I am firmly convinced that the Reformation of the sixteenth century was as near as any mortal thing can come to unmixed evil. Even the parts of it that might appear plausible and enlightened from a purely secular standpoint have turned out rotten and reactionary, also from a purely secular standpoint. By substituting the Bible for the sacrament, it created a pedantic caste of those who could read, superstitiously identified with those who could think. By destroying the monks, it took social work from the poor philanthropists who chose to deny themselves, and gave it to the rich philanthropists who chose to assert themselves. By preaching individualism while preserving inequality, it produced modern capitalism. It destroyed the only league of nations that ever had a chance. It produced the worst wars of nations that ever existed. It produced the most efficient form of Protestantism, which is Prussia. And it is producing the worst part of paganism, which is slavery. –G.K. Chesterton
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
I like this:
Winter preserves and strengthens a tree. Rather than expending its strength on the exterior surface, its sap is forced deeper and deeper into its interior depth. In winter a tougher, more resilient life is firmly established. Winter is necessary for the tree to survive and flourish.
Instantly you see the application. So often we hide our true condition with the surface virtues of pious activity, but, once the leaves of our frantic pace drop away, the power of a wintry spirituality can have effect.
To the outward eye everything looks barren and unsightly. Our many defects, flaws, weaknesses, and imperfections stand out in bold relief. But only the outward virtues have collapsed; the principle of virtue is actually being strengthened. The soul is venturing forth into the interior. Real, solid, enduring virtues begin to develop deep within. Pure love is being birthed.
Richard Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home
Friday, November 28, 2014
This from Pope John Paul II's encyclical, Novo Millennio Ineunte:
The great mystical tradition of the Church of both East and West has much to say in this regard. It shows how prayer can progress, as a genuine dialogue of love, to the point of rendering the person wholly possessed by the divine Beloved, vibrating at the Spirit's touch, resting filially within the Father's heart. This is the lived experience of Christ's promise: "He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him" (Jn 14:21). It is a journey totally sustained by grace, which nonetheless demands an intense spiritual commitment and is no stranger to painful purifications (the "dark night"). But it leads, in various possible ways, to the ineffable joy experienced by the mystics as "nuptial union". How can we forget here, among the many shining examples, the teachings of Saint John of the Cross and Saint Teresa of Avila?Yes, dear brothers and sisters, our Christian communities must become genuine "schools" of prayer, where the meeting with Christ is expressed not just in imploring help but also in thanksgiving, praise, adoration, contemplation, listening and ardent devotion, until the heart truly "falls in love". Intense prayer, yes, but it does not distract us from our commitment to history: by opening our heart to the love of God it also opens it to the love of our brothers and sisters, and makes us capable of shaping history according to God's plan.18
Sunday, November 02, 2014
Catholic Spiritual Direction's website:
Holiness doesn’t mean that we’re perfect. Holiness doesn’t mean that we don’t sin. Holiness means possessing the habit of beginning again and again in our walk with the Lord, the habit of daily conversion. And what happens is that this habit of beginning again, this habit of asking for and receiving God’s forgiveness every day, eventually becomes stronger than our sinful habits. As we begin again and again, the capacity of our hearts to receive God’s forgiveness and to live in friendship with Him expands. We begin to desire God more than we desire sin.Imagine that - desiring God more than sin!
In the fourth step of the examen prayer, we are invited to ask forgiveness for the sins of the day, the times that we’ve failed to respond to God’s grace; but this time of asking God’s mercy is not meant to be a time of self-loathing for the sins we’ve committed. This step is actually intended to be a time of renewal and rejoicing. During this step, we should be reminded that the Lord loves us so much that He desires to forgive and renew us so that we can continue to walk in holiness each and every day. The point is not to focus on our sins but on the Lord’s love.And finally,
So how can we put this into practice? Today, in your prayer, when you see some areas that need improvement, don’t give in to feeling bad about yourself, self-loathing, or negativity; rather, rejoice that the Lord loves you so much that He is ready to forgive. Rejoice that the Lord does not love you because you’re perfect; He loves you because you’re His child, because you’re His friend.Go read it all.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
This is from an interesting short article about emotional versus spiritual maturity:
Emotional Maturity: First let’s discuss emotional maturity. Eminent Catholic psychiatrists Dr. Anna Terruwe and Dr. Conrad Baars, who based their work on the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas, wrote extensively about the emotional life. They defined emotions as “psychological motors, designed to move us toward all that’s good, beautiful and true and away from what’s not.” They further taught that by nature our emotions want to and need to be guided by reason, but that reason serves the heart, or the emotional life–not the other way around.I had never seen this expressed so clearly before. So much for the primacy of reason...
