Tuesday, October 31, 2006

On Caring about Others

There's a reason why he was called Chrysostom, golden mouthed, and one can see how he could get himself exiled from the Imperial Capital. He really tells it like it is.

From St. John Chrysostom http://www.chrysostom.org/ (around 345-407), Archbishop of Constantinople
Homily 20 on the Acts of the Apostles

Being yeast for the world

Nothing is more derisory than a Christian, who does not care for the salvation of others. You cannot here plead poverty: for the poor widow that put in two small coins, shall be your accuser (Mk 12:42). And Peter said to the crippled man: "I have neither silver nor gold." (Acts 3:6) And Paul was so poor, that he was often hungry. You cannot plead lowness of birth: for the apostles too were simple men, and of simple parentage. You cannot allege want of education, for they too were unlearned. Even if you were a slave and a runaway, you could perform your part; for such was Onesimus, yet how much Paul honors him (Phl). You cannot plead infirmity, for such was Timothy. No matter who we are, everyone can profit his neighbor, if he will fulfil his part.

Consider the trees in the forest, how strong they are, how fair and of great height. But if we had a garden we would much rather have pomegranates, or fruitful olive trees. Fair trees but unfruitful…, such are people who only consider their own interest… If the leaven mixed up with the flour did not change the whole into its own nature, would such a thing be leaven? If a perfume shed no sweet odor on those who approach it, could we call it a perfume? Therefore, don't say, "It is impossible for me to be a good influence on others".

For if you are a Christian, it is impossible not to: it is the very nature of Christians… For it is easier for the sun not to give heat, nor to shine, than for the Christian not to send forth light."

Monday, October 30, 2006

More Light on Blind Bart from B. XVI

Benedict XVI had this to say about Sunday's gospel encounter between Bartemaeus and Jesus, an event whose decisive moment, he said, was the "personal, direct encounter between the Lord and that man who was suffering."

"They are before one another: God with his will to cure and the man with his desire to be cured," the Pope observed. "Two liberties, two converging wills."The blind man's entreaty, full of faith, ends in the miracle. "God's joy, man's joy," said the Holy Father.

And from that moment, Bartimaeus became a disciple of Jesus, "and he goes up with the Master to Jerusalem to take part with him in the great mystery of salvation," the Pontiff recalled. The account "evokes the itinerary of the catechumen toward the sacrament of baptism, which in the early Church was also called 'Illumination,'" because the "faith is a path of illumination," noted Benedict XVI.

"It starts from the humility of acknowledging one's need of salvation and arrives at the personal encounter with Christ, who calls to follow him on the way of love. "It is from this model that "the itineraries of Christian initiation have been established in the Church, which prepare for the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist," he stated.

And in places where baptism is received as a child, the Pope continued, "catechetical and spiritual experiences are proposed to young people and adults which enable them to undertake a path of rediscovery of the faith in a mature and conscious way, in order to assume later a coherent commitment to witness." The task carried out by pastors and catechists in this field is crucial, the Holy Father said. "The rediscovery of the value of one's baptism is the basis of the missionary commitment of every Christian."The Gospel shows that he who lets himself be fascinated by Christ cannot do without witnessing the joy of following in his footsteps. "He concluded: "We understand even more that, in virtue of baptism, we have an inherent missionary vocation."

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Jesus is calling you

I heard these words today at Mass, spoken to blind Bartimaus in the gospel reading, as if spoken to me. "Take courage, get up, Jesus is calling you." He is calling us all, all of us, each and every one who humbly cries out to him to come and help us in our infirmity. It is interesting to me to note the similarity between blind Bartimaus' prayer response and the traditional Jesus prayer one version of which is "Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."

Both are humble cries for help, both are addressed to the same saving Lord. Both prayers are the cry of hearts who know their deep need. There have been some times in my life, even recently, when all I could manage to pray was this Jesus Prayer. It is enough.

I also heard today that wonderful English hymn, with words by George Herbert and featuring a haunting melodic setting by Ralph Vaughan Williams. The title of the melody is as tantalizing as the musical notes themselves. I wish I was techno-saavy enough to provide you a link to the composition. But the words alone will have to suffice. It's simply entitled "the Call."

You'll forgive me if I share all three stanzas:

Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life:
Such a way as gives us breath;
Such a truth as ends all strife;
Such a life as killeth death.

