Monday, November 20, 2006

Sundays of Learning, St Joseph's, Grand Rapids, MN

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Sister Edith, who blogs at Monastic Musings and teaches Sociology at St Scholastica in Duluth, visited the folks in Grand Rapids the other day.

It's not often that I meet a group of people who are spending their spare time studying The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. Nor those who come early to church, or stay late, so that they can listen to someone talk for another hour. But that's exactly who I met this morning at Saint Joseph Catholic Community in Grand Rapids, MN. What a lively and interesting group of people!

Their Sundays of Learning offers a different speaker or program each month, gently organized around a central theme. I was pleased to be invited: I knew this was a vibrant parish from previous visits. So I chose to tackle an oversized topic - The Individual and the Common Good. We explored the biblical roots and foundations of the church's teaching on the common good, and then the many ways in which modern society distracts us from thinking in this way. (I hope to post the notes here, in segments, over the next few weeks.)

Today was the Rite of Welcoming, for people seeking to enter the Church through baptism or come into full communion. Fr. Jerry Weiss greeted several people at the entrance to the Church, asked what they sought from God's Church, and led them in. The first (of many!) blessings these candidates and catechumens will receive was today's blessing of the senses. As always, we too were blessed to recall all these ways in which we encounter Christ.

Receive the cross on your forehead. It is Christ himself who now strengthens you with this sign of his love. Learn to know him and follow him.

Receive the sign of the cross on your ears, that you may hear the voice of the Lord.

Receive the sign of the cross on your eyes, that you may see the glory of God.

Receive the sign of the cross on your lips, that you may respond to the word of God.

Receive the sign of the cross over your heart, that Christ may dwell there by faith.

Receive the sign of the cross on your shoulders, that you may bear the gentle yoke of Christ.

Receive the sign of the cross on your hands, that Christ may be known in the work which you do.

Receive the sign of the cross on your feet, that you may walk in the way of Christ. Monastic Musings
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