Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Necesitamos Santos.... We need saints ....


Recently a friend here in Guadalajara posted a link on FaceBook of a speech attributed to the Pope (it's actual author is unknown but believed to be a Catholic from Brazil).  I read through it mostly because she posted it.  If they think something is of value (that their Pope is believed to have said) I want to know about it, as it opens discussion.  The article was quite interesting on many fronts and one that I thought might be worth pondering from an Evangelical standpoint.

In the speech it is said that a young Catholic single mother comes to a parish and wants to baptise her child. She is told that she can't, given that she isn't married, and therefore in sin.  The writer's comment to that was that the she found the church door closed to her.
"Tengamos en cuenta que ...esta madre tuvo el valor para continuar con un embarazo, y ¿con quĂ© se encuentra? Con una puerta cerrada!."

The poem goes on to talk about how that attitude would destroy the church.  That we need 'saints' that are willing to live in the world (without being blemished by it) and to touch them with Christ.  We need saints that go to the movies, that wear jeans and running shoes, modern saints, who are relevant to this world.  People should be able to come to church and not be greeted by a spiritual 'immigration officer' but rather find open doors, where forgiveness and healing can be found.
The writer was judging his own church and faith, aware that grace is often not found their, but rather judgement and punishment.  But what about us?  When sinners come to the doors of our church do we require them to be perfect?  Must they look and behave like us?  Do we judge others or do we offer grace?  Stuart Murray, in his book "The Naked Anabaptist", says that we need to look at the order of things ... which should come first? ...Belonging? ...Believing? ...or Behaving? (pg. 60)  We often expect people to behave FIRST, then they can belong, while we work at teaching them what to believe.  Why the emphasis on behaving first?  Sanctification is a process in me, so why don't I allow that process in others? Maybe our churches should allow people to 'belong' even if they don't necessarily believe or behave...yet? Didn't Jesus say that the healthy don't need a physician...?   
The writer's call to his people is just as relavant to us.  We need to be in the world, at the movies, at the rinks, at the lounges, etc.  But in order to be in those places we need to stick close to the vine, so that Christ shines through us - in the world without becoming worldly. We also need to work at making our communities of faith places of healing and forgiveness, places that are welcoming, so that  sinners can find Jesus in our midst, without having to clean up first....  

The poem in English:

"We need saints without veil or cassock.
We need saints who wear jeans and sneakers.
We need saints who go to the movies, listen to music and hang out with friends.
We need saints who put God in first place, but who let go of their power.
We need saints who have time everyday to pray and who know how to date in purity and chastity, or who consecrate their chastity.
We need modern saints, Saints of the 21st century with a spirituality that is part of our time.
We need saints committed to the poor and the necessary social changes.
We need saints who live in the world and who are sanctified in the world, who are not afraid to live in the world.
We need saints who drink Coke and eat hot dogs, who wear jeans, who are Internet-savvy, who listen to CDs.
We need saints who passionately love the Eucharist and who are not ashamed to drink a soda or eat pizza on weekends with friends.
We need saints who like movies, the theater, music, dance, sports.
We need saints who are social, open, normal, friendly, happy and who are good companions.
We need saints who are in the world and know how to taste the pure and nice things of the world but who aren’t of the world." 

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