fire

I have a tendency to get pessimistic about this culture we live in, and people in general.  I know that I shouldn’t be that way, because I believe in the power of grace and in God’s love.  Here’s what gets me, and I don’t think that I have any peculiar insight into the matter; we’ve got all of these programs in place to do practical things to counter the culture of emptiness and death that parades itself about as a culture of peace and plenty.  The biggest by far is the pro life movement.  We mobilize people and resources to counter bad legislation, put bodies in front of abortion mills, and similar things to maybe put a dent into the enemy’s plan for mankind.

But did anyone ever stop to consider that things would be a lot less crazy if we shifted focus?  And don’t think for a second that I’m suggesting we stop these things we’re doing.  They are necessary, good, and effective … to an extent.

What should the focus be?  On the one thing necessary of course.  Unum necessarium.

If the fire inside of you is anything other than a burning, consuming love of Christ, it will be a fire that destroys rather than purifies.  These wounded and fallen people are not going to stop killing babies or believing that it is okay to snuff out an innocent life; they are not going to stop promoting immorality; they are not going to change one little bit because we tweak the law this way or that.  The law as we have it and understand it in the West was written for believers.  We live in a culture that believes in nothing but the self and what the self wants right here and right now, because it was brought up in a culture that glorifies the self.

If our main effort isn’t to convert hearts to Christ, we are simply wrong with a capital W.  We won’t convert many hearts at all unless that love gushes from our own hearts, steeped in grace and illuminated by the Holy Spirit.  How does one get to that point?  By giving up sin, beginning to live the gospel, and praying unceasingly