Come my Light, my Feast, my Strength;
Such a light as shows a feast;
Such a feast as mends in length;
Such a strength as makes his guest.

Come my Joy, my Love, my Heart;
Such a joy as none as come move;
Such a love as none can part;
Such a heart as joys in love.

Tonight I pray again "Come, Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner."

Two Fun Facts about Our Lady

Our Lady and the respectful dust ... and the one of the "modern means of social communication"

Saint Eusebius (+ 371) is credited with the founding of the shrine that houses this wonder working statue of Our Lady. It is said that while visiting Jerusalem, the saint was inspired to discover three statues of Our Lady. He brought these statues back with him to his native Italy, enshrining one of them in a hermitage chapel at Oropa.

Throughout the centuries a strange phenomenon has been observed. Although the ornate statues of Our Lady and the Holy Child - carved of cedar wood and elaborately dressed - are behind glass, dust somehow accumulates and rests on the figures, robes, crowns, etc. However, never has a particle of dust fallen upon the faces of either Mother or Child.

In addition to the phenomenon of the so-called “respectful dust” and miracles worked at the shrine, Oropa has still another important distinction. It was here that Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937), “in the summer of 1895, while contemplating the Biellese Alps from the heights of Oropa, bethought that man might find a new energy in space, and the means to a new method of communication.” Marconi eventually invented the radio and sent his first radio message to the Vatican from Oropa, under Our Lady’s patronage.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A Fine Claret

The memorial for St Anthony Mary Claret (+1870) was a few days ago, but I have been thinking for the past several days about his devotion both to our Blessed Mother and to service to others. True devotion to Mary leads us towards helping others because that is where Her heart is.

Here is an excerpt from one of his writings:

The zealous man desires and achieve all great things and he labors strenuously so that God may always be better known, loved and served in this world and in the life to come, for this holy love is without end. Because he is concerned also for his neighbor, the man of zeal works to fulfill his desire that all men be content on this earth and happy and blessed in their heavenly homeland, that all may be saved, and that no one may perish for ever, or offend God, or remain even for a moment in sin.

Such are the concerns we observe in the holy apostles and in all who are driven by the apostolic spirit. For myself, I say this to you: The man who burns with the fire of divine love is a son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and wherever he goes, he enkindles that flame; he deserves and works with all this strength to inflame all men with the fire of God's love. Nothing deters him: he rejoices in poverty; he labors strenuously; he welcomes hardships; he laughs off false accusations; he rejoices in anguish. He thinks only of how he might follow Jesus Christ and imitate him by his prayers, his labors, his sufferings, and by caring always and only for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Studying in the Quiet

Spend Time in Silence, Pope Tells Students,
Opens Academic Year of Pontifical Universities

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 24, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI counseled students of the pontifical universities in Rome to spend time in silence and contemplation, so as not to fall prey to the "inflation" of words.

The Holy Father said this on Monday afternoon to the university students who had gathered for the annual Mass celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica to open the academic year. Benedict XVI told the students: "In-depth reflection on Christian truths and the study of theology or other religious disciplines presuppose an education in silence and contemplation, as it is necessary to be able to listen with the heart to God who speaks.

"Only if they proceed from the silence of contemplation can our words have a certain value and usefulness and not fall into the inflation of the world's speeches which seek the consensus of public opinion."Therefore, whoever studies in an ecclesiastical institution must be disposed to obedience and truth, and cultivate a certain asceticism of thought and word.

"The Pontiff added: "This asceticism is based on loving familiarity with the word of God."

"Pray: 'Lord, teach us to pray and also to think, to write and to speak,' as these faculties are intimately connected among themselves," the Pope said.

Benedict XVI told the students that "apostolate will be fruitful if you nourish your personal relationship with him, tending toward holiness and having as sole objective of your existence the realization of the kingdom of God."

Pondering these words, a good rule of thumb might be the following: spend one half hour of study/reflection/prayer for every minute of public speaking/ teaching/ preaching/blogging. For each minute we speak with a fellow human, then we can also devote a minute to personal prayer for them. This should make study more important and "vain conversation" less frequent.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

St. Bernard on keeping watch in the Holy Spirit

Today's Gospel...

