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Monday, February 18, 2013

I will adopt you as my people..

The question I used to hear from Evangelicals, "Have you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour," baffled me at first. What a novel thing, I thought. My experience as a cradle Catholoc had always been more wholesale than personal: a family, a parish, the Church in the country, the whole Church throughout the world, and that through all time all the way back to Adam and Eve. Why personal? It dawned on me many, many years later that taking the personal view is no bad thing. One could miss the trees for the forest, although one might also miss the forest for the trees. Being Catholic, I cannot help but see the both-and approach as being more complete: Kata Holikos. The Old Testament scriptures are fairly explicit on God's relationship with his people as the overarching theme of revelation, and looks ahead to including all nations beyond Israel as his people. Even the New Testament is reasonably clear as well: the Greeks being the people beyond Judaism. Does that mean we lose the personal context? Not at all, because God cannot be limited thus. He is both a personal God who is also the Father of an entire people set apart in Christ. This dovetails with the command to love one another, because God is always in one another through Christ, so loving one another means loving Christ, who is God. This also makes sense of the harsh judgement against sins of omission: the goats in Matt 25:31-46 failed to love Christ in the flesh of his people, our neighbor. Sadly, it may be that most of us sin thus: in the good that we fail to do. In an increasingly busy world of empty distractions, who's got time for loving our neighbor? The only solution seems to be to throw out all these vain pursuits. Thank God for the annual season of Lent, to renounce ourselves and the futility of our toys and games, our pursuit of the next feast in every meal, to make room for God in our personal space. Then we might see better that we belong to the people of God, among which many go hungry, thirsty, lonely in prison or illness, or naked in abject want.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Lenten reflection from English Dominicans for Friday after Ash Wednesday

A fundamental question:  Lent is an excellent time to step back and evaluate our priorities: is what we say we believe, or what we think we believe, manifested in how we choose to live? If we examine our concrete day to day decisions, for example how we spend our time, or who we spend this time with, or what we spend our money on and so on, do we find that our energies and resources are invested in what we value most? Do we devote ourselves, as far as possible, to what we think is most important

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The same person .. who commissions

St. Paul wrote in Galatians 1:13-2:10, among other things, "The same person whose action had made Peter the apostle of the circumcised had given me a similar mission to the pagans." It struck me as a note of such hope (that should be obvious to any Christian) that the same God who calls our greatest apostles, Peter and Paul, called me to my own office: husband and father, and my other offices in addition: son, brother, colleague, teacher -- and in all these roles, always the same mission: son of God, in the only begotten Son of God in whose body I belong.

Pope Benedict XVI abdicates

Today, I heard with sorrow that Pope Benedict XVI is abdicating his office as bishop of Rome by the end of February. It was not a passing sorrow, but a sickening distress, having followed his work and teaching (though not closely enough!) and knowing what need the Church and the world has for him. My sorrow was compounded by hearing the thoughts of a certain media favorite, a priest with heterodox leanings, on the radio. Here was someone who should really know better, who had nothing good to say about the situation, but was opening his mouth anyway. Later it hit me that I should not fret so: the same person who raised up Peter and Paul as our able shepherds also raised up Blessed John Paul and Pope Benedict. Whatever befalls the Church, we have the promises of Christ that the gates of Hell will never prevail. The keys of the kingdom will be passed on to a successor bishop of Rome, and ultimately, it is Christ who reigns.

In the meantime, I will pray for Pope Benedict, grateful for his devoted service to the Church and her Master, praying for his well-being as he will continue guiding the barque of Peter up to the end of this month. I also resolved to give up worrying over the empty comments from the ignorant and heterodox. I don't think it is my place to search for such baying and raucous cawing, only to waste time and temper in posting comments. If I should meet such untruths within earshot, however, maliciously delivered or not, that would be a different story...

Better thoughts than mine on Pope Benedict's abdication can be found at Jimmy Akin's blog..

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Throw off everything that hinders us..

.. With so many witnesses in a great cloud on every side of us, we too then should throw everything that hinders us, .. and keep running steadily in the race we have started (Heb 12:1-4). -- Something clicked between that and this from the liturgy of the hours: "As the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return without watering the earth, making it yield and give growth to provide seed for the sower and bread for the eating" (Is 55;10-11) -- that suggests something to me: progress. But the epistle makes clear that we aren't passive observers: by faith, and faithfulness, we actively participate. We persevere, and we mustbe smart in throwing off what hinders our racing onwards. Even as the divine life of Jesus, through the Holy Spirit and God's grace, courses through our veins and blazes in our souls -- we run.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

The Presentation of the Lord at the Temple

Simeon, receiving the infant Jesus in his hands, was so overcome with joy that he was ready to leave everything behind; he was ready to die -- rejoicing in the privileged knowledge that salvation had come to the world. When we receive the Jesus in our hands and tongues and into our body at the Holy Eucharist, should we not be likewise ecstatic? Is that not such a privilege, profoundly undeserved? To be so blessed to receive Jesus, his Body and Blood, his soul and divinity given to us so magnanimously! Can salvation come more intimately than that?