William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

The Great Spiritual Accompaniment

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.”

14 Comments

  1. Suppose a Christian wants to avoid the furnace. How does he know what the rules are? Homosexual behavior among men is certainly condemned in the O.T., but the “L” in LGetc. is not mentioned. Is that OK? Will violating the kosher laws get us roasted, too? Christians seem not to think so, and wear clothing of mixed fibers with abandon. But combining meat and milk is also condemned. Jesus does not specify which parts of the law are still binding. Does the information come through the Church, in the transmission of the Traditions? How is that that Catholics trust that these Traditions are honestly and correctly transmitted by people they do not trust enough to be put in the same room with their sons? Asking for a friend.

  2. Would you like more New Age spiritual pages (actually, they’re old age, but keep that under wraps)? I can provide a list. It will depress you, especially considering each has at least a dozen readers.

    New Age says living a lie is better than knowing the truth. New Age says it is better to be happy than right. These people do not live in reality and only severe injury or loss has any possibility of reaching them. They’ll board any train to anywhere if someone says to. The Pope can be on the train leading and they will trust him because he’s tolerant. They walk cheerfully into the gas chambers because everyone else is. You can’t fix people missing parts of human capacity. They want to be “loved” and lied to as a matter of practice. (Rewilding was my very favorite idea—sure to smack people with reality far quicker than most off-the-wall ideas.)

    Wouldn’t beer delivery also disrupt the universe? I think we’re heading toward we all need to be cleansed from the planet with that one.

    I missed the part where Jesus invited in the hookers, tax collectors and others to celebrate their lives and never mentioned the wrongness of their actions. Wonder if J ever apologized to the moneychangers in the temple for that juvenile show of temper he foisted upon them?

    Too bad there’s no such thing as renewable energy. Poor nun wasted her life believing in a political lie.

    Bing News said Facebook is as satisfying as marriage. I rest my case.

    Lee Philips: Nitpicking when you know the answer and don’t like it will probably get you the furnace, yes.

  3. @Lee I know you’re kidding, but the council of Jerusalem in Acts basically says the only ceremonial laws still binding are no blood or things sacrificed to idols. Paul actually goes into some depth about the binding nature of the OT for Gentiles.

    I just hear this all the time from my heathen fellow cohorts as if no one noticed before that the OT has some stuff that Christians don’t observe and “isn’t that a little hypocritical”.

    It’s not just that Christians dealt with it later, it gets dealt with in the NT. Incidentally lesbianism is explicitly condemned in Romans 1.

    Amazing how people think that the same group which founded virtually every university people can name have been both illiterate and allergic to logic this whole time.

  4. @Lee, I forgot things strangled are forbidden as well.

  5. Some years ago I signed with the Jesuits to become a “spiritual director”. It was a two year program. There were no prerequisites for the course. I don’t think you even had to be a Catholic. The idea was that after completing the course and receiving a certificate you would be a certified Spiritual Director and could charge an hourly fee for your services by accompanying folks on their faith journey. I dropped out after a few months at the point we learned Jesus never performed miracles. Rather He promoted sharing, doing good works and caring for the environment.

  6. Speaking of spiritual journeys, we can’t leave out JZ Knight’s (“Z” for Zebra, really) School of Enlightenment, where she trance channels Ramtha (a 35,000 year dead warrior who’s own spiritual journey led him (it?) to the pinnacle of spiritual enlightenment, which, for a nominally large fee, JZ will trance channel Ramtha to share his wisdom. She’s made millions from this, in part by patenting Ramtha to prevent some upstart in Europe or somewhere from also conveying his wisdom. It’s powerful stuff, and too much out to an unwary public too fast could cause troubles, including a decline in Zebra’s cash revenues. Here’s the website, lately, at which one might still find some excerpts of the blather JZ gets paid an annual fortune: http://www.ramtha.com Kudos to JZ for her staying power (and presumably tax-free cash flow) by dispensing her blather.

    Chances are, with any religion, when the institution for that religion pounces on some theme there’s an associated river of cash flowing from the people being helped to the institution/its leaders.

  7. Ken: Seems all religions and New Age gurus have their problems http://www.alternet.org/belief/ramtha-new-age-cult-leader-unleashes-drunken-racist-homophobic-rants-large-following

    Those channeled 35,000 year old warriors appear to be very unPC. She may be forced to edit some of his comments in the future.

    (Interesting site, to say the least!)

  8. Looks like the Catholic Church has had a good run but it may be coming on hard times as it’s center seems to be unsure whether it is a religion or a discussion group.

    Suggest reading “The Triumph of the Therapeutic” by Philip Rieff–50 yrs old but still timely

  9. “Imagine being told that a deep part of you you, the part that feels love, is disordered.”

    Ahuh. Yeah, isn’t that basically “the Law”? I mean, aside from the part of this that butchers the distinction between eros, philos, and agape. But I’d sincerely hope every Christian has heard Paul speaking in Romans 7:21-25; particularly, 25b, “So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”

  10. I posted this comment before–did it get canned?
    The Jesuits used to be defenders of the faith. Nowadays, I’m not so sure. Consider the Jesuit publication America. During the 2004 election campaign, the Editor endorsed Al Gore. I wrote a letter pointing out that his positions on abortion were directly opposed to Church teaching. It was not published.

  11. Sander van der Wal

    September 7, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    Your enemies are at it again, it should be proto-planetary disks *inside* the Great Orion Nebula.

    Incidentally, one should be able to photograph them with a 6″ Newton telescope and a DSRL.

  12. Pope Francis needs to accompany us sinners on our eco-spiritual journey by setting a good example. He can start by announcing he will no longer travel by any means except on foot. Given his age, he can be carried in a litter by some of those strapping young lads hanging about the Vatican. It’ll be a long journey to Lund to meet with his fellow travelers, so he should probably get packing if he’s going to make it by Halloween (how appropriate).

  13. Great post, great comments. Thanks, everyone.

  14. Perhaps the litter should be on top of a long pole with T’Googlio Monster in the Crow’s Nest shouting “Lund Ho!!” to delight the star-gazers below.

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