I heard the word “begging” at mass several times, in the readings and in the homily. I am reminded of Benedict saying he is a beggar before God. I borrowed that phrase for this blog, originally envisioned as another way of accompanying him in his new life. My journey has not proven to be what I anticipated. I don’t think spiritual journeys ever are, although I’d like it to be the easy road I envisioned. I have been disquieted. In this fogginess of post-Benedict when we learn even more about dissent as the norm (at the expense of Francis, not because of him), I have been on more than one occasion reminded that I too am a simple beggar before the Lord. I owe Him all but give Him so little.
I think the world hated Benedict because they knew he was serious, had a deep faith and spoke in love about God. The gospel message isn’t about social justice. It is – God is real, He wants a relationship with you, He expects things from you, Do not be Afraid. And so the Lord does expect something from us. He expects us to become His friend. He expects us to give up our lives for our friends – and for Him, no matter what our vocations are. How little respect of this do I find in all the dissent, the protests, modern theology. How little love in the promotion of social justice as faith. Where there is love of neighbor, there is often no love of God. On the flip side, where there is love of God, there is often no love of neighbor. This cannot be – both are commanded. Both are expected.
Francis and Benedict complement one another. Francis stresses love of neighbor, without sacrificing the message of love of God. However, reading Commonweal, Dionne, NCReporter and my own local paper that had a glowing commentary this week about Francis and social justice, you would never know his talk of God. The same is true of Benedict. He spoke of God and was crucified for it but he also spoke strongly about love of neighbor. Strange times that Catholics do not talk about God and love of neighbor but take sides on one or the other, berating their “enemy” on the other side.
I suppose our times are no stranger than those of the past. We are all sinners. The Lord is there for us. I am a beggar before Him tonight asking His forgiveness of my blindness. Let us all be beggars before the Lord.
From today’s Gospel reading toward the end when the blind man who can now sees talks to Jesus and which in its entirety can be found here:
When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out,
he found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
He answered and said,
“Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?”
Jesus said to him,
“You have seen him,
the one speaking with you is he.”
“I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him.
Then Jesus said,
“I came into this world for judgment,
so that those who do not see might see,
and those who do see might become blind.”
Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this
and said to him, “Surely we are not also blind, are we?”
Jesus said to them,
“If you were blind, you would have no sin;
but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains.
Amen, I am a sinner. I am blind begging before the Lord. One of the many things I am begging for is to know how to bring His light to this dark world. Shepherd me O God. I like this person’s singing of the Marty Haugen rendition of the Psalm. I sometimes feel like I am intruding on people’s privacy when I view it but it lifts me up perhaps it will you as well. Meanwhile perhaps we can all pray for the repose of any of our friends named Rose. I will in my begging.