I saw an article or heard a broadcast recently that referenced “The Sword and the Shovel.” The idea was that we are called to simultaneously build and to protect. There are certainly aspects of the Church the need building (or re-building) and thus we need to get out our shovel and get to it. If we see something that needs to be addressed, perhaps we are being “called” to address the issue or at least start something in the direction of a solution.
There are also times that we need to “wield the sword.” This can certainly involve “fighting” against injustice but can also involve other items such as:
Calling on our Christian brothers and sisters to “higher ground” on an issue,
Battling our own demons,
Countering tendencies to strike out rather than to forgive (or at least consider the feelings of the other person or impact of our actions on their life)
Of course all of this requires prayer, discussion with a “Spiritual Director” or guide, homework and discernment.
I found that the phrase The Sword and the Shovel is actually the title of a book written by Presbyterian Minister, George Scipione. His thesis is that the “battle” is currently about the human family. He certainly is echoing Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Exhortation “On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World” or “Familiaris Consortio.”
It’s a concept that has captured my imagination as we continue to move forward through, what will be, a difficult year in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, in our respective parishes and in our own hearts. Thus I have added “Part 1? to the title of this blog. I could imagine that I might revisit this topic in the future.
Naturally I also welcome your comments…..