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Make My Day PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 22 April 2008 08:07
Just back from seeing the sun rise on snowy peaks, wild rabbits playing, the first wildflowers.

I know. I sound like Madeline Basset* on a particularly bad day but spring in God's country can do that to you.

That's why I'm so glad that I have the suffering of Mark and other blog slaves to keep me grounded.

It just makes your day to know that you aren't one of them.
 
The Curt Jester Triumphs Again PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 21 April 2008 17:55
LOL.

"Distraction is prayer is known in the spiritual director field as Prayer Attention Deficit Disorder (PADD) or Supplication Attention Deficit (SAD) and is a birth defect caused by original sin. Since Adam and Eve only Jesus and Mary have not had to deal with Prayer Attention Deficit Disorder.

But you ask "Now that I know what the problem is how do I deal with it?"

That is where St. Johnson and St. Johnson's steps in with the latest pharmaceutical wonder. Our patented ingredients help to put your daily life behind you and to help you to concentrate while praying.

You can find information on our new product Ridalin on television or the sample ad below in your favorite magazine."




And as Fr. Philip, OP comments:

Sign me up for one of those once a month renewal prescriptions...I'll need the extra strength, extended release, please.

Visit the divinely inspired Jester to savor the whole thing.
 
Blogger's Delight PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 21 April 2008 15:46
SPQN, Father Roderick's group, is sponsoring the first Catholic New Media Celebration in Atlanta on June 22 right after their Eucharistic Conference.

Blogs, podcasts, websites, software, games, and just about anything interactive are considered New Media and both creators and consumers are invited to this one day event. From their website:

CNMC is a day of sharing the latest technologies and techniques used by both religious and laypeople to creatively and effectively invite others to grow in the Catholic faith through new and modern ways, not only in parishes and dioceses, but throughout the whole world. New media includes podcasts and online video, games and software, websites and blogs, mobile technology and all things interactive.

From the description of the schedule, it looks like pod-casting will rule the day. Fr. Roderick will be there as well as the writer of That Catholic Show. Registration is free. Check it out.
 
Blessed John Henry Newman PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 21 April 2008 11:14


John Henry Newman, the great English convert and theologian of the 19th century, is going to be beatified this year according to Sunday's London Times. While I have learned to be cautious about Church news that comes from the Times, this looks pretty solid.

The Vatican will announce the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman after accepting that he was responsible for a miracle in which an American clergyman was “cured” of a crippling spinal disorder.

Newman will be given the title “Blessed” after a ceremony later this year, leaving him one step away from full sainthood.

If the Catholic church attributes a further miracle to him, Newman could be canonised as early as 2009.


Praise God!

And after canonization, doctor of the Church? What less for the "Father" of the Second Vatican Council?

For the definitive collection of Newman links for your every Newman need, where else would one go but to Dave Armstrong?

We quote Newman at every Called & Gifted workshop. Partly because Newman laid the groundwork for the discussions on the dignity, mission, spirituality, and formation of the laity that occurred at the Second Vatican Council.

Take a look at this excellent article by Paul Chavasse on Newman and the Laity:

On the contribution of the laity to the development of doctrine:

Some one hundred years after Newman’s death, what can we say about his thoughts on the laity and their vital role in the life of the Church? Seen positively, many of Newman’s deepest insights have been taken up and have become an accepted part of modem ecclesiological thinking. This is undoubtedly because Newman’s research and thought were so soundly based on Scripture and the Fathers; his own “methodology” sprang from a true understanding of the Church’s Tradition. Any true renewal has to begin in this manner: a true growth based on what has gone before, seen in the needs that the present and future make apparent. The breadth of vision and understanding that Newman presents in his writings was such as to make him the “unseen guide” in so many of the deliberations of the Second Vatican Council and in its teachings on the laity in the Church. It will be profitable to see this in practice, by quoting one or two passages from the conciliar documents. For instance, the constitution Lumen Gentium contains the following reflection on how the faithful share in Christ’s prophetic message:

The holy People of God shares also in Christ’s prophetic office: it spreads abroad a living witness to him, especially by a life of faith and love and by offering to God a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of lips praising his name (cf. Heb 13:15). The whole body of the faithful who have an anointing that comes from the holy one (cf. 1 Jn 2:20 and 27) cannot err in matters of belief. This characteristic is shown in the supernatural appreciation of the faith (sensus fidei) of the whole people, when, “from the bishops to the last of the faithful” they manifest a universal consent in matters of faith and morals. By this appreciation of the faith, aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth, the People of God, guided by the sacred teaching authority (magisterium) and obeying it, receives not the mere word of men, but truly the word of God (cf.1Th 2:13),the faith once for all delivered to the saints (cf. Jude 3). The People unfailingly adheres to this faith, penetrates it more deeply with right judgment, and applies it more fully in daily life. [44]

