Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Lenten Mercy-Meditation: The Agony in the Garden ~ Francis and the Sultan


Saint Francis and the Sultan

Yesterday's Gospel at Mass for the Fifth Sunday of Lent had Jesus descending the Mount of Olives before meeting the woman who had been caught in adultery. (John 8:1-11) He refused to condemn her. And of course, that reference to the Mount of Olives - the Garden of Gethsemane - points to the start of Jesus' Passion and his sin-forgiving death.

Jesus' Holy Thursday night visit to the Mount of Olives was characterized by deep prayer and suffering while Peter, James and John slept. Then suddenly the prayer scene turned frighteningly violent. Swords and knives were drawn. A servant's ear was cut off. But even in that chaotic moment Jesus taught, telling Peter to stop it; there is to be no violence. (Matthew 26:36-54)

And we hold our hands over our ears as Jesus speaks those words. We seem to be fighting a perpetual war. We think violence and resort to it quickly as the solution to so many problems. We entertain ourselves with violence and vigorously defend its use. It's reported now that some people are attending Trump rallies hoping there'll be violence, and we might wonder if the media is happy for that as it will cause viewers to tune in. It simply isn't Christ's way.

At the height of the 13th century Crusades (which sought to eliminate, if not drive out Islam from the Holy Land) Saint Francis of Assisi made his long way from Italy to Egypt to see the sultan, Malik al Kamil. On the battlefield Francis asked, "Can you and I talk about peace?"

9 comments:

  1. I always remember you as being a peaceful gentle priest, especially with the children of the parish. I believe that you create peace wherever yoau go nd maybe you will help spread some more peacefulness here with your words. God Bless!

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    1. Thank you, I'm pleased to be remembered well. And as I've ministered in a number of places over nearly 36 years, I've been blessed to meet many peaceable and just people. How good is that!

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  2. Forgiveness over fighting. We would be in a better state of world affairs. It is hard to believe that a candidate for the presidency might encourage violence. What does this say about us as a nation if allow it to go on?

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    1. This devolving into violence and fear of "outsiders" and newcomers - the other - has been taking hold of us for some years. It's a sad time. The world is watching us.

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    2. The whole affair is more than sad. It is downright shameful how we can devolve as a nation. Thank God for our faith.

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  3. I hope that your blog will not turn into a political forum for the presidential race. I would hate to have feelings about the candidates ruin the sense of community found here. I am sure there are supporters from both sides present. Most people who support Trump are looking for fights to break out. It is just the sensationalized news to sell papers.

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  4. No, this blog will not turn into a political forum for the presidential race. But what we're watching these days is about the nation's soul and pity the priest who has nothing to say about that. Did I read your sentence correctly? "Most people who support Trump are looking for fights to break out." Is there a typo somewhere, because I'd NEVER say that - it's painting with a very broad brush. I'm not interested in America's politics, or at least I wouldn't frame it that way - I'm interested in a nation's soul. That's why I'm troubled. And it's not about sex - it's about hate. There's a lot of hate out there. Pope Pius XII said, "Never ask a man to choose between his nation and his Church, because he'll almost always choose his nation." Maybe today we would be more apt to say: "Never ask a person to choose between the Gospel of Christ and his political party, he/she will almost always choose his political party." We ought to have a real hard think on this.

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    1. I would hope they meant "are not" looking for fights to break out. It would be ridiculous even for the opposition to think that were true of most Americans. Unfortunately, we are circling the drain with the people we have, but let us not stoop so low as to think the everyday person wants to see mudslinging and violence. We just want to live in peace.

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  5. America, America,
    God shed his grace on thee,
    And crown thy good with brotherhood,
    from sea to shining sea.

    America, America,
    God mend thine every flaw,
    Confirm thy soul in self control,
    Thy liberty in law.

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