- Wednesday, 27 March 2013 19:34
The conversion we have entered into this lent, in a full way I hope according to circumstances, likely to be an intense experience this week. Holy Week is a rather unique experience for each of us that works on us, and it is a work in which we have to engage in.
Some years I find myself happy with what has been accomplished, and others, not so. Much of this judgment is based on the awareness of the context in which we find ourselves: health and sickness, wealth and poverty, power and weakness, intellectually sensitive and those living with diseases of the mind.
Whatever it is that captures our heart, whatever ambit it is that we find ourselves. Dying to self, I have to recognize is not done on my own terms.
“Let us acquire a contrite heart, a soul humbled in mind, and a heart that by means of tears and repentance is pure from every stain and defilement of sin. So shall we too be found worthy in due time quickly to rise to such heights that even hear and now we may see and enjoy the ineffable blessings of the divine light, if not perfectly, at least in part, and to the extent to which we are able. So shall we both unite ourselves to God, and God will be united to us. The to those who come near us we shall become ‘light’ and ‘salt’ (cf. Mt. 5:13-14) to their great benefit in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
St. Symeon the New Theologian, The Discourses, (Paulist Press, 202-203)
- Wednesday, 27 March 2013 08:56
13 years ago an essay in the Colombia Magazine appeared in 2000. The archbishop who wrote, “Renewing God’s House” speaks about our standing with the Lord; the gesture of standing is new way of being present, it is a presence which requires us to intellectually, spiritually and affectively present in the very following of the Lord in light of the various gifts He’s given. Jesus Christ asks us to help Him carry the cross, just like he did with Simon, and Benedict, and Francis and Dominic and countless others, to help Him in repairing the house He’s built. The strength in what Archbishop Chaput is talking about is a communal work of standing with Christ, in the midst of sinners, and in setting our face on the Lord in the way He’s proposed. Grace received in Baptism, Confirmation and the Holy Eucharist will sustain us, together, as true brothers and sisters. “Renewing God’s House” is an essay worth reading on Spy Wednesday.
- Thursday, 21 February 2013 09:37
Saint Peter Damian is most known as the 11th century-Ravenna-born-monk and author. Peter was, in fact, a hermit. He was keen on the rights of the Church but also with the personal renewal and reform (i.e., conversion) as being an authentic witness to the gospel. The the primacy of discipleship with Christ as Lord and Savior was key. He was a Doctor of the Church.
In 2007, Pope Benedict dedicated a letter to the religious superior of the Monastery of San Gregorio al Celio, Father Guido Gargano on the 1000th anniversary of Saint Peter Damian’s birth. Read it here.
With Pope Benedict’s impending renouncing of the Peterine ministry, one can’t help but thinking that Saint Peter Damian is a personal model for Benedict’s forthcoming monastic retreat.
With the Church we pray,
Grant, we pray, almighty God, that we may so follow the teaching and example of the Bishop Saint Peter Damian, that, putting nothing before Christ and always ardent in the service of your Church, we may be led to the joys of eternal light.
- Monday, 18 February 2013 14:16
The experience of compunction is basically an experience of spiritual awakening. It provides the motivation for conversion to God, with the necessary rejection of sin and of whatever is less than the Creator.
The alternation of different experiences of compunction purifies the heart’s self-centeredness and gradually configures it to the image and likeness of Christ the Lord. They can be easily interpreted as manifestations of the “good zeal” of Christ the Bridegroom.
He corrects and encourages us by means of his Word, which we confront in lectio divina. His Word acts like a mirror of what the person is and what he or she can become through divine grace. Christ, the Spouse of every Christian, is purifying those he loves so as to prepare them for deep fellowship with him in a single spirit.
The Sun at Midnight
Dom Bernardo Olivera, OCSO
- Thursday, 14 February 2013 16:50
In today’s mail I received my copy of George Weigel’s latest book, Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21-Century Church (Basic Books, 2013).
I am already pleased to read a very fine book on the needs of the flourishing of Catholicism again in an era of significant discord viz. the Faith. I hope many will pay attention to what Weigel has to say.
Weigel’s pointing to a niche Catholicism that’s only now gaining currency in Catholic places. “Niche” in the sense that Catholics are now adopting an approach, a method, a manner of proposing the Truth that is more associated with Evangelical Christians than with Catholicism. We don’t always have the confidence and vocabulary to make the Christian proposal to others (to Catholics and non-Catholics alike). But if you think about, we’ve always been evangelical but we’ve been shy to share our faith with others in meaningful ways.
Certainly an evangelical approach is Catholic and is being picked up once again as a valid and faithful way of living the Truth. Perhaps our priests, religious, faith formation directors and not a few members of Roman Curia will see this light. It is not lost, however, on Pope Benedict XVI who has espoused an approach to the faith with his great emphasis on the new evangelization and the calling of the Year of Faith. Even some circles of the Orthodox Church have looked to evangelical ways as good and helpful.
Here is Brad Miner’s review article published on The Catholic Thing
. It’s OK. I would have read the book anyway because George Weige’s the author. Turning Weigel on himself by quoting Weigel by saying, “He does chicken right.” The book is a terrific exposition on what we need in having our face set on the Lord. I would, however, say that Miner does not quite comprehend as fully as he ought what the theology of the Church fathers teach, especially Benedict, in that he seems to have an appreciate the cult of personality of those in the papal office than a relationship has with the Lord. Miner does pick this tendency up from Weigel, I fear. But there are times Weigel does the same. It is a serious flaw if not monitored. We unequivocally need to center on a renewed emphasis on Church reform that is personal first because only then it will effect a true reform/renewal in the Church organization. If I am not personally converted to Christ, then it matters little who pope is. But who is setting the agenda? As Weigel says in the March issue of First Things
“The internal dynamics of he Church itself, attentive tot eh promptings of the divine Bridegroom and the unique challenges posed to the Great Commission by late modernity and post-modernity, have, together, impelled a new evolution in the Church’s self-understanding and self-expression. The result of that evolution, Evangelical Catholicism, is an expression of the four enduring marks of Christian ecclesial life –unity, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity.”
You need to read Deuteronomy in this way: distance yourself from distractions and choose life: life in God; life in the communion of the Trinity. What is clear about Evangelical Catholics insistence on Catholics distancing themselves from confused thinking and acting, being more focused and less mediocre, to work for concrete unity both interiorly and exteriorly, and not to fear persecution.
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