Hope for a Church That is Struggling

We’re in the middle of the Catholic #metoo. Maybe. It’s unclear what we’re in, except that we can never go back to the way things were. Ironically, or providentially, our theme for this month on Everyday Ediths is Hope. Capital H.

Hope the theological virtue – the great gift that causes us to yearn for the coming of the kingdom. But what does Hope look like when perhaps you are hurt and struggling within the very Church that is supposed to bring that kingdom?

Jesus gave us the Beatitudes to show us where Hope will bring us during dark times. I think they should ring especially true to us whenever we find ourselves asking the questions, “Can I stay here? Do I have a place?”

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

To be poor in spirit is to realize our own sin – placing responsibility in it’s rightful place. “For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” It’s not enough to say that “time heals all wounds.” The process of owning wrong and admitting it is necessary – however painful.

Blessed are they who morn, for they will be comforted.

It is right to be hurt about hurtful things! It is good! But Jesus does not want to see you suffer for the sake of suffering. You will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.

Meekness is often misunderstood. Meek is translated from the Greek word “praeis” and refers to having the right or the power to do something but refraining for the sake of another. To be meek is to be anything but a doormat. Meekness is exactly what we should expect of our leaders, and it is what we should continue to expect.

It is how to have authority without abusing that authority.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.

You are right to want better for your Church and yourself! This desire to be rid of evil is good! However painful this process, the desire for righteousness is what will keep us all walking the path to heaven.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Mercy is not just forgiveness. Mercy is the ready willingness to help anyone in need. To see the suffering of hearts and seek to rectify it. Mercy does not always look like making someone happy. Marcy is about desiring the true good of another.

In the case of abuse, it is merciful to tell. It is merciful to not allow it to happen again. It is merciful to remove yourself from the situation if you are being abused.

Jesus promises in the Beatitudes to see the suffering of your heart and seek to rectify it. “For they will be shown mercy.”

Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.

In this process of cleaning house and seeing our evil, we need to be careful not to act rashly. Not to label whole groups of people as inherently unworthy to be Catholic. Of abuse victims as “asking for it”. Or any other attempt to place blame where it does not belong.

To be clean of heart, to be uncompromising in a desire for the Good, is what it will take to get our Church whole.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

True peace is only found in a restored relationship with Jesus. A stifled scandal is not peace. A false quiet is not peace. Peacemakers are people who push for truth, who seek a true and lasting peace. People who do not make pacts with evil for the sake of a lesser evil.

I hope to be that kind of child of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

For all of those who said something and were ignored, or shunned, or any other number of things that have led to this unconscionable delay in justice – Jesus sees you and knows you and loves you. Even when those who should have acted as his hand did not embrace you.

Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me. Rejoice and be glad for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

There will be people who will say that we shouldn’t even try. That the Church has had it’s day and we should all go home now from our failed experiment. That the sins of the father are too great for the children to overcome.

I continue to hope in our Church. I continue to believe that we can still be Church together. But that to do that we must take up humility and own our own guilt.

I am a small person, with a small blog, and a small life, but I have big hopes because Jesus asks it of me.

I don’t know how this is going to work out. I don’t have a fantastic game plan. But I’m told I’m very stubborn and I’m willing to stay and fight for the Church that Jesus desires.

Will you join me?

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