Friday, July 24, 2009
7 Quick Takes
1. I used to read books one at a time but now I’m finding it better to read several books in parallel. A perfect day is one where I’ve read a few pages from each book.
2. Speaking of which, I wonder if I’m not too obsessed about finishing books and prayers. If I pray a novena and miss a day, do I forget about the missed prayer and say the next day’s prayer or do I double up for that day? Being an ex-Muslim, anxiety about “prayer debt” (in Islam one is obliged to make up for missed days) is something I’ve had all my life.
3. Miseria, Misericordia, Magnificat--is the secret of Pope Paul the VI’s spirituality, according to his secretary (now Bishop of Cloyne), Father John Magee.
4. Iran and Honduras, pray for the people of these countries!
5. Saint Superman makes a good point, that freedom is interior and external rights are no good while interior freedom is lacking. But I also think we are obliged to fight to stay free. Totalitarianism crushes souls.
6. On the other hand, Professor Peter Kreeft says civilizations will come and go, but our eternal souls are precious.
7. Coming soon, my conversion testimony...
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Silence is the Greatest Lesson
How wonderful is the silence of Christ in the Tabernacle.
Silence is the greatest lesson ever preached.
- Silence under irritation
- Silence under criticism
- Silence under disappointment
- Silence when rebuffed
- Silence under ingratitude
- Silence under jealousy in oneself
- Silence under the jealousy of others
- Silence under disloyalty
- Silence when self-pleased
- Silence in sorrows of all kinds
No practice seems of more value than silence.
It gives the impression of latent force.
It wins confidence.
It secures deference.
A judicious reserve clothes a person with an air of mystery,
often the most interesting aspect of personality.
Silence has also a positive quality in forebearance.
There are forbearances of speech that constitute most effective replies;
which work persuasion that a torrent of eloquence cannot accomplish.
Via The Cukiersky Family Apostolate, found here.
Friday, May 29, 2009
The Resurrection of the Dead and Justice
In the modern era, the idea of the Last Judgement has faded into the background: Christian faith has been individualized and primarily oriented towards the salvation of the believer's own soul, while reflection on world history is largely dominated by the idea of progress. The fundamental content of awaiting a final Judgement, however, has not disappeared: it has simply taken on a totally different form. The atheism of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is—in its origins and aims—a type of moralism: a protest against the injustices of the world and of world history. A world marked by so much injustice, innocent suffering, and cynicism of power cannot be the work of a good God. A God with responsibility for such a world would not be a just God, much less a good God. It is for the sake of morality that this God has to be contested. Since there is no God to create justice, it seems man himself is now called to establish justice. If in the face of this world's suffering, protest against God is understandable, the claim that humanity can and must do what no God actually does or is able to do is both presumptuous and intrinsically false. It is no accident that this idea has led to the greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice; rather, it is grounded in the intrinsic falsity of the claim. A world which has to create its own justice is a world without hope. No one and nothing can answer for centuries of suffering. No one and nothing can guarantee that the cynicism of power—whatever beguiling ideological mask it adopts—will cease to dominate the world. This is why the great thinkers of the Frankfurt School, Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno, were equally critical of atheism and theism. Horkheimer radically excluded the possibility of ever finding a this-worldly substitute for God, while at the same time he rejected the image of a good and just God. In an extreme radicalization of the Old Testament prohibition of images, he speaks of a “longing for the totally Other” that remains inaccessible—a cry of yearning directed at world history. Adorno also firmly upheld this total rejection of images, which naturally meant the exclusion of any “image” of a loving God. On the other hand, he also constantly emphasized this “negative” dialectic and asserted that justice —true justice—would require a world “where not only present suffering would be wiped out, but also that which is irrevocably past would be undone”. This, would mean, however—to express it with positive and hence, for him, inadequate symbols—that there can be no justice without a resurrection of the dead. Yet this would have to involve “the resurrection of the flesh, something that is totally foreign to idealism and the realm of Absolute spirit”.
via Mark Shea
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Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Roman Catholic Fashion Show
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Tuesday, January 20, 2009
What Does God Do When We Fail?
But what, in fact, does God do when we fail spectacularly? Let's look at Scripture.
