Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Remember, the honest Protestant living in simple faith, one of good will, loves Christ with such a zeal and ferocious passion because he literally has nothing else but to throw Himself on Christ as best he can after he is Baptized; he is at an absolute poverty of history, ecclesiastical shepherding and guidance, Sacramental Grace, Saintly and Angelic Intercession, and so many other good and perfect Gifts from the Father of Lights, crowned most perfectly by the Holy Eucharist.
'To faint away with the desire to love this great God more and more is little.'- St. Paul of the Cross
and let me desire you by seeking you;
let me find you by loving you,
and love you in finding you.
that you have made me in your image,
so that I can remember you, think of you, and love you.
and darkened by the smoke of sin,
that it cannot do that for which it was made,
unless you renew and refashion it.- St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, Doctor of the Church
If you do this, if these are the songs of you heart, the cry of your lips; if the Holy Spirit flowing from Jesus Christ is your only thirst, I can promise you, you will lead many Protestants to the fulness of truth. Carmelite spirituality and writers can help foster this sort of Divine intimacy and love in the devout Catholic.
2) It is utterly easy to see fragmented bits of vanity that we call knowledge of God and grasp at them and clutch them to your chest, instead of following God's reach through these sacramental accidents to God Himself. It is far better to have Wisdom the Person, than to clutch at and hold fragmented bits of knowledge, themselves brought down from infinite and staggering heights to fit inside our mind. We clutch at these facts and mull them over in our minds like a child clutches a teddy bear at the doctors office, hoping that it will impart to him courage and strength, and that it will protect him, when there is a Person in the Room that is giving Him a shot to truly strengthening him. We are in the room of this world, and the True Physician, Christ Himself, is waiting to strengthen us with His own self, with the only Cure that will simultaneously purge all that is offensive and sinful within us, and strengthen us into partaking of the Divine Nature: His Sacred Blood. We must realize our weakness, the pitiable frailty of all our exalted knowledge, and realize that all of these separate ideas turn into dust in our clutching hands if we do not surrender first to Absolute Truth and Love Himself, and allow Him to assume us and our knowledge that we know with us into Himself, and so bring all into Absolute Unity and Absolute Truth. In eternity, there will not be answers, but The Answer; not truths, but The Truth; not lights to guide our journey here on earth, but earth shattering Light Himself. All questions and all answers will melt away before His Face, and God shall be all in all. Transcendence can never fit entirely inside of our minds, but must instead work on us from His own volition of Will. Let us surrender in meekness to that Will to transform us.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
"...he is the true and genuine Catholic who loves the truth of God, who loves the Church, who loves the Body of Christ, who esteems divine religion and the Catholic Faith above every thing, above the authority, above the regard, above the genius, above the eloquence, above the philosophy, of every man whatsoever; who set light by all of these, and continuing steadfast and established in the faith, resolves that he will believe that, and that only, which he is sure the Catholic Church has held universally and from ancient time; but that whatsoever new and unheard-of doctrine he shall find to have been furtively introduced by some one or another, besides that of all, or contrary to that of all the saints, this, he will understand, does not pertain to religion, but is permitted as a trial, being instructed especially by the words of the blessed Apostle Paul, who writes thus in his first Epistle to the Corinthians, 'There must needs be heresies, that they who are approved may be made manifest among you:' as though he should say, This is the reason why the authors of Heresies are not forthwith rooted up by God, namely, that they who are approved may be made manifest; that is, that it maybe apparent of each individual, how tenacious and faithful and steadfast he is in his love of the Catholic faith."- St. Vincent of Lerins, AD 434
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Beautiful, inspirational, wise words from someone very dear to me, meant for all of us as we approach the season of penance, self-reflection and examination of conscience. Jesus Christ our Lord has made it very clear in The Gospel according to Saint John chapter fifteen that we are His own branches to the world, His emissaries, flowers of His grace being pruned by the Father through suffering and dying for the world, and yet in that death, abounding in the fruit of the eternal weight of glory that is everlasting life. At the Cross and the burial of Christ, He may be likened to a Seed, containing within Himself Infinite Grace, Infinite Life, Infinite Glory, the Strength of His Church that she has been sustained by for two millennia now; all contained in one as dead, True Life in death. Christ the Seed of the Vine was barren and dead and rough to all appearances, and was buried in the Earth.
On the third day the Seed of the Vine sprouted forth to unfathomable glory, and from the splendor of the Resurrection, His Church grew forth as a Vine in Him; being fed by the Holy Eucharist, and watered by the Holy Spirit. As living Shoots we still shoot forth from this eternal Vine, Bone of His Bone, Flesh of His Flesh, Blood of His Blood, sharing His Divine Spirit. Still we bear about the dying of the Lord Jesus in our mortal bodies, that the Life of Jesus might be manifest as our fruit, and the weight of eternal glory in Christ may be ours through the crown of thorns and the nails. This Lent, remember that you are that tiny shoot, at the top of a two-thousand year old vine, sprouted from the Resurrection. You are reaching for the sun, the Father, and the only way to be fruitful and reach your purpose in the glory of the eternal Father, is to stay connected to your roots, the crucified Seed and its Glorious Resurrection. Accept the mortification that comes as a matter of course from being a living and organic member of this Vine, and in humbling yourself under the might hand of the Father, He will exalt you in His only-begotten Son in due time, by the vivifying, dynamic power of His Spirit. This is your inheritance. This is your mission. This is your destiny. You are the Body of Christ.
