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Tuesday, August 09, 2016

The amazing story of Claude Newman

A truly remarkable story, one of those mysteries of the human heart that won't be explained without recourse to one's own. Why would I think that? Because in the so-called human heart, which escapes explanation as one particular human organ, one is confronted with the possibility of something greater than the human body. I do not suggest swallowing any proposition without question. On the contrary, it must raise questions, which in themselves bear an admission of not having all the answers.

That explains a lot...

the diviners have lying visions and publish empty dreams and voice misleading nonsense, naturally the people stray like sheep; they wander because they have no shepherd (Zechariah 9:1-10:2)

But I would be truly dishonest if I did not note how difficult it can be - has been - for anyone in a position to teach or explain, even the simplest of truths sometimes. As a father, it is always a challenge to square what I teach my children as true and how I live that truth, or not, in my actions and decisions. To a lesser degree, the same dilemma can come up in the classroom as well.

Such a challenge is also a blessing, of course, because it forces me to consider things very carefully, particularly when it involves my children. It takes a remarkable leap to tell children one thing and then act or decide contrary to that, particularly, one's own. I used to think that hypocrisy was an easy concept to explain, until my kids started getting older. :-)

So, there are no simplistic judgements on specific persons who may, at one time or another, be guilty of false teaching or leadership. The temptation can be incredible, but so are the consequences, which are inescapable. Sadly, the consequences include collateral damage. Thankfully, God's grace is always sufficient, and his mercy is ever available to the sincere, should they come around and are willing, as with post-operative patients, to get down to the hard but necessary work of recovery.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Stopping the flow of discontented Catholics heading out the door

Sherry Wedell tells of a friend who knew a handful of people ' — all unrelated to one another — who came to her one at a time in a single month to say, “I’m thinking about leaving the parish for the mega church down the road because I have these questions, and there isn’t anyone in the parish that I can talk to about this.”'

A close friend way back went and did leave for what we call Born-Again Christianity, and I asked him if he bothered to talk to a priest, and no he didn't, and he didn't ask me either, about his questions.

Our parish priest used to run a program where he is available for hot seat questions, but he is pretty busy these days. An Evangelical Catholic would put his hand up and say "I'm game! Where's the seat?"

I'm game! Where's the seat? :-)

But it's still but a shadow of being really militant in preaching the gospel: why do we not instead do as I see Mormon missionaries do, standing at street corners to propose the gospel to passers by? Is it now considered ill-mannered? Doesn't stop some people from selling me a new energy retailer at my door, or, as once actually happened, campaigning for the election just passed.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Pray for a three-year-old with cancer

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2016/07/pray-for-a-little-girl.html

Is this what is wrong with the West in this 21st Century?

For the heart of this nation has grown coarse, their ears are dull of hearing, and they have shut their eyes, for fear they should see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their heart, and be converted and be healed by me. (Matthew 13:10-17)

Because the irony, judging by history, is that the prosperity and peace, and rule of law, enjoyed by today's post-Christian secular states, are fruits of Christianity. Many have now busied themselves with chopping away at their own foundations for the sake of the spots of corruption. And on account of those who betrayed Christ in their living and governance, they label Christ himself, along with those faithful to him, as the enemy.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

How should Christians behave under hostile secular attack?

One thing is certain: it isn't hiding under the bed. Why not? Simple: because that does the opposite of evangelization, and evangelization is our mission.

As I heard Bishop Robert Barron once explain, when Jesus proclaimed to St. Peter that he was building his Church, "the gates of Hades will not prevail against it", gates don't march -- the Church does. Christians do. We do. In all charity, of course, but never compromising the Truth.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Mercy, not Sacrifice

From dailygospel.org:

John Tauler (c.1300-1361), Dominican 
Sermon 64 

“Matthew got up and followed him.”

Our Lord told Saint Matthew: “Follow me.” This lovable saint is a model for everyone. He was first of all a great sinner, as the Gospel says, and later, he became one of the great ones among all God’s friends. For Our Lord spoke to him in the depths of his being, and then he left everything in order to follow the Master. 

To follow God in truth – that is everything; and in order to do that, it is necessary to truly and completely leave all that is not God, whatever it might be. God is a lover of hearts. He is not interested in what is external; rather, he wants us to give him a living interior devotedness. That devotedness has in itself more truth than if I said prayers so as to fill the whole world, or if I sang so loud that my song rose up to the highest heaven, more truth than everything I might do externally in fasting, vigils and other practices.

But I find it convenient, easier to accomplish or appear to accomplish the externals, also to receive affirmation or recognition for them. But they have no lasting value with those motives, and make me desire only the comfort and recognition, while being almost desperate to protect these earthly aspirations.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

From a sermon by Saint Augustine on this feast of Saints Peter and Paul

This day has been consecrated for us by the martyrdom of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul. It is not some obscure martyrs we are talking about. Their sound has gone out into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world. These martyrs had seen what they proclaimed, they pursued justice by confessing the truth, by dying for the truth.

The blessed Peter, the first of the Apostles, the ardent lover of Christ, who was found worthy to hear, And I say to you, that you are Peter. He himself, you see, had just said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Christ said to him, And I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church. Upon this rock I will build the faith you have just confessed. Upon your words, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God, I will build my Church; because you are Peter. Peter comes from petra, meaning a rock. Peter, “Rocky,” from “rock”; not “rock” from “Rocky.” Peter comes from the word for a rock in exactly the same way as the name Christian comes from Christ.

Before his passion the Lord Jesus, as you know, chose those disciples of his whom he called apostles. Among these it was only Peter who almost everywhere was given the privilege of representing the whole Church. It was in the person of the whole Church, which he alone represented, that he was privileged to hear, To you will I give the keys of the kingdom of heaven. After all, it is not just one man that received these keys, but the Church in its unity. So this is the reason for Peter’s acknowledged pre-eminence, that he stood for the Church’s universality and unity, when he was told, To you I am entrusting, what has in fact been entrusted to all. To show you that it is the Church which has received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, listen to what the Lord says in another place to all his apostles: Receive the Holy Spirit; and immediately afterwards, Whose sins you forgive, they will be forgiven them; whose sins you retain, they will be retained.

Quite rightly, too, did the Lord after his resurrection entrust his sheep to Peter to be fed. It is not, you see, that he alone among the disciples was fit to feed the Lord’s sheep; but when Christ speaks to one man, unity is being commended to us. And he first speaks to Peter, because Peter is the first among the apostles. Do not be sad, Apostle. Answer once, answer again, answer a third time. Let confession conquer three times with love, because self-assurance was conquered three times by fear. What you had bound three times must be loosed three times. Loose through love what you had bound through fear. And for all that, the Lord once, and again, and a third time, entrusted his sheep to Peter.

There is one day for the passion of two apostles. But these two also were as one; although they suffered on different days, they were as one. Peter went first, Paul followed. We are celebrating a feast day, consecrated for us by the blood of the apostles. Let us love their faith, their lives, their labours, their sufferings, their confession of faith, their preaching.

(From the Office of Readings today, 29 June, online via Unversalis.com)