Monday, May 22, 2006

Monday is the day I normally travel downtown to St. Peter's in the Loop to approach the sacrament of confession. I normally go one every four to six weeks. It is now warm enough to take the monastery's bicycle there. As I was travelling this morning (with snippets of Stevie Wonder's Innervisions popping into my head!), I had reason to recall how much I love the city. To pray in and for the city is such a privilege. It is good to be around all the people for whom we spend our time praying.

The late Aiden Kavanaugh, OSB, wrote a great deal about the city as the place where the human family comes to know the cosmos and itself. His On Liturgical Theology, while not always tightly reasoned, is a powerful appeal for the necessity of loving the city (at least the idea of the city) in order to appreciate liturgy rightly.

These days, we are more likely to romanticize about the country. It is worth remembering that Christians were once defined against the paganos, the pagans, that is, the country-folk and their myriad gods. Our icons of heaven are the New Jerusalem, the great banquet, the hoards beyond counting who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. There is nothing wrong with loving the country, loving and protecting nature; but ou higher and more difficult task is to love our neighbors, to love our brothers whom we can see that we may prove that we love the God who is invisible. Many people claim to find God in nature. Maybe so. But Jesus says, "Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do for me." He invites us to find Him in human community.


Br. Christian said...

Fr. Peter,

I checked out your blog today (Actually I read it somewhatoften and I find it usually very hepful and inspiring). Anyway, I just wanted you to know that Aidan Kavanaugh is not dead. He is a monk in our monastery.

Br. Christian
St. Meinrad

Anonymous said...

I found it difficult to even know my neighbors while living in a big city. I found it overwhelming. And the city offered me too many places and ways for me to hide.

Prior Peter, OSB said...

I guess that news of Fr. Aidan's demise has been exaggerated! I apologize for the mistaken reference--I'm not sure where I heard that. I've read his book about four times--it has been very helpful for my vocation, so I am very pleased to know that he is still with us!

The modern city, make no mistake, is not an inviting place for many. In part, I believe that this is because we have forgot its sacral potential. One of the ways we city monks make sense of our vocation is to recall that the modern city is in fact a place of alienation, crime, noise, pollution and the like--very much in need of prayer. This prayer happens to be easier for me in some ways because I have a natural love for the city. As our abbot has said, "Yours is a vocation within a vocation." Not for everyone!

Thank you for your comments.

Br. Micah, OSB said...

It is with both joy and sadness that I report the death of Fr. Aiden Kavanaugh. Word was received this morning that he died at 9:00AM today. May the angels lead him into paradise and the martyrs come to welcome him.

Eternal Rest Grant Unto Him O Lord and May Perpetual Light Shine Upon Him. May He Rest In Peace.


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may the whole Church, in unanimous resolve, cut me, its right hand, off, and
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Origen of Alexandria
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