Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Essence of What God Wants

I cry in the night. Wouldn’t you, beholding a world about to crash? But what is important is that this world does not love God. Wouldn’t you cry in the night if you knew that your Beloved was not loved? Wouldn’t you? I want to throw my life at Christ’s feet and sing and sing that I give him such a small thing! For what is a life in the face of God’s tremendous gift to us?

Oh, my friends, can you understand this agony? Come, share it with me. Let us enter into the pain of Christ. Let us go deeply into it. Even the charismatic renewal, or all the other renewal movements that float around, are not the essence of what God wants. God wants you. He wants you to open your heart to him, and what is more, he wants you to open your heart to your neighbor, to your brother, to your sister, for we are all brothers and sisters before God.
Here is the mercy of God touching the heart of man—if he will listen.

Catherine de Hueck Doherty, Urodivoi

Reflection – So I’m continuing to share little bits and pieces of this book, one of the last books written by Catherine in the early 1980s before her last illness and death. As I said a few days ago, this book really was one of the signal graces of my life, planting the seeds of my MH vocation and directing it in a particular way that continues to unfold to this day.

I believe one of the besetting sins of Catholics in our time is a certain superficiality. We are a people in love with quick fixes, with wanting to get everything sorted out NOW, with looking for some kind of program of action that will just put everything back on its track. If we just find the right magic bullet, we can solve the problems and renew the Church for once and for all.

If you are a ‘conservative’, this means just preaching on the life issues all the time and cracking down on dissent and disobedience in the Church. If you a ‘traditionalist’, you firmly believe that restoring the TLM and having the priest wear a biretta will do the trick. If you are a ‘liberal’, the Church just needs to change all its teachings on sex and marriage, ordain women and all will be well.

If you are a ‘pharisee’ (nobody ever admits to that one), it is simply a matter of keeping all the rules, all the time. If you are a ‘Saducee’, it is going along to get along, accommodating to the culture and the spirit of the age.

If you are a ‘charismatic’, it is enough to throw your hands in the air and pray in tongues. If you are a product of one of the new Catholic start up colleges, it’s to just get everyone reading the great books. If you are a product of one of the various ecclesial movements and communities (ahem), it is to just get everyone reading your founder’s books and joining your group in some fashion.

OK, so I have now offended just about everyone with this overly simplistic broad brush presentation. Including myself! But of course that’s the point – we cannot be simplistic and shallow in our approach to healing the Church.

The Church is healed and restored, renewed and reformed in one way only. In the same way, in fact, that the Church was created and formed in the first place. Christ poured out his life’s blood on Calvary, and the Church was born from his pierced side. The only thing that heals the Church, that renews it, is when you and I pour out our life’s blood in an offering of love and prayer, humble service and total gift, for humanity.

We have to fall in love with God. We have to allow God’s love to penetrate us so deeply that we feel ourselves to be torn apart by it. We have to let God make us cry, and enter into His passion for the world. We have to be broken open by love, broken up by love, broken like bread is broken and distributed. Benedicit, fregitque, deditque – He blessed, and He broke, and He gave – this is the whole pattern of Christian renewal, the only one that works, the only way our lives have any lasting value or meaning.

Only when we allow God to bless us, break us, and give us will we have within us what is needed for the world to be made new. It is the Spirit of God who hovers over the waters and makes all things new, and the Spirit can only enter into us if we have been broken open to that grace.

This is what Catherine Doherty knew in the marrow of her being. It is not about programs or rules or ideologies or doctrines. These all have a place. But the hope of the Church has never lain in these things, but in men and women—saints of God—who allow the love of God to burn in them like a fire and whose lives are poured out with Christ’s for the love of mankind. Nothing else, in the end, makes one bit of difference in this world.


  1. "these all have a place," I am inclined to agree with all but 'ideologies.' They (ideologies) have no place at all if it is God's love for mankind that we desire and strive to experience fully our connection with. The absence of ideology does not equal the absence of diversity and uniqueness. It means rather an openness and embracing the reality that the same God attracts mankind toward himself along so many different and beautiful paths. As Jean Vanier says , " God does not leave his people in the dark."

    1. I agree - that was sloppy writing on my part. Thanks for the correction.


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