I have been thinking a lot about the Synod on the family going on in Rome right now.
It’s interesting how the media and bloggers are covering this topic, adding all their “wise” insights and predictions about what this will mean for the Church and her teaching now and into the future. Some of the things being said, I must say, have caused me some consternation and yes, even a few tears.
When I am “troubled,” Mary has always shown me the way. I try to “ponder,” and the best way to do that, I find, is through prayerful reading of scripture.
So I was attentive the day before the Synod convened. It was the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend Mass. The gospel passage was the well known story of Martha and her sister Mary. (Luke 10: 38-42)
As a busy working mom, I have always wistfully wished I could be Mary, but relate to Martha, who is “worried about many things.” So when I heard this passage being read, I thought the Holy Spirit would tell me to stop my fretting.
But that is not the light I was given. I was surprised to find God showing me how I was also like Mary in this story. Perhaps it is because I try to place an emphasis in my life on prayer. And God has given me a great love for sacred scripture and for teachings of His Church (especially those teachings that helped heal my own life most – the writings of John Paul II.)
Maybe this is also why I tend to think of myself as a morality-focused, conservative Catholic. And I worry that I tend toward being a “Pharisee” in my life. We know how Christ warned those men to change their lives. So I pray, and pray and pray that I can be open to what God wants me to hear from those who tell me I ought stop wasting my time in Eucharistic Adoration and get out on the streets and feed the poor.
As I listened to that gospel being read, I could see before me the division in our Church today. You can call the sides in this division whatever you like – liberal versus conservative, social justice versus morality, orthodox versus non-orthodox…the list goes on.
I saw Martha as the “doer” of God’s will in the world, and Mary as the one pondering the teachings of Christ. And this surprised me.
It also reminded me of the topic of a discussion I had just recently with a family member. I shared with him the story of one of the recent honor graduates of Everest Collegiate High School who was planning to enter a cloistered convent. My family member lamented what a waste of talent this was.
I wonder if he would have been more pleased to hear she was becoming a nun in the like of Sister Judy Ann, the angel of the homeless in Detroit.
I would argue that both of these women are exemplary Catholics following God’s call. Both show what it means to be a member of the Body of Christ, using her particular gifts to meet the needs of Christ’s Church.
I repeat, our Church would not be able to fulfill her mission in the world without BOTH of them.
The divisions in our Church I think, would heal if we only did as the Pope was asking at the beginning of the synod, and “listen humbly” to one another. (See the insightful blog by one of our RC family, Jana Crea.)
While perusing Facebook just before writing this blog, I saw the following story about the Pope asking for healing in divisions between Christians.
I would take his hopes and prayers one step further, and ask for healing in the divisions within the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Catholic Church. (I have made this prayer many times before, and I know God will hear me because of my persistence!)
St. John Paul II and Mother Mary, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us.