Glitter and Ash Wednesday

I’ve now read two blogs about Ash Wednesday.  Ashes and Affirmation in the Light of True Humanity, by Jon Jameson, a classmate of mine, which emphasizes pretty much everything I think about Ash Wednesday.  He’s a very talented author – there’s another entry on there that I recommend people read as well.

The second one is actually disturbing to me, being called “Glitter Ash Wednesday“, and has been created to be supportive of the GLBTQ community.  I guess what disturbs me most is that they seem to miss the point – from dust we were created, and to dust we will descend.  We are all sinners in the sight of God, despite being His beloved, and saved through the passion of Christ.  This isn’t about one group or any special interests or political statements.  To reference my last entry, I’m thinkin’ these people, with the best of intentions, are listening to Dame Folly.

But then I realize that I have just been terribly judgmental.  I guess part of it is that I think people are being led astray from the meaning of Ash Wednesday.  And at the same time, I can see that part of what they’re wanting to emphasize is persecution, which Christ certainly suffered in abundance.  But during His time in the desert, He overcame the temptations of the flesh, and showed us how the spirit can overcome.  It was about mastering Himself, and fulfilling the commandments of God – truly being the fulfillment of the Old Testament.

So as usual, I’m beginning to have as many hands as Shiva.  And I’ll leave this here. 🙂

Cranmer’s Preface and Pope Francis’s Training on Marriage

It’s been forever since I posted here.  I posted the following to the general discussion in my current Church History class, but I doubt anyone will respond.  Figured I’d save it here.

Okay, so this doesn’t actually go with anything we’re posting on, other than the concept that struck me when I read this article on Pope Francis’ training of parish priests regarding marriage preparation.

Cranmer’s Preface to the Bible in 1540 talks about the objections being made by people not wanting to read the Bible in vulgar (vernacular) language.  He points out that it was only about 100 years ago that it was read in the Saxon language, and then switched to Latin (which was also not a language Christ spoke).  Toward the beginning, he says “Neyther can I well tell whether of them I may judge the more offender, him that doeth obstinately refuse so godly and goodly knowledge: or him that so ungodly, and so ungoodly doeth abuse the same.”  I think Tom addressed the Holy Spirit as being a necessary part of determining what was godly and ungodly in one of his posts.

So there were a few things that struck me in the article about the Pope’s training:

In his speech, Francis said priests have a twofold responsibility when it comes to marital ministry: to always bear witness to the beauty of marriage, and to be a consistent support to couples, regardless of their marital status. …

Faced with so many “complex situations” affecting families today, “no one knows better than you and is in contact with the reality of the social fabric in the area,” experiencing firsthand the complexity of various situations they encounter, including valid sacramental marriages; domestic partnerships; civil unions; failed marriages and families and youth, both happy and unhappy. …

He told them to imitate “the style” of the Gospel by meeting with and listening not only to engaged or married couples, but also youth who prefer to cohabitate rather than getting married.

People in these situations “are among the poor and little ones toward whom the Church, in the footsteps of her master and Lord, wants to be a mother who never abandons but who draws near and cares for them,” Francis said.

I can see that there will likely be quite a bit of push-back from both clergy and the Catholic community on these statements, despite this pope’s direction of leaving judging to God and attempting to emulate Christ’s actions to love all your neighbors.

So to go back to our Proverbs 9, how do we recognize Lady Wisdom and Dame Folly?  We may think that we’re listening to the Holy Spirit, but how are we certain that we’re perceiving correctly, rather than potentially following societal changes – which may or may not also be led by the Holy Spirit.

I do realize the two subjects deal with disparate topics, but it essentially boils down to just that:  how do we recognize the work of the Holy Spirit?