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Friday, June 19, 2015

The Patience of God

It struck me as I read Jesus assuring Simon Peter shortly before his crucifixion: "I have prayed for you that your faith will not fail."

Well, it did fail. He denied Jesus when confronted at the courtyard. So what is Jesus talking about? It seems to me he took into account, not just those moments of failure, but also the moment of grace when he repented and turned back. Taken together in chronological order, by the grace of God,  Peter's faith did endure.

He has a longer, more complete view of things. We tend not to see that far because our lives are short and the long term can seem too great to contemplate. Thankfully, God takes the long view, and additionally, he stacks things in our favor by giving us the grace we need when we need it. It may take a while, and not according to our schedule, but in the long view of things, we can get by and more: we can triumph. One thing is needed, however: we need Faith. And even that is a gift.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Do Catholics babble?

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘In your prayers do not babble as the pagans do, for they think that by using many words they will make themselves heard. Do not be like them; your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Matthew 6:7-15

Do we babble? I hope not. Why then the long prayers like the Office of Readings or the Mass? My answer: we do not use many words in order to be heard, but rather to hear more the word of God, straight from Scriptures or expounded for clearer understanding.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Lutherans against the papacy

As I read the back and forth comments, I get the sad feeling that this here is what makes them unreceptive to the unity that Christ willed and prayed for in John 17. There is the same spirit of "prove it!" that drove Luther. Ironically, this is not a spirit of Faith. It is a spirit of "I know". The catch is that it is the rationalist approach that feeds atheism as well.

To me, it is a wonderful thing for God to order his household with a hierarchy to govern his people. It reflects the fact that divine truth is revealed. The alternative is almost a mob of sheep who teach themselves, a flock that will not accept leaders unless they first prove themselves to the sheep.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Salt and Light .. To whom?

Matthew 5:13-16 --

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘You are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes tasteless, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled underfoot by men. ‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house.

And what if we start thinking that we are salt of the Church and light to all Christians instead, shining the light of the nations for everyone in the household of God so it will conform to the times?

Perhaps just as misguided, what if we decide that we don't need to shine this light and share this salt to the world, that we should all just get along in a pluralistic society, to just live and let live?

Monday, June 08, 2015

Faithful, Orthodox Christianity and the World

Our task is not one of producing persuasive propaganda; Christianity shows its greatness when it is hated by the world. -- from the letter of St Ignatius of Antioch to the Romans

Monday, June 01, 2015

The Word who bestows the Spirit

Even the gifts that the Spirit dispenses to individuals are given by the Father through the Word. For all that belongs to the Father belongs also to the Son, and so the graces given by the Son in the Spirit are true gifts of the Father. Similarly, when the Spirit dwells in us, the Word who bestows the Spirit is in us too, and the Father is present in the Word. This is the meaning of the text: My Father and I will come to him and make our home with him. For where the light is, there also is the radiance; and where the radiance is, there too are its power and its resplendent grace.

From a  letter by St Athanasius

I found this fascinating, taken from the Office of Readings for Trinity Sunday, because it continues to disappoint me that anyone would make a schismatic point about the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Son. We have that in the Latin Rite creed and the Orthodox object to it. Well here is St. Athanasius, an eastern Father, I believe, and he is very clear about what it means. As a Greek Orthodox friend once told me, the division really is more about the bishop of Rome. In the meantime, the schism and various Protestantisms continue to weaken the sign to the nations. Seems to be mirrored in the all too common splintering of marriages and families.