Friday, December 23, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
When I first became a Christian, I had been warned by sundry writers, CS Lewis and GK Chesterton, that being a Christian was difficult. I often in jest lamented that I had not been visited in my hour of distress by Thor. Dying in battle during some act of brigandage against treasonous relatives, then to be carried aloft by singing fierce-eyed Valkyrie to endless feasting until foredoomed Ragnarok, to fall as loyal as his wolves at the feet of dark-hooded Odin was much more in accord with my natural inclination. Given my druthers, I’d much rather be a pagan. Unfortunately, and despite what your modern teachers tell you, reality is what it is, and you don’t get a vote.
It was not until long after that I encountered those who scoffed that following Christ was the lazy or the easy path. Even if the teachings of Christ are a false and pernicious as a Dawkins or a Hitchens scoffs, they cannot honestly call the disciplines false. (Not that honesty is their strong point.)
The pagans of ancient times were converted not by words only, but by the silent example of Christians living in their midst: in their midst but not like them. How can the modern men, less even than the pagans of old in dignity and intellect and uprightness of stature, be led by our example if we live as they do?
What? You cannot find any poor who need food, clothing, shelter? Are there no prisoners in jail to visit, no sick in the hospital, no aged in the Old Folk’s Home waiting in loneliness to die?
Have you truly no enemy to forgive? Is there truly no one in your life who has cursed you or reviled you or said all manner of evil against you falsely?
If not, you might be doing something wrong, O ye faithful: if you are true servant of Christ, you well know that the world will not treat the servant better than it treated the master.
Let us abide by what we have been commanded to do, if not for a whole month, then at least for Advent.
Or a week. Or a day. Or an hour.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Monday, November 7, 2011
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Friday, October 14, 2011
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Who can fill in the cracks that catch our toes
That catch our loves, our broken loves.
We are walking can’t seem to find the stop
Our life is a fermata that seems to sing
We want to find the sign, start from the top
But we seem to have forgotten everything.
Is your soul a free bird with license?
Who is singing the song of your life?
It is sparrows, no mourning doves.
Who then is left to lift the beams of life?
We need an open window, mercy, light
To catch the dust to transform it.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
Thursday, August 25, 2011
And Zophar the Naamathite spoke out and said: Should not the man of many words be answered, or must the garrulous man necessarily be right? Shall your babblings keep men silent, and shall you deride and no one give rebuke? Shall you say: "My teaching is pure, and I am clean in your sight"? But oh that God would speak, and open his lips against you, and tell you that the secrets of wisdom are twice as effective: so that might learn that God will make you answer for your guilt.There has been lots of talk about courtesy on blogs. Oh well, might as well turn to scripture.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
I was intending to write this yesterday, but never got around to it.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
It's often easy to be discouraged by the culture we live in. It's easy to wish for the "better days". Well, reality check: there were problems then too. Here's the thing, if we give up on the culture, it will never change. Here is a story about a young woman who didn't give up hope....
