Friday, March 18, 2011

Lenten Reflection/ A Prophetic Meditation to Move Our Hearts and Stir Us Into Action for Justice and Equality in our World

by Sr. Barbara Valuckas, SSND from Women's Song (National Sisters Vocational Conference, 1986, Used with permission)

An adaptation of Isaiah 58: 1-9

O Sisters and Brothers in your ministries,
Would that you might fast so as to make your voices heard on this earth and in this Church?

Is this the manner of fasting that I wish of keeping a season of penance:
That you bow down your heads like reeds as if you accepted your conditioning to passivity and submission, and lie in sack cloth and ashes, as if you believed what you have been taught about your worthlessness to Church and society?
Do you call this a fast?
Is this the kind of behavior you think I want of you to make you acceptable to me?
No! This rather is the fasting that I wish for you as women and men:
That you confront injustice in your communities, Church and world as a way of releasing those bound unjustly … to release your own closed heart to create a pure heart to foster the spiral of life
That you untie the thongs of patriarchy that have bound your bodies and your imaginations… that we may celebrate our bodies as Sophia wisdom
That you set free your own potential as women and men knowing that you cannot set free other oppressed persons unless you do… create in us a unbound heart , free us from our own prison of frenzied activity, judgmental attitudes, self-centered visions.
That you work for breakthroughs in the yokes that prevent dialogue, reconciliation and peacemaking.

I want of you to share your bread with the hungry, but also ask and help others to ask about the reason for the hungry….
I want you to shelter the oppressed and the homeless but also ask and help others to ask about the reasons for homelessness and oppression.
I want you to clothe the naked but also to ask and help others to ask about the inequalities that exist among the members of our human family and how we protect the earth that has no voice but ours.
I want you to imagine and to move toward a new future to build the spiral of life without turning your back on those who cannot follow or imagine as quickly as you can.
Then your light shall break like the dawn, and Sophia burst forth in new life within. Your woundedness as women and men shall quickly be healed. Ashes turned into new life. Your vindication shall go before you and my nurturing love will nourish you


Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Amen, may it be so! May we live Christ's loving service to those at the margins of church and society and change unjust structures that cause so much of the world's suffering! May we be prophets and saints that move our world closer to God and call our sisters and brothers to action to make a more peaceful, just and equal world.
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Prayers for Devastating Times: Be Strong, Fear Not/God Weeps With Us/ We Shall Overcome

As we see the heart-wrenching scenes of people who have lost everything in the horrific earthquake and tsunami in Japan, we see the face of God weeping over the destruction. Our hearts break at the loss and the suffering of our sisters and brothers who are facing unimaginable tragedy all aroud them including a nuclear disaster.
As we watch young people standing up for justice, freedom and human rights in Egypt, Libya, and other countries in the Middle East, we are moved by their courage and idealism.
We are conscious of the infinite, boundless love of the Holy One, called by many names, who walks among us. In God's love, through God's power working within us, we shall overcome. We are one world-- all people are God's holy people!
These prayers are for you:
Nothing ahead of you is bigger, or stronger than the power of God behind you. (Be strong in God and in God's mighty power, Eph. 6:10)
Do not fear for I am with you, Do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you: I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
Those who hope in God will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. (Isaiah 40:32)
We can do all things through God who strengthens us. (Philippians 4:13)
Bridget Mary Meehan RCWP
www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org

"Woman deacon recants, seeks reunion with church"/ National Catholic Reporter

Woman deacon recants, seeks reunion with church National ...
Mar. 14, 2011
By
Zoe Ryan

"Bridget Mary Meehan, communication representative for the group, said Coon e-mailed her Jan. 1 asking that Meehan remove videos and photographs of her on the movement’s Web site. To be reinstated into the church, Coon explained to Meehan, she must dissolve all connection with the group. Meehan said she complied.
Members of Roman Catholic Womenpriests said that Coon had experienced personal family trauma, including health issues and the death of her 42-year-old son, who died in 2010 from a burst aortic aneurysm, according to the obituary on The San Diego Union-Tribune Web site.
“She is our sister, our beloved sister, and we wanted to help her follow her conscience,” Meehan told NCR. “There are no hard feelings. We understand totally.”
Meehan said that Roman Catholic Womenpriests warns the women who join them “that they’re going to be excommunicated.” The typical length of preparation to the diaconate is one year, but it varies depending on the person. The program is individualized for each person and includes an intake clinical interview and psychological screenings, among other things..."