The pattern is set early in the very first "daytime drama" ever written: the story of Adam and Eve. They are created for blissful and eternal union with God. There are hundreds of thousands of things they can spend their days doing that will bring joy to themselves and pleasure to their heavenly Father. But like bees to the flower, they zero in on the one thing that will make the whole arrangement nosedive into misery.
There are many ways the story could have proceeded afterwards. If God hadn't revealed the determined mercy of his nature, all of Scripture would have been very short and read only by the angels: "God created the whole world. He made Adam and then a suitable helpmeet for him for their mutual benefit and delight. They screwed it up. God withdrew his hand and they died instantly. The End." But, in fact, the serpent failed to keep God from pursuing his plan -- creating for himself a people who would love him in return and live with him in wonderful joy forever. It just took longer.
So that's one example. What else do we find?
* At one of the most important and solemn moments in God's formation of a people for his own, after the clearest and most powerful exhortations to faithfulness and purity by the living God, the very people he has delivered from bondage get a bit impatient that he is taking so long to give his law to Moses. They grumble to Aaron who gets the bright idea to melt down all the gold into a pretty idol so they won't feel so lonely. To add to the disaster, Moses is so angered by this travesty that he smashes the tablets to smithereens on which the finger of God himself has written the law of the ages.
And God? Does God blast them all with lightning and rain meteors upon their heads? Why, no. God calmly asks for a fresh set of stone tablets and takes it upon himself to inscribe the law again. Angered but not dismayed, the sovereign Master of the Universe continues faithfully and steadily honing, hammering and purifying this crew into a fit people to receive the Messiah and be the means of God's redemption of the world.
* God singles out David as one "after his own heart", to belong to Him in a special way and play an important role in salvation history. Sometime later, though, David's eyes light on a babe (inconveniently married) with whom he becomes obsessed. Unused to frustration, he exploits the faithfulness and loyalty of her soldier husband by arranging to have him killed on the field of battle, and proceeds to take possession of the object of his desire.
What does God do in the face of this baseness? He perseveres in his purposes, calling David to deep repentance (the record of which continues to inspire and bless the people of God), fulfilling his covenant, and arranging for David to be an ancestor of the Redeemer through the child eventually born to him (wait for it) by the woman who he so venally seduced. (Matt 1:6) Not does God forgive the sin, he glorifies himself even in those circumstances.
* There was always something a little special about Simon Peter. The minute Jesus meets him and issues a call to be a disciple, he gives him the name Cephas ("the rock") [Jn 1:42]. Clearly not an accident, the deeper meaning becomes clear later: "You are Peter [rock] and upon this Rock I shall build my church." (Matt 16:15-19) Who was it whose grandiose "I will never deny you!" made him look like a knave and a fool when he turned tail as the going got rough? Yes, indeed, that was Peter. And who, after his betrayal, preached the first sermon after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, going on to lead the churches of Jerusalem and Rome? Right again.
Read the whole thing here.
Via Happy Catholic
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Why Believers Can Sound Obnoxious to Non-Believers
A) I'm happy because I worked hard and made all the right decisions. I deserve it.
B) I'm happy even though I don't deserve it, I've been blessed.
Both answers can be obnoxious to the friend, because it sounds like in A: You are not deserving of happiness and B: You are not blessed by God.
What about C?
C) I'm happy due to a combination of my decisions and dumb luck.
Note that C is a variant of A couched in more diplomatic terms. But to an unhappy person even C can be obnoxious, simply because to a certain type of unhappy person any evidence of happiness in others is an affront (read psychic injury).
Just keep in mind that when a believer annoys you with a B-type comment that the alternative is no better.
I'll write something about Divine Providence in another post.
Dawn Eden Finds Truth
Here is Dawn Eden writing of her encounter with Truth, and of course she is the much better writer so please visit her site, if you like my writings you'll love her. Plus she's much more prolific (there's an interesting pun for you!).
By the way, she makes an interesting observation when she talks about higher education:
As the course progressed, I became uneasy with the professors' teaching methods. Colwell and Clements used what I have since discovered is the common propaganda method used by liberals seeking to discredit Judeo-Christianity: When they wanted to demonstrate a "good" religion's views on the environment, they would have us read original source material, such as the Tao Te Ching, or texts from Native American mythologies. When they wanted to demonstrate the "bad" views of Judaism and Christianity, they had us read chapters from a book whose author cherry-picked Bible quotes and framed them within the author's critical commentary.
So read the whole thing here.
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