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Duc in altum -- John Paul II prepared the faithful from the beginning of his papacy to prepare for the Third Millennium. After we reached the Great Jubilee year celebrating 2000 years since Christ's birth, he issued the encyclical Novo Millennio Ineunte, in which he meditated on Christ's words, Duc in altum (Put out in the deep), pointing out that this is the time of the New Evangelization. We follow these words daily when we live and spread the Gospel daily.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Some autumn thoughts:
But when fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays a while like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.
It stays on through October and, in rare years, on into November. Day after day the skies are a clear, hard blue, and the clouds that float across them, always west to east, are clam white strips with gray keels. The wind begins to blow by the day, and it is never still. It hurries you along as you walk the roads, crunching the leaves that have fallen in mad and variegated drifts. The wind makes you ache in some place that is deeper than your bones. It may be that it touches something old in the human soul, a chord of race memory that says Migrate or die--migrate or die.
-Stephen King, 'Salem's Lot
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Julie Davis over at Happy Catholic quoted this from Ronald Knox's translation of the Bible:
God, at the beginning of time, created heaven and earth. Earth was still an empty waste, and darkness hung over the deep; but already, over its waters, stirred the breath of God. Genesis, The Holy Bible, Knox TranslationI love that, "already, over the waters...". God has cared for us from the beginning.
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Our little Morning Prayer booklet up at church this morning contained this:
Morning prayer is intended and arranged to sanctify the morning. St. Basil the Great gives an excellent description of this character in these words: 'It is said in the morning in order that the first stirrings of our mind and will may be consecrated to God and that we may take nothing in hand until we have been gladdened by the thought of God.' (from the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours)How apt is it to speak of being "gladdened by the thought of God"!
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
“This was my first encounter with the Cross and the divine power it imparts to those who bear it—it was the moment my unbelief collapsed and Christ began to shine his light on me—Christ in the mystery of the Cross.”The quote above is from an article about Husserl's students, and is Edith Stein talking about Husserl;s death. The article is quite interesting, and can be found here.
Friday, March 07, 2014
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
This is from A Song For Nagasaki by Paul Glynn, S.M. Takashi Nagaii is writing to his two young children:
"My death will leave you orphans, vulnerable and alone in the world. You will weep. Yes, you might even weep your hearts out, and that will be good--provided you weep before your father in heaven. We have it on the authority of his Son, and I have experienced the truth of it personally: 'Happy are those who weep, for they shall be comforted.' Spill your tears before him, and he will always dry them."Dr. Nagaii was a pioneer in Japan in the use of X-rays, a convert to Catholicism, a survivor the the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, and revered in Japan as Gandhi is in India. The story is fascinating.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
This quote came in an email from Loome Theological Booksellers. It is from Romano Guardini, who more often than not challenges me. The book is titled "The Last Things".
“The central position of man in Christianity confers on the Sacraments, especially on the Eucharist, a meaning wholly new. What did Christ mean when He said, ‘He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath everlasting life, and I will raise him up on the last day’? (John 6:55). Why did He not say, He that attaches his spirit to My spirit, who undertakes to do My will? Because what matters is not ‘spirit,’ but the living, human-divine reality of Christ, which has its point of decision precisely in that which any spiritualizing tendency first relinquishes – namely, the body, or, in the precise language of St. John, ‘the flesh.’ Because in man it is the living whole that matters, not the soul. The point of decision is the physical act of ‘eating’ and ‘drinking,’ in contrast to any attempts at vaporizing this solid reality. The fruit of this sacred ‘eating’ and ‘drinking’ is the resurrection on the last day. Truly a ‘hard’ saying, for it involves the end and purpose of the Christian life. The doctrine of the Eucharist is guaranteed by the doctrine of the resurrection”.I think I'll have to chew on this for a while.