this article from the Boston Globe.
A telling loss for the churchAfter meeting was over, i told Liz my my grace story and we talked about being centered and about being present and she told me about a Jesuit she knew and i told her about Bob Murray.
By Eileen McNamara, Globe Columnist | November 3, 2004
The Catholic Church in Boston is one of the big political losers this morning.
Senator Marian Walsh is going back to Beacon Hill, the voters in one of the most conservative Catholic districts in Massachusetts having ignored the counsel of their bishop and cast their ballots for a whole person instead of a single issue.
It had been bad enough that Walsh was the only legislator to call in 2002 for the prosecution as well as for the resignation of Cardinal Bernard F. Law in response to the clergy sex-abuse scandal. The West Roxbury Democrat and lifelong Catholic then rejected the urgent appeals of Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley last spring and voted against a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.
This modest lawmaker, a state senator since 1993, all but painted a target on her back.
The Massachusetts Catholic Conference, the church's lobbying arm, put Walsh at the top of its list of incumbents who needed to ''feel the backlash in November," in the words of an editorial in The Pilot, the house organ of the Archdiocese of Boston.
Instead, Walsh defeated handily Robert Joyce of Roslindale, a lawyer running as an independent who made his commitment to ''defend traditional marriage" the centerpiece of his campaign in a district that encompasses West Roxbury, Hyde Park, Roslindale, Dedham, Westwood, and Norwood.
There were nasty anti-Walsh pamphlets on windshields in church parking lots after Sunday Mass. There were whispers about her sexuality, about her alleged animosity toward Catholicism, stemming from her marriage to a divorced man.
''It was ugly and it was sad," said Walsh, a graduate of the Harvard Divinity School who also attended Ursuline Academy and Newton College of the Sacred Heart.
Her victory, she said last night, ''is an affirmation that all people are created equal, that all people deserve to have their constitutional rights protected, and that however much people may disagree, most people are good and want very much to be fair to each other."
There is irony in the transformation of Marian Walsh from predictable ally to pariah in the eyes of the Catholic Church. A tireless advocate for the poor, for public education, for affordable housing, for substance-abuse treatment, she also has stood with the church against the death penalty and abortion. That last stance put her at odds with a liberal establishment that otherwise found much to celebrate in her record of support for human services and expanded access to health care.
It is not easy in politics, Walsh long ago learned, to defy neat categorization. Social workers, for instance, withheld their endorsement of this natural ally in this crucial election because of Walsh's opposition to reproductive choice. Her antiabortion position has kept her from firm alliances with some female colleagues on male-dominated Beacon Hill, as well, but she accepts the consequences of her votes with equanimity.
''I don't apologize for voting my conscience," she said. ''People who agree with my position on abortion were willing to listen to me on gay marriage. Maybe they didn't agree, but they came to see that I voted the way I did because I saw it as a civil rights issue. I could not deny some of my constituents their constitutional right to marry."
The real irony is that it was the Catholic Church that gave Marian Walsh the strength to cast that vote. ''It was the church that taught me to believe in an informed conscience and to act on it. It was the church that taught me to question authority, to do what I believe is right," she said. ''The sadness I feel is to see the church stray so far from the heart of its mission, to really wander off the path. It has been very dispiriting for me personally."
Politically, yesterday's election returns were far more dispiriting for the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Boston.
Eileen McNamara is a Globe columnist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.