I'm really looking forward to the year of St Paul, so I wish all my readers a very happy and fruitful year following the great man.
One of the more boring bits about teaching in the dregs of the school year is invigilating the end of year examinations. However, if you are in a classroom it does allow you have a look at the books on the shelves. The other day I found myself invigilating the yr 8s in the RE room and so I had a look at a decidedly Protestant book on the nature of Evil, remember I am not in a Catholic secondary school. Firstly, I found it very well written and could understand why it had been so well borrowed by the sixth formers. Secondly, I was staggered by some of the arguments put forward (they seemed so alien to me). There were arguments against God's generosity, saying he was wasteful of his bounty. There were arguments against God's perfection and omnipotence for allowing the holocaust. There were arguments in favour of the imperfection of God, becuase there is so much evil in the world.
Isn't God good and generous for allowing people to protest so much? God doesn't tend to smite much these days. The love and patience of the Father is so gentle it is beyond comprehension.
God gives his gifts and himself in abundance, knowing full well much will be thrown back at him. He makes himself vulnerable for us, though naturally we only hurt ourselves by not accepting his gifts. God can not be hurt, though he may weep for us. What is more vulnerable than a foetus? What is more vulnerable than the Real Presence? What is more vulnerable than dying naked on the cross? The Catholic Church gives us such an intimate relationship with God, how can we protest when the hand that guides us is so gentle and so forgiving, yet so mighty?
Yet some amongst us do protest and do so loudly, read the letters page of the Catholic Times is you really want to cringe. Pray for all those that from within the Church seek to find fault with its teachings, and pray also that full conversion of their hearts should be uppermost in our actions and prayers. I really see this year a being one of necessary evangelisation of the faithful. I'm sure St Paul relishes the challenge too!
This is a wake up call to us all. Am I alone in sensing a timeliness and urgency about the Pauline year? Can we all not pick on one vitriolic, loud, Catholic Church basher and pray real hard this year for his/her conversion, I have an Marist priest and theologian who lives in Dublin in my sights, what about you?
Sorry if I'm not making much sense, I'm really struggling to find the right words these days. The stress of the last year is getting to me and having to sell a house is proving to be a little unpleasant.