To be a Catholic in the 21st Century
Sunday, 3rd December 2017
(This poem written by Vera Coughlan deserves to be pondered. It offers us a way of finding hope and meaning in our times. It is Advent work; indeed, it is work for a lifetime.)
To be a Catholic in the 21st. Century
Is to be offered a gift. It is to learn in public.
Our house dismantled from within, peace stripped from its walls.
It’s glory days an ancient tale. If we refuse, the story will be repeated
And God reduced to a mockery with us.
The gift is affliction. To dwell in the house of lament,
(there is grieving to be done) Not the guarded house of pretence
But the courageous home of truth – telling about our own lives first,
Our rooms of resistance, defiance, our corridors of shame and blame,
Our shelter turned into dis-owning.
The gift is hope. To stand at the open door of the invisible,
Not the defensive door of denial nor the strident door of arrogance,
Not the locked fearful door nor the simplistic door of easy answers,
But the door of hope, hope in a God who hopes in us,
Hope in what we will find hidden in the wreckage of our nakedness,
Hope in our beauty, our magnificence.
As we stand there, flawed and fierce, humble and loving, listening and receiving, weaving a safe space all the way to the end,
Daring to live as one body, strangers no more.
The gift is God, our innocent God who knows betrayal and bodily anguish,
who cannot live without us, will come through our door,
Will become visible among us, will love in us, as us, now.
Our life is a long Advent vigil waiting for the Lord to be revealed in all his glory. We wait with longing and joyful hope.