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Copy deadline for October 9 Vineyard is September 26
In the Vineyard
"He led them with a cloud by day,
and all the night through with a glow of fire." Psalm
may not always be clear to many of us what plan it is
we are following, but most in VOTF share a profound
understanding - we are navigators in a sea of Someone
else's making. We only have each other and a sense
of true north but, so far, as the gospels repeat, it
workers around the world recognize this gift when they
see it, and this month is no exception. It is nothing
short of inspirational to find month after month increasing
energy for and participation in the goals of Voice of
might wonder where all this drive and commitment come
from, even while the general response to VOTF from Church
leadership remains cool (but warming). What members
have found, however, is the serendipity of the right
voice at the right time - it might come in a letter
to the editor, in a new prayer, from a total stranger
or from your own inner voice.
such voice comes to all of us from a recent National
Catholic Reporter issue that featured a profile
of the late Msgr. Philip J. Murnion who died August
19. Msgr. Murnion was a leading national figure in promoting
Church dialogue and vitality in parish ministries and
one of those celestial navigators we almost miss. The
day before he died, he wrote a letter to all Catholic
bishops. His voice joins many thousands of voices around
the world asking for communion and healing in our Church.
His advice will be familiar to VOTF supporters and we
are graced to hear it:
the mind of the pope (see Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio
Inuente, n. 45), there is no contradiction between
legitimate authority and careful consultation … Consultation,
listening and dialogue only enhance true authority,
because they issue from a lived trust and they serve
to increase trust. It is imperative that we work together
to restore the trust that has been eroded.
I were to sum up my final plea to you, it would be:
'dialogue, dialogue, dialogue!' I do not mean this as
a facile or pious slogan, for I am only too aware of
its cost and conditions. In his letter, the Holy Father
advocates and advances a 'theology and spirituality
of communion,' for they 'encourage a fruitful dialogue
between pastors and faithful.' … Does not the living
out of such a spirituality of communion require dialogue
as its very life-breath: the dialogue of prayer with
Jesus Christ, the dialogue of mutual building up on
the part of the members of Christ?
spirituality of communion and dialogue is as demanding
in its asceticism as a spirituality of the desert or
the cloister. Like them, it also requires its own appropriate
structures. The Catholic tradition knows well that spirituality
and structure are not opposed. Here, as elsewhere, it
affirms the 'both/and' of charism and institution, invisible
grace and visible embodiment. Both are essential, though
only one is eternal. We can ill afford to be less Catholic
than the pope himself, who insists: 'The spirituality
of communion, by prompting a trust and openness wholly
in accord with the dignity and responsibility of every
member of the people of God, supplies institutional
reality with a soul.'"
of the Faithful looks forward to such an institutional
reality, inclusive of all of God's children.
Peggie L. Thorp, ed.
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