Saturday, December 28, 2013
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Thursday, December 19, 2013
I can think of two examples, from St. Paul and Jesus himself, both praying earnestly for an end or abeyance of suffering. God said "no." To St. Paul he said "my grace is sufficient!" To his only begotten Son, completely innocent and undeserving of suffering, he sent an angel for comfort and strength.
I found myself at a familiar prayer, to be delivered from temptations that I have found particularly vexing for most of my life. There were years when I was safe, and months when I was not. I naturally prefer deliverance without a struggle. Partly because I dread the outcome, partly because I dread the struggle.
Thank God he said "no." A man's got to do what a man's got to do, lest, as in this case, one remains a lesser man, and I do want to be exactly, not one ounce less, who I be, in the timeless sense. Who am I? In the divine plan, one is answered in another: who is Jesus? Son of Man and Son of God, in him I find myself. And so when I ask that this or that unpleasant cup pass from me, I have my answer. Each "no" means "you can do this!" What hope he has in me! Thank God for such love and optimism for this wretch, who is not hopeless -- given such abiding hope so graciously and unbelievably placed in me!
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
And why do we do the dumbest things? Oh, yes, one refers to the other, and I am often guilty of both.
Anyway, I was struck by these lines from two of my favourite contemporary authors: Raymund Feist: "Feelings don't make sense, .. but they can drive us, and that's what you have to understand most of all. People will often do the most imponderable things because of how they feel, not because of what they think." Terry Goodkind's version is simpler: "Passion rules reason," but I think that needs unpacking.
Perhaps that is how Jesus on the cross could possibly say "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." It takes the most clear-sighted human being to see the limits of our humanity, which can mean that reason ends where passions begin, or where passion goes over the precipice. I often overreact when I feel slighted. I'd love it if that was the point when I'd remember: he/she did this really stupid thing because of emotion, not deliberate thought. And I should daily practice ruling my passion with calm, long-sighted reason.
Monday, December 02, 2013
I recently heard a theologian assert that Hmanae Vitae is not infallible teaching, although it is important. This seems to be a good read in support of the encylical: https://www.ewtn.com/library/Theology/AUTHUMVT.HTM. Sometimes, reading about arguments of this sort bring to mind one word: wrangling. Splitting hairs might also be apt. Such discussions are important, perhaps, but they can seem too academic. It reminds me of teenagers trying to wriggle out of what Papa had said. :-) (That was how we addressed our father, growing up: Papa. And we probably did that sort of wrangling then, too, at least some of the time!)
But following the evidence, and we have plenty of it, it does seem that Pope Paul VI was proven right for the most part, and I don't see that he was wrong anywhere.