Oh Lord, purify me, make me a chalice in which you dwell, offer your sacrifice in me and spread your love through me. Let me shine like gold, adorn me with the jewels of virtue that I may always be open to you. Fill me. Overflow me. Let me be like that most perfect vessel, the Singular Vessel of Devotion, She to whom I cry for protection against the Evil One. I ask this for your glory, for the vessel is nothing without the sustenance inside, the cup nothing unless it is filled. Oh Lord, purify me.

Give me a word, Abba

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Four Ways

"The man who wishes to understand himself thoroughly — and not just in accordance with immediate, partial, often superficial, and even illusory standards and measures of his being — must with his unrest, uncertainty and even his weakness and sinfulness, with his life and death, draw near to Christ. He must, so to speak, enter him with all his own self; he must 'appropriate' and assimilate the whole of the reality of the Incarnation and Redemption in order to find himself. If this profound process takes place within him, he then bears fruit not only of adoration of God but also of deeper wonder at himself" (Veritatis Splendor, 8)

In this quote, Pope John Paul speaks of the whole meaning of our lives, to be 'divinized" through the work of the Word Made Flesh. He came down to earth as a human, and he will bring us up with him to heaven to be like God. We are to be assimilated into the Person of Christ.

All very well and good, but as we see, there seems to be so many ways that people approach Christ in order to be united with him. Some are most closely drawn to our Saviour through the Liturgical practices of the Church, some through strong devotions such as the Miraculous Medal or pilgrimages. Some are able to come to Christ through intellectual work in Philosophy or the Sciences, some Sacred Doctrine or Theology proper. Now each of these ways have many subcategories of specific "religious experiences", but these four seem to be the broad categories into which they fall.

The problem is that we humans often think we have all the answers. So someone devoted to the Miraculous Medal could say to a Thomist "Come out of our dusty volumes and see the light." and the Thomist might answer "You are ignorant of so much of the theology, how can you say that you truly know Christ?"

And yet, they both know Christ in some way, as do those who find Christ most powerfully in the celebration of the Church's Liturgy and those who find Him in philosophical and scientific inquiry.

Because certain people see Christ more vividly in certain settings, they will do all in their power to see that those settings are not abused. The Thomist will try to quell all "pseudo-thomisms" which he feels are breaking from what Aquinas really meant. The liturgically-minded Catholic will flip out at the most minor of abuses because as we know, even a speck of dust can completely mess up an operation, and to them, the liturgical is the most important of all operations. To the pious practicer of devotions, any false devotions will be an abomination against the very person of Christ, for in true devotions is where he sees Christ most fully. To the scientist, who sees Christ in the workings of the world, false science and science that tries to obscure Christ will be shunned and hated. And yet, none understands the other. They are all doing the same thing, except in their own categories.

None of these categories is "correct", however, none should be done at the exclusion or rejection of the others. In other words, the pious Catholic should not say "enough of this intellectual work, just pray for the conversion of the world through these certain devotions which I know help." The Thomist should not say "He who prays without understanding is an idiot and not a true Catholic." If a Catholic's focus is not liturgy, should the liturgist say "He does not put his energy in the right place, what with this Rosary-praying or reading. He should be fighting for Good Liturgy"? What good does it do any of us to require the same focus from everyone? All of these areas must be sanctified and some are able to help in ways that others can not realize. With the rise in devotion to Our Lady comes a greater love of purity and thus the moral culture is transformed and with it an interior understanding of theology which Our Lady calls us to. With Her beckoning to Christ, we come to the Eucharist and understanding it better, we participate better. In the same way, when our liturgy approaches in its practice the most heavenly, we encounter Christ in new ways and are able to see him in the beauty of the world as the scientist does. This brings us into contact with the questions of the interaction between Creator and created which Aquinas discusses.

These are not opposing forces, they are unified in the person of Christ, and because of this, are one work.

Friday, December 17, 2010

So true...

So, finals week comes to an end. Here's a Joke from Ironic Catholic.

The Top Ten Ways The Bible Would Be Different If It Were Written By College Students

10. Last Supper would have been eaten the next morning cold.

9. The Ten Commandments are actually only five, double-spaced and written in a large font.

8. New edition every two years in order to limit reselling.

7. Forbidden fruit would have been eaten because it wasn't cafeteria food.

6. Paul's letter to the Romans becomes Paul's e-mail to abuse @ romans.gov .

5. Reason Cain killed Abel: They were roommates.

4. The place where the end of the world occurs: Finals, not Armageddon.

3. Out go the mules, in come the mountain bikes.

2. Reason why Moses and followers walked in desert for 40 years: They didn't want to ask directions and look like freshman.

1. Instead of God creating the world in six days and resting on the seventh, He would have put if off until the night before it was due and then pulled an all-nighter.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

We're almost there, folks.

Not the usual fare, but the British are reporting that we are this much closer to taking over the universe.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Stranger than Fiction

A new movie is coming out, or has recently come out, I'm not sure which: Tron: Legacy. It's a Dark Disney Flick about an boy whose father strangely disappears but leaves him with a legacy and strange instructions. After following these instructions, the son, grown up, finds himself in a virtual reality, almost a real life video game. And his Father is in some way the king. Unfortunately, as so often happens, the peace of the virtual reality is threatened. The main character must find some way of restoring peace through visually amazing stunts etc.

Why do I bring this up? Maybe because Hollywood may be good with coming up with plots, and it may not be. Inception, I thought, was brilliantly conceived. A new take on the tension between dream and reality (with architects, all the better). Some have said that it's just Matrix 2.0 and not even that original, as gritty and real as it may or may not be. Anyway, it occurred to me after glancing over the BBC News Home Page today that real life is so much "stranger than fiction". For those of you who haven't watched that movie, I'd suggest it. It's not brilliant, certainly, but it's an interesting concept.

On the BBC, there was one headline that got me: "Amazon survives Wikileaks attack"

Huh? Oh, wait, there's an explanation."Amazon has survived attempts to bring its site down as the pro-Wikileaks data army gains thousands of recruits." and "Wikileaks 'data war' gathers pace"

Apparently, there is a group of hackers which support Wikileaks. They apparently spend their time hacking the sites of companies such as Visa and Mastercard, the fallout being that Visa's site was down for two hours and messed with people's credit. Now, since Amazon has removed its support of Wikileaks, it was supposed to have been the next target. Apparently it didn't work. There must have been some angsty soul-searching dark brooding hero behind Amazon's survival.

I guess my main point through this all is that for all the attempts to come up with a convincing and original story, there's nothing that beats the drama and comedy and mythos of real life.