March 2006

A cute exchange

So I’m walking along the 4-South wing, and I see the name of a patient posted outside a room. It looks familiar, so I decide to pop in and say hello. The problem is, both patients in there are men, and I’m looking for a woman, so I’m wondering what’s going on. I’m also a little embarassed, because each patient has company, making for quite a few people in the room when I suddenly barge in looking confused. The conversations abruptly stop, with everyone staring seriously at the man in the collar, wondering why he’s there and who he wants to see.

A challenging mission

NET Ministries of Canada is offering our current parish Lenten mission. This is the first time they undertake this kind of ministry, and I’m glad that they were so ready to accept, as it is a good way for their work to become better known.

During the course of this parish mission we were all challenged to come up with our own personal mission statement. For myself, one leapt to mind immediately:

To prepare the world for the second coming of Christ, and to work to hasten that Day.

Kenosis and the knowledge of God

Jurgen Moltmann's major work is his "theology of hope", which in many ways re-launched the study of this key theological virtue. One key aspect of Moltmann's thought is the idea that God is not "aloof" from time. He focusses on Jesus' suffering on the cross: if God is "passionless", and Jesus is God, and Jesus suffered, isn't that a contradiction in terms?

Healing mass

This evening the Healing Ministry of the Catholic Charismatic Services of Montreal (CCSM) sponsored an evening Eucharist, followed by prayers for healing. Yours truly was present, as I am the diocesan liaison to this particular ministry. Every Mass is a “healing mass” of course, but the sacraments of Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick were made available in abundance, as well as the opportunity for people to be prayed over by teams of specially trained lay persons. It was a very beautiful, prayerful environment. Many thanks to Fr. Pat Donnelly of St.

Pastoral services team meeting

Today we had a meeting of our team of pastoral visitors at the Lakeshore hospital. We hadn’t had a meeting like this since last September, so we were long overdue. I must say, I was very pleased with how things went. We have a great team of volunteers, and I think it is important that we be able to “be of one mind and heart”. Morale is good, especially because we will soon be getting a new chapel at the hospital (and everyone is very pleased with the space). Still, there is so much to do! We need more pastoral visitors, and we also could use a volunteer or two to run the office.

I was sick and you fed my cat

Today I got a call on my pager, 15 minutes before I was going to leave the hospital to teach downtown. Calling the ward desk, I was told that a patient wanted to see me. Could it wait till tomorrow, I inquired? No, it was urgent, was the response. OK, then, I headed downstairs right away.

The nurse let me to the patient’s room. He was quite upset to be stuck in the hospital. I asked him what he wanted to talk about, and it turned out he didn’t want to talk about anything. He wanted me to feed his cat.

Excuse me?

Wondering where I’ve been?

It has been quite a week. I wrote my post for last Monday, entitled “Yet Another Irritating Distraction”, and then all puragtory broke loose. (I say ‘purgatory’ because I don’t think it was quite as severe as if it had been ‘all hell’ :-)

Apart from the 50+ comments that can now be found attached to that blog entry, I also received quite a bit of email, subdivided into 3 kinds:

A bird in the hand is definitely worth more than one in a bush

I was sitting with a couple as part of a marriage preparation session today, and just as we were wrapping things up one of our parish teenagers came to the office door. She was sobbing, and tears were streaming down her face. I got up, startled, and asked her what was wrong. “It’s my bird,” she sniffled. “He’s going to die.”

Her bird?

Yep, her bird. Why was he going to die? Because he was a tropical bird, and it was cold outside.


Repentence and the laughter of God

In the gospel passage that is read every year for Ash Wednesday, Jesus warns his listeners not to pray or fast or give alms in such a way that others see it. Obviously, this is (in part) because we should avoid doing a penitential action for some sort of reward, or else it isn't really a penance. But I think there is also a deeper sense to what Jesus is saying. For me, penance is not just about doing something or giving something up: it is a call to live in integrity.