By Mary Freeman, Voice of the Faithful Trustee and Rhode Island member
Disbelief and anger were the reactions of Catholics and non Catholics alike when in 2002 The Boston Globe Spotlight team broke its story of sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic Church. Almost immediately hundreds of the faithful gathered in Wellesley to try to understand this and to discern what could be done to keep this from happening again.
Thus began the work of Voice of the Faithful.
How long would it take? God must have smiled at the hope and optimism of some who thought that our proposals to solve the systemic problems that caused this scandal would be listened to, negotiated, and enacted.
I think that I held hope for that too, but after 14 years of being in working groups and serving as an officer and board member, I know that we still have our work cut out for us. So we continue to work as if everything depends on us, knowing that God’s grace is working in all of us.
Patience, persistence, and prayer are needed. We cannot ease up. We must continue to make our presence known. I offer the following prayer by Pierre Teihard de Chardin, S.J., to remind us that we are in this together, all of us: God, VOTF, and the faithful.
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient
in everything to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way
to something unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability
and that it will take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
what time will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J. (May 1, 1881 – April 10, 1955), was a French idealist philosopher and Jesuit priest, who was trained as a paleontologist and geologist. Many of his writings were censored by the Catholic Church during his lifetime because of his views on original sin. However, Pope Benedict XVI praised him, and Pope Franics noted his contributions to theology in his 2015 encyclical Laudato si.