Sunday, September 04, 2005

Following in Fine Footsteps

Most people know some of the story of St. Francis, how he kissed lepers and preached to birds. But few know how he went to Muslim occupied territories to preach the gospel, hoping to end conflict through reconciliation and conversion. Sadly, to say that message of conversion went unheard.

Well, my good friend Fr. Groeschel and the brothers who serve with him in the Franciscans of the Renewal are following in their spiritual master's footsteps. I was looking for some information about the Oratory of Divine Love, a program that Fr. Benedict had begun as a response to the general need for reform in the Church, especially in light of the clergy sex abuse scandal. I was looking for the information because I am starting one of these oratories at my parish (and yes, I told the missions about it; we'll see what the response is). As I looked at the bottom of the page, I noticed all the languages the site can be translated into. Imagine my surprise when I spotted a link for ARABIC.

How marvelously evangelical of them! What a clever way for Muslims to find out more about the Catholic Faith, especially in places where even showing interest in the Christian Faith in general gets you a lot of attention you didn't want. I recall an interview in some magazine with some Chaldean Catholics who were commenting on the presence of very zealous Protestant missionaries who were coming to Iraq to convert the people. (Apparently, the memo didn't get to them that Christianity had been present in Iraq from at least the second century if not earlier.) Anyway, the Chaldean Catholic said something to the effect, why are they coming to us?; we are already Christian. Send them to the Muslim areas and see what happens. They (meaning the Muslims) will kill them. I hope that the last bit was hyperbole, but you draw my point I think.

At any rate, I wanted to commend the site builders for thinking of that little step which will hopefully pre-sage many people running to Christ.

No comments: