Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Lord has allowed you to live in this moment of history...

“Dear friends, may no adversity paralyze you. Be afraid neither of the world, nor of the future, nor of your weakness. The Lord has allowed you to live in this moment of history so that, by your faith, his name will continue to resound throughout the world.” Madrid, August 2011 ― Benedict XVI

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Practicing Christian Love in the Same Way as Christ




Practicing Christian love in the same way as Christ means that we are good to someone who needs our kindness, even if we do not like him. It means committing ourselves to the way of Jesus Christ and thus bringing about something like a Copernican revolution in our own lives. For in a certain sense, we are all still living before Copernicus, so to speak. Not only in that we think, to all appearances, that the sun rises and sets and goes around the earth, but in a far more profound sense. For we all carry within us that inborn illusion by virtue of which each of us takes his own self to be the center of things, around which the world and everyone else have to turn. We all necessarily find ourselves, time and again, construing and seeing other things and people solely in relation to our own selves, regarding them as satellites, as it were, revolving around the hub of our own self. Becoming a Christian, according to what we have just said, is something quite simple and yet completely revolutionary. It is just this: achieving the Copernican revolution and no longer seeing ourselves as the center of the universe, around which everyone else must turn, because instead of that we have begun to accept quite seriously that we are one of many among God’s creatures, all of which turn around God as their center.


- Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, What it Means to be a Christian

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Quotes on Stewardship

"The first consideration is the appropriateness of acquiring a growing awareness of the fact that one cannot use with impunity the different categories of beings, whether living or inanimate - animals, plants, the natural elements - simply as one wishes, according to one's own economic needs. On the contrary, one must take into account the nature of each being and of its mutual connection in an ordered system, which is precisely the 'cosmos'.

The second consideration is based on the realization - which is perhaps more urgent - that natural resources are limited; some are not, as it is said, renewable. Using them as if they were inexhaustible, with absolute dominion, seriously endangers their availability not only for the present generation but above all for generations to come.

The third consideration refers directly to the consequences of a certain type of development on the quality of life in the industrialized zones. We all know that the direct or indirect result of industrialization is, ever more frequently, the pollution of the environment, with serious consequences for the health of the population.

...development the planning which governs it, and the way in which resources are used must include respect for moral demands. One of the latter undoubtedly imposes limits on the use of the natural world. The dominion granted to man by the Creator is not an absolute power, nor can one speak of a freedom to 'use and misuse,' or to dispose of things as one pleases. The limitation imposed from the beginning by the Creator himself and expressed symbolically by the prohibition not to 'eat of the fruit of the tree' shows clearly enough that, when it comes to the natural world, we are subject not only to biological laws but also to moral ones, which cannot be violated with impunity."

 - Pope John Paul II, Sollicitude Rei Socialis, as quoted on Communio, Fall 1988

Monday, March 18, 2013

Cardinal Newman on Joy

(cross-posted from Studeo)

I recently ordered a handful of back issues of Communio Magazine, which are handily organized according to topic. And thus what I ordered were a few back issues on topics of particular interest to me. The one I dived right into was on "Joy" (dating from Summer 2004) and I just had to jot down this lovely thought from Blessed John Henry Newman that is quoted within:

Gloom is no Christian temper; that repentance is not real which has not love in it; that self-chastisement is not acceptable which is not sweetened by faith and cheerfulness. We must live in sunshine, even when we sorrow; we must live in God's presence, we must not shut ourselves up in our own hearts, even when we are reckoning up our past sins... We must look abroad into this fair world, which God made 'very good,' while we mourn over the evil which Adam brought into it. We must hold communion with what we see there while we seek Him who is invisible; we must admire it while we abstain from it; acknowledge God's love while we deprecate his wrath; confess that, many as are our sins, His grace is greater. Our sins are more in number than the hairs of our head; yet even the hairs of our head are all numbered by Him. He counts our sins, and, as he counts, so can He forgive; for that reckoning, great though it be, comes to an end; but His mercies fail not, and His Son's merits are infinite.
 I think this is not just a lovely thought, but an important one!

Recommended Reading

I am in the process of reformulating this blog to a more general discussion/community group and a bit away from the very specific book group we had originally started as. This idea had already been churning around in my head for awhile (because it's a topic near and dear to my heart, but the organized book study was too hard for me to keep up with). But the election of our new Holy Father, Pope Francis, has especially inspired this in me. It occurred to me that Pope Francis has immediately and dramatically presented an example of "Living Differently" that we should emulate and support in whatever way we are able. His name choice also inspires a powerful reminder of how much the testimony of the life of St. Francis is a perfect antidote to the problems of our world today: poverty, simplicity, trust, gratitude, peace, etc.

And so I hope that at this blog we can encourage some great reading and discussions as well as specific ideas for living a more fully Catholic life. There are two points I would especially like you to keep in mind while reading these posts:

1. None of the authors here have these concepts completely figured out. We all feel the importance of aiming continually in this direction, of greater imitation of Christ and the Saints and we hope to share what has worked out for us.

2. We are not all called to live this lifestyle in exactly the same way. So I hope you will find this a place for information and ideas, but not despair that you aren't doing all of these things or that some of these things don't seem to be a very good fit for your family.

Please note: We think these all have valuable ideas, concepts and/or inspiration in trying to live our Catholic more deeply and completely. This does not mean that we necessarily agree with everything in every book, nor are all of the books specifically Catholic. We will try to provide information on these distinctions within the discussion as we are able to get to them (titles with links will click through to the posts relating to that specific book).

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker
The Anatomy of Peace by the Arbinger Institute
Catholicism by Fr. Robert Barron
Deus Caritas Est (God is Love) by Pope Benedict XVI
Happy are You Poor: The Simple Life and Spiritual Freedom by Fr. Thomas Dubay
The Reed of God by Caryll Houselander
St. Francis of Assisi by G.K. Chestserton
Spe Salvi (Encyclical on Hope) by Pope Benedict XVI
What it Means to be a Christian by Cardinal Ratzinger

(Book list in progress.)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday Reflection from the Liturgy of the Hours...

Today God our Father brings us to the beginning of Lent. We pray that in this time of salvation he will fill us with the Holy Spirit, purify our hearts, and strengthen us in love. Let us humbly ask him: Lord, give us your Holy Spirit.

May we be filled and satisfied, by the word which you give us.

Teach us to be loving not only in great and exceptional moments, but above all in the ordinary events of daily life.

May we abstain from what we do not really need, and help our brothers and sisters in distress.

May we bear the wounds of your Son in our bodies, for through his body he gave us life.

-from the Liturgy of the Hours for Ash Wednesday (Petitions for Morning Prayer)

I thought this was an elegantly simple overview of what Lent is all about. It would be an appropriate prayer for every day in Lent (and a good one to post on the fridge). It seems like a perfect concept for this blog as it so eloquently shows us how to keep aiming in the right direction - with a gentle reminder of what we're all about and the appropriate actions that go hand-in-hand with our beliefs.

The part that jumps out especially for me right now is this: "Teach us to be loving not only in great and exceptional moments, but above all in the ordinary events of daily life." I know that's something that I need to be continually reminded of.
 
A Blessed Lent!