We American Resurrectionists are all in the same boat. Some of us are managing the oars, others tending the sails, some making things ship-shape. We have a captain, navigators, first and second mates –an entire crew. The waters today here at the Darien retreat house, are calm, placid even, as we sail along but back in our parishes things are churning dangerously. Something is writhing in the holy sea.
During the first few days of August, we of the USA province gathered at Darien Carmelite Center outside of Chicago for five days to strengthen our friendships with one another and encourage each other in our ministries. We’ve dedicated our lives to bringing the hope of the Resurrection to those whom we serve in mission territories. These days, it’s all mission territory but we are now confronting an increasingly secular culture. Our theme for the week was based on a recent book called “From Christendom to Apostolic Mission by Msgr. James Shea. And, it seems we need a course correction.
There were moments in our days together when Jesus beckoned us to walk out on the water. There was an echo of the first lines of Genesis where the spirit of God hovered over the dark chaotic waters and the Lord created something new. We heard the Gospel when Father Steve Thoma told us that Our Lord is asking us to venture out into new waters. Ahoy! Anyone listening? A navigator was speaking.
The hall where we met at the retreat house is named “Elijah,” after the great prophet of God and healer of the people. Elijah confronted the evil King Ahab, his wife Jezebel, and unfaithful Israel by calling down fire upon His oblation. Quickly, the divine fire leaped down and consumed the offering. Elijah, the last prophet of the Lord, proved the existence of God to his reprobate people.
We Resurrectionists must bring the hope of the resurrection to St. John-Paul II’s challenge to create a new evangelization for our weary world. Jesus said: “I came to cast a fire upon the earth and how I wish it were already ablaze!” Hope lights that kind of fire in the human heart.
There has been no mass organized exit out of the Catholic Church, no schism, just a lack of interest by recent generations within our secular society. But it’s a drift of massive size. How do we enkindle the Gospel for those who have wandered away from the Church and light Christ’s fire for their children, the “Z” and “Alpha” generations?
We haven’t come away from our convocation with the final answer to this crisis but each of us was energized to do our part to renew the Gospel in our little section of God’s kingdom. So, rested and renewed, we get back in our ship, sail out of this harbor, and make for home. “Steady as she goes!”