Anybody who says 'accompany them on their spiritual journey' ought to have their mouth washed out with strong soap.
— William M. Briggs (@mattstat) August 26, 2016
If you can’t see the tweet above, it reads “Anybody who says ‘accompany them on their spiritual journey’ ought to have their mouth washed out with strong soap.”
Can people really form their lips around the excruciating purple-polyester-pant-suited phrase “accompany them on their spiritual journey”? Aye, they can and they do. Here, for instance, on the Canadian Jesuits page are a list of “Helps for accompanying others on their spiritual journey”. Helps. Helps. One help, two helps. One of the helps is the article “Silent Friend: How Your Breath Enlarges All Of Space, by Ignatius Feaver O.F.M. Cap”. Don’t eat garlic first before enlarging all of space.
After the infamous Synod on the Family last year, at which it was discovered and then conveyed to the world that families were a good thing (who knew?), our bishops released “synod reflection documents“.
The document for the clergy on marriage and family offers questions for reflection on subjects raised at the synod including accompanying couples in and through the celebration of their marriage, accompanying people who have homosexual tendencies and accompanying couples in the stage of engagement.
That’s a lot of accompanying. One wonders if there will be enough priests to hold hands and accompanying all those people on their spiritual journeys.
Archbishop Cupich of the Second City said, “A synodal church moves forward as a pilgrim people under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, walking together at a patient pace and with an awareness that the experience of the journey will be itself a grace as we move in ways that speak of conversion and renewal.”
Which sounds almost like the spiritual journey Jesus spoke of: “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Kum-ba-ya! That’s a spiritual journey you don’t want to take.
Pope Francis himself wanted Christians to beg forgiveness of LGBT folks, arguing that Christians “must say sorry for not having accompanied them, for not having accompanied many choices, many families.”
And where should they have accompanied them to? San Francisco’s “Pride” parade? Father James Martin, SJ, said LGTB folks feel “marginalized”, adding “Imagine being told that a deep part of you you, the part that feels love, is disordered.” Well, Jimmy, imagine not being told that acting on that deep part that feels love will send you on the warm journey Jesus mentioned.
Incidentally, now we’ve apologized to the LGBT crowd for improper journey accompaniment, when will those folks apologize to the Church for corrupting so many priests? Endemic is the word we’re looking for. When I was a wee lad my maternal grandfather warned me against becoming an altar boy, a position which would have put me in danger of “being diddled” by an intrinsically disordered cleric. The sex abuse scandal was a long time brewing.
Speaking of the Pope, here he is asking Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia to “to run the Vatican’s new mega-department for laity, family and life issues” to focus on inter alia “An ‘authentic human ecology,’ which can help restore ‘the original balance of creation between the human person and the entire universe.'” Call it a journey with the universe.
I once said of the protoplanetary disks forming around the Orion nebula, “Those aren’t so great.” This cruel disparagement surely caused an unbalance to form around the belt of that great hunter. Mea cupla. Next time you hop into the car to fetch a jug of beer, remember that your actions affect the entire universe. All of it. In its entirety. Even galaxy clusters 8.5 billion-with-a-B light years away. Consider having the suds delivered instead.
National Catholic Reporter board member Jim Purcell is keen on journeying. He says on the topic of “redistribution of power and authority”:
My life as a believing Catholic is a faith journey. The Eucharist is a very special food for my journey, but the journey is primary, not the food. There are many sources of spiritual food for my journey of faith and we are blessed with many women of faith whose leadership capabilities qualify them to help lead this journey.
I rather think he has it backwards. Without the Eucharist, there is no journey except the one Jesus cautioned against.
The NCR is ripe with journeying. One last example. Not too long ago Sr. Paula Gonzalez passed away. She was “a Cincinnati nun who spent the last 45 years of her life advocating for renewable energy.” In Heaven all energy is green (EPA 3:16).
NCR says “At an early age her soul was touched by the God she referred to as ‘The Great Living One’ — a Divinity she grew to recognize as being present throughout all of creation.” When Gonzalez became one with the universe, the Ohio Interfaith Power and Light organization sent her off “into the next part of our spiritual journey” with the prayer “Into the beauty of mother earth, we release you. Into the freedom of wind and sunshine, into the dance of the stars and planets.”