Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Purify the Catholic Worker, Jesus, to be the Diamond of Its Founders

By Monica,  The Lamb Catholic Worker, Columbus, Ohio

The "Collect" of the Divine Office in the Lauds for yesterday was:

"True light of the world, Lord Jesus Christ,
as you enlighten all men for their salvation,
give us grace, we pray,
to herald your coming
by preparing the ways of justice and peace."

       Many have believed, in recent years, that we are near Judgment Day (a concept believed by all Christians and Muslims of the world), or the end times, just after the rapture as Jesus described. It will come like a thief in the night. He explained that at this point, it will be sudden and two men will be working on the roof; one will be instantly taken, one will be left.  Two women will be making bread; one will be taken, one will be left.  This is to precede and spare His followers from the terrible things described by Christ in the Gospels (wanting the mountains to fall on us ...) and by St. John in his visions as told in the book of Revelations.
       Whether the time is soon or whether we have another thousand years, we are to live as if each day were our last in service to our sweet Savior, Jesus.  As I ponder the Collect above from yesterday, what comes to mind is, if we are nearing the end or even not, how exquisite a diamond Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin created, lived, and ushered into the world this last century - and to the Catholic Church especially - "heralding your [Christ's second] coming by preparing the ways of justice and peace" in the Catholic Worker movement. To sum it up for those who are not familiar, how they envisioned, dreamed and modeled the Catholic Worker ideals is as close to living the loving life of the early Church, on fire for Jesus, enflamed by the Holy Spirit, and engulfed in "profound poverty and profound joy", as you can possibly get.  And this is done mostly by lay people!
       Peter always said not to call him radical, but simply Catholic.  To him to be Catholic means to be radical, meaning going back to our roots ("radish" has the same stem) closest in timeline to Jesus, the Apostles, and the Early Church as possible, where the Way of Jesus was lived out most purely. It was an era  closest to Truth itself, which is Christ, and closest to those people who lived it out most fully.  Just as the Church has recently been moved by the Holy Spirit to correct, or embrace the actual wording of prayers and responses more accurate to what they were (and were always meant to be) in revising our modern liturgy to make it more authentic, so Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin redirected the living out of what it means to be Catholic, focusing on authenticity to Christ, His Apostles, and the Early Church.  Fr. Robert Barron emphasizes this as well - to be radical as Jesus was radical - in his Catholicism series (where he highlights the Catholic Worker in one of the CDs).
      My prayer this lenten season is for a purification of myself, as a marshmallow over flames, to become a more loving, gentle, kind, and compassionate Catholic Worker attempting to always do His bidding.  It is also for a purification of all Catholic Workers as well as of the Catholic Worker Movement, all those trying to live out Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin's vision: embracing Lady Poverty, intertwining with the poorest of the poor in a loving vibrant community, and promoting the TRUE sacredness and sanctity of ALL human life and lives in their pacifism (as the early Church did for the first 300 years, unbroken).
      Both founders embraced their Catholicism whole-heartedly and passionately, Peter having lived with the Christian Brothers for years before, and Dorothy becoming a Benedictine Oblate.  Daily both strived to receive consecrated bread and wine - Jesus' own real flesh and real blood, of the holy sacrifice of the Mass to feed and invigorate them; as well as to be fed on the Word there, which is Christ, in order to daily direct their paths.  They prayed the rosary daily for the powerful intercession of Mother Mary, strived to get to confession often (Dorothy once a week), and to meditate, read, pray, and converse in a multitude of other ways - focused on God, on community, on the poor, and on peace.
     As quoted in the lenten issue of "The Word Among us," Dorothy's top theme in all she strived for is of profound love, lived out in community:
"True love is delicate and kind, full of gentle
 perception and understanding,
 full of beauty and grace ....
There should be some flavor of this
 in all our love for others.
We are all one.
We are one flesh, in the Mystical Body,
as a man and woman are said to be
one flesh in marriage.
With such a love one would
 see all things new;
we would begin to see people
as they really are, as God sees them."

       Pray for me as I offer any and all suffering associated with a live liver transplant I am undergoing for a very dear close relative!  I offer it up to purify the Catholic Workers' witness to the world, for the Lamb Catholic Worker here in Columbus to begin, for intentions toward a child of mine, for women and children of foreign descent especially with nowhere else to turn, and especially, for the canonization of Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin.  It is also for several other people who need sacrifices for bigger problems.
      True story.  My spiritual director, Msgr. Marv Mottet, has had to listen to my laments about why God is not sending workers in the field, or the funding, or the properties, or support for this vision of a multi-house Catholic Worker community in Columbus for battered women and children of foreign descent (mainly but not exclusively). About three years ago when lamenting, he answered:  "Do you know the story about St. Charles de Foucauld?" He went on to explain that he wanted to found a
St. Charles de Foucauld
Hermitage of St. Charles de Foucauld

  new religious community in a certain spot, in Algiers, Northern Africa.  He worked hard toward it, prayed hard, wrote often about it, solicited support, and spoke to anyone who would listen.  Eventually, he was killed by robbers at his hermitage before it came into being.  Afterward, three opened, forming the "Little Brothers of Jesus," from the writings of St. Charles de Foucauld.
     I asked Msgr. Mottet if I had to then get hit by a bus before this can begin (!). The seeds of the blood of the martyrs are one of the most powerful means for God to work.  Soo, as one could guess, I tried every other possible way to help God to get this going.  I will not go into it all, but when I hit a point in late November/early December, 2014, I lamented again why did God say to ask the harvest master for more workers in the field if He was not going to send them -- for years -- even after praying, trusting, asking, pleading, etc.?  That St. Charles de Foucauld story came to mind immediately.  I almost as immediately said, "Yes, I say yes to even this, now." A rush of great peace and grace flooded me, unexplainably, at that moment.  I feel this may be His plan. I voiced my "Yes" to Fr. David Schalk at the time - that I fully say yes if this is what is being asked of me by God.  About one month later I found out about this live liver donor program for me to give up to 69% of my liver to a family member in end stages liver disease.  It will most likely go very well, with a 100% survival rate for donors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.  For all other hospitals that do this newer procedure, I was told by the Mayo clinic, there is a 1 to 200 to 1 to 300 ratio of dying for the donor.  Either way, it is a win-win for my relative and for The Lamb Catholic Worker!
          It is also for the canonization of Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin together, which would truly take a miracle since she is far along in the process and Peter has yet to begin.  She always said though that Peter was the founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, not her - that it was his vision, his ideas, his design, but he only lived to see it in operation for 15 years while Dorothy did for nearly 50 as a prolific writer.
         Pray for us, please, especially for my nephew, Nick.
      Here is a gift before signing off.  It the Sonia Salas version of "Shepherd Me, O God":