Friday, February 10, 2012
This is why it is so vital for us as Catholics to heed Sacred Scripture, when it tells us that the very substance of being a Christian is being a bulwark of love, peace, and stability in a hurting world, and accepting pain and suffering in the nobility of a son or daughter of God our Father and united to Christ His Son, who is perfect peace. This is what changes the world, and this possesses a power that all intellectual pursuits will never yield. Thousands upon thousands of Christian martyrs exhibited the Spirit of God through three centuries under the Roman Empire, and the pagans who watched them wondered at the fact that they were immutable beacons of pure Life. Let us keep that spirit of the martyrs alive in ourselves, and remember that when we walk down any path of life surrounded by men and women on different paths than our own, they're not looking at the thoughts you produce or the truth you bear directly, but they view that through how you love and how authentically human you are. Christ has no hands on this earth but yours, no feet but yours, no mouth to comfort but yours. If you are part of the Body of the perfect Man, you will be perfectly, authentically human, and on your way to being perfected in love; this authentic humanity is what people hunger for.
Thursday, February 9, 2012
The more we, in this scientific age, quantify and probe the tiniest recesses of quantum mechanics, or the highest heights of physics to the Big Bang and the milliseconds following the very beginning of the universe, the more the transcendent that we have known and felt in the depths of our soul for as long as mankind has existed vaporizes in our hands, though reality is just the same as before. It is a trap that so many brilliant minds fall into these days. We have a tendency to see simply material things alone with a non-material soul, with a mind that was made to connect with transcendent Truth, and can only understand the universe through that lense. But at the end of the day, with all knowledge of this universe that we have, and the more we know, the sum of the human mind remains between denying himself and denying the transcendent in the depths of his own soul, or embracing the God without Whom he is nothing; embracing His action upon the soul, and resisting the desire to make Him conform to our comfort and our mind. This is the destiny of mankind in the eternal purpose of God; we are capable of receiving the Divine Nature, and being transformed in the very glory and being and possessing the very life of Christ, and this transformation takes places through our Faith in Christ pulling us up, and through becoming more and more sensitive to the Holy Spirit being given to us in the dept of our soul, and manifesting Him by our actions.
I believe this is partly what C.S. Lewis meant when he stated over and over again in his masterpiece of philosophy disguising itself as children's literature, The Chronicles of Narnia, that "He's not a tame Lion, you know." He was of course referring to Aslan, the symbol he uses to convey Jesus Christ to the reader under type and shadow. Christ is not tame, He will not be quantified, He will not be measured, He will not be subjected to rigorous tests of His existence, nor be subjugated to the probing of the mind into the hidden mysteries of His eternity and transcendence. All He has permitted us to do is to accept His grace as a reality and receive His theosis, starting at the depth of our soul, and He will not stop until we are resplendent creatures, burning with the light of a thousand suns, perfect images of the glory of God, in Him. He has married Himself to His Church two-thousand years ago, and He is still married to her; anyone who is a member of her is sharing in a two-thousand year marriage, and joining in the waiting for Him to return from His long and mystical journey.
This is what makes the mystery of the Eucharist so much more astounding; Christ, who is not tame, and will not be quantified nor identified nor broken down into human logic, is called as easily and as freely as a Divine Lover running to the beloved into our midst. He has the boldness to declare that in the context of the Divine Union with Him, we need not be merely passive, merely receiving. After we receive Him, after He has joined us to Himself, we begin to be grafted into a relationship with our Lord where we participate more and more; by His constant and utterly unfathomable grace and propping up for lack of a better term, His Church offers His Sacrifice, she offers God Himself and we along with Him, back to God. No individual has the grandeur in and of himself to offer God to God and so actively participate amid the very act of receiving God; we participate in the Sacrifice of the Eucharist through the Bishop or Priest presiding, yet even a Priest, even a Bishop, is only in so Divine an office because Christ conferred the Grace upon Him to be one with Mary in a particularly astounding way. Mary is the participator in the Divine Life; it is because she is the substance of the Church and the unity of the Church that the Church collectively offers God's Sacrifice to God, and Priests, as ministers of the Church and representatives of the being and authority of Christ, unite to this offering that Mary consummated under the Cross when she stood there and offered her Son to God as Abraham offered Isaac in type and shadow. Mary is, through her own absolute and utter dependence on Christ, our only participation and only hope of participation in the Divine Nature because she alone has God as her Son, which is an intimate union and participation unfathomable to us; she alone dwelt in the substance of the Holy Trinity from the moment of her Immaculate Conception to her glorious Assumption; the Assumption is nothing more than the ultimate physical and spiritual expression of the Incarnation of God, who Assumed her over her whole life and most absolutely at the Incarnation by becoming her Son, bone of her bone and flesh of her flesh. Oh the depth and riches of the knowledge and plan of God! His ways our unfathomable. Never has it entered the heart of man what God has in store for those who love Him, what He has already Assumed the Blessed Virgin into. Let us always be awestruck at His transforming Grace and Love, and let us beseech Him, Christ our God, through the prayers of His mother and all of the glorious Saints, to safely shepherd us to His eternal arms, which is the embrace of Love Himself.