Pope Francis wants YOUR input…
In what has been described as “the first time in the history of the Catholic Church that the magisterium has consulted the laity”, Pope Francis is asking all of us to participate in a survey. Prior to making decisions, the Vatican and the Popes might canvass the Bishops of the world in order to get opinions on a given topic but never has a Pope gone directly to the Catholic lay people to get their thoughts.
The survey asks the respondents questions in eight basic categories:
1. Teaching on family in Scripture and Church documents.
2. Marriage according to the Natural Law.
3. Pastoral care of the family in evangelization.
4. Pastoral care in difficult marriage situations.
5. On unions of persons of the same sex.
6. The education in the faith of children whose parents are in an “irregular” marriage.
7. The openness of married couples to life.
8. The relationship between the family and the person.
The survey finishes up with the opportunity to bring up any other issue or challenge you are facing regarding your life of faith.
Since he has taken office, Pope Francis has turned a lot of heads in our Church, in the world and in the media with his (sometimes) atypical approach to the papacy. For instance, instead of moving into the papal apartments he still lives in a small hotel suite, he is more comfortable taking a bus than a car, he eats simple foods and sends daily messages to those who distribute Vatican funds to the poor. It is even rumored that he “sneaks” out of the Vatican at night dressed as a priest so that he can spend time with the hungry and homeless on the streets of Rome. His witness should be a challenge to all Christian persons to truly live out the Gospel.
Please take some time and go to the Diocesan website (sfcatholic.org), click on the “Consultation of Clergy and Faithful” link which is right in the center of the page. This is not a “multiple choice” type of survey. The Pope is looking for much deeper thoughts than a simple click of “A, B, C, etc.”. He wants to know what you really think of the issues listed in the survey. You can answer all of the questions or just those that you wish. The deadline for submitting the survey is December 13.
Advent waiting is Holy Waiting…
This is a meditation on waiting that I found on a devotional website that I follow daily:
Advent is a time of waiting. Waiting can be boring and frustrating. But is there perhaps a rich and hidden dimension in it? How can we turn our dislike of waiting into ‘holy waiting’? God builds a great deal of waiting into our lives. The Old Testament is all about waiting. Finally God sends his Son. It seems then that waiting is at an end. But think of the uneventful years Jesus spends in Nazareth.; God, it seems, makes Jesus wait! Then comes the whirlwind of his public ministry: ‘he appeared, he spoke, he went, he prayed, he healed, he broke bread…’ In the Passion, waiting returns as a central theme. Jesus is shown as extraordinarily passive. Where before he did so many things, now everything is done to him: ‘they took him; they scourged him; they crucified and buried him…’
Jesus has handed himself over totally: he does not struggle. He waits for what his enemies decide to do with him. He is saying to his tormentors, ‘My love for you is inexhaustible. No matter what you do to me, my love will not falter.’ The love in his heart makes this a time of ‘holy waiting’.
Waiting, then, has a divine quality. Jesus’ waiting shows his great love. He knows what our human waiting is like. We can learn from him to endure lovingly what cannot be changed. We are close to God at such times. Advent provides a special time for ‘holy waiting.’ (from Sacred Space)
Waiting isn’t easy. We are accustomed to having what we want, when we want it in the United States. During these next few weeks our Church asks us to slow down, relax, and wait. Our culture tells us to speed up, shop frantically, and knock ourselves out with the details of preparation. Please set some time aside each and every day between now and Christmas day to simply wait. Ponder the mystery of God becoming man. Spend some praying, meditating, and relaxing and let God speak to you in the silence of this Holy Season.