Thursday, June 10, 2010

Problems solved...maybe!

Decca Records rescheduled the taping with our choir--it's now set for Monday. I changed my Monday flight to Tuesday (God bless Southwest Airlines), and realized that the delay solves a couple of small problems for me. Like how I was going to return the Evelyn Waugh biography of Ronald Knox to the motherhouse library, and get Sr. Margaret Charles' camcorder and supplies back into their specific places in her office. Not to mention get to Logan Airport.
Meanwhile, the retreat proceeds apace. As I was delivering this morning's talk, I realized that I didn't have the final version in my hands; instead, I had a draft with some of the sections still pasted in. (I wonder if tomorrow's talk, which I thought was all set, is in the same shape...) I pretended all was well, and just carried on. Only after the fact, when one of the sisters picked up my folder to copy a quote, was the truth betrayed.
I asked Sr Sylwia, our novice from Poland, to take a few pictures of the goings on so I could have something to show while I figure out the video files...and get my next talks together. You can thank her for the illustrations...

From today's talk on the Penitent Heart as a "Convicted" heart:

In a 1935 meditation on Penance, the Founder commented that we tend to put too much stress on the confession of sin: sorrow for sin is a “heavenly gift.” We have to pray for it, and have much hope, based on Jesus having died for us.

Sorrow for sin is a “heavenly gift.” Pope Benedict said the same thing in an off-the-cuff homily on April 15: “penance is a grace. There is a tendency in exegesis that says: In Galilee Jesus announced a grace without conditions, absolutely unconditional, so also without penance, pure grace, without human preconditions. But this is a false interpretation of grace. Penance is grace; it is a grace that we recognize our sin, it is a grace to know that we need renewal, change, of a transformation of our being. Penance, to be able to do penance, is a gift of grace.“

This is very true, and it is part of the Gospel, the good news; it is a truth that the world denies. The world knows only punishment for what it considers wrongdoing--which may or may not involve actual evil, although quite often, they are spot on. (Just not often enough!) So repentance is a grace. ("Peace I give you. Not as the world gives, do I give to you...")

Pope Benedict continues: “And I must say that we Christians, even in recent times, we have often avoided the word penance, it seemed too harsh to us. Now, under the attacks of the world that speaks to us of our sins, we see that being able to do penance is a grace. And we see that it is necessary to do penance, that is, recognize what is wrong in our life, to open up to purification, to transformation, this pain is grace, because it is renewal, it is the work of divine mercy. And thus these 2 things that St. Peter says -- penitence and forgiveness -- correspond to the beginning of Jesus' preaching: "metanoeite," that is, convert (cf. Mark 1:15). This is the fundamental point, then: "metanoia" is not a private thing, that could be substituted by grace; "metanoia" is rather the arrival of the grace that transforms us....In...this 'transformation' that penance gives, in this conversion, in this new way of life, we find life, true life.

So there is a movement toward something new: not sitting on the dung-hill of regret, but a work of transformation in progress. St. Paul said, “Do you not realize that God's mercy is directed to your repentance?” And Jesus reproached the towns where he worked most of his “mighty deeds” because of “their failure to repent.”
The “convicted” heart is an enlightened heart. And to “live in continual conversion” it must remain accessible to the light coming from the tabernacle, penetrable to the light. If you want to be enlightened, you cannot stay in the shade, protecting yourself with all sorts of strategies, like spiritual sunscreen.

I feel convicted!” Because the truth will set you free. That's what an encounter with a living word does: convicts, but does not condemn. Convicts in a life-giving way: it gives a life sentence (in the literal sense!).

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