The Cathedral Connection 15 March 2020

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Our archdiocesan Mission Expo took place yesterday, and it was organized to showcase the wide range of mission activities and opportunities within our communities. The joint cathedrals’ Lent programme is also featuring a number of speakers reflecting on the theme of mission. In his Lenten message this year, Pope Francis reminded us that if Easter is at the centre of our lives, we must feel ‘compassion towards the wounds of the crucified Christ present in the many innocent victims of wars, in attacks on life… and various forms of violence… in environmental disasters, the unequal distribution of the earth’s goods, human trafficking in all its forms, and the unbridled thirst for profit’. The Pope reminds us, too, that compassion must lead to action, working with all people of goodwill.

So we are all called to mission, and to loving service. I have been thinking, though, that it is also important to remember another aspect of the mission of the People of God, and particularly of the great majority who are not ordained or in religious vows. The Second Vatican Council pointed out that this mission includes our ordinary lives, in our families and neighbourhoods, in our community organisations and in our occupations as well.

I think it is also important to remind ourselves of the need for balance in our lives. More than fifty years ago, the monk Thomas Merton wrote of the temptation ‘to which the idealist most easily succumbs: activism and overwork… To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.’ Times of recollection, contemplation, creativity and prayer – however brief – are never an optional extra in our mission.

Jim McAloon, Chair, Parish Pastoral Council.

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