We hear and read an awful lot these days about all kinds of evil; corruption, greed, abuse and violence, environmental destruction, etc. We experience evil and sin and see its effects all around us. Pope Francis in Laudato Si certainly condemns it but in Evangelii Gaudium he tends towards a more positive line, focusing on “the delightful and comforting joy of evangelisation.” Even in Amoris Laetitia the focus comes across as on the Joy of Love, married love primarily.
Evil and sin do underlie all of this, social sin and personal sin, and so a moral stance to start and conversion, turning away from what is wrong, are also to be faced. That, as an aspect of Mission Month, has struck me and maybe others too. It struck me in part through my involvement in musical moments. Last week I reflected on The Writing on the Wall, where Babylon’s king Belshazzar was “weighed in the balance and found wanting” in the account from the book of Daniel, chapter 5. A good story worth a read and coming up in the readings of the last week of the liturgical year.
This week it came to me too from a very different direction, the fantasy world of witches and wizards, of a battle between good and evil where young children lead the fight against adult obsession with power. Harry Potter and his young wizarding friends at Hogwarts school defending the cause of right fighting the dark Lord Voldemort, who wants to take over their society and gain immortality. That is surely a universal parable yet with problematic elements. There have been religious objections to the use of witchcraft in teaching a moral lesson but as a moral tale it certainly has had wide appeal with children and adults alike. (See MARFAM notices about this performance.)
Promoting the month of the Rosary is also on my agenda. Again is there not that element of sin and evil when praying the Sorrowful Mysteries. We focus on the 5 events and pay tribute to the great love of God and the suffering of His Son, but it is for our sins that he chose to do so. Very many years ago, in my youth at boarding school a long-forgotten teacher proposed that in the 2nd sorrowful mystery where Jesus is scourged at the pillar we meditate on sins of the flesh and in the 3rd, the crowing with thorns on sins of pride. Such meditations develop into adult reflections over time. Our Lady’s last Fatima apparition October 13 1917 condemning sin and calling for conversions is commemorated this week.
October is also a month for the elderly in South Africa. Maturing in one’s faith is one of the most important tasks of adulthood right up into old age. It happens within the context of our intimate relationships and everyday life, whatever the events and circumstances. Successes and failures, losses and family gatherings all contribute. It can happen in rather unusual ways, even through children’s stories and music. Possibly the best Good News we can share in our own Mission Month is the good news of a life of faith. TR FAMILY WEEKLY 10 OCTOBER 2017