Wednesday, August 15, 2018

What my toddler is teaching me during these days of crisis

I stood at the kitchen counter a few days ago, chopping vegetables and assembling ingredients. My toddler walked in circles behind me, holding a small prayer book in front of his face. 

"Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us," he chanted over and over.  

This evening, as I washed the dishes after dinner, I heard his small voice rise as he played with marble tracks in the living room. 

"Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us."

Little does my sweet two-year-old realize that right now, we are facing a deep and tumultuous crisis. He is unaware of the McCarrick scandal, which has been sweeping the headlines and causing tremendous amounts of turmoil, sadness, and outrage among Catholics. He does not know about the Pennsylvania report, which was released just a day ago, and details the huge numbers of individuals who have experienced unspeakable agonies and sufferings at the hands of the clergy.

And yet, in all of his innocence, my toddler's words so profoundly capture what our response to this horrific crisis could be. 

"Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us." 

I am deeply saddened by these abuses, indignities, and atrocities that have been committed by human persons. By individuals made in the image and likeness of God. By members of the clergy, who we should be able to trust--men who we have upheld for giving their lives in service and sacrifice. These evil deeds have been swept under the rug for far too long, and I am thankful--so deeply thankful--that, as painful as it is to face, this sad reality is being brought to light. 

We need to speak up about this. We need to encourage our priests and bishops to talk about this. We need to plead for transparency and accountability so that this abuse may end once and for all, and so that the perpetrators will be appropriately punished. And in all of our outrage, sadness, and confusion, we need to hold those words from the Liturgy close to our hearts: 

"Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us."

We could let this tragedy rip us apart as we abandon our faith in God. Or, we could allow these horrors and sufferings to help pull us ever more closely into the Sacred Heart of Christ. Offering sacrifices, prayers, and our very selves, we can join together and seek to grow closer to God in this time of crisis and upheaval. We can come together as one, finding strength in the gift of Christ Himself in the Eucharist.

As we prayerfully see this horrific drama unfold, as we seek answers and accountability, let us never forget to seek God in all things. With my toddler, I will echo the declaration of St. John the Baptist (Jn 1:29), the plea for mercy and grace that we (at times mindlessly) chant in our churches: 

"Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us."


For more reading on this topic, I highly recommend Elizabeth Scalia's list of practical steps we can all take in this crisis, Jenny Uebbing's reflections on how this crisis has affected her faith, and a simple way that bishops can #RebuildMyChurch and regain our trust (also by Elizabeth Scalia).   

1 comment:

  1. This line really stood out to me at Mass this morning. How true! I can only hope the ruckus lay people are making will shake things up.