Monday, August 8, 2011
One of the things that happened in the last century was the de-emphasizing of churches. A lot of them were built to look like other things, barns for instance.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Sunday, July 31, 2011
Saturday, July 23, 2011
"I think I know what you meant, Paul about goodness, but you left something out. It’s not always pretty to look at goodness, especially when it comes into contact with evil. Like me, I saw what it did to you, what it cost you to come down and get mixed up in my own brand of evil. Thank you for not standing apart in your goodness. Thank you for coming. Because you did, I think I know what goodness looks like, and you’re right. It’s beautiful. Forgive me."It is, of course to realize that Christ came down for a reason, and that reason was to bring us out of our "own brand of evil". We all have one, and none of it is pretty. Christ took our ugliness to purify it. And that is where our hope lies.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Today the Catholic Church celebrates one the most mysterious things ever: The Eucharist. My family and I went to St. Anthony's, as we usually do on Sundays, and let me tell you, it was amazing as usual. Fr. Cliff, in his homily, talked a lot about marriage. It was interesting because certainly the Eucharist should and does remind us of the priesthood. However, it is also the Marriage of the Heaven and Earth, the Marriage and Christ and His Church...the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, the Feast and the Consummation. A marriage is a contract, a covenant really of total self giving. God has deigned to bestow on us the gift of his whole self, his whole essence in the person of Jesus Christ continually present in the Eucharist. How can we not then give all of ourselves, insignificant as we are? And we are insignificant. We are less than a drop of water in the Ocean of God's love. We are less than a grain of sand on the seashore. But remember, God said that Abraham's descendants would number more than the sand on the seashore. We are a Communion of persons in Communion with God. We as a Church should be constantly offering ourselves to God. Even so, are we not almost nothing in comparison to God? Yes, which is why He came to earth. He participated in our humanity so that we might participate in his divinity. It is through the Incarnation that the Church, as Christ's body, is offered back to God as an acceptable sacrifice, as a "suitable partner" in the heavenly marriage vow. God grants us Himself through the Incarnate Christ and He offers himself back with our own meager offerings--we are merely the water in the wine. It is truly a marriage made in heaven. Let us then throw it all down at the feet of our King and worship. All our actions--let them be for Him. All our thoughts--may they give Him glory. All of our desires--let them ultimately be a desire for the good and therefore a desire for Him. And let us fall on our knees before the Lord knowing that He Himself has brought us to His throne.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
In Judith 4, the Israelites hear about the ravaging acts of the Assyrian general Holofernes. Obviously, they want to defend themselves against him and his horde. What they do is a great lesson for all of us:
Then the children of Israel[...] sent into all Samaria round about, as far as Jericho, and seized upon all the tops of the mountains:  And they compassed their towns with walls, and gathered together corn for provision for war.  And Eliachim the priest wrote [...] that they should take possession of the ascents of the mountains, by which there might be any way to Jerusalem, and should keep watch where the way was narrow between the mountains.
 And the children of Israel did as the priest of the Lord Eliachim had appointed them,  And all the people cried to the Lord with great earnestness, and they humbled their souls in fastings, and prayers, both they and their wives.  And the priests put on haircloths, and they caused the little children to lie prostrate before the temple of the Lord, and the altar of the Lord they covered with haircloth.  And they cried to the Lord the God of Israel with one accord, that their children might not be made a prey, and their wives carried off, and their cities destroyed, and their holy things profaned, and that they might not be made a reproach to the Gentiles.  Then Eliachim the high priest of the Lord went about all Israel and spoke to them,
 Saying: Know ye that the Lord will hear your prayers, if you continue with perseverance in fastings and prayers in the sight of the Lord.  Remember Moses the servant of the Lord, who overcame Amalec that trusted in his own strength, and in his power, and in his army, and in his shields, and in his chariots, and in his horsemen, not by fighting with the sword, but by holy prayers:  So shall all the enemies of Israel be, if you persevere in this work which you have begun.  So they being moved by this exhortation of his, prayed to the Lord, and continued in the sight of the Lord.  So that even they who offered the holocausts to the Lord, offered the sacrifices to the Lord girded with haircloths, and with ashes upon their head.
 And they all begged of God with all their heart, that he would visit his people Israel. (D-R)
There is, in this passage, the obvious tension that is so often referenced nowadays. Should we trust God in prayer up to the point of doing nothing that is in our own power? Well, the Israelites certainly did not think so, and God heard their prayer. He wasn't like "Oh, you're preparing for war? Well you obviously don't trust me." In fact, they did trust him, and they showed it in their prayer and penances. However, they also trusted that He was the source of their own power and could act through them and their armies if need be. There was a need, for Holofernes comes later to destroy the House of Israel. He didn't end up doing it though, and that's the thing.
I was thinking about this and I realized that we encounter three attacks in our lives that require a similar response: The attacks of evil In the World, the attacks of evil In Our Lives and the attacks of evil In Our Souls. It's a triple attack, and it's kind of annoying. However, the Israelites show us the way in approaching these attacks. The one that struck me the most was the attacks In the World. Not only were the Israelites up against an attack In the World, but also this blog is about living in the world while not being of it. So here is my thought (finally) and I'd say it applies to all three: