Meeting of the Nashville Passionist Partners
Friday, June 12, 2009
On a beautiful summer night, Friday, June 12, 2009, members of the Nashville Passionist Partners along with guests from several Nashville Catholic congregations met in the St. Albert’s Hall at the Cathedral of the Incarnation. We had an Al of our own, Fr. Al Merz, give a presentation titled "How We Become Who We Are: A Cast of Characters." The presentation began with each participant introducing him/herself, a cast list for the presentation. Fr. Merz introduced his personal ministry as a peace ministry, not limited to political issues only, but a personal Peace minstry for people to acheive peace with themselves and others.
Father’s talk outlined the development of character through persons, institutions, events, and the arts. We were asked to consider our image of God; that initially reveals many differences even among a small group. Despite our many differences, there is much good in the world and in human nature. When confronted with problems within self and with others, we should communicate with each other to reveal and bring about the goodness which is so present in our world. We shouldn’t avoid talking about religion and politics with others, even with family, they are important subjects and teach us about each others’ character. Violence was a recurring theme, in the context of an act of violence brough about by lack of understanding and empathy. Exclusion of others was cited as a form of violence, occuring often in our culture. Fear was defined as often a violence against one’s self. We were left with a main idea to consider other’s reactions when we speak and act, but also be open to being surprised because each of us characters come from a different point-of-view.
The Q&A session following included questions about gender association with our Great Character, God. Fr. Al posited if Christ would have attracted attention to His teachings if born a woman. The general consensus was that Christ’s humanity demanded a specific gender but the other members of the Trinity are less specific, more transcendent of gender. The Q&A may have sparked even greater debate had not the inviting night called upon the cast to disperse.