ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου· γενηθήτω τό θέλημά σου, ὠς ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς·
(Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven Matt. 6:10)
I have been meditating on the nature of the division between heaven and earth this week in light of hurricanes and shootings. There is in us all an understanding that the things that go on in our day-to-day life is not as they should be. Even if we are not directly involved or effected by certain catastrophes, we still encounter broken relationships, hurtful words, and divisive actions. Yet, we know that there is something better out there even if some people don’t call it heaven. There is something “out there” that we know to be better than the “right here.” As Christians, we believe that the “out there” is actively invading our “right here” through the Catholic Church. The Church is the womb by which people are given new life through the tomb of Christ. He who was sent from heaven to earth showed the way to life through death. We who admit our own faults confess that reality and are baptized into his death and resurrection and receive life in His one holy catholic and apostolic church. He is the first born of us, the dead, being vivified by the Holy Spirit.
Many people have taken up arms against the nature of the tangible and institutional church because of its apparent messiness and hypocrisy. Something that hasn’t been discussed by them is the nature of the tangible body of Christ who showed us to be truly human. The reality of his humanity was disputed in the early years of the church because of the scandal of human flesh. Likewise, the scandal of our day is the reality of the presence of Christ in an institutional and apostolic faith. It is by this Church that God’s will in heaven becomes manifest here on earth.
Our faith in the tangibility of the church is that which will reach out to stop the bleeding of bullet wounds. Our words will become the words of peace and healing to those verbally abused. Our feet will become those that run towards those who have fallen in their own bile and vomit. More than that, we will become people who leave the safe walls of cathedrals to walk the cold, dark, and dangerous streets that many call home. For in the end, the use of Greek, Hebrew, and other theological terms will inevitably raise the intellectual bar of our churches in order to feed not only the mind but also the heart, which will cause the hands and feet of our bodies to bring heaven to the earth. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness will not overcome it.
As I have been thinking about these things I have been considering my last year of seminary. I have felt confident of the fact that I am weak and unable to do any of the things mentioned above. There is so much more to learn. There is so much to engage. There are so many broken people of which I am one. I am comforted by the words of Paul that it is in my weakness that He is made strong. That which I will preach and teach, will not come of my own will and agenda but rather of God’s will; for he has given His children, the Church, all authority in His only begotten Son who lives and moves within us who have died and been raised in Him to bring about His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
The tangibility of which I speak is very real for me as I continue on in this final year. All of us students have given up a lot to be here, one thing in particular is a full time job by which we would be able to pay for books, insurance, oil changes, and the like. Please consider partnering with me financially in this process of learning the will of God in our lives as we seek of live obediently to Him.
If you are able to help financially you can send money in the following ways. And A big thank you to those of you who have already been helping me!
Give straight to the school: https://www.nashotah.edu/support/fabien-pering
Send a check with “Seminarian Fund” in the memo line to my sending parish at Church of the Apostles 1520 Bull Street, Columbia, SC 29201
Give online at the church website making the same indication of giving to the “Seminarian Fund”: http://www.apostlescolumbia.org/giving/