Dinner Discussion: The Fullness of the TruthPosted: October 14, 2015 | Author: jhansbrough
I decided to write this blog in response to another blog that highlighted a real situation that will help us make sense of the Synod. That post is found at http://aleteia.org/2015/10/09/is-pope-francis-an-ambassador-of-mercy-or-of-scandal/.
From a priestly perspective, we have to remember that as Catholics, we believe that we possess the "fullness of the truth." It doesn't mean we're "better" than other churches. Frankly I know some non-Catholics (even non-Christians) who are more Christ-like than some "hardcore" Catholics. I remind us of this teaching because it demonstrates the Catholic Church's responsibility to uphold the truth. While we confidently say that Jesus gave His Catholic Church the "fullness of truth," we have to admit that we don't always know how to practice this truth fully.
One of Blessed Teresa' od Calcutta's favorite sayings humbly admits she "is just a pencil - but - in the hand of God."
That's why Pope Francis (and ALL of the Popes) offer us glimpses of a deeper understanding of truth. Each Pope showed us a perspective. We didn't always like it, but the Pope has the responsibility to deepen our love of the Father by better knowing His Son, Jesus. Talk about a mysterious God/Man: he had the fullness of truth incarnate in him, yet people thought he was teaching heresy, simply because he was compassionate and forgiving to the folks who felt (or who were made to feel) outside of the Church.
Enter Pope Francis, who convened this extraordinary Synod on the family. The Synod, no doubt, has brought so much attention to the Church - good attention and in some cases attention on those issues where we need to learn how to practice the teachings better, for example in cases of divorced marriages, broken families, non-traditional families, and pastoral care for homosexual persons.
Pope Francis has brought a lot of attention to the Church, including the issues that are hard to discuss.
Unfortunately some see this as an opportunity to divide. It's a tendency by a politically-charged media climate, and fostered by peoples' ignorance of Church teaching. It seems the headlines are trying to create two camps: those to the "Right" - chosen believers who are upholding Church teaching in orthodoxy versus those on the "Left" - upholders of "compassion" (i.e., change church teaching and allow anyone to believe anything they want).
The reality (or TRUTH) is: that's far from the truth. In actuality, we're all on the same page. We have to trust that every Cardinal, Bishop and Pope would say they don't possess the fullness of how to live out and practice the fullness of truth. Trust me! The entire church is on the same team, which is simply trying to practice the fullness of truth in a more fulfilling and fuller way.
One of the many families found at a GBM event, this one in Prince Albert in Canada.
May I encourage you to not get too wrapped up in the debate, controversy, scandal and anger that comes from ecclesial fundamentalists. Certainly, pay attention to the news, but trust that God is still in charge of the Church. God will certainly use this Synod to teach us an important lesson: we can't always "handle the truth!" (movie reference noted!)
But, this Synod is simply a conversation with God and each other to say: we want to know how to practice the truth better - right here and now - not in the glorified past or in the fearfully unpredictable future. We need to know how to love someone who is divorced, separated from the Church, in a gay relationship, or sitting two pews away from you - NOW.
Jesus, always the Good Shepherd.
Let Us Pray:
Father, we continue to pray for our Holy Father and those involved in the Synod. May these church leaders help us to know the fullness of truth and a more realistic way to practice the truth in our lives. May our Church continue to be blessed as the visible sign of unity, trusting the Holy Spirit's guidance, and encouraging pastoral leaders - clergy, consecrated and lay - to take up the great call to love unconditionally as Jesus taught us. Amen.
Food for Thought:
(1) Do you know what the word "Synod" means?
(2) How do you explain to your children what the debate is all about?
(3) Does it make you feel uncomfortable to say the Catholic Church possesses the "Fullness of Truth" and if so, why? And if not, how do you explain it to others in a more comforting way?
Special notes: 2016 Italy Pilgrimages, Events, and Spicy Beef.
I want to encourage you to check out the two opportunities to travel with me to Italy in 2016: a Roman Holiday Retreat for Married Couples with Teresa Tomeo Pastore and her husband, Dcn. Dominick Pastore on May 12-21, 2016, and a new Taste of Italy trip with Fr. Ryan Elder and Dcn. Mark Westrick, visiting Rome, Assisi, Tuscany and more on August 15-26, 2016. Both are incredible experiences of Cathedrals, Christianity, and Cuisine, so checkout the links and find out how you can reserve a spot quickly!
I also have been traveling to many places, from Massachusetts to Michigan to Iowa and Florida, and they have been great events with many great people. I was honored to be featured for Bishop Nickless' Dinner, and was embarrassed to see this big ad as I drove by, but it was a truly fun night, and we were told it was "the best" presentation they have seen (in some opinions, of course). So thanks to all of the groups who have brought me out, and I look forward to the many other places I will be visiting soon, including Tontitown, AR this weekend for a parish mission at St. Joseph.
I cringe at the sight of me, but it was actually a great advertisement for a faith-filled event.
Finally, I want to encourage you to visit Naveen's Cuisine if you are ever in Chicago, IL. As one of the cooking locations I visited during my shoot for my show Savoring Our Faith, I can say that he has a great place that you should consider eating at. For that matter, have your next food event, parties and even team building meetings there in his beautiful kitchen. Check out his recipe for Spicy Beef with Fresh basil, and watch Savoring Our Faith Thursdays at 5pm EDT.