Every year I try to get a little bit more on top of planning ahead here at PSR. This year I was really on a roll and planned all my collections through the end of the 2018 in March of this year. I thought about the pieces I wanted to make and looked at the liturgical calendar for feasts and solemnities I could draw from to create timely, practical pieces to support those endeavoring to live liturgically. This level of planning is usually not how I roll, not because I don’t like it, but because I am almost never that organized. This year though, the Holy Spirit had business to take care of, and it required me to be on top of things.
I picked St. Augustine as the centerpiece of our late August collection randomly. Or so I thought. August was ripe with great Saints and there were plenty to choose from, but I was drawn to the size of his body of writing from which I could draw. And apparently, the Holy Spirit.
In searching for my materials for this St. Augustine collection in the late spring I was led (HS at work again) to his quotes about social justice. I was thinking a lot about the lingering issues of race in our society as well as other social issues, and it seemed like a fit. This quote was a special favorite, featured on 3 items in this collection:
“Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.”
And then last Tuesday happened.
For those that don’t know, I, Jill, am Catholic. I have always worked to make PSR a place where all those that love Christ feel welcome, but today I need to talk specifically about being Catholic, and even more specifically about being in the American Catholic church in the wake of the staggering findings of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury last week. To say I feel sick is an egregious understatement.
Anger and courage are flowing from the wounds of the Church like blood and water. There is so very much to be angry about. There is crushing need for courage exactly when we most want to crawl under a rock and have everyone stop looking at us. And I have heard many eloquent people speak about these things throughout recent days. But one thing I haven’t heard mentioned too much is that these things – anger and courage – are the daughters of hope. We are angry because things should be better. We have courage because we know they can be better. And all of that is the product of hope.
I know the devil hates humility, but I think he probably hates hope almost as much. The Church’s divine founder-ship of Christ gives us an evergreen hope in what the Church can be. It does not mean that it is that now, but our hope is so important on its road to becoming what it should be. We must hope eternally for a stronger Church, holy priests, faithful leaders, and humble administrators. We must hope for an organization full of transparency, safety, and peace. And we can hope in Christ alone.
Hope is not devoid of action though. Hope, as it’s daughters seem to show, is necessarily active. Please stay angry. Please stay courageous. And please remember that they are ultimately the children of hope in Christ. If you are a Catholic enraged by this horrible evil allowed to percolate within our Church, please join me and hundreds of other faithful Catholics in the #SackClothandAshes movement. Here is our pledge:
We are Catholic, faithful to the Magisterium and disgusted by the abuse and cover-ups that have plagued the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. We are heartsick over the 1000+ victims of abuse in the state of Pennsylvania and all the other boys and girls, men and women who have been sexually abused by priests and further victimized by the bishops who covered up these crimes. We pray for justice for the victims and their families and communities. We believe in the Catholic Church, founded by Christ and sustained by the Eucharist. We are one body in Christ. As such, we invite you to join us in observing a forty day period of prayer and fasting as an act of reparation to God for these sins. From the feast of the Queenship of Mary on August 22, through the month of September, we will join our sorrow with Our Lady of Sorrows, and make daily sacrifices appropriate to our own circumstances for this intention.
I am offering this printable for free this week in light of the deep need we all have to keep this quote at the forefront of our minds right now.
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I will also be including 5 free postcards featuring this quote in each package shipped this week. Please send them to people who are struggling with their faith in light of this crisis.
And so, at the end here, I circle back around to the Holy Spirit. I find the timing of this collection so interesting. It is far from an event of cosmic proportions, but to me it is deeply comforting – God knew this was coming. God always knows what’s coming. He prepares us for what’s coming before it arrives. Today we begin work on things that will shape and console our future, often when we don’t know it.
I know jewelry and stickers seem like extras in life. They are far from the most important things. But when they are ways to stay in touch with truth God wants to use to touch our life, their existence is transformed.
I hope the pieces in this collection help keep you from complacency and silence.
I hope they remind you to keep praying and demanding better when the news stories have stopped and life has quieted down.
I hope they fill you with hope and call you to action.
Please feel free to share these images on social media. Credit goes to Kendra Tierney of @catholicallyear