First, I am listening to iPadre – episode 232, while writing this blog. Great Show, check it out.
Fr. Jay Finelli provides a wonderful podcast, filled with a world of insights, concepts and concerns of the Church. I wanted to listen to this particular episode because of the topic he is sharing. The topic he shares is a form of Popular Piety, which is the topic I shared in my blog post, “Popular, Isn’t It? Let’s take A look at Piety, again.”
Fr. Jay, iPadre, explains that these forms of Popular Piety are necessary, for us. Listen to the episode, for Fr. Finelli is far more experienced on these forms of piety, than I. Hopefully you will start listening to Father on a regular basis and enjoy his knowledge of our faith, in the way of New Media Evangelization.
Now, for something on my mind, “Am I My Brother’s Keeper?” This phrase, we know from Genesis 4. Of the two brothers, one brother is killed by the other, and then the Lord asked the “alive” brother if he new where his brother was. Now there is a lot of meanings in (within) this verse, and the whole story of the brothers, I would like to share but for now, I want to focus on the brother’s answer, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
I have had many trials, with many errors in my life. I am thankful for how the Lord has guided me, through all my chaos (I brought upon myself, through the free-will the Lord gave me.) and has planted firm seeds of faith. These seeds come from my growing relationship among the parishioners of my parish and diocese, the Cursillistas from the Memphis Cursillo Movement, and my brothers in Christ from the Fishers of Men Prayer Group.
These friendships are blessings, that allow me to hold on to my grace. They are my shelter, from any storm. As I look back to the many times I have fumbled, since I have created these bridges of life, I can not visualize what on earth I was doing without them, before.
These friendships are at work every day, all day. My friends share their wealth of grace and blessings, by notifying me of events and venues that will help me grow in Christ. They hold me accountable, for my actions, of things I have done and for things that I have failed to do. (sound familiar?)
It was not long ago, when I realized what I was failing to do. Sadly I was not sharing all of my good fortune of blessings and grace, with the others in my life. The close friends (really close) and family that were primarily “lukewarm” Catholics, I was always knocking at their doors, trying to get them more deeply involved with their faith. A constant whisper in their ear, giving them a cry of urgency to seek a more meaningful life, with Christ and His Church.
Where I was failing, was really the larger portion of my days. The time among strangers, as I stumble through life, bumping into – saying a quick “hello” or nodding of head – politely opening doors with a smile – standing in lines at stores (seemingly for ever on occasions) – at the checkout waiting on the register “to do its thing” – standing at the gas pump “pumping gas” – meeting a the mailman (person) at the door – BUT WAIT A MINUTE,…
Here is the big one,… (well ones.)
Entering and leaving the Church, on Sunday. … even more so of an opportunity, on Holy Days.
I guess you understand what I am sharing? There are many times we have a chance to let one know, we are Christians. Everyone knows (or hopefully knows now) all these opportunities exists and I am will leave the daily preaching of these opportunities to your priest, deacons, and spiritual advisers.
(But take a note, on Holy Days of Obligation, you will see a flood of non-practicing-extremely-lukewarm brothers and sisters of Christ.)
The one I wan to focus on is the aspect of sharing, before and after Holy Mass. It is the time where you are sitting in the audience of the congregation >> week after week << and if your like me,… your eyes are rolling around that sanctuary identifying every person, one by one, who you haven’t seen at of the extra activities (Popular Piety, maybe?), your parish or diocese puts on.
I myself have located on my radar more men, that I know who are in my situation of daily work, living on a pay scale of week to week, desperately seeking comfort and guidance, thinking there is no end to this chaotic-functionality that they (I) know of called “life.”
That was me, once.
It was my current friends of Christ, in the parish and diocesan organizations I dwell in, that reached out to me. They gave me desire. They gave strength. They showed me faith, hope and charity! (sound familiar, rosary?) In return I did want to do great things for them, I wanted to repay them for all the great full blessing and grace, that came my way because they took the time to simply care about me,… about my soul. While that is good, and all “fine and dandy”, I wasn’t getting one valuable point. The point of sharing.
Have you ever read the prologue to the Catechism of the Catholic Church?
“Those who with God’s help have welcomed Christ’s call and freely responded to it are urged on by love of Christ to proclaim the Good News everywhere in the world. This treasure, received from the apostles, has been faithfully guarded by their successors. All Christ’s faithful are called to hand it on from generation to generation, by professing the faith, by living it in fraternal sharing, and by celebrating it in liturgy and prayer. (6)” (prologue section 3)
Now look at Acts 2:42, which is the reference shared for CCC prologue section 3.
“They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers.”
Yes, I was only getting (performing) a portion of what I should have been doing. Our fraternal sharing/ communal life does include those brothers and sisters of Christ, who we know in our hearts need to find that fire (of the Holy Spirit) that we found, that desire and strength we use, and the faith, hope and charity (love) we share.
Back to Genesis,… the question… ”Am I my brother’s keeper?”
I have been burning up pages on the new release of “The Church and New Media”, by Brandon Vogt. His project is going to overwhelming assisting the Church in moving toward a better understanding of Evangelization in our new Digital Era. I consider Brandon to be my “keeper”,… her is why.
Book of John! (John 1:35-42)
The next day John was there again with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them,”Come, and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day. It was about four in the afternoon. Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus. He first found his own brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). Then he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; 30 you will be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).
You see Andrew was Simon’s brother. Andrew first found his brother,… he went back to Simon and told his brother the “Good News.” Andrew’s brother Simon was named Cephas, whom we know as Peter,… who we know and believe is our first Pope. (New Advent – St. Peter – learn more)
Now image if Andrew didn’t go back? Where would we be today?… even more so, what would we be today.
Brandon Vogt, and his works “The Church and New Media” is a spiritual movement of Brandon and his authors, calling out to the crowds and sharing the “Good News”, in our modern times of social communications. I urge everyone to share Brandon’s project and book, for the cause Mr. Vogt is fighting for is a righteous one.
Are you,… your brother’s keeper?
This is just something to ponder, and something to pray.