Monday, February 20, 2012

Guard Your Body, Guardians, and Gifts

Whitney Houston's colleagues and actors eulogized her Saturday saying that the iconic voice would tell others: "Guard your body."

How appropriate.

Respect for the guarded body these days is critical especially for young people. And, the baby caught in the fray of another gunshot by a drive-through shooter. Shame on him or her who shot!

Angel of God, my guardian dear!

In a day and time when these sacred, living vessels and temples get little respect, it seems, holding one's body in respect merits much ink.

At Houston was raised up to pass over, God willing, her final film, Sparkle, with a summer release, reminds me of Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York. Described as garrulous by pundits, the "light-hearted" pastor was named a "Prince of the Catholic Church" also the day Houston was praised in her home Baptist church in Newark, NJ.

Life does sparkle.

At time.

Other moments, life is without sparkle and joy that fills the face of Dolan each time I see him.

The phone rang out at Saint Sylvester Catholic Church in Warren, MI., and at Sacred Heart in Roseville, MI., this day for example, as parishioners called to find out their fate, their future.
Decisions to shutter or merge fledgling metropolitan Detroit area churches amid dwindling clergy to head them, we set to be posted at 4 pm this afternoon by the Archdiocese of Detroit's Archbishop Allen Vigneron, the corporation sole of all local churches.

Little sparkle will glow given some decisions the faithful will hear. The church they invested in in countless ways may be no more. Miles up or down the street may be required now as their place of worship is closed.

As a stream of people walked in and out of St. Sylvestor Church earlier, people expressed their opinions about the closures they awaited to see posted in what one thought was "hardly the pastoral way" to announce "major decisions."

"Less money and people," one elderly, and long-time parishioner chimed in shouting.

Dwindled resources, for sure.

Saturday as others were raised up in the like of Houston and Dolan, some facial expressions will look downward in grief, even depression over time.

After all, their home church may be gone for good.

I feel for them and all that church means to family.

Over, time, however, I have come to believe that God is in all things. After all, for a long time, I was taught that God is everywhere and all knowing, omniscient.

The Creator is that undoubtedly.

Last Saturday, another parishioner said:

"Perhaps the church has to die before it becomes or builds something else."

All I know it, I worry less these days, because I take a day at a time, and, in faith, say:

Don't worry about tomorrow, God is already there.

When I became exhausted decades ago as a young pastor in an inner-city parish no seasoned priest seemed to want, the bishop told me, a refrigerator magnet with those words on it consoled me, and, they continue to steer me today. I believe better.

And, I sleep better also with those wise words to guide me.

God knows what to do in all circumstances.

Perhaps, I'm not always listening, however, as the number of clergy seem to thin out the ranks daily.

But, God's there too!

Angel of God, my guardian dear! An assuring gift this gurdian is to me, to many, I bet.


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