This paragraph had originally been intended to form part of Chapter IV, on the laity, but was brought forward into the chapter on the People of God in order to mark the unity that exists between the laity and the hierarchy, which together form the People of God, who cannot err in matters of belief when they show that “universalis consensus” in matters of faith and morals. Objections and amendments to the text, which had wanted to highlight the role of the hierarchy more prominently, were not admitted, because the Council Fathers wanted to show that the sensus fidei was not to be considered as a particular prerogative of the hierarchy but as a power of the whole Church. There is a unity in bearing witness to the Faith that belongs to the totality of the Body of Christ. This concern of the Council Fathers is a most eloquent echo of the “pastorum et fidelium conspiratio” that Newman believed in and advocated so strongly.

Newman’s explanation of the importance of the consensus of the faithful and how that assists the Church is also to be found in the Council documents. Some of the bishops wished to say that the faithful are infallible because they reflect the teaching of the infallible Magisterium, but this was objected to as being an inadequate notion. Investigating Tradition, as Newman had done, it was obvious that the process of doctrinal development sometimes begins with the people: their consensus activates the infallible teaching authority of the Magisterium, which must discern and judge what has happened. The laity do not just reflect the teaching of the Magisterium, but they possess an active exercise of their prerogative that comes from their being constituted as the people of God. This is so made up of all the baptized because, irrespective of their hierarchical status or lack of it, they are the recipients of those motions or inspirations of the Holy Spirit that form the “dynamic element” in the Church, over against the “static element”, which is the hierarchy as such.


On the gifts of the Holy Spirit given to the laity:

It is not only through the sacraments and the ministrations of the Church that the Holy Spirit makes holy the People, leads them and enriches them with his virtues. Allotting his gifts according as he wills (cf. 1 Cor 12:11), he also distributes special graces among the faithful of every rank. By these gifts he makes them fit and ready to undertake various tasks and offices for the renewal and building up of the Church, as it is written, “the manifestation of the Spirit is given to everyone for profit” (1 Cor 12:7). Whether these charisms be very remarkable or more simple and widely diffused, they are to be received with thanksgiving and consolation since they are fitting and useful for the needs of the Church. [45]

This teaching on the gifts of the Holy Spirit being given to and for the good of the whole Church is also identical to that which Newman believed and proclaimed to be the case. His own criterion, which established the fact that the laity ought to be consulted, is precisely that they are open to and led by the workings of the Holy Spirit — the Divine Indwelling. This enables them, as devout believers, to appreciate ever more readily the Church’s Traditions and beliefs and, as we have already noted, guided by the same Holy Spirit, the laity has the gift of knowing the meaning of the Creed and the Deposit of Faith and in such a way that they can resist heresy and cling unswervingly to the truth.

Especially important in view of what Newman taught is the following passage:

For the exercise of the apostolate [the Holy Spirit] gives the faithful special gifts . . . so that each and all, putting at the service of others the grace received, may be “as good stewards of God’s varied gifts” (1 Pet 4:10) . . . . From the reception of these charisms, even the most ordinary ones, there arise for each of the faithful the right and duty of exercising them in the Church and in the world for the good of men and the development of the Church. [49]

That “right and duty” Newman had perceived at work when the laity helped save the Church from the Arian heresy. In a later age, he hoped it would be developed and used again to defend the Church from outside attacks, and, within, to prevent the Church from becoming too clericalized and turned in upon itself, and he hoped that a well-deployed, educated, and faithful laity would be able to do more good in those many areas of secular life where even an army of priests could not penetrate so effectively.


Comments?
 
Coming Home Forum PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 21 April 2008 06:02
Missed most of the Yankee Stadium papal Mass and the farewell ceremony.

Cause I was part of a panel of converts telling their story to a nearly 100 person crowd in Colorado Springs. Not all present were Catholic, I was told. I liked and admired all the other panelists.

Did get to meet Paul McCusker, the creator of the Odyssey children's radio drama, who had never told his story before. He was poised and impressive. Paul mentioned that he was startled to receive an e-mail from a total stranger simply stated "I understand that you have become Catholic".

That's when I realized with a start that I was probably the culprit. Not knowing that he had only been Catholic 6 months and had never talked about it publicly, I had blithely blogged about this little upcoming gig and mentioned his name and some evangelical blogs had picked it up and voila! its suddenly public. Paul seemed to be dealing with it fine but was obviously a little disoriented by internet fame. I'll think twice in future when tempted to blog about a new convert whose background is especially noteworthy.

A couple themes:

How differently God works with all of us. There is no paradigm for this journey. One had wrestled with issues of authority. I read all the books but was really propelled into the Church by a series of mystical experiences. There was a couple: he had read his way into the Church while she came from a very tortured background. Both had been involved with New Age and occult movement and so still approach Marian devotion with alot of caution although they accept everything the Church teaches.

But all on a journey of mercy into the heart of God's body on earth. And there is room for all of us, thank God.

A number of the "new Catholics" present were former Episcopalians/Anglicans. One panelist and his wife were displaced by the dramatic divisions with the largest Episcopalian Church in our area which had, until last year, been a booming center of orthodox Anglicanism. He became Catholic, his wife attends with him but doesn't know where her place is anymore. Several people came up and mentioned to me that they had once been Episcopalian themselves.

As am I, although there wasn't enough time for me to mention that little detail of my journey, I have often thought how glad I am to have become Catholic 20 years ago rather than stay and attempt to fight a tortured rear guard action in the TEC.

But I grasped something of their pain.

And it was reminder once again that I am not called to apologetics. When one young man in the room asked the panel an unbelievably detailed question about Aramaic and Greek grammer and its significance for the Biblical foundation of papal primacy, we were all stumped. I was beyond stumped since I haven't even thought about such issues in years.

I think I'll stick to theology.

Much simpler.
 
A Christian Life That is Convincing PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Sunday, 20 April 2008 08:17
And this from Angelo Matara over at the marvelous Godspy:

He (Pope Benedict) ended by providing the answer to the problem he diagnosed decades ago, in 1968, in his book, Introduction to Christianity. The radical argument made by that book was brought to the public’s attention by Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete in his interview with Charley Rose shortly after the Pope’s election.

According to Albacete, then Josef Ratzinger saw that: “the number one problem with Christianity today is that the Christian life is no longer convincing. It doesn’t convince anyone. So his program is the formation of he says creative minorities, throughout the world, that will offer not words but the witness of a life full of humanity, of peace, of joy, so that people from what is a cruel world will find a home in these communities.”

Reading the Pope’s speech to the bishops, what’s evident is that the Pope is proposing the method of the “creative minorities” to all the faithful. While the Pope will accept a Church that is smaller and more convincing, if that is God’s will, he won’t accept it without a fight: it’s the task of the Bishops to promote the “call to holiness” to all Catholics:

“In a society that rightly values personal liberty, the Church needs to promote at every level of her teaching — in catechesis, preaching, seminary and university instruction — an apologetics aimed at affirming the truth of Christian revelation, the harmony of faith and reason, and a sound understanding of freedom, seen in positive terms as a liberation both from the limitations of sin and for an authentic and fulfilling life. In a word, the Gospel has to be preached and taught as an integral way of life, offering an attractive and true answer, intellectually and practically, to real human problems… I believe that the Church in America, at this point in her history, is faced with the challenge of recapturing the Catholic vision of reality and presenting it, in an engaging and imaginative way, to a society which markets any number of recipes for human fulfillment.

No more Christendom, big battalions assumptions. No illusions about where we stand vis a vis the culture.

But not a barricade/ghetto mentality either. Not small circles, filled with rage and fear, talking to ourselves in language only we understand about subjects that only the initiate understand and care about. Because the ghetto is not the only alternative to Christendom.

Convincing is the word. And who are we seeking to convince? Not just those already in the pews.

I'm reading a couple of really intriguing books on evangelizing post-moderns right now in preparation for our Making Disciples seminars this summer. One book spends a lot of time on the necessity of arousing curiosity about Jesus and the faith through exposure to your own life and the lives of other Christians.

Of course, the obvious, painful, question, the question that must be asked, is "What about my life would arouse curiosity about Christ in a non-believer?"

And a variant question that all of us who blog should ask: What about this blog would arouse curiosity about Christ in a non-believer? Because in a 24/7 internet world, our discussions are not private.

Our discussions - all of them - are a witness.
 
Fall in Love . . .And It Will Decide Everything PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Sunday, 20 April 2008 08:07
Susan over at Creo En Dios! posted this beautiful meditation attributed to Pedro Arrupe, SJ, former General of the Jesuit Order, in light of the Pope's focus on relationship with Christ as the foundation of all other things:

Nothing is more practical than finding God,
that is, than falling in love
in a quite absolute, final way.

What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination,
will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you
out of bed in the morning,
what you will do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, who you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.

Fall in love; stay in love,
and it will decide everything.

 
Benedict & Avery Dulles PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Saturday, 19 April 2008 14:37
How absolutely wonderful.

The Pope is going to make a personal visit to Cardinal Avery Dulles in his bedroom while in Dunwoody seminary. It was not on his schedule. Cardinal Dulles is too ill to attend any of the events but no one deserves a private visit more.

Dulles, who is 89, is one of the great converts and theologians of the 20th century and gave his final annual McGinley lecture at Fordham on April 1. When I met him last April, he was still able to walk with a cane. Now he is wheelchair bound.

Here is the full text of his lecture from America magazine.

Here is the moving end of his lecture:

As I approach the termination of my active life, I gratefully acknowledge that a benign providence has governed my days. The persons I have met, the places I have been, the things I have been asked to do, have all coalesced into a pattern, so that each stage of my life has prepared me for the next. My 20 years on the McGinley Chair have been a kind of climax, at least from my personal point of view. I often feel that there is no one on earth with whom I would want to exchange places. It has been a special privilege to serve in the Society of Jesus, a religious community specially dedicated to the Savior of the world.

The good life does not have to be an easy one, as our blessed Lord and the saints have taught us. Pope John Paul II in his later years used to say, “The Pope must suffer.” Suffering and diminishment are not the greatest of evils, but are normal ingredients in life, especially in old age. They are to be accepted as elements of a full human existence. Well into my 90th year I have been able to work productively. As I become increasingly paralyzed and unable to speak, I can identify with the many paralytics and mute persons in the Gospels, grateful for the loving and skillful care I receive and for the hope of everlasting life in Christ. If the Lord now calls me to a period of weakness, I know well that his power can be made perfect in infirmity. “Blessed be the name of the Lord!”


But it is this picture of Dulles that will stay with me (as I wrote last April)

The most moving personal moment for me was meeting and spending a little time with Cardinal Avery Dulles. He is elderly and very frail now and walks with a four pronged cane, but still very sharp and possessing a lovely sense of humor. Very unpretentious - he simply introduced himself at breakfast as "Hello, I'm Avery Dulles". I got to sit at his small table at dinner and again at breakfast but the most memorable moment did not involve any words.

I visited the large, beautiful chapel before breakfast to spend a few minutes in adoration and found three other people there. Two students and Avery Dulles. He was alone, without his young priest assistant, who had been constantly at his side, steadying him throughout Mass and helping him ascend the podium. No longer able to kneel, he sat praying in a corner, his cane beside him.

The hidden source of all that wisdom.

 
Where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Saturday, 19 April 2008 10:23
This comment from Just Another Begger in the discussion on Benedict's "Post-Constantinian" Strategy below deserves to be highlighted.

"We need to be continuously reminded that to be Catholic is to be Christ; our life as a Catholic is a PARTICIPATION with Christ in HIS life, passion, death and resurrection, both individually and corporately. Thus, the Eucharist and the Liturgy become central to our lives again. Did not our fourth Pope, St. Clement say that where Christ is, there is His Church?"

Actually, it was Ignatius of Antioch who said it but you are certainly right about his meaning:

"Where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.
 
Joyfully Glorious PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Saturday, 19 April 2008 09:46
The Mass at St. Patrick's just finished. No deep observations. We don't discuss liturgy here anyway and I'd prefer to look at the text of the Pope's homily before commenting on it. As George Weigel noted yesterday, Benedict speaks in paragraphs, You have to read him to do him justice.

Just a few tidbits that I particularly enjoyed.

1) St. Patricks is truly beautiful. Someday I'll have to visit.

2) The EWTN team let the event speak for itself this time. Thank God.

3) Loved the obvious joy and energy from all the priests and religious present - especially the sisters.

4) Great cantor. With a voice and looks like that, that man is going to be a star.

5) Dare I say it? I liked everything: the music, the applause and the spontaneous standing ovation at the beginning, the Pope's homily, the prayers of the people in all the different languages of the archdiocese, the Holy Father's apparently spontaneous words of gratitude at the end. He struggled a bit with his English and that just made it more real and intimate - a glimpse of the private man. It was joyfully glorious and yet the television coverage makes it seem somehow intimate. (Although it was interesting to have an obviously Anglo nun praying in very carefully enunciated Chinese. A returned missionary, perhaps?)

Even the glimpse of the tall black man in what looked like a chasuble lifting his hands high in some kind of touchdown dance as the Pope passed down the center aisle. Had he managed to touch the Pope? I'm sure that he thought the pillar hid him from the cameras -but it didn't! :-} I love the little unplanned human eccentricities that say so much about what God is doing in people's hearts and minds through the Pope's visit.

So excommunicate me.

6) From now on, I'm gonna treat Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity with more respect. You just don't want to get between those sisters and the Pope. The same steely quality that makes them so effective with the poorest of the poor makes them a security detail's nightmare.

7) It was good to see so many Sisters of Life evident in their snazzy habits. I empathized with the young sister who sang the Psalm and who looked pretty anxious just before she opened her mouth. She did just fine.
 
Why the Pope Speaks for Evangelicals, Too PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Saturday, 19 April 2008 08:19
Richard Mouw, President of my alma mater, Fuller Theological Seminary has a nice essay in the New York Times this morning:

"Why the Pope Speaks for Evangelicals, Too." It begins:

I admire Pope Benedict, just as I admired his recent predecessors. As an evangelical Protestant, I don’t believe in “papal authority.” But I do see him as having an important pastoral role in the broader Christian community. In many ways and on many subjects, he speaks for me.
 
Benedict's "post-Constantinian" Strategy? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Friday, 18 April 2008 08:05
David Gibson's piece in the New York Time on Pope's Benedict's efforts to restore Catholic culture ended with these thought-provoking paragraphs:

"In the Christian ideal, God has no grandchildren; faith must be ever new. But then how does the church encourage Catholicism as a culture while keeping the faith fresh and alive? It is an age-old question, the search for a link between the collective sense of a people and the requirement of individual sanctification. Answers have ranged from Kierkegaard's attack on Christendom to H. Richard Niebuhr's seminal work, "Christ and Culture."

For his part, Benedict seems to embrace a kind of "post-Constantinian" strategy that attempts the tricky two-step of, as the pope said, "cultivating a Catholic identity which is based not so much on externals as on a way of thinking and acting grounded in the Gospel and enriched by the Church's living tradition." Benedict's approach is so novel -- as is the ever-changing world that the age-old church now inhabits -- that it's hard to know what to call it. Vatican expert John Allen has tried out labels like "evangelical Catholicism" or "affirmative orthodoxy." Yet neither seems to encompass Benedict's goal of making an Old World religion pulse with the vitality of a New World spirituality.


Comments?
 
Kateri's Cause PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 17 April 2008 17:31
Lovely.

The canonization of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha was submitted to the Vatican today - on her feast day.

Monsignor Paul Lenz has informed CNA that on Thursday, he will submit the Cause for the Canonization of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha to the Vatican. Tomorrow, April 17, is the feast day of the Native American blessed.

Bl. Kateri has been accorded the title of the patroness of the environment and ecology and is dear to the hearts of many Native Americans. She was born in upstate New York, near Auriesville. Both of her parents were Native Americans. Her father was a Mohawk chief and her mother an Algonquin, who was raised Catholic.

In her lifetime Kateri was frequently afflicted with illness and became partially blind. In order for her to walk, she groped her way around as she walked. She was then named, Tekakwitha which literally means, “One who walks groping for her way.”

Bl. Kateri was baptized when she was 20 years old after being catechized by Father de Lambertville S.J. After her baptism, Kateri was considered an outcast by her tribal community. Living on her own, she professed a vow of perpetual virginity. Poor health and the effects of small pox led to her death in 1680 at the age of 24.

In 1943 Kateri was declared venerable and then in 1980 she was declared blessed by Pope John Paul II. She is the first Native American to be declared blessed and was the patroness of the 2002 World Youth Day.

Go to Lily-of-the-Mohawks.com for more on her life, her travels, her cause, and her tomb.

Kateri's story is remarkable and one we try to tell at every Called & Gifted workshop. But the whole tale of the zealous Catholic Native Americans of the 17th century, especially the Hurons, many of whom paid with their lives for their faith, is not known to most of us - but deserves to be.

It is encouraging that we are starting to sing the "Huron Carol" - the first Christmas Carol written in this country.
 
Amusing PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 17 April 2008 16:32
Watching the Pope's meeting with inter-religious leaders on EWTN. At one point, leaders of the 5 different religious communities Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jain were introduced one at a time as they came up to meet the Pope.

My eyes really got big when I thought I heard this:

"Bishop Jongmae K. Park of the Korean Baptist Taego Order"


The ultimate post-modern: A Baptist Buddhist Bishop!

But it was too good to be entirely true.

Apparently he is called a Bishop (Do Buddhists have "Bishops" or is this simply an westernized equivalent?) but he is not a Baptist.

He is the
Reverend Bishop Jongmae K. Park, Ph.D. from the Korean Buddhist Taego Order of
Los Angeles, California
 
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