Lk 12:35-38
Jesus said to his disciples: “Gird your loins and light your lampsand be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself,have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them. And should he come in the second or third watchand find them prepared in this way,blessed are those servants."

From St. Bernard of Clairvaux, (1091-1153), Cistercian monk and doctor of the Church

Sermon 17 on the Song of Songs, 2

"We have to be vigilant and careful about the work of salvation ceaselessly performed in our inmost being with all the skill and sweetness of the Holy Spirit's artistry. If we do not wish to be deprived of a twofold gift, let us make sure that this heaven-sent Director, who can teach us all things, is never taken away from us without our knowledge.

Let him never find us unprepared when he comes, but always with faces uplifted and hearts expanded to receive the copious blessing of the Lord. Let him find us "like people who are waiting for their master to come home from the marriage-feast", for he never comes empty-handed from heaven's richly-laden table. Therefore we must keep watch, even hour by hour, for we do not know at what hour he will come and depart again.

The Holy Spirit comes and goes (Jn 3:8), and if we can stand firmly only with his support, it follows that we must fall when abandoned by him; fall, yes, but never fatally, since the Lord supports us by the hand. Persons who are spiritual or whom the Holy Spirit purposes to make spiritual, never cease to experience these alternations; he visits them every morning and tests them at any moment. "

Monday, October 23, 2006

Kids, Caritas and Cardinal Martino

My sons and I are studying the virtues together on the weekends they are with me. We are using the book Boys to Men: the Transforming Power of Virtue by Tim Gray and Curtis Martin (Stuebenville, OH: Emmaus Road, 2001). Although it is written specifically for adult men and fathers, I have found it very helpful in teaching my sons. After all, they are MY sons, and they are far advanced in wisdom beyond their years. So it's no surprise to me that they can handle such advanced material. :-) However, I heartily recommend the book for any man who is interested in beefing up his ability to respond to God's grace in accord with his own vocation in life.

I myself am learning a lot of very basic things about the Christian life from our study together. Here are a few gems.

Did you know that the definition of virtue is the power or ability to live life according to God's will? I had never thought of virtue in that way before. To me, virtues were always specific activities which I did , not grace-given abilities to follow God's law. That tiny shift in emphasis can make a huge and positive difference in how we approach living the moral life.

This past weekend we also learned that the virtue Justice is giving to others what is theirs. Charity on the other hand, consists in giving to others what belongs to me. As I think and pray over these definitions I realize that I have lived most of my moral life inside of a false dichotomy.

Is life and our relationship with God really a choice between two alternatives, justice (and consequentially God's condemnation) and mercy/ charity? I learned this past weekend that the law of charity, that is, the law of Christ, doesn't abrogate or replace justice. Instead Christ in charity calls us to a higher standard than justice requires. Christ's love fulfills, encompasses and makes complete the justice of God. He does all this through love which, for Christ, represents the summation and pinnacle of the just Law.

My task this week is to continue mediitating on these insights in light of His Holiness Benedict XVI's encyclical letter "Deus Caritas Est."

I was privileged to hear about these words tonight from the lips of Cardinal Renato Martino, who was in St Paul to address the topic "The Relationship Between Justive and Love" at the University of St. Thomas. As President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace as well as the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, he was well qualified to address the topic.

Martino, 73, is a native of Italy. During 16 years at the United Nations as papal observer of the Holy See, from 1987 to 2002, he participated in conferences on a range of topics: disarmament, development, poverty, the rights of minors, the rights of Palestine refugees and religious liberty.

He became head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in fall 2002, and also was named head of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People in spring 2006.

Here are the words of the Pope's encyclical with which Cardinal Martino closed his talk.
Faith, hope and charity go together. Hope is practised through the
virtue of patience, which continues to do good even in the face of apparent
failure, and through the virtue of humility, which accepts God's mystery and
trusts him even at times of darkness. Faith tells us that God has given his Son
for our sakes and gives us the victorious certainty that it is really true: God
is love!
It thus transforms our impatience and our doubts into the sure hope
that God holds the world in his hands and that, as the dramatic imagery of the
end of the Book of Revelation points out, in spite of all darkness he ultimately
triumphs in glory. Faith, which sees the love of God revealed in the pierced
heart of Jesus on the Cross, gives rise to love. Love is the light—and in the
end, the only light—that can always illuminate a world grown dim and give us the
courage needed to keep living and working.
Love is possible, and we are able to practise it because we are created in the image of God. To experience love and in this way to cause the light of God to enter into the world—this is the
invitation I would like to extend with the present Encyclical.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Perfected in service

This weekend we took down two very tall trees on our property in preparation for constructing an addition to our home. It was hard work for all. But there was something very fulfilling in the commitment to seeing the job through to completion and the fun tonight of having the first campfire to begin burning the brush and branches. I'll smell like smoke all week long.

