Our Lady's Little Scribe seeks to use the internet for sharing the Catholic faith and Franciscan spirituality, going from Gospel to life and life to the Gospel.

The silk painting, shown above, is by Ty Mam Duw, Poor Clare Colettines, Hawarden, WALES GB. Their website is here. Ty Mam Duw is Welsh and means The House of the Mother of God. Our Lady of the Pearl cherishes their friendship and is grateful for their many kindnesses and prayers. The image is used with permission.

Entertaining Angels

Entertaining Angels
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Monday, August 17, 2009

An Apology to a Jewish Friend

Today I corresponded over the internet with a new friend in a group of Protestant women. We shared our Christian journeys. In describing her childhood, my new friend said that she was born and raised in a reform Jewish home. She and her family lived in a Roman Catholic neighborhood where the Jewish community was called “Christ Killers." She described the hatred each side had for the other and her misinformation about the Christian faith, particularly Catholicism.

Through the years, God touched her life in profound ways and brought many people into her life. By 1974, she was living in a different part of the country from her childhood. She says the whole town prayed for her that year, and she became a Christian in a Protestant church. Needless to say, she seems to have deep wounds from her childhood persecutions by Catholics. So I wrote the following letter to her today to apologize and ask for her forgiveness. Please pray for her and all others that we as Catholics have offended or wounded in any way.

Dear Beth:

I personally want to apologize to you for the persecution you, your family and friends suffered from Catholics when you were growing up as a young Jewish girl. This persecution came from those who were Catholic in name only and who were ignorant of their faith and the love of God. They were not living the greatest commandment which Jesus gave to the scribes in Mark 12: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." Yes, as you said, they were merely pew-warmers.

The tragedy is the Catholic and Jewish people have suffered the most of all in being persecuted for their faith. There are evil people in all faiths which flow from the Judeo-Christian heritage - Protestant, Catholic and Jew. Each group has had those people who are guilty of persecuting the others. We all share this common shame and sin of our group.

I came into the Catholic Church during the era of John Paul II. Perhaps no other Pope had greater love for the Jewish people than he. It was a personal thing for him as he grew up having Jewish friends and suffered with them during the German occupation of Poland. He watched his friends sent off to the death camps. For those who survived, his deep friendship with them continued his whole life. It was not unusal for his Jewish friends to visit and eat with him at his modest Vatican apartment.

An entire book could be written on John Paull II and his Jewish friendships and his acts of reconciliation towards his elder brothers. When he went to the Holy Land in 2000, this is the prayer he placed in the Western Wall: "God of our fathers, you chose Abraham and his descendants to bring your name to the nations. We are deeply saddened by the behavior of those who, in the course of history, have caused these children of yours to suffer."

He said that the Jewish and Christian peoples are called to be a blessing to each other and to the world. When he died in 2005, he mentioned only two living people in his testament, his longtime secretary and the Rabbi of Rome.

I guess I say all these things about John Paull II to let you know that you and all Jewish people were loved by him. I pray that the Holy Spirit go back in time, to you and your family, back to those ugly events, and bring healing. God's Spirit is not so small that he cannot do this. We are One Body in Christ. Beth, please forgive us.

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendant, heirs according to the promise." Galatian 3:28-29.

Believe me, all my sisters who are reading this, Catholic or Protestant, we are more alike than we are different. We all belong to Christ.

Love & Prayers,

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