Saturday, August 05, 2017

Other people's devotions

The Imitation of Christ warns the monk not to let his personal devotions be kept to yourself. Of course, if you have a devotion that you engage in in chapel, how can others not see it? Are you supposed to hide your scapular?

In our day that has been taken to new heights. No personal acts of devotion should ever be seen by anyone ever, nor should you ever promote a devotion. Everyone has their own way of relating to the Lord.

What I've notice, though, is that some people who have one form of devotion that they consider "adult" (as in "We need to have an adult faith") look down on others who have a different form as childish, superstitions, or overly sentimental. It seems to me that this attitude has two sources: an over-spiritualization of the faith and spiritual pride. For some, a relationship with faith is purely interior. Those who engage their body during devotions are "carnal" (although they may not use that word). I think the theology of the body has addressed that.

As for pride, what if some people approach Our Lord and the saints like a child?  What if they are devoted to images that don't have the greatest artistic value and that seem to us to be overly sentimental. I'd rather think, "I'm glad they have a relationship with the Lord; it is undoubtedly deeper and richer than my own."

Monday, May 22, 2017

I heard an ad the other day about some kind of cancer medicine. The woman said something like, "You could be home the day after chemotherapy to be with your support systerm." I thought, "Why don't you say, 'with your family and friends'?"

We have a tendency to impersonalize our relationships. Another example is the phrase, "wisdom figure." We can't bring ourselves to say, "He is a wise man." We have to say, "He is a wisdom figure." I suppose this is the influence of Jungean psychology.

Jesus was not a "wisdom figure." He was a wise man--with the wisdom of God, which was a stumbling block for the Jews and folly to the Greeks.

Monday, March 06, 2017

The other day a friend of mine said in an email, "I hope you have a spiritually productive Lent." That is a fairly standard way to talk among Catholics these days. It occurs to me, though, that better way to say the same thing would be, "have a spiritually fruitful Lent." Perhaps we are overly affected by Cartesian mechanistic thinking."fruitful" has a more organic feel to it. It helps us remember that we are being regenerated to new life.
The other day a friend of mine said in an email, "I hope you have a spiritually productive Lent." That is a fairly standard way to talk among Catholics these days. It occurs to me, though, that better way to say the same thing would be, "have a spiritually fruitful Lent." Perhaps we are overly affected by Cartesian mechanistic thinking."fruitful" has a more organic feel to it. It helps us remember that we are being regenerated to new life.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Ave Regina Caelorum

The Church has a lot of wisdom. We stop singing the Alma Redemptoris Mater after the Feast of the Presentation and immediately begin singing the Ave Regina Caelorum. This encourages us to begin ramping up for Lent.  It is like a warm-up session before running a marathon. Even though we are in Ordinary Time, it is a different kind of Ordinary Time than that which comes after Pentecost. It is a time to say "Ready, set," before we say "Go!" on Ash Wednesday.

This was the wisdom of Septuagesima Sunday, etc. We apparently need the time to prepare for the time to prepare for Easter.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

How to work for Justice

The Pro-life movement is concerned about justice in our societies. As a way to achieve our goal many in the movement have hitched their wagon to Trump. I think it is important for us to keep in mind these "10 Brilliant Quotes from St. Francis de Sales on Cultivating Peace," posted by Erin Cain on National Ignitum Today. Justice will not be accomplished unless we have inner peace.

I especially think these are important:
2. “Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.”
3. “There was never an angry man that thought his anger unjust.”
7. “When you encounter difficulties and contradictions, do not try to break them, but bend them with gentleness and time.”
8. “True progress quietly and persistently moves along without notice.”

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Guess who has an office next to mine at the seminary?

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The works of mercy

I was in a church yesterday to go to confession. On one of the walls there were several banners, each with one of the corporal works of mercy on it. On the opposite wall were several other banners. I presumed they would be the spiritual works of mercy, but when I went over there to check it out, they also contained the corporal works of mercy!

I don't know the context, so I don't know why they chose to include the one and not the other. For all I know next week they are going to switch to the spiritual.

It felt funny to me, though, as if the corporal were the ones we should pay attention to. As if it is more important to feed the hungry than to admonish the sinner. I wager there are people who think that, but I also wager that it is not the mind of the Church.

It's not about Egypt

I was reading Ezekiel chapter 32 which is a dirge for Pharaoh and a dirge for Egypt. It occurred to me when reading verse 19 the the real target of the chapter is not Egypt, but the reader. The verse says, "Many peoples shall be appalled at you, and their kings shall shiver over you in horror when they see me brandish my sword and on the day of your downfall every one of them shall continuously trembles for his own life." Egypt is an example for all of us. When God chastises another perhaps the first thought that should come to mind is "Why not us? why not me?"