In These Times and Always
“We are many parts but one Body in Christ. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share their joy” (1 Cor 12:12, 26).
Over the course of the past few weeks, and especially the past days, Give Us This Day and Liturgical Press have listened to the outpouring of gratitude for the life and work of Father James Martin, SJ. [Martin is an editorial advisor for Give Us This Day, for which writes the “Teach Us To Pray” column. – ed.] We are privileged to share in Father Martin’s unfailing commitment to proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. Through our work with Father Martin, a priest in good standing, we have seen firsthand what Bishop Robert W. McElroy describes in a September 18 America essay:
“Father James Martin is a distinguished Jesuit author who has spent his life building bridges within the Catholic Church and between the church and the wider world. He has been particularly effective in bringing the Gospel message to the millennial generation. When we survey the vast gulf that exists between young adults and the church in the United States, it is clear that there could be no more compelling missionary outreach for the future of Catholicism than the terrain that Father Martin has passionately and eloquently pursued over the past two decades. There are few evangelizers who have engaged that terrain with more heart and skill and devotion.”
In recent weeks, as our readers share similar sentiments about Father Martin’s ministry, they also express the grief and sorrow many of us feel as a result of the very few but vocal and pernicious attacks not just on Father Martin’s work but on his very being. There is sinful irony in the fact that these attacks grew out of Father Martin’s book Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity. There is further sinful irony in that the attacks are not grounded in fact. In Building a Bridge and in all his work, Father Martin stands on the solid ground of Scripture, Catholic Social Teaching, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Without question, Father Martin’s heart is rooted and grounded in the love and mercy of Christ.
When a friend and coworker in the vineyard of God is treated with an utter lack of charity, respect, and justice, we might be tempted to respond in kind. That is not the Christian way.
In these times and always, as a Benedictine publishing house, we seek in all things to listen to Christ with the ear of our heart (from the Prologue to the Rule of Benedict). We strive to listen to others in charity, to engage in civil and charitable dialogue – to welcome each person as Christ because each person is Christ (RB 53:1). May we never lose sight of Christ in the other. “And finally,” as St. Benedict teaches, “may we never lose hope in God’s mercy” (RB 4:74).