At Mass on Sunday we heard how Jesus calls us all to service to others.... Those who want to be great are to be servants of all. The word in Greek is really "slave," but that sounds so awkward in our ears. However, there is a part of that concept which I think is very meaningful for me. The fact is, we Christians are called to be people for others. Following our Lord's example we think of others' needs and design our lives around fulfilling them.

Mother Teresa had it right.

We all want nothing other than to be happy and at peace. We were created for that, and we can only find happiness and peace by loving God. Loving him brings us joy and happiness.

Many, especially in the West, think that living comfortably makes a person happy. I think it is more difficult to be happy when one is rich, because the concerns about earning money and keeping it hide God from us. However, if God has entrusted you with wealth, use it to serve his works: help others, help the poor, create jobs, give work to others. Don’t waste your fortune on vain things. Having a house, honors, freedom, good health, all that has been entrusted to us by God so that we can use it to serve those who are less fortunate than we are.

Jesus said: “As often as you did it for one of my least brothers, you did it for me.” (Mt 25:40) Consequently, the only thing that can make me sad is to offend our Lord through selfishness or through lack of love for others, or to wrong someone. By wounding the poor, by wounding one another, we wound God. It belongs to God to give and to take back (Job 1:21); so share what you have received, including your own life."

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Fratres in unum

The Psalmist (Psalm 131) wrote "how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell in unity." My brother-friend Antony from whom I learned this art of blogging upbraided me for my comment in the opening lines of my last blog. As I noted there, I have not historically been very friendly toward either the French or the Jesuits.

The reasons for my antipathy needn't detain us here. Still, however one feels about one's fellow man, we still need to be open and non- prejudicial. Antony's laubable sensitivity about my remarks made me think more deeply about how I react to others. There is always the need for civility in discourse and behavior. Thank you, Antony.

Benedict XVI made a related observation about relationships within the Church during last week's General Audience. He commented on the make-up of the Twelve Apostles. In particular he marveled at the juxtaposition of Simon the Zealot next to Matthew the tax collector.

"Simon is called "Cananaean" and "Zealot." Both expressions stress his passionate attachment to his Jewish identity. That Simon could live in harmony with Matthew the tax collector in the same community, shows us how in the Church, through the grace of Christ, differences can be overcome."

I need to hear those words and heed them. So often especially in my work I deal with varieties of Catholic folk all across the spectrum, from Latin-loving traditionalists to left-ward leaning Dorothy Day birkenstock wearers. These encounters could becomes occasions for clashing agendas, harsh words, and conflict. Revealing my own predelictions (middle of the road to conservative Catholic) could only make matters worse. And I wouldn't be helping my brothers and sisters out either. So, instead I choose to focus on the matters at hand. How can we all fulfill the mission of the Church in a more excellent way through excellence in fiscal management? It's a lesson I relearn every time I visit a parish or have a serious conversation with a fellow Catholic. I think our Heavenly Father as well as our Holy Father Benedict XVI wants us to learn this lesson also.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Mors Artis in Mickey's Diner

Neither the French nor the Jesuits will ever appear on my short list of favorites. However, I bow head and knee for this October 19th memorial of Sts. John de Brebeuf, Issac Jogues, and the North American Martyrs. They were Jesuit missionaries slaughtered in the mid 1600's by Huron and Iroquois.

Here is an excerpt from BreBeuf's private diary.

For two days now I have experienced a great desire to be a martyr and to endure all the torments the martyrs suffered.Jesus, my Lord and savior, what can I give you in return for all the favors you have first conferred on me? I will take from your hand the cup of your sufferings and call on your name. I vow before your eternal Father and the Holy Spirit, before your most holy Mother and her most chaste spouse, before the angels, apostles and martyrs, before my blessed fathers Saint Ignatius and Saint Francis Xavier-in truth I vow to you, Jesus my savior, that as far as I have the strength I will never fail to accept the grace of martyrdom, if some day you in your infinite mercy should offer it to me, your most unworthy servant.

