Thursday, March 23, 2017

From Loyola Press, on Unity

Luke 11:14-23

Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute,
and when the demon had gone out,
the mute man spoke and the crowds were amazed.
Some of them said, "By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons,
he drives out demons."
Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven.
But he knew their thoughts and said to them,
"Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste
and house will fall against house.
And if Satan is divided against himself,
how will his kingdom stand?
For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons.
If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul,
by whom do your own people drive them out?
Therefore they will be your judges.
But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons,
then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
When a strong man fully armed guards his palace,
his possessions are safe.
But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him,
he takes away the armor on which he relied
and distributes the spoils.
Whoever is not with me is against me,
and whoever does not gather with me scatters."

I recently read an essay by Holly Taylor, a convert from the Episcopal Church to Catholicism. Her central reason for converting was unity. Many churches fragment over conflict. But she claims that for a community to thrive, it must be committed to those it opposes. “In the mysterious calculus of the divine economy,” she writes, unity “allows the possibility that it is precisely the love, the goodness, even of someone with whom I am at odds at the moment, that brings me to God.”

Salvation happens in community. When that community scatters, we lose bits of ourselves and some of the ways God planned to reach us. So we must gather together, despite our differences, for as Taylor says, “Our best chance may be hanging on to one another’s heels.”


I feel the same way: the unity is compelling. The concept that what I do affects all my brothers and sisters in the faith is so profound. Never was I taught that before. Oh, I knew that wasting water wasn't good for the environment and neither was throwing my McDonalds garbage out the car window. But for years I sang along with Paul Simon:

A winter's day
In a deep and dark December
I am alone
Gazing from my window
To the streets below
On a freshly fallen, silent shroud of snow
I am a rock
I am an island

I've built walls
A fortress, steep and mighty
That none may penetrate
I have no need of friendship
Friendship causes pain.
It's laughter and it's loving I disdain.
I am a rock
I am an island

Don't talk of love
Well, I've heard the words before
It's sleeping in my memory
And I won't disturb the slumber
Of feelings that have died
If I never loved, I never would have cried
I am a rock
I am an island

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me
I am shielded in my armor
Hiding in my room
Safe within my womb
I touch no one and no one touches me
I am a rock
I am an island

And a rock feels no pain
And an island never cries

Dearest Father~
Let me not forget the greatest commandment - to love You and my brothers and sisters.
Let me not miss another opportunity to smile or encourage to-day.
Let me not continue with regrets, but let my heart be softened by the sweet touch of Your grace.

Come let us bow down and worship!
If to-day you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.

No comments: