Monday, July 30, 2012

I'm embarrassed

     My embarrassment in today's post rests in the fact that I did not preach this morning at Mass, even though I usually do.  I did not feel inspired, and the scriptures from the prophet Jeremiah were about loincloths - bought, worn, hidden in the cleft of the rock and found rotted, good for nothing!  I know that there is a message in the story, but on this Monday morning I was guilty of not pursuing that message.  What makes matters worse is the fact that today is the feast of Saint Peter Chrysologus who lived from 380 to 450 and who was known for his preaching ... in fact the name "Chrysologus" means "golden speech".  He was a gifted preacher who used every opportunity to help that mustard seed of the Gospel passage grow to full stature.  So, a great big "Mea Culpa!".

     I tried to redeem myself at a funeral Mass later this morning in my homily for a dear soul, Rachel Sholtes, one of our parishioners.  Her life of eighty-six years saw her, like Paul, running the race and striving for the crowning glory reserved for those baptized in Christ.  We do not compete with or against others, but strive to do our very best with the grace provided, and we achieve not gold, silver or bronze medals, but the eternal glory reserved for the chosen of God.  May Rachel, who bears the name of one of the great women of the Hebrew Scriptures, rest in peace.


NPM Convention reflection
      One of the wonderful experiences in attending a convention like the National Pastoral Musicians last week is the opportunity to share in prayer and song with 2,000 like minded people who have a love of the Lord, a great ability to create music and song, and a deep and abiding faith.  We had many prayer experiences, one of which was Taize Prayer on Tuesday night from 10:30 to 11:30 pm.  For those who have never experienced Taize Prayer, it is restful.  Prayer in the spirit of the Taize Community (in France) is a meditative form of common prayer.  Gathered in the presence of Christ, surrounding the cross and icons, with subdued lighting and many candles, we sing uncomplicated, repetitive songs, uncluttered by too many words, allowing the mystery of God to become tangible through the beauty of simplicity.  A few words are sung over and over again, in many languages, and reinforcing the meditative quality of prayer.  It involved a Scripture reading and the Lord's Prayer.  Even with many hundreds of people sharing in the time of prayer, it was personal, private, and touched the heart.  It made you one with Christ and one with his Body, the Church.

     I first encountered Taize Prayer while on Sabbatical in the Bay Area of California back in 1996, and truly fell in love with the spirit of this form of prayer.  It was good to experience it once again in Pittsburgh at the Convention.

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