Wednesday, July 06, 2011
The Bright Line
This evening, I must admit, I was feeling rather melancholy about the scandals with Fr Corapi and Kit Cunningham and the nastiness of comments on the blogs and the denial and sad soul searching that is going on.
I was also aware of my own frailty. Fr Corapi? Yes, there but for the grace of God go I. It seemed to me that being a priest was really too difficult for anyone to do, and for a moment I doubted the whole thing. What me--changing the bread and wine to the body and blood of Christ? I don't think so. In fact, the whole thing is a wonderfully ornate and Byzantine make believe. Very beautiful and inspiring, but not more than a complex network of wishful thinking.
Yes, but then I looked out at the faithful and I looked at the two boys serving Mass and holy deacon and the simple church we have and the one we want to build and I thought of all the faithful who have been in all the churches and the places in which I have been privileged to worship: Kings College Chapel, Mont St Michel, St Peter's in Rome, St Mary's Brading, St Laurence, Bradford on Avon, Santa Croce, the Holy Sepulchre, St Catherine's, Sinai, St Mark's Venice, and more--the village church in El Salvador, the chapel of the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, Assissi, Ravenna, Florence and the list goes on. How could all of these experiences, all of these moments be a wasted ephemera of my imagination?
Then I saw the pilgrimage path as a bright line of light. When I first entered the line of light it was broad and bright and full and there seemed to be so many walking with me in the path of light. I thought the path of light would get broader and bigger and brighter as I journeyed home and I came to realize that the opposite is true. The bright line is getting narrower and sharper and harder to walk. As I go to the source of light it is becoming narrow as a laser beam and just as brilliant and hard to bear. It is more like walking a tightrope of light, and any moment I may fall off into the darkness.
I thought about this as deacon read the gospel which was the list of apostles and I realized that this was the answer. Only as I walk in the path of the apostles and in the path the apostolic church sets before me do I have any hope. I can't make up the path on my own. Only by prayer and discipline and submission to the way of the church may I hope to make my pilgrim progress.
And in that realization there was peace and a joy knowing that it was never up to me anyway, and that all I can hope to do is walk faithfully as I am able and try to stay in the light.
Fr Longenecker at Wednesday, July 06, 2011