Monday, March 14, 2011

"Sex Abuse and Legacy of Lay Passivity"/ Time for Catholics to Hold Hierarchy Accountable for Sex Abuse of Children

Sex abuse and the legacy of lay passivity
By Jamie L Manson
Created Mar 14, 2011

http://www.ncronline.org/blogs/grace-margins/sex-abuse-and-legacy-lay-passivity
"This past Ash Wednesday, while most Catholics were being told to turn away from sin, the faithful in Philadelphia were informed that the hierarchy had, once again, failed to do so themselves.
"Even with so much already said, there is still one question that troubles me. Why are we, the Catholic laity, still letting the hierarchy get away with it? "
...But why isn’t everyone speaking out? Why isn’t every church-going Catholic demanding repentance and genuine reform from church authorities? "


Bridget Mary's Reflection

Jamie Manson's article is right on! There are no excuses for Catholics who ignore sex abuse crimes against children. I understand the dissociation theory because it is so overwhelming. The sex abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church is like an unending tsunami that destroys everything in its path.

I don't understand how the institutional Catholic Church has got away with behaving like a crime family! Most accessories to crime do time in jail. How come the hierarchy of the Catholic Church is not held accountable? It is an outrage! Catholics who continue to support the hierarchy need to examine their consciences. The Grand Jury Report in Philadelphia is the last straw! Catholics must demand reform now, accountability now, a people-empowered church now! How can they continue to support such a sick, corrupt system? My niece, Katie, a young college age Catholic woman shared that, in her view, the Catholic Church did not seem to be very spiritual. No wonder many young women and men are walking away! The hierarchy has betrayed the the people of God, and the young are not finding a spiritual home in their own faith community.



So now what? We need to get back to basics, prayer, spirituality, social justice and inclusive liturgies. In a priest-short, scandal-ridden church, Catholics can reach out to their alienated Catholic friends and form new faith communities. Roman Catholic Women Priests and married priests are serving a growing number of these kinds of alternative Catholic communities ,We are living Gospel equality now --- no longer are we asking permission, we are leading the way by doing it within a people-empowered faith community. Some people are finding us though google and social media. Rise up, speak out, protest the cover-ups, demand transparency and accountability. Withhold Sunday donations until genuine reform takes place. Pick a cause that helps the needy and redirect your money there. Live your baptismal call to follow Christ and "be Christ" in our world in service of others. Be part of the solution, not the problem. We the people are church! It is our responsibility to bring about change, a peaceful revolution, in imitation of Jesus in the Gospel, who stood on the margins with the poor and marginalized. Think about making amends to the victims of priest abusers. Support organizations like SNAP and Voice of the Faithful. Visit bishopaccountability.org Support legislation that lifts the statue of limitations. The bishops often oppose such legislation. Now that is an outrage! Shout it from the rooftops.

Like Mary, who proclaimed the Magnificat, we need to speak truth to our pope and bishops. We need to take responsibility for our church. Would you tolerate a sexual predator in your neigborhood? Why do we tolerate a church who hid sexual predators? The Vatican guidelines do not mandate that the bishops must report clergy sex abuse to civl authorities! When the Irish bishops decided to finally do so, the Vatican opposed them. Check out the RTE Special Report. (link on my blog)
It is time for a holy shakeup in the Catholic Church. Now more then ever we need the wisdom and energy of young women, like Jamie and my niece Katie, to revitalize and reimagine our church.

Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

http://www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org/


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Meditation and Mantras: A Boost to Both Soul and Brain/ Prayer Affirmations for Lenten Meditation

Meditation is a popular practice for millions of people throughout the world. However many of us do not realize the unexpected benefits not only bless our souls, but also enhance our brain's health.

In an article that appeared in the Washington Post entitled "Mantras, Meditation May Give Your Brain a Boost", Carolyn Butler writes:"New research from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston indicates that meditating regularly can actually change our brain structure for the better and in just a few months. (www.heraldtribune.com/health, Tue., March 8, 2011)

So here are a few suggestions for Lent:
1. Establish a routine- a daily practice- (5 or 10 minutes works)

2. Be conscious that all of life and everyday activity is laden with grace- with the presence of the divine. Whether eating, drinking, walking, driving, talking, God is always already present loving you in the present moment and offering you opportunities to love, give, forgive, heal, and grow holy and healthy.

3. Let distractions go. Don't get caught up in doing it "right". When distractions come, let them go, release worry about past or future and gently be attentive to the present.

4. Mantras are simple prayer words or a phrase that can help you center and be attentive to the precious moment. There are many forms of meditation and a wide diversity of approaches: chanting, centering prayer, guided relaxation exercises etc.

A few powerful mantras that focus our spirits on the divine are: God, Sophia, Holy Wisdom, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Yahweh, Holy One, Creator. One can also use words like any of the following words: peace, love, compassion. etc

Prayerful Affirmations:
God's infinite boundless love is embracing me, my family, ___
I thank a loving God for all the miracles I have received.
God's love sustains, supports and strengthens me in all that I do.
With God's help and love, I let go of all my fears.
God, your heart of love and healing fills my soul.
I let go of resentment and open my heart to forgiveness and healing.
I am a passionate reflection of the Holy One in our world.
(adapted from my book, Affirmations from the Heart of God)
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org