By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Snippets from Latest Francis Plane Interview Leaving Philippines

1. On Resignation:

There’s a word that’s difficult for us to understand because it has been vulgarized too much, used too badly, too badly understood, but it’s a word that has substance: resignation. A people who knows how to suffer, and is capable of rising up.

2. On Crying:

One of the things that is lost when there is too much wealth or when values are misunderstood or we have become accustomed to injustice, to this culture of waste,  is the capacity to cry.  This is a grace we must ask for.  There is a beautiful prayer in the ancient missal, for crying.  It went more or less like this:  Lord, you who have made it so that Moses with his cane could make water flow from a stone, make it so that from the rock that is my heart, the water of tears may flow.   It’s a beautiful prayer.  We Christians must ask for the grace to cry, especially well-to-do Christians.  And cry about injustice and cry about sins.   Because crying opens you to understand new realities, or new dimensions to realities.  This is what the girl said, what I said to her.  She was the only one to ask that question to which there is no answer, why do children suffer?.  The great Dostoyevsky asked himself this, and he could not answer.  Why do children suffer?  She, with her weeping, a woman who was weeping.  When I say it is important that women be held in higher consideration in the church, it’s not just to give them a function as the secretary of a disaster, though this could be ok  too.  No, it’s so that they may tell us how they feel and view reality.  Because women view things from a different richness, a larger one.  Another thing I would like to underscore is what I said to the last young man (at the meeting with young people), who truly works well, he gives and gives and gives, he organizes to help the poor.   But don’t forget that we too need to be beggars, from them, from the poor.  Because the poor evangelize us.  If we take the poor away from the Gospel, we cannot understand Jesus’ message. The poor evangelize us.  I go to evangelize the poor, yes, but let you be evangelized by them.  Because they have values that you do not. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Westward Leading, Still Proceeding


English: Adoration of the Wise Men by Murillo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Many of us have sung today the old hymn "We Three Kings of Orient Are," and recall these verses:

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,

Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.

For many years, some Catholics have pushed hard for what is called "ad orientem" worship with the priest-celebrant of the Mass, along with the congregation, facing east. Pope Benedict XVI wrote very astutely and persuasively for the adoption of this liturgical perspective.

Yet, I could not help thinking as I sang the hymn that the Magi, representing the Gentiles, faced west, expectantly, to look for Jesus. Why could not this biblical story be the basis for "ad occidentem" worship facing westward like the Magi? Could we not argue a similarly persuasive case for worship facing westward? Of course, we could.

Lesson: No one liturgical perspective or view is necessarily the only legitimate alternative. I think Pope Benedict would agree. But too many speak as if their favorite perspective is the only perspective and play into the hands of Screwtape.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Answering Trash Talk

By "trash talk," I refer to offensive and insulting statements that are served up to us. How do you respond? You can ignore it, but is it good to ignore repetitive verbal abuse of this kind? And how do you respond without becoming like the verbal abuser? Two wrongs don't make a right.

My insight is that our words boomerang right back to us. You speak peace, and peace comes back to you. You speak poison, and you should also get back your poison. One Catholic religious medal tells the devil to drink his own poison. You don't repeat or imitate the original trash talk--you just send it back. Return to sender. You can have it back. Keep it. I will not allow it to poison me or change me into you. I won't take the bait.

So next time someone aims trash talk at me, I may just say: "And with your spirit," (in this context, meaning "keep it") and walk away in peace and free of any taint. Refuse to accept it.

Fides Quaerens Intellectum/Faith Seeking Understanding

This photo of a New Orleans building is an apt summary of my life and of the lives of many of us.

Rectory, Jesuits' Church, Baronne and Common Sts.