I bind myself in this way so that for the rest of my life I will have neither permission nor freedom to refuse opportunities of dying and shedding my blood for you, unless at a particular juncture I should consider it more suitable for your glory to act otherwise at that time. Further, I bind myself to this so that, on receiving the blow of death, I shall accept it from your hands with the fullest delight and joy of spirit. For this reason, my beloved Jesus, and because of the surging joy which moves me, here and now I offer my blood and body and life. May I die only for you, if you will grant me this grace, since you willingly died for me. Let me so live that you may grant me the gift of such a happy death. In this way, my God and savior, I will take from your hand the cup of your sufferings and call on your name: Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!

I doubt that any of us who read these lines will ever be called to experience the full blinding force of offering ourselves through a bloody death to the Father in union with His Beloved Son. However, we will all experience the little deaths which prepare us for the Final Journey.

Today I ate lunch at Mickey's Diner in downtown St. Paul. I am not in the habit of going there often, especially in midday. Too cramped. Too poor. Too crowded. Too real. Today I sat at the counter and watched and listened as a variety of small dramas unfolded around me. The man next to me had been attacked in his Frogtown apartment. A few seats down a young man worked pensively on some paperwork. I wondered why his brow was so furrowed. A variety of street people, all of us gathered with our various unseen troubles in that sheet metal shelter from the cold and damp, a few feet away from the Dorothy Day Center across the street.

I considered the disapointments which these folk around me were called upon to face. They were challenged to find warmth and shelter, food and love. My own small struggles pale by comparison, less basic, more narcissistic than theirs. But what we will all share in common is that this is the messy and seemingly unending road to Life, paved with little irritants and big stumbling blocks and fraught with worrisome events. And it all turns us to the Cross, and the One who died there for us.

Jesus, my Lord and savior, what can I give you in return for all the favors you have first conferred on me? I will take from your hand the cup of your sufferings and call on your name.

Warm Hand Luke

Today we celebrate Saint Luke, Evangelist and also Patron of physicians and artists. He brought a warm hand to his work, both in the healing arts and through his portrayal of Christ in the third gospel. Luke's gospel is widely recognized as very human in tone, highlighting our Lord's relationships with women and children, and encorporating memories of His blessed Mother in its infancy narratives. Luke's gospel focusses on the nearness of God and the universality of God's presence. Lukan missionaries are to proclaim "the kingdom of God is at hand for you" (Luke 10:9). Luke's second volume, the book of Acts, details the expansion of the Church into the Gentile communities of which Luke was a part.

According to Orthodox tradition, St Luke was the first person to complete three pictures of the holy Mother of God carrying the Child of God in her arms. He showed them to the Holy Virgin for approval, while she was still alive. She received these holy pictures joyfully and said: “May the grace of Him to whom I gave birth be within them!” Later, St Luke made pictures of the Holy Apostles and bestowed upon the Church this pious and holy tradition of venerating the icons of Christ and His Saints.

St Luke came from the city of Antioch the Great. Of noble birth, he particularly excelled in the areas of medical science and pictorial art. Under the reign of Emperor Claudius (c. 42 AD.), while he was caring for the sick around Thebes in Beotia, he met the Apostle Paul, whose ardent words convinced him that the absolute truth for which he had been seeking for so many years could indeed be found among the disciples of Jesus Christ.

Near his life's end the Apostle Paul recalled fondly the faithfulness of Luke in the face of desertion by so many others (2 Timothy 4:10-17).

After he had been separated from his master, Luke returned to Greece to proclaim the Gospel there. He again set up his abode in the Thebes area where he died peacefully at the age of eighty. Wishing to glorify His faithful servant, God poured a miraculous liquid over his tom

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Is your God worth dying for?

Today we in the Roman Catholic tradition remember the martyrdom of St Ignatius of Antioch, third bishop of that city. The Eastern churches mark his day on December 20th.

Ignatius is best remembered for his seven letters writtern to the churches which lay across his path. These letters were penned and sent during his triumphal procession across the Empire through Asia Minor towards Rome. There he was martyred in the arena under the Emperor Trajan around the year 107 A.D. I choose to use A.D., Anno Domini, rather than the more PC but less Christocentric designation C.E., common era.

