Posts Tagged ‘ Catholic ’

This View Will Change Your Life Forever

Today is the feast of the Transfiguration, the remembrance of when our Lord appeared in heavenly glory upon the mountain and spoke with Moses and Elijah with Peter, James, and John on looking.  God the father spoke decisively: “He is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased; Listen to him.”  One line of the Transfiguration story found in Luke stands out most to me:

They became awake and saw his glory…

The transformation of Peter, John, and James at the Transfiguration mirrors our own.  One moment they were asleep and at rest–encounter with the divine Lord jarred them from the slumber of the universe as they knew it.  Jesus’ divine kingship stirs us to move.  The reality of Jesus’ reign as king directly challenges our will toward self-reliance.  And we must to reconcile this reality with the notion that we are fully in charge of our lives and existence.  Either Jesus is king or he is not.  Either he is divine or he is not.  Either we, in turn, like the disciples become awake upon encounter or we deny his glory.

Jesus’ divine kingship remains true, but in our relativistic culture, it is easy to evade the question of Jesus’ divinity.  Tough questions are gently brushed aside.  People make broad statements such as, “That’s fine that Jesus is divine for you, but he’s not for me.”  We must open ourselves to the possibility of encounter.  When the encounter does occur, the choice remains–Jesus always gives us the choice to follow him!

While God has given me the grace of faith, I struggle with self-reliance.  It’s easy for me to try to do things all myself, which eventually leads to distrust in the Lord and worries and fears.  I lose touch with Jesus quite easily, having more faith in myself at times than I have in the Lord.  This turns my hope sour , and I am unable to give myself to the present moment and to love freely and unreservedly.

Recently, the Lord called me back to him.  I had a steady mental prayer schedule for a few months, at the guidance of a spiritual director.  While God graced me with a spirit of devotion and faith abounded for that time I lost track of that devotion upon a recent move with my family and lost track of prayer.

Minor annoyances became major obstacles as my self-reliance were inadequate for my vocation.  In God’s grace a wonderful priest friend of mine recommended a book that he was reading, Interior Freedom.  I felt compelled to pray over the book, and I have since then re-established my prayer routine.  While I have not been fully free of self-reliance I am again opening myself to the daily encounters with our Lord.  These encounters strengthen me and purify my will.

My prayer routines do not have the same drama as the Transfiguration, but yet I am grateful for prayer as my touchstone with divinity.  I pray that I continue to open myself up in my daily life and “Listen to him.”

Readings 2/10/14

1 Kings 8:1-7; 9-13

This reading reminds me of the grace that the Lord deigns to give me.  The ark of the covenant, the law of God, given out of love and compassion, is like the spiritual gifts the Lord gives.  The Lord gives virtues; He sends His Holy Spirit; he gives Himself in the Eucharist.

Solomon, full of wisdom rightly led his people in sacrifice of thanksgiving before receiving and putting in its place the ark of the covenant.  They sacrificed “too many sheep and oxen to number and count.”  Solomon knew that the gifts of redemption were worth more than any material good he had been given.  Moreover, though Israel did not earn the gift of the ark of the covenant, God gave his gift freely.  In thanksgiving for the gifts, Solomon sacrificed.

How infrequently I sacrifice in thanksgiving!  How infrequently do I come close to comprehending the wondrous graces that the Lord bestows upon me!   Would that I imitated Solomon who, in his right reason, gave thanks and praise of a great magnitude, like the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with expensive oil, like the widow who gave to the poor with her last coin.  Like the simple congregation which praises the Lord with fine vessels in which to places His most Precious Body and Blood.

Lord, give me the wisdom and grace to honor you with a pure sacrifice of thanks and praise.  May I give you of my bounty, so that, upon detaching from finite things, I may cling ever more securely to the infinite love you wish to give me.

Mark 6:53-56

The Lord did marvelous things in the midst of his people.  They were astonished and comforted.  They were surprised and hopeful.  They traveled to him for the chance to be healed.  They saw the Glory of God and the works o the Lord.  They experienced the power of the Spirit.  Everywhere Jesus went people flocked to Him.  He healed their bodies and their souls.

The people sought healing.  Though he came to be known for his power, they did not seek power.  They sought healing.  They did not wish to be affirmed in their state.  They sought healing.  They didn’t approach him so that he could judge which form of religion is greatest.  They sought healing.  Deep, penetrating, soul-cleansing healing.

