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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The making of a saint

In today's Office of Readings, this is written of St Ignatius de Loyola:

Ignatius was passionately fond of reading worldly books of fiction and tales of knight-errantry. When he felt he was getting better, he asked for some of these books ... But no book of that sort could be found in the house; instead they gave him a life of Christ and a collection of the lives of saints ...
By constantly reading these books he began to be attracted to what he found narrated there. Sometimes in the midst of his reading he would reflect on what he had read. Yet at other times he would dwell on many of the things which he had been accustomed to dwell on previously. But at this point our Lord came to his assistance, insuring that these thoughts were followed by others which arose from his current reading.
While reading the life of Christ our Lord or the lives of the saints, he would reflect and reason with himself: “What if I should do what Saint Francis or Saint Dominic did?”

I've often lamented that my children are not given so much readings from the lives of the saints and from divine Scripture. Instead, they bring home cute and amoral stories of trivial value. It falls on us, parents, to correct this, I think, for our children will not fail to look for models to emulate, and the heroes and idols of this generation are often wanting, to say the least. The Word was made flesh long ago, and he remains incarnate in his Church, in the deeds of his saints, written in their lives and their writings. This is so he continues the discourse, in whatever age, to tell us that he loves us, and his love saves us no matter what comes. But what happens to our children if we do not give them every opportunity to listen at his feet? Worse yet, as nature abhors a vacuum, what lessons are they listening to instead?
And not to forget (almost did), what of myself?
St. Ignatius de Loyola, pray for us!

Friday, July 26, 2013

The gift of fatherhood

Parents of my eldest son's class were asked to write a letter to our sons that they are to open at camp. Writing mine, it reminded me of what a wonderful gift fatherhood is -- to me! In this, I was given insight into the heart of God himself, into the heart of fatherhood. I was given insight as well into my own heart, both where his grace and my shadows were apparent. I was entrusted with this wonderful human being, my son (and my other children), despite my frequent bouts with moodiness, grumpiness and foolishness. Yet was I trusted with so many arrows in my quiver. How gracious is God! St. Joachim and Ann, pray for this foolish father, that I may not mess my children up too much even as God brings them up through me. Amen!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

On Ireland and the Philippines

CatholicCulture.org publishes two interesting articles on the recent developments in these countries:

It is no coincidence that both countries have been bowled over by controversial legislation on matters of marriage and family, and the sanctity of human life. These are the most remarkably Catholic countries in their respective regions. Being Catholic these days means a notable distinction in our views these matters. In many ways, this is a sad distraction from the new evangelization, but perhaps it speaks volumes about the centrality of human life and marriage to the orthodox Christian life. Mess with those and what does one end up with?

Friday, July 05, 2013

A thought that struck me on the Carrying of the Cross

.. is this: why did Jesus bother? If the strict requirement for the redemption of humanity was his sacrifice on the cross, then why the extra mile in agony? I'd have happily fainted and let them take me to Golgotha unconscious. They were going to kill me anyway!

Maybe he did it because that agony was efficacious in other ways.

Maybe he carried the cross because we would have to carry ours. By carrying his cross, maybe it makes it *possible* for us to carry ours as a supernatural act of love, with supernatural fruits for eternity, because we'd be carrying ours with him.

Who can avoid the cross anyway? If we wish to be his disciples, why would we want to?

There was a striking line in Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" that one of the thieves uttered: (paraphrased) why do you embrace your cross, you fool?

We'd be fools with Christ for embracing our daily cross with him, not because either of us are eager for pain as its own good, but because it is inescapable at times when we love others, because love hurts indeed.

And so the king of love carried his cross, so that we need not fret that our agony is wasted when we carry ours: how can it, when it is united with him and his act of redemptive love?