Ignatius is worthy of note for at least two reasons. First, his letters are the earliest extra-biblical witness to the important role of ordained clergy, bishop, priests and deacons, in the early Church. He wrote extensively to clergy and about their role as an alter christus, another Christ. But that is fodder for another post.

Today I want to consider Ignatius of Antioch as the prototype for the eventual cult of the martyrs, that early Christian desire to give the ultimate witness (Greek martyria) to Christ through death.

Ignatius himself wrote to the Romans:

" I am God's wheat, ground fine by the lion's teeth to be made purest bread for Christ....

No early pleasures, no kingdoms of this world can benefit me in any way. I prefer death in Christ Jesus to power over the farthest limits of the earth. He who died in place of us is the one object of my quest. He who rose for our sakes is my one desire. The time for my birth is close at hand. Forgive me, my brothers. Do not stand in the way of my birth to real life; do not wish me stillborn. My desire is to belong to God. Do not, then, hand me back to the world. do not try to tempt me with material things. Let me attain pure light. Only on my arrival there can I be fully a human being. Give me the privilege of imitating the passion of my God. "

Isn't this approach a bit uncomfortable to our modern ears?

We associate martyrdom with fanaticism and fundamentalist religion. My stomach turned this past Saturday as I watched the opening scene of United 93. Part of my revulsion was a morbid fascination with the obvious piety of the skyjackers who drew dozens of people to their deaths after them. The overlay of prayer recitiation from the Koran was difficult to take, and more difficult to ignore. Such martyrdom is difficult for us in the West to undertstand.

However, Ignatius' similar strong desire to depart this life is in line with other ancient writers and the best of the apostolic tradition. This tradition is strongly witnessed by the bloody deaths of all of the Apostles, except John, who endured a living death of exile on Patmos.

More to the point, do you and I believe so deeply in the saving significance of Jesus Christ and His Church that we are willing to die for Him? We do so either daily by the mortification, putting to death, of our flesh or at the end of life by giving the ultimate witness for Him, the willing sacrifice of our lives. It's hard to accept, but even harder to deny, that our Lord demands such service.

What is God asking you to die to today?

Almighty God, we praise you for your bishop and martyr Ignatius of Antioch, who offered himself as grain to be ground by the teeth of wild beasts that he might present to you the pure bread of sacrifice. Accept the willing tribute of our lives, and give us a share in the pure and spotless offering of your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever

On Discernment

The following homily excerpt speaks to me about the often messy discernment process which we humans have to undergo in our search for God. It is much easier to concentrate on the outside of the cup (enviromental or behavioral modifications) rather than letting our Lord cleanse us from the inside out.

Baudoin de Ford (? – around 1190), Cistercian abbot

Homily 6 on the Letter to the Hebrews, 4,12

“You cleanse the outside… Did not he who made the outside make the inside too?” The Lord knows the thoughts and intentions of our heart. For there is no doubt that he knows them all, but we only know those that he reveals to us through the grace of discernment. For a person’s mind does not always know what is inside him, and even when he is dealing with his thoughts, whether they be voluntary or not, he thinks of them in a way that does not always correspond with reality. His gaze is so darkened that he doesn’t even discern with precision those that reveal themselves clearly to his mind.For it often happens that, for some human reason or for a reason coming from the Tempter, a person sets out by means of his own thinking in something that only appears to be pious and that, in the eyes of God, does not at all deserve the reward promised to virtue.

That is because certain things can take on the appearance of true virtue, as moreover also of vice, and can deceive the eyes of the heart. Through their seductions, they can trouble the vision of our intelligence to the point that it often considers realities to be good that are in fact bad; and the other way around, they can make our intelligence see something bad where in fact there is no evil. That is an aspect of our poverty and of our ignorance that we must deplore a lot and greatly fear…Who can verify whether the spirits come from God unless that person has received discernment of spirits from God?… That discernment is at the source of all the virtues.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Apologia pro lentitudo sua

It's been 10 months since my first and only post. I've been through the annulment process and a change of job this past year. At long last I feel motivated to try this on a small scale. So, look for something new at least once a week, more often if this becomes my new hobby.