All posts by Glenn Smith

Mentionable and Manageable

Why are we so divided?

Why can’t we disagree without calling each other names?

Why does anger reach such an intensity that deadly violence erupts?

Could it be that we’ve never really understood our own feelings, and are blind to others’ feelings as well?

The late Fred Rogers addressed a Senate committee hearing in 1969, requesting public funding of PBS stations so that his “Neighborhood” show could continue to be broadcast throughout the nation.  The crusty Sen. John Pastore, committee chairman, at first has little patience for this gentle, unassuming man.   Undaunted, Mr. Rogers “speaks from the heart” about the importance of children, his own respect for them and their feelings.   He recites the lyrics of an insightful song that he wrote about anger and its negative potential (below).

Watch as the camera shows Pastore letting down his guard.  The entire exchange, with its amazing finish, can be seen in this brief Youtube;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKy7ljRr0AA

May 1, 1969: Fred Rogers testifies before the Senate …

On May 1, 1969, Fred Rogers, host of the (then) recently nationally syndicated children’s television series, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (named Misterogers’ Neighborhood at the time), testified …

www.youtube.com

 

 

Footnote: The following year’s appropriation increased PBS funding from $9 million to $22 million.

As adults, we’re discovering that indeed, feelings are “mentionable and manageable.”  If we don’t talk about them and don’t attempt to manage them, we won’t be the kind of free, happy people that we’re supposed to be.  We’ll end up hurting others with verbal or physical violence.

Here are the words to the song which Fred Rogers incorporated into his testimony;

What Do You Do With the Mad that You Feel?”

What do you do with the mad that you feel
When you feel so mad you could bite?
When the whole wide world seems oh, so wrong…
And nothing you do seems very right?

What do you do? Do you punch a bag?
Do you pound some clay or some dough?
Do you round up friends for a game of tag?
Or see how fast you go?

It’s great to be able to stop
When you’ve planned a thing that’s wrong,
And be able to do something else instead
And think this song:

I can stop when I want to
Can stop when I wish.
I can stop, stop, stop any time.
And what a good feeling to feel like this
And know that the feeling is really mine.
Know that there’s something deep inside
That helps us become what we can.
For a girl can be someday a woman
And a boy can be someday a man
.

If Mr. Rogers were alive today, we’d travel many miles just to shake his hand.  Wisdom and love shone through him; he was a powerful witness for Jesus Christ.

What he taught Senator John Pastore so many years ago, needs to be ever-so-carefully taught…. today!

May God be praised that this man was once our “neighbor!”

P.S.  If you missed it in the theaters, we urge you to get the DVD, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”  It’s an engaging, worthwhile documentary.

God’s Healing Love Surrounds Us

“After telling my story to my family and my friends, my true healing has begun.  The anger is giving way to sorrow and now sorrow is giving way to peace in my soul.

 

“The truth has set me free.”

 

These words, delivered as part of a homily this past summer, were spoken by a California priest who was sexually

assaulted when he was 18 …some 35 years ago. Since his courageous testimony, he has been contacted by people from all over the country.  He still serves as a busy pastor but now, he’s also a support to people who like him, were also abused.

 

There is great need for healing in our Church, not just for those abused, but for all of us who have been spiritually harmed by this continuing scandal.  Last fall, Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of Albany, NY called for a Eucharistic Congress. At the time, he didn’t know that more bad news

about abuse and subsequent cover-ups would come out as they did recently.

 

But the Holy Spirit knew!

 

On September 22, at the historic Shrine of the North American Marytrs (Auriesville, NY), Bishop Ed spoke beautifully about the healing that the Eucharist brings and how it nourishes

our soul.  Later, priests from throughout the diocese, joined the Bishop in praying a prayer of re-consecration to Jesus and to His Church.  They re-affirmed their vow of chastity and vowed to protect others as well as to safeguard against sexual sin.

Here is a part of that prayer;

 

“I promise each and every day to conform the pattern of my life ever more closely to Christ the High Priest, who offered

Himself for us to the Father as a pure sacrifice.”

 

The four thousand people present were witnesses to this

extraordinary re-consecration. Overall, it was a joyful day of witness, strengthening of faith, and healthy, fun interactions.

 

The aforementioned priest continues (from his homily);

 

“May we create in our own parish a place for healing; a community of true belonging where all the wounded

are welcomed; as Pope Francis calls it, ‘a field hospital’ here in San Jose.”

 

Jesus knows that His Church needs healing.  Our Bishop responded to that need, in part, by calling on his 

brother priests to solemnly re-dedicate themselves

to the service for which they were ordained.

 

Moreover, the Congress gathered the People of God around the Eucharistic Presence to receive healing.

 

Last year was extremely stressful for me (Maeve).  It

was hard to relax; to ‘let go’ of tension. One day, my husband looked me in the eye and said, “God’s healing love surrounds you.”  It was one of the few things that could give me peace.

 

God’s healing love surrounds us.

He is closer to us than our breath!

 

Near the end of his homily, that brave priest testified;

 

“Throughout all the pain, the Lord never left me alone.  He has continued to love me, heal me and still calls me to serve Him… He never left me then and he will not leave me now.  

“I believe that is true for each of you and for the Church itself.

 

“He has never left us and He will never leave us alone.”

 

Amen.

 

Please join us in a simple prayer;

Lord Jesus, who is the Healing Love of God and who surrounds us, heal all those victims of abuse and bring them great comfort and restoration.

 

Lord Jesus, please bring back to the Church all who have left because of the scandal.  Help them to come back to the embrace that You, the Good Shepherd, is always ready to give…

From Luke- Chapter 15
                      From Luke- Chapter 15

-Co-written by Maeve and Glenn