Friday, July 07, 2006

Spiritual Famine

Not a famine of bread, or thirst for water, but for hearing the word of the LORD. Then shall they wander from sea to sea and rove from the north to the east. In search of the word of the LORD, but they shall not find it. Amos 8:11-12

Are we witnessing this ourselves, a famine for the hearing the word of the LORD. Granted there are many places that have a famine of bread and water. But today, Amos gives us a different famine, one of faith.

We say we are going through a dry spell with our religion, unhappy with our churches. We don't like what is preached to us, so we go in search of a new religion, a new deliverer of the message, yet never satisfied. Some go from sea to sea in search of the word of the Lord, and amazing too they don't find it. Can we say we are happy where we are? Are we hearing the word of the Lord?
If our Catholic faith has grown then why are so many churches empty, and disappearing. Have we gone from sea to sea to find the word of God in someone who knows Him. Or do we go from sea to sea to hear what we want to hear, where we will never hear the word of God.

I was just thinking about how women tend to say about their husbands, they have selective hearing. Then I would say we too have this when we choose not to hear his word, because we don't want to be woken up from our spiritual slumber. Or be reminded that we are not living a life that is part of God's plan, but ours.

The man I had a relationship with, I once said to him, that I would pray for for the removal of the blinders on his eyes, and he promptly said, no don't do that, I don't want to see. In other words he chose the path of evil, and didn't want to see the destruction he was causing others.

What a spiritual famine we have come to. It's time to remove the blinders and see the destruction we are doing to ourselves.


Paul Anthony Melanson said...

And why is there a spiritual famine today? The prophet Jeremias provides us with an answer no less true today than it was so long ago:

"My people have been a lost flock, their shepherds have caused them to go astray, and have made them wander in the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting place." (Jer. 50:6).

Why is there no peace among so many people today? Because one cannot be at peace with others if one isn't at peace with himself. And one cannot be at peace with himself if he's not at peace with God.

We cannot give to others what we ourselves do not possess.

Marie Cecile said...

Dear Paul,

How true what you wrote, "And one cannot be at peace with himself if he's not at peace with God. We cannot give to others what we ourselves do not possess."

It's sad that we have come this far since Jesus' time, to find we are close to being worse off than better. We are perishing, and our shepherds have their hands full in finding and feeding the flock.

Thank you for sharing a new way for me to see and reflect upon God's Word.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Dear Marie Cecile,

I just read this at your other Blog Soulful Longings:

"Through trial and error I am discovering how to make things work on a web page. I have yet to figure out how to do links, so I can make a list. If anyone reads this could you please drop me a note on how to, it would be greatly appreciated. But like anything else, I'm sure I'll have to figure it out myself as usual, there never seems to be anyone willing to help me. Except God of course, him I can depend on. By the way that wasn't a negative, it's just happens that way in my life, I reach out and no one responds."

Marie Cecile, many today are living self-centered lives and think of little else but food, entertainment and their own personal wants and needs and their own circle of friends. This is unfortunate but we must not give in to discouragement or despair. To do so would be to give in to pride.

St. Francis reminds us that it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born into eternal life.

Daily conversion is a dying to self. And what we find is that when we no longer focus on ourselves so much, but rather on God and neighbor, we find an authentic joy which no one can take from us.

Jesus said that we do not receive what we ask for because we do not know how to ask. He also tells us "Ask and you shall receive."

This is worth meditating on. When we feel alone, it is easy to sulk and feel rejected. But this is counterproductive. There is something we can all do: reach out to others with a smile, a kind word (in my native tongue, un bon mot) and a helping hand.

By the way dear friend, if you had simply asked me about how to install links, I would gladly have helped.

I would still love to help. I apologize for not reading your comments sooner but I have so many irons in the fire that I often feel my head is going to explode.

When you get the chance, write me an email and I will be glad to help you with your links.

God love you,

Anonymous said...

How Catholicism fell from grace in Ireland
Country doesn't even have enough priests

By Tom Hundley
Tribune foreign correspondent
Published July 9, 2006

DUBLIN -- For the 8:30 a.m. daily mass at St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral, an imposing old church just off O'Connell Street in the heart of Dublin, you might expect to see Father O'Sullivan at the altar. Or perhaps Father O'Reilly or Father O'Flaherty.

Father Owuamanam comes as a bit of a surprise.

July 9, 2006

But Remigius Owuamanam, a priest from Nigeria, is a good reflection of the changes that have overtaken both church and society in Ireland during the last 20 years.

Like most of its continental neighbors, Ireland is undergoing a severe crisis of faith. Religious belief in this island bastion of Roman Catholicism is under siege by the twin forces of secularization and modernization. In addition, the recent exposure of a deeply ingrained culture of sexual abuse and cover-up by the clergy has dealt a staggering blow to the church's prestige.

What makes Ireland an interesting case study is the speed of the decline and the efforts of the Catholic Church -- lay people and clergy--to come to grips with the crisis. The Irish experience points to possible paths for the future of traditional religion in a globalizing society.

Through most of the 20th Century, Ireland was poor, backward and deeply Catholic. Irish Catholicism tended to be of a particularly harsh and unforgiving variety.

"Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood," wrote Frank McCourt, whose memoir, "Angela's Ashes," resonated among many Irish Catholics on both sides of the Atlantic.

Today, Ireland is prosperous, cosmopolitan and no longer so very Catholic. As recently as the 1970s, 90 percent of the Irish identified themselves as Catholic and almost the same number went to mass at least once a week; now the figure for mass attendance is closer to 25 percent, according to church officials in Dublin.

When Ireland was poor, its main export was people. Among them were many Catholic priests. Irish seminaries produced far more priests than the country needed, and the main beneficiary of the overflow was the United States, where American Catholicism once spoke with a distinctly Irish brogue.

These days Irish seminaries are nearly empty. Last year, for the first time in its history, the Dublin archdiocese ordained no new priests. Foreign priests like Owuamanam have been brought in to fill the gap.

The collapse has occurred with breathtaking rapidity and, in hindsight, many Irish Catholics can identify when the tipping point was reached.

"The 1979 visit of Pope John Paul II, that was the high-water mark of Catholicism in Ireland," said Simon Rowe, a Catholic commentator and editor of The Voice Today, a new Catholic newspaper.

But the visit also contained the seeds of decline, Rowe said.

About two-thirds of Ireland's population turned out to see the pope during his three-day visit. On one memorable day, more than 200,000 young people attended a special mass at Galway's Ballybrit racecourse. Before the pope's arrival, they were entertained by two of the Irish church's most popular and charismatic leaders: Bishop Eamon Casey of Galway and Rev. Michael Cleary, Dublin's "singing priest," who had his own show on national radio.

A decade later, it would come to light that Casey was the father of a son by an American woman and had "borrowed" from church funds to silence them. Cleary, it was discovered, fathered two children and had an abusive relationship with a troubled young woman who worked as his housekeeper.

"There was a disconnect," Rowe said. "And after that, a dramatic unraveling of the faith."

Flight from the pews

As the sex scandals gathered momentum through the 1990s, so did the flight from the pews. For the church, which once occupied a position at the pinnacle of Irish society, it was a stunning fall from grace.

Although Ireland has been Catholic since the 5th Century, the church's development as an institution was a product of the 19th Century and the religious renaissance that followed Catholic emancipation by the British Parliament in 1829.

As the nation moved toward independence from the United Kingdom in the 20th Century, the church hierarchy consolidated its privileged status. Eamon de Valera, one of modern Ireland's founding fathers, pledged to govern "in accordance" with Vatican teachings.

Marie Cecile said...
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