Archdiocese of Chicago

Cardinal George's Network Archive

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Many Meetings

Many people, including myself, tend to complain about having too many meetings to go to. Meetings with the risen Christ fill the pages of the Scripture passages we read and pray over in the time after Easter: Christ’s meeting with Mary Magdalene; with the apostles, especially with the doubting St. Thomas; with the disciples on the road to Emmaus; with Saul on the road to Damascus.

In the past week, besides the regular meeting in Chicago with priests and auxiliary bishops, with those in charge of ministries in the Pastoral Center and the parishes, with lawyers and construction people, with people who have particular preoccupations, I’ve met with the priests of the State of Louisiana, gathered in convocation in New Orleans and with the other U.S. Cardinals, gathered with benefactors of the Catholic University of America for the annual Cardinals’ dinner, held this year in Houston.

Meetings are a big part of life, so they should be a major part of the spiritual life. There is an ascetical side to meetings, especially if it’s a personal sacrifice to attend them. Meetings are also a time of discernment: what might be God’s will in the subject under consideration? There’s often a disappointment in meetings, especially if all they lead to is more meetings; and there’s joy when a meeting has strengthened the life and ministry of the Archdiocese.

Sometimes, after a frustrating meeting, the life of a hermit seems tempting. But hermits spend all their time meeting God, and God never comes alone. We can’t love God unless we love our neighbor, and meetings can sometimes be an expression of both loves. At least, I hope so.

Francis Cardinal George, OMI

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