My friend, Fr Joseph Girzone writes a daily "posting" for his Joshua Ministry's webpage. I particularly enjoyed this one: When it comes to the practice of our religion, it makes all the difference in the world whether our focus and center of interest is in things of the Church, whether it be the rituals, or particular culture of a national church, or the present day issues being discussed and uppermost in the leadership of the Church, or whether our focus and the center of our life is on Jesus. From my experience, Church is what people identify as their religion. What is important to the Church and the religious leaders is what becomes the substance of people’s involvement in their religion. To a certain extent that is good, but it can also become the heart of our worship, and religious practices involving Jesus, like Mass, and Eucharist, and the Sacraments, and a healthy understanding of the sacredness of the priesthood, and its necessity to make Jesus present in the Church can easily fade into mere pious devotion and respect, but not the center of our Christian life. The Church and its trappings have become the heart of people’s religious focus. That is not healthy; it is what Jesus found so reprehensible in the scribes and Pharisees. They loved their religion, but had no love of God in their hearts or love and compassion for hurting people. Yet, deep down, people crave for what Jesus has to give. I found this out as soon as “Joshua” spread around the country and around the world, and I got requests from all over the world to come and talk about Jesus, and though I spoke for almost two hours, the audience sat motionless and eerily silent without coughing or sneezing for the whole time. It was the strangest phenomenon I had ever experienced, and it was not that I was a great speaker, but the people were so hungry to hear about a Jesus who was real to them, they did not want to miss a word. One day in North Palm Beach, Florida, I was asked to continue speaking and it lasted for almost seven hours. I don’t even know how I could have spoken about Jesus for seven hours. People’s hunger for Jesus is so intense, they could not have enough, and told me it was their only chance to hear about Jesus as none of their priests or ministers ever talk about Jesus in church. Everything is about church and about what is important to the Church. What I learned from all these experiences is that people are not drifting away from God; they hunger for a relationship with God, and an intimacy with Jesus, and once we start focusing on Jesus and start teaching contemplative prayer, and the practice of the Presence of Jesus in our daily lives, a whole new and exciting renewal of life will begin to flourish in our churches again.
This is a modest effort at a "blog" my attempt to offer some brief reflections each day that come from various sources that I find interesting - primarily the daily reflections of Pope Francis as found on Zenit and Rome Reports. Fr. John