How often I turn to Jesus, not as a sinner who needs healing, but as a prideful son who seeks affirmation in my own judgments and ideology.  Who would rather be affirmed by Jesus, hearing, “son you are right,” rather than, “son, be healed.”

Lord Jesus, grant me the humility to uncover my sins and to turn to you for healing and forgiveness.  Open my heart to receive your healing and grace.

What It’s All About

I really liked this post about the ultimately humbling experience of writing and arguing for our faith.  Mirus admits that at times, when he gets so caught up in writing about the faith and defending the faith, that he turns gold into straw, as it were.  

The briefest realization of the immensity of God casts all of these efforts into the deepest shade. I trust this is not quite the outer darkness of which Scripture speaks (Mt 8:12, 22:13, and 25:30), but surely we must affirm with St. Thomas and Blessed John Henry that the barest experience of God makes dust and ashes of even our greatest personal efforts to make Him known.

This is my challenge sometimes, and one of the reasons I appreciate being off Facebook.  It is so easy for me to lose God in the face of my arguments for God (or His Church, or His Church’s teachings).  How much time I spend reading blogs and books about faith and culture, culture and faith, and how little time I spend living my faith in my culture!  How often I turn to blogs and books about apologetics and Christology and how infrequently do I spend time with God in his Word or with His Word in adoration!

Logically speaking, faith should enlighten reason.  First one encounters the thing to be defended, and then he defends it.  It turns out, I have been living backwards, defending the faith which I have not fully encountered.  

Esolen! On patheos! Oh happy day!

One of my favorite writers now has a blog at Patheos, word of the day! Check it out!

Existence and not (a follow up from 5 minutes ago)

I wrote

  To be fair, some of the Christian armchair apologists (I would consider myself a part of this crowd) could brush up on their logic and rhetorical skills.

I think that is because non-believers train in logic.  They come from the sciences.   They are drilled in reasoning.  Unless we are academic philosophers, biologists, and chemists, we are playing on their turf.  It is always an away game.

They are logicians, rhetoricians, and argument producers/critiquers/destroyers by day AND by night.  Many Catholics are not.  Sure, we dabble in philosophy, logic, and rhetoric.  And there are plenty of super-solid logician, rhetorician, argument-producing Catholics.  But that is not the sum total of what we do.

Believers do not have as much at stake such that they feel compelled to constantly dialog with people who completely disagree with them.  Believers can sleep well at night (that is without much dissonance) knowing that there are individuals who disagree on the God question (and related consequences).  However, for some reason, atheists (at least those who comment on blogs and who make public claims based on their atheism) cannot seem to handle the existence of God.

That is, they seem to find it quite satisfying to continue to disprove and dispose of God.  That’s why they blog about it, think about it, write about it.  That is why they go to Catholic blogs and attack (sometimes with good argument, sometimes with stupid snark).

To use a common atheist trope: I don’t see any atheists passionately arguing against the existence of dragons, unicorns, and the flying spaghetti monster.

To be fair, I’m not quite saying that that indicates the existence of God, but it is fascinating to me at some level the interest, passion, and vitriol with which atheists spend their time.  So much energy directed at something that does not exist.  What an existence.

It is a curious thing though.

So I think part of my observation of quite adept atheist rhetoriticians versus middlingly adept Christians is attributed to  sampling bias.

I think another part of it is that it is passe to be a theist and an academic.  It is much easier to be atheist as an academic.

I also think that, at the same time, we need to devote infinitely more time and energy to honing our skills to match those who hold opposing ideas, yet I think we need to devote infinitely less time and energy to that task since our real task is sanctity.  Can you see how this has been a trying time in our life?

 

Please oh please

Let there be an interesting article online.  I can’t STAND to work on my homework a minute more.  Please let there be something on First Things about feminism.  Let Fr. Z lambaste fishrap.  Let Bad Catholic ramble about the utter importance and beauty of sexual complementarity.  Let there be an interesting post about Derrick Rose on ESPN.  Maybe a fascinating preview of next season for the Cubs (cause this season, there’s not much to talk about).  Let there be a witty post about grammar on Dr. Boli.  And a philosophical treatise by Ryan T Anderson connecting abortion, gay marriage, and euthenasia against the buttress of reason that is the deposit of the faith in the Roman Catholic Church.  May Peter Kreeft detail the major philosophical misgivings of a popular atheist.  And how about a super funny and witty post by Simcha Fisher about how society is out to tear apart Catholic families, and what we can do in response.

Okay.  Now that that’s out of my system, back to homework.