St. Simeon, the God-Receiver, is an image of all of us who receive Our Lord into our own physical embrace every time we receive the Eucharist. Would that we all recognize and know Him as He is brought to us at the Communion rail, like Simeon knew Him on the steps of the Temple; would that we all hold and cradle Our Lord with the care and awe that St. Simeon did when we receive Him in the Eucharist; and would that we all rejoice like St. Simeon at each and every meeting with Our Lord. ~ Ann Barnhardt, God Receiver Edition
The image above is that of St. Simeon receiving Jesus Christ into the Church 40 days after his birth. As St. Augustine put it; “An old man was carrying a child; but the child was the old man’s Lord.”
I am struck this week by the lack of courage in the face of evil. I am heartbroken to realize what so many of us are willing to accept in a world that grows darker from acceptance of the unacceptable. Unable to fool our own hearts, we scurry into the flimsy shelters of denial and indifference…thus abandoning ourselves, our homes, our children and the Christ who suffered to save us. Good Sunday Morning Dear Friend!
The Sins of Silence
“Unless we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” Obama said. “In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.” ~ Barack Obama, The 2015 National Prayer Breakfast
When silence gives birth to the unacceptable, the unacceptable takes human form to utter unacceptable nonsense to permeate and deaden the senses
…thereby lowering our resistance to the legions of nonsense to follow behind it!
I met a very nice gentleman a week ago this past Thursday. I had been invited to the home of a client in Ridgewood to help her organize and make sense of her financial accounts. While I was there, I was introduced to her neighbor Tom who had come over to fix her answering machine. I felt the spark of serendipity as I discovered we all shared the Catholic Faith! Tom and I were left alone for nearly forty minutes while my client ran to the store to get a new battery for her phone. God took care of the rest…
In forty minutes I learned that Tom, the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of a Fortune 100 company, was also very involved in Catholic organizations throughout the Hudson Valley and my area of Orange County in particular. I learned that Tom considered himself to be a good Catholic who seemed to lean Conservative Republican. I also learned that he “loves” Pope Francis and showed no concern whatsoever with the new flavor of Catholic-lite emanating from the Holy See. Essentially, I learned that to this man seven years my senior, it’s all good in Catholic-ville…Vatican ll…the Archbishop of NY…nothing that approached unacceptable to Tom…as we discussed the rising sea of unacceptableness surrounding us!
As the world is treated to the ghoulish theatrical production of a caged man doused with gasoline and burned alive, nonsense deflects from the horrified present to the irrelevant past as silence sits…in silence!
I don’t doubt the goodness of the Toms of our world, but I fear their reluctance to break the silence and call out the badness. And, as a result, with each passing day our silence breeds and promotes more nonsense to flow from heads of Church and State, Central Banks…and News Anchors! How is that for poetic justice? We have put ourselves on a diet of nonsense by our own silence! Bon Appétit!
The greatest sin of silence is that it emboldens and rewards evil. The greatest tragedy of this sin of all sins, is that it forces us to turn our backs on Love Incarnate…the One who became flesh and blood in order to suffer unspeakable pain and agony…to save us! All the goodness in the world will never erase the reality of our having abandoned what St. Simeon received. May God have mercy on each and every one of us! Amen.