Keep Praying

This is a frustrating and difficult time for many Catholics – no matter where they fall on the spectrum. Many are disheartened at the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith’s dealings with the LCWR and with some women theologians. Others are upset that Church teachings are not more closely reflected in our laws. Others are unhappy about….well…fill in the blank.

We deal with our frustrations and difficulties in many ways. We argue with each other. We do the equivalent of children running off stamping our feet. We withdraw.

But whatever else we do or don’t do, we need to keep praying.

James Martin had a helpful prayer for these times on America Magazine’s group blog. You can read the prayer in its entirety there; here is an excerpt.

Dear God, sometimes I get so frustrated with your church.

I know that I’m not alone. So many people who love your church feel frustrated with the Body of Christ on earth. … We grow worried and concerned and bothered and angry and sometimes scandalized because your divine institution, our home, is filled with human beings who are sinful. Just like me.

But I get frustrated most of all when I feel that there are things that need to be changed and I don’t have the power to change them.

So I need your help, God.

Help me to remember that Jesus promised that he would be with us until the end of time, and that your church is always guided by the Holy Spirit, even if it’s hard for me to see….

Help me to understand that there was never a time when there were not arguments or disputes within your church….

Help me to trust in the Resurrection. The Risen Christ reminds us that there is always the hope of something new. Death is never the last word for us. …

Help me to believe that your Spirit can do anything: raise up saints when we need them most, soften hearts when they seem hardened, open minds when they seem closed, inspire confidence when all seems lost, help us do what had seemed impossible until it was done…. Give me faith.

Help me to remember all your saints. Most of them had it a lot worse than I do. They were frustrated with your church at times, struggled with it, and were occasionally persecuted by it… If they can trust in your church in the midst of those difficulties, so can I. Give me courage.

Help me to be peaceful when people tell me that I don’t belong in the church, that I’m a heretic for trying to make things better, or that I’m not a good Catholic….

Most of all, help me to place all of my hope in your Son. My faith is in Jesus Christ. Give me only his love and his grace. That’s enough for me.

Help me God, and help your church.

Amen.

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3 thoughts on “Keep Praying

  1. Hi, Susan. You talk about some less than mature responses to frustration with the Roman Catholic Church and you talk about prayer as an alternative response. I agree that prayer is a far better response. There is a third option you didn’t mention. People can calmly and reasonably organize and take responsibility for the incremental changes they can implement. Locally the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform is attempting to take this option. Anyone who wants to join us can call me at (612) 379-1043. Another point: You may be minimizing the conscience struggle some people are experiencing that causes them to withdraw. It may not be a matter only of being ‘”upset” or “unhappy” with this and that in a childish way. Some oppression is so debilitating that people need to withdraw, at least temporarily. Personally, I am not there. I am able to trust in the Spirit, as you advocate, but I don’t want to say we are powerless. We can organize to move our local church in the direction of Vatican II in many small ways. Perhaps that is taken for granted by your readers, and I didn’t need to point it out. It is uppermost on my mind. Thanks.

  2. I do believe that God works-maybe most actively- through difficulty, pain, tragedy and bad stuff. I do believe that Jesus is always with his church. BUT I also believe that the evil one is still very active and works as he can through our human frailties (which often cause the challenges, pain, tragedy, scandals etc). I think when we see that we have to say- there is evil here, and sometime we have to name it or call it what it is- BUT God can and will work through it.
    As the saying goes – in the end all will be well- and if things are well- it isn’t the end!!
    Peace

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