A Message from Msgr. Jay…
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
In my first priestly assignment, I became friends with a couple who had four sons: a six-year-old, a four-year-old, a one and a half-year-old, and a six-month-old. At one point I thought they needed a break so I volunteered to babysit while they went to a movie. How difficult could it be? It did not take long before I had great lessons in humility that evening. Let’s just say: babysitting is not my forte. I often think of that experience when I pray over gospel passages like this week’s when Jesus teaches his disciples that to receive or care for a child is to receive and care for him. Those boys are grown men in their forties and fifties now and I still see their parents from time to time. We always laugh about the babysitting experience. It is a joyful legacy of our relationship over the years. I have learned from this the joy of receiving and caring for Jesus who comes to us in those who are vulnerable.
Among the tragedies of clerical sexual abuse of children, the sexual harassment of young adults and the failure of leadership to correct it immediately and effectively is the fact that those priests and bishops failed to see Christ in those whom they abused, harassed, and failed to care for. Instead of developing healthy relationships with those entrusted to their care, they created victims and wounded souls. There is no legacy of joy in that.
Now is a time of anger, pain, regret, frustration, and despair. All of this is justifiable, but we cannot sit here forever. We need to seek healing, justice, care for victims, reestablishment of trust within our church, and purification of it. The way forward will be led by Jesus, the Good Shepherd. As we follow him with a commitment to humble service in his name. He will help us to create a legacy of holiness and joy in our church once again. Do not fail to recognize his presence with us. Do not hesitate to take your wounds to him for healing.
I wrote this prayer for myself during the Holy Hour on the Day of Reparation earlier this month. Many have told me they found it helpful. I hope it is helpful to you.
Prayer for Troubled Times
Jesus, Redeemer, You chose to be with us in the
Eucharist because you knew we would need you
to guide and strengthen us in Troubled Times.
We praise you; we bless you.
As we come before your broken wounded body
on the Cross,
we discover that our wounds:
The wounds of victims,
The wounds of failed leadership,
The wounds of anger and frustration,
The wounds of despair,
All our wounds
are within your wounds.
You absorbed and healed them. Heal our wounds. Purify us. Make us holy again.
Jesus, Light of the World, in your light we see our
need for justice, healing, and mercy.
In your Light let us find our way to you. Be our way.
Mary, Mother of Sorrows, you held the broken wounded body of your son, who from the Cross gave you to us as our mother. Hold us in this time
of pain and trouble.
Lord, Jesus Christ, look not on our sins but on the
faith of your church.
Grant us peace and unity in your justice, mercy, and truth. Amen.