Church Burned in Holy Land, Medieval Encyclical

Your unworthy servant at the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves on the Sea of Galilee

Happier days for the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes, in 2008.

The snapshot above shows how the church rises behind an atrium building, which leads to a beautiful courtyard, from which the pilgrim enters the church proper.

Thank God, the arsonists did not destroy the church itself. But the right arm of the building immediately behind the mophead in the photo above now stands as only a smoldering shell:

smoke at tabgha

No place on earth could be more peaceful than Tabgha, of a cool evening, the Sea of Galiliee lapping at its banks. Disturb this peace? Why?

Guns and fires blazing in churches on either side of the world, on the same day. Lord, help us. May the dead in SC rest in peace.

“The lamp of the body is the eye,” said the God-man Who fed the 5,000 in Tabgha.

Mysterious words, since, when the power goes out after a storm, it can be hard to see, without a flashlight or a candle. The eye would seem to need a lamp, not be a lamp.

Perhaps what He means is: What we choose to gaze upon is what makes us who we are.

Let’s choose wisely and meditate on this beautiful paragraph at the beginning of Holy Father Francis’ encyclical:

Our sister, Mother Earth, cries out to us… We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life… We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth; our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.

Anyone who thinks that they have a more traditional and conservative outlook than this: you’re living in a dreamworld, dear friend.

T.S. ELIOTThe thesis: Our moral failures wound the earth herself; she is our partner, our friend, the womb of our birth, the bride of our labors, our legacy for our children–this thesis is utterly ancient.

Off the top of my head, I can think of references to this idea in the Old Testament, in Shakespeare’s Richard II, and in the poems of T.S. Eliot–who had more bona fides as a ‘conservative’ than every man, woman, or child who has run for the Republican nomination for President (since Lincoln), all rolled into one.

And, of course, the magnum opus of all Mother-Earth poetry: The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. Laudato Si’ arrives as Vol. 4 of The Lord of the Rings.

Yes, the encylical urges international agreements, UN discussion, etc. Some might regard this as ‘liberal.’

But, more than that, the encyclical urges reverent submission to God and contemplative wonder at His handiwork. Many would regard this as ‘medieval.’

Let’s forget liberal vs. conservative and stick to pure medieval. St. Francis (medieval), pray for us!

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