Between family birthdays and work projects, the past two weeks have been incredibly busy. Computer time at home has been minimal. But, I have still been thinking about the “spirit” as an invocation for doing things. I still marvel at religious who invoke the Holy Spirit to support dissent. I know I sound like a broken record but last week it happened again. I was at a Church meeting. The nun in charge of the discussion group started bashing the Curia and that they didn’t understand the LCWR – as if everyone in the group even understood what or who the LCWR is. Sister then explained how the Vatican is going after nuns and they don’t know why. I bit my tongue, I was elbowed and I didn’t say anything. I wanted to say – Sister, anyone with half a brain can look it up on the WEB and understand how Sister Brink’s post-Christian world does not correspond to Church mission. One can look at the support of women’s ordination and other social issues and the lack of support for anti-abortion messages to know that priorities are a little skewed. But, it would do no good.
I almost lost it again when Sister said that Christ never went to mass on Sunday and we don’t have to either. Really Sister? Wasn’t the Gospel reading that we just heard – Jesus went to the synagogue on the Sabbath – “as was his custom”. Sister acknowledged that some get angry with her about it but that the Spirit is with people and that Sunday was a day to rest and regroup – recharge your batteries and you can do that anywhere.
I like Sister, I didn’t want to make waves. I said nothing. I should have but didn’t. The others have all been to spiritual guidance with her. I didn’t want to embarrass my family or her. I didn’t want the crowd to turn on me. I was Peter again, putting my head in the sand, caring too much for what others think of me. The Lord is giving THAT glance – the one that pierces the soul for my failure to correct my sister.
How could I though – the Spirit is always with her.
I have come back to the idea the Spirit would not contradict what was said in scripture, that which has been revealed. Therefore, the commandment to keep holy the Sabbath is still in force for me – as was Jesus attendance in the synagogue and his admonition – give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s.
I believe the Spirit connects us, and does nothing to destroy or distort us. Perhaps someday, I’ll have the courage to tell Sister what I’ve learned about the Spirit. In the meantime I pray for her and for all the dissenting nuns and priests who invoke the Spirit in their attempt to change the Church to their own image. The priest from Austria and the one from Ireland who are in open revolt are especially in need of our prayers. One only has to listen to them to know that they have constructed a golden calf for people to dance around.
This weekend’s Gospel reminds me that Peter was a sinful man, yet the Lord helped him, perfected him. May he do the same with me.