“Adages,” those brief phrases that express wisdom about the reality we all live with, are a part of everyone’s lives. BE PREPARED is the phrase I repeated, shared, and shouted with friends who were working on projects to earn our scout badges. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECTis the phrase that encouraged me to spend long hours with Latin books in high school. OUR HEARTS ARE RESTLESS UNTIL THEY REST IN THEE are the words that pushed me to answer a call to the priesthood at the age of thirty-one. VERITAS (TRUTH) is the word that inspires my study, prayer, ministry, and community life as a vowed member of the Order of Preachers.
For over half a century our Church has been conscious of the adage, THE SIGN OF THE TIMES, a phrase that refers to the activity of God in the world and in the changing events of human history. The phrase is found in the scriptures (Mat. 16:3), and was used by Pope John XXIII in his encyclical Pacem in Terris (¶126-29) and in Gaudium et Spes(¶4), a document of The Second Vatican Council. The basic idea of this adage is that we are responsible for examining the sign of the times and interpreting them in light of the scriptures to come to responsible conclusions.
For our Church, it is clear that times they are a changing. Given the multiple and disheartening pieces of information we hear and read about allegations of sexual misconduct and cover-ups at all levels of our church, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible to make any sense out of what is being said. So, I encourage us to stay informed and to pray for victims, for their accused perpetrators, for our judicial system, and for ourselves and to avoid the sometimes-spoken adage, I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE.
Fr. Bob Kelly