My thanks to Blue Eyed Ennis for calling to our attention this fine offering, The Major Faith and Ecclesial Struggles of Our Age) from Ron Rolheiser, reported in a column by NCR's John Allen.
As I read this "Top 10" list it occurred to me that perhaps I should review it every week as part of my homily preparation. Seems to me that a weekly refresher on issues churning in the hearts, minds and lives of those who hear my preaching would prove to be helpful. While I don't know that the folks in the pews in my parish would frame or articulate the issues just as Rolheiser has, I do believe he's got his finger on the pulse of the basic struggles in which a number of contenders compete to capture our hearts and souls.
Certainly, the scriptures we hear week to week address these very struggles and what good is preaching if it does not reach the places in our lives where these struggles play themselves out.
I believe this list would also benefit catechists, directors of adult faith formation programs - and just about everyone who's got a page up in the Catholic blogosphere.
Yup! Gonna print out this list and keep it in my pocket each week alongside the coming Sunday's scriptures!
THE 10 MAJOR FAITH AND ECCLESIAL STRUGGLES OF OUR AGE
Several years ago, the superior of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Rome asked Fr. Ronald Rolheiser to compile a list of the major spiritual questions bubbling in the Catholic world, based on his experience as a writer and speaker. At NCR’s request, Rolheiser recently took another look at that list, bringing it up to date in light of what he’s seen and heard in the intervening period.
The following is the “Top 10” list Rolheiser put together in late April 2010.
1. The struggle with the atheism of our everyday consciousness, i.e., the struggle to have a vital sense of God within secularity, which, for good and for bad, is the most powerful narcotic ever perpetrated on this planet; to be a mystic rather than an unbeliever.
2. The struggle to live in torn, divided and highly polarized communities, as wounded persons ourselves, and carry that tension without resentment, to be healers and peacemakers rather than simply responding in kind.
3. The struggle to live, love and forgive beyond the infectious ideologies that we daily inhale, i.e., the struggle for true sincerity, to genuinely know and follow our own hearts and minds beyond what is prescribed to us by the right and the left, to be neither liberal nor conservative but rather men and women of true compassion.
4. The struggle to carry our sexuality without frigidity and without irresponsibility, i.e., the struggle for a healthy sexuality, to be both chaste and passionate.
5. The struggle for interiority and prayer inside of a culture that constitutes a virtual conspiracy against depth and serenity -- to keep our eyes set against an infinite horizon.
6. The struggle to cope with personal grandiosity, ambition and pathological restlessness, inside of a culture that daily overstimulates them -- to live inside the torment of the insufficiency of everything attainable and to accept that in this life there is no finished symphony.
7. The struggle to not be motivated by paranoia, fear, narrowness and overprotectionism in the face of terrorism and overpowering complexity, to not let the need for clarity and security trump compassion and truth.
8. The struggle with moral loneliness inside a religious, cultural, political and moral diaspora, to find a soul mate who sleeps with us at our deepest level.
9. The struggle to link faith to justice, ecology, and gender -- to get a letter of reference from the poor.
10. The struggle for community and church, the struggle to find the healthy line between individuality and community, spirituality and ecclesiology, to be both mature and committed, spiritual and ecclesial.
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