Monday, February 29, 2016

Governed by grace

     Yesterday afternoon, before the Oscars, I rented and watched "Spotlight", the best picture nomination and ultimately the Oscar winning best picture of the year.   "Spotlight" tells the story of the Boston Globe reporting of the priest child abuse scandal that  rocked the Archdiocese of Boston and began an avalanche of allegations of abuse and of coverup throughout the country and throughout the world. It continues to be a scandal to the world and a challenge to the Church today.  It is not and  should not be an easy story to tell, and as a priest of over forty years, it brings with the telling an agony and heartbreak for the victims and their families, for the faithful who suffer confusion and disappointment, for the the lost message of the Gospel which the Church is entrusted with, for the sinners who have repented, and for the majority of us priests who are true to our calling.  It was hard to watch but necessary to understand the scope of the crisis.  It is also important to recognize the steps that have been and are still being taken to deal with the problem.   Very few other institutions have taken such measures, and I admit, very few other groups have the same spiritual and moral responsibility for doing so.   It can be overwhelming if not for the fact that redemption is a key element of our journey, forgiveness and mercy foundation stones, and justice and atonement banners that guide our way.

     In our Collect Prayer for Monday of the Third Week of Lent, the Church prays:

"May your unfailing compassion, O Lord,
cleanse and protect your Church,
and, since without you she cannot stand secure,
may she be always governed by your grace."
     We, as Church, need to be cleansed of our sin and failure to protect.  We, as Church, need to be protected from destructive forces from without as well as those from within.  We, as Church, for the sake of the Gospel and not ourselves, need to stand secure as a People of Faith.  And we, as Church, need to be governed by the grace of God.   I was so struck by that phrase - "governed by grace".

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