Practically Speaking: Notes from the Parish

Authored by Patty Norris in Issue #35.2 of The Sower

Truth Seekers and Truth Tellers

“You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd.”

This quote is attributed to Flannery O’Connor. She was American, Southern and Catholic, an oddity itself in the deep South. She wrote in a style that is characterized as grotesque or gothic, and her characters often have maladies or often encounter messes and bizarre turns of events. Yet in her dark and quirky stories the glory of God often peeks through in profound and astonishing ways. O’Connor was a fiction writer who was fond of paraphrasing Jesus’ claims about truth telling as reflected above in John 8:32: “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (or “odd” in a Flannery turn of phrase). The truth that Jesus reveals is freeing, but let’s be real; if we actually live this truth we are going to be out of step with our culture, unusual to most of our neighbors and downright strange or “grotesque.” I begin with this quote because if we are not feeling this tension and alienation as catechists, priests and pastoral leaders, then we have probably relegated Jesus to the edge of our lives; and the Truth has little to do with our everyday realities.

Even Pope Francis has been perceived as being odd. His actions are surprising everyone: inside and outside of the Church. The surprise of the “outsiders” is understandable; the surprise of the “insiders” may be more telling. Of course, the “insiders” are all of us, from the highest Vatican official to the most lukewarm parishioner. It seems to me that reflection on our own reaction to Pope Francis’ words and actions may help us be better catechists and help us understand our role as truth seekers and truth tellers.

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Sower and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of Maryvale Institute. Contact sower@maryvale.ac.uk

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Editor's Reflections: Adult Faith Formation and Culture Change
By Dr. James Pauley
Free This year marks the twentieth anniversary of one of the most important publications the U.S. Bishops have ever written: Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us . The ideals and principles expressed in this document are deeply convicting and can be summed up with these stirring words: “adult faith formation is essential to who we are and what we do as... Read more
From the Shepherds: Catechesis in the Light of the Papal Magisterium of Pope Francis Evangelii gaudium - An Access to the Church’s Mission
By Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst
Free Looking back on the past and on the development of the church since the Second Vatican Council, there are two well-known and profound documents, which have brought the biblical call for evangelization into our pastoral consciousness: Evangelii nuntiandi in 1974 and Evangelii gaudium in 2013. Both apostolic letters have reflected on the manner in... Read more
Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us: A Reflection on Discipleship
By Peter J. Murphy
Do you feel the Holy Spirit working? Do you sense that deeper calling, that desire for renewal, that burning within your heart? Yes, it is the same burning that the disciples on the road to Emmaus felt as their Lord and Savior journeyed with them. Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us was written twenty years ago as a prophetic and challenging... Read more

Pages

Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now