Tag Archives: disability

September 10: Jesus beyond Dogma, VIII. The Doctrine of Original Sin is the doctrine of unnecessary death.

Adam&Eve (391x640)

Dryburgh Abbey

The Doctrine of Original Sin is the doctrine of unnecessary death. Forgiveness is not an external absolution from what we have done or failed to do it penetrates to the very core of who we are, making us able to become what we are receiving. The crucified and risen Christ reveals how wrong we are about God and ourselves with God, not wrong as in mistaken but in such a manner that we can give thanks for the joy of being wrong, and showing the non-essential nature of our mortality.

Chapter 9 of John’s Gospel redefines sin for us, with an understanding worked by Jesus. He was asked about the blind man’s affliction [whose sin was it]. Blindness was believed to be a moral defect, barring the sufferer from sharing cultic life through being unclean. Jesus heals him on the Sabbath – so much for cultic barring – then comes his exclusion. To recognise the cure would mean acknowledging Jesus as coming from God. Instead they become more aggressive in their questioning and finally throw the man out. He had never seen Jesus, his sight only returned when he washed in the pool of Siloam; but his witness increases from saying Jesus is a good man to saying he is a man from God – superior to Moses.

cave3 (391x482)

He comes more aware of Jesus during his exclusion – while the Sadducees are more and more hardened. Jesus says: for judgement I came into the world, so that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind. Jesus has made no judgement as yet – it is by being crucified that he judges his judges. Jesus is the cause of the blind man’s exclusion – which means the blind man shares Jesus’ role as judge of those expelling him. Jesus does not do away with judgement, but with the accepted notion of judgement.

What does this say about sin? The ever increasing history of expulsions culminates on Calvary. As the story begins blindness is seen as a moral defect, making the man ritually unclean. The story finishes with sin clearly in the act of expelling. What the Gospel refers to as the sin of the world is being involved in the work of your father, the devil. Sin is the mechanism of exclusion, and they are blind sinners whoever is complicit in this. There is no problem with the partially blind – they don’t know what they are doing. The sinners are those who are, by choice, part of the exclusion process, claiming to know [see] they are doing God’s work.

Jesus doesn’t abolish sin, rather he identifies it for what it is. Sin is not what excludes [blindness] but the act of excluding by those claiming to see, and are doing God’s work. There has been blindness in the world from the beginning; only now is it identified and shows itself able to be healed – when not blocked by those claiming to know what they are doing and who persist in excluding. Peter excluded Jesus in betraying, but discovered, albeit painfully, that he could be forgiven.

We are all blind about Jesus, the light of the world come to enlighten us. He is rejected by some who, though blind, claim to see what they are doing. When the blindness in which we all share is compounded by actively excluding by any claiming to see – then is it culpable. In this 9th Chapter of John we have at once the world view of sin and the way Jesus has come to heal us of it. Human culture from its very beginning – with Cain and Abel – through our saying no to God is both murderous and mendacious.

This is the insight from the Resurrection. To believe in Jesus is to experience the forgiveness of sin, the risen victim of exclusions is forgiveness. Being wrong can be forgiven through accepting a relationship with forgiveness, it is the insistence on claiming to be right without the relationship that brings us to having no need for forgiveness – I’ve done nothing wrong. I don’t need Jesus!

The first fruits of the Resurrection bring a new way of seeing God, along with a new undersaustintanding of humankind situated within death’s parameters – by our own choosing – prone to exclude in order to justify; but now revealed as capable of forgiveness for any who will accept this new way of seeing. At last, no longer clinging to I believe in God…but discovering how and why God believes in me.

 AMcC

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Daily Reflections

August 27: Caring and L’Arche I – chatting is caring work.

tea42

This first reflection introduces the topic of caring for others – and how the  one cared for can be a carer for her carers. Tomorrow we’ll start a short season about L’Arche.

After a fall that made walking and moving difficult, my mother returned home with help from ‘carers’ – mostly young women with families – who would help her with dressing, bathing and getting back to the shops. They were also able to observe her recovery and how she was getting around the house and to the village shop.

This was an excellent way of getting out of hospital earlier than she otherwise would have done. I’m sure she got better a lot sooner. In fact, she soon found that she was getting most things done for herself before the carers came: ‘I didn’t see why I should stop in bed until they were able to come and get me dressed, so of course I did it myself.’

The carers would then spend a few minutes chatting over a cup of tea. They were still working, noting how she was both physically and mentally. She, in her turn, was caring for them by listening to the news of their families. Those ten minutes were a respite for the carers before the next call, perhaps to someone needing more of their time for those basic needs.

Our family are grateful for the dedication of these lowly-paid workers who bring real loving care to their work, even though their time is micro-managed by desk jockeys at their agency HQ and at County Hall. At the care-face, it is face-to-face work, person to person, loving kindness.

My mother will remain in her own home as long as she possibly can. Tomorrow we’ll read about a caring way of living with people with learning disabilities.

WT.

Leave a comment

Filed under Daily Reflections

Notes from a Pilgrimage

Clare.800px-Simone_Martini_047

More news from Sister Frances Teresa in Italy.

Dearest All, 
On 12th we had a busy day and went up to Assisi to collect Pilgrim’s Handbooks, to shop for the Christmas Pranzo in Rieti, to contact Sister Ectorina at the Cabrini Centre in Rieti and confirm dates, numbers, times of arrival etc etc etc. All done.
On the way back we stopped at the Springs of Clitunno near Assisi, at my request. I had been before but they are so beautiful and tranquil, water gushing in many small springs from beneath the rock of Subasio into a wide shallow lake which is always clear because the water is always on the move, gently but unmistakeably.
I am very interested in the long tradition of healing in that area. San Damiano was a place of healing which is why the chapel was dedicated to St Damiano, and in pre-Christian times, to Castor and Pollux, the two Roman gods of healing. There are also other springs higher up the flank of the mountain near San Damiano which have been healing springs, again from Roman times. So the tradition which connects Clare with healing has a long root.
Yesterday we did very little. André is still in jet lag, he reckons a day for every hour’s change of time which is a useful rule of thumb. Murray, who is lactose intolerant, ate an ice cream and forgot to take his pill because we were having so  much fun, had had stomach cramps all the previous night. I am in my usual crude good health but felt tatty in sympathy.
The pilgrims were due the next morning. At that stage, nobody wants them to come but at the airport the excitement begins to build and the sense of starting a work, which simply grows as they turn up one  by one.  This was all the more so as everyone had their luggage and all seemed younger than sometimes with no health issues except one lady who turned up pushed in a wheelchair. To say we were struck dumb is a mild account! Pilgrimage is called the prayer of the foot, so how do you do that in a wheelchair and, even louder, how were we going to do it for someone in a wheelchair? However it seemed she is more mobile than appeared. Anyway she walked spunkily to the far end of the airport and managed the coach with no fuss, and found her room, came to dinner, all normal. Sighs of relief from the staff thinking of some of the places and all the steps!!!
Now everyone is having some riposo and we hope they turn up for the first session at 5.00 pm.
It is extremely hot here and the cicadas are blasting away like car alarms making it sound hot as well. However your true Romans have got their jackets on because it is September and there might be a draught! All for now, watch this space
FT

1 Comment

Filed under Daily Reflections, Laudato si'

August 13: Re-Focussing Young Minds

peacecorner (582x447)

During the Olympics, in 1212, a sensitive idea was brought forward by church leaders: namely to have a pre-Olympic celebration of Christianity called 100 Days of Peace. The aim was to ensure that the theme of Peace would be held to as a religious and Christian theme, especially in the minds of young school children, rather than the typical Olympic image of political peace, a kind of convenient truce between States that were, in other respects, keen to fight each other.

The Peace Corner that we set up in one area of our Newham church of St. Francis was the work of children from our primary school. We also held a prayer service with music and singing by the children and the presentation of their works of art. Themes such as the trafficking of children, the need for Fair Trade mentalities, and inter-racial friendship communicated the difficult long-term commitment needed for overcoming upheaval and distress.

Peace was presented therefore as deeply desirable but also often elusive. Not something that we can afford to treat with glibness. This is a valid point about what creates a genuinely supportive network of relationships. The Paralympics, later in the summer, were a great success, and in many ways a vindication of the churches’ message of better listening and greater kindness. To be ready to celebrate the sporting achievements of those with serious physical handicaps is the beginning of a move towards a more inclusive view of Peace.

franciscans.mercy

The notion of a worshipping community as a place of inclusiveness appeared as a spirituality of initiatives among the marginalised in the days of St. Francis.

Leave a comment

Filed under Daily Reflections

March 11 Love in the Spirit of Silence

 

4canal (23) (411x640)

Today I remember my grandfather Alexander Victor, whose 115th birthday it would have been. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.

Had he lived to see it, Pop would initially have been profoundly discombobulated at the thought of my becoming Catholic, since he regarded Catholicism as equivalent to treason. But since he always wanted what was best for me, he would have wrapped his head around it and in the process undergone a change of mind.

Together with his wife, he brought me up. His eyes were brilliant blue, bluer than any others I’ve ever seen. While he had fond memories of childhood holidays in Shanklin on the Isle of Wight, his favourite place was Dartmoor, where he used to go for long walks. We loved each other deeply. He was deaf, and because in those days hearing aids weren’t that good, plus he didn’t like wearing one, we didn’t speak much, and never more than a few words. But our rapport meant that the impossibility of verbal converse promoted a deeper form of communication, one whose roots in silence were as deep as the blue of his eyes and whose tokens were the countless glances of solicitude we exchanged during the course of a day and the kiss he gave me every night before he went to bed while I lay pretending to be asleep.

MLT.

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Daily Reflections