Monday, 6 October 2014

Synod on the Family

I'm still naive enough to be shocked now and again by intemperate language. I don't mean rude words: I have a good stock of those myself, and they can be quite useful on the right occasion.  No, I mean the kind of 'witty' remark (usually only so in the ears of its utterer) which is delivered without regard to those present who might be hurt by it.  

There are many opinions, hopes and fears around as the Synod on the Family opens in Rome. For wise reflection, as always, see Digital Nun; and visit the Eastbourne Ordinariate Mission for prayers about the Synod (and add your own petitions).  Not everyone is as thoughtful or prayerful as these bloggers, though.  I was saddened by 'jokes' I heard about 'votes for adulterers', which surely won't help or edify anyone.  So here is Duccio's painting of the woman at the well (John 4:1-42); of course I think also of the woman taken in adultery (John 8:1-11). We don't know the names of either of these women; might we, though, not ask their prayers for an understanding of God's merciful justice as we would of any of the New Testament saints who had a life-changing encounter with Jesus?

There are things on the Synod's agenda which touch my heart - and those of people I care about. I hope we are all able to pray not for what might be good for us as individuals but 'for our good and the good of all His holy Church.'

As Digital Nun says, 'The whole Church, not just the Synod participants, has a particularly important role in praying not only for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the Synod’s deliberations but in the acceptance and implementation of its conclusions afterwards.'  Those of us who are still damp after our swim across the Tiber might need to remember that Synod now means something different to us as Catholics from what it might mean from within a 'church run by a debating society'. (I hope those words won't offend anyone; they're not my own. I know, I'm risking being guilty of the very thing I'm describing.)

Today's reading at Morning Prayer was James 2:12-13:

Talk and behave like people who are going to be judged by the law of freedom, because there will be judgement without mercy for those who have not been merciful themselves; but the merciful need have no fear of judgement.

I quote it above all to myself...

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