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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
September 4, 1987     The Message
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September 4, 1987

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Faith Today Supplement, The Message, Catholic Diocese of Evansville, September 4, 1987 ii i i i i i 1 i ii i i i i i ! i Restoration in progress By Father Herbert Weber Sunday liturgy was a gathering of as a desire to understand and share NO News Service the successful and the not-so- in the experiences of others. successful; of faculty members with Mlllie, a single mother in need of k couple of years ago I at- keen minds and children with live- financial assistance, was touched tended a Sunday wor- ly imaginations; of parents and when Karen started to visit her. ship service at the young couples; of the r.ecently Soon Millie started to accompany ecumenical community divorced and people struggling Karen to Sunday Mass because she in Taize, France. with other problems, wanted "something more" to keep Gathered together with Brother The renewal of the earth is tak- her going. Roger Schutz and the other ing place when such gatherings oc- People in church made Millie feel brothers were young people from cur. To renew the earth means to welcome. Her life was filled with all over Europe. The service was make it new again, to restore it to hope again. Later she chose to con- interdenominational and the order first chosen by God. tinue her spiritual growth by enter- multilingual. It is clear what it means to ing the parish Rite of Christian In- A spirit o renewal was apparent restore Michelangelo's paintings in itiation of Adults program. in the congregation. Hundreds of the magnificent Sistine Chapel. In any parish where the people teen-agers and young adults were There the artisans' goal is to allow continue to turn toward God and there to pray and to experience visitors to see the walls and ceiling try to be open to others, an impas- faith. They felt accepted and in all their 16th-century brilliance, sinned desire for justice will challenged. The Gospel was stirring Restoration of the human world develop. The threat of nuclear an- them to action, requires a similar goal. Such nihilation, the suffering of parent A vision for a new creation is restoration is the mission of each and child in the evil of abortion, developing within prayer centers parish. How does it come about? the violence of bigotry, the pain like Taize. Because of what hap- Through an ongoing, inner conver- endured by hunger's victims or pens there, the face of the earth is sion of the community's members, those oppressed by totalitarian being re-created, renewed. Not incidentally, this conversion regimes will tear at the very heart But most people will never visit leads to a deep awareness of the of anyone who has experienced a such a place. They need to be longings and hungers of others, change of heart -- a conversion. reassured that whatever it means to When parish groups gather to These people and their parishes re-create the face of the earth can share their faith, not merely to tall become symbols of peace and occur in ordinary places with or- about resurfacing the parking lot, justice. Then what we find is that dinary people, the spirit of conversion and ordinary people in ordinary places What does it mean to speak of renewal is usually found, are actually involved in the extraor- re-creating the face of the earth? The inner conversion I speak of dinary work of renewing the shape After I returned home from is a change of heart. Because of it of humanity and restoring the im- Taize, I found myself looking at people begin to find more room in age of God's creation. my parish with new eyes. Because their hearts for others. we are a university parish, we too Then the ordinary acceptance of (Father Weber is pastor of St. have people from many nations others is transformed. It becomes a Thomas More University Parish in and states. I noticed, too, that the genuine spirit of hospitality as well Bowling Green, Ohio.) A man on the move By Father John Castelot NC News Service l f a pilgrim is someone on the move, Elijah was a model pilgrim. It appears that an imperious inner voice constantly was order- ing him: "Leave here, go east .... Go, present yourself to Ahab .... Go, take the road back to the desert" (1 Kings 17:3,9; 18:1; 19:15). It happened that in the ninth century B.C. Israel's King Ahab married a foreign princess Jezebel of Tyre. The consequences were disastrous. A fervent devotee of the fertility god Baal, she made her religion the state religion of Israel. She was fanatic and ruthless. Anyone who opposed her was removed. It took heroic courage to resist her in defense of Israel's one true God. But that was Elijah's main task. The stories of his exploits are ad- mittedly colored by legendary details. But behind the folklore are solid facts. Perhaps the most dramatic event of Elijah's spectacular career was his conflict with the prophets of Baal on Mount carmel. This was at a time when Jezebel systematically Illl I was liquidating prophets loyal to God. A member of the royal court, Obadiah, rescued 100 of them and cared for them in two secret caves. Seeing Obadiah as a sympathetic force, Elijah persuaded him to ar- range for a royal audience. At the audience, Elijah proposed a showdown between himself and 850 pagan prophets. A sacrifice was laid on the wood of an altar and Elijah challenged the pagan prophets to have their god set the wood aflame. All day they shouted and hopped about and screamed for a response. But "no one answered and no one was listening" (1 Kings 18:29). When it was Elijah's turn, he had the wood drenched with water. Then he called on the "Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel"; fire came down and consumed the wood. Flush with victory, Elijah ordered the destruction of Baal's prophets. Jezebel was furious and threaten- ed to kill Elijah (1 Kings 19:2). At this point Elijah became a true I II I lll pilgrim -- a person in search of meaning, in search of God. A per- son may have already found God, yet still search to understand what God is doing in his life. This is the definitive pilgrimage -- a new direction, a step into new life. Elijah fled to the southern desert around Beer-sheba and there prayed for death. He had had it. He felt like a failure. But feeling no strength in himself, he then found strength in God. Elijah retraced the long trek of his forefathers to Horeb (Sinai) where they had first met God. And there he found God -- not in the wind, not in the extraordinary signs of an earthquake or fire, but in "a tiny whispering sound." He had become accustomed to the spectacular. But he discovered that God is never farther than the soft, murmuring sound of a breeze, that gentle inner voice so easily ignored. Strengthened by that discovery Elijah went back to the scene of his prophetic activity. He initiated a process which would end with the defeat of Jezebel. (Father Castelot is a professor of Scripture at St. John's Seminary, Plymouth, Mich.) I II I IIIl| I I I II I I I II ll II I I I I I I I The heart :ii!i I of the new !i::i!!iii: creation By Father David K. O'Rourke, OP NC News Service oth science and Scrip- B ture talk about a ne,, ., creation. For those of us who are happy if we just manage to deal with the challenges we face each day, the idea of a new creation can seem beyond us. Yet from St. Paul to Pope John Paul II, a new creation is said to be part of life for ordinary Chris- tians. So it can't be that far from our own worlds. But what does it mean? A story will illustrate. Good friends of mine now --- their late 30s, whom I shall ca' Rob and Donna, were working hard to provide for themselves and their children. Like many people they chose their jobs because of their personal interests and the prospect of good salaries. Their friends thought they had it made. Rob is an accountant with the kind of competence that attracts more responsibility and more work. Donna is a teacher, gifte2T-in ' 'i helping slower students catch up. Both like their work. In a job market with little flexibility, they consider themselves lucky that Donna's teaching schedule alloWS her to arrive home when their three children do. A few years ago some new oP portunities arose for them. Donna was offered an attractive position as an educational specialist. R : was asked to think about becom- ing a supervisor in his West coast company. But things ground to a halt when Rob suffered an attack one Saturday morning. "I had just finished some work 1 had brought home and was gettirtg ready to go out and work in the garden," he says. "The next thing I knew I was lying on the bed with everything spinning around me." The attack lasted only a few minutes and did not recur. Bu " "" did bring a trip to the doctor. "I think you have a predisposi" tion to high blood pressure," the doctor told Rob. "You might be able to handle it with medicatiOn, but I would rather see you really reduce the level of stress in your life." I Stress. Rob wondered. "Wht!: stress?" That's when Donna made an aPl ' pointment for them to see me. It didn't take long to pinpoint the pressures facing a hard- working man. More important, W .Imm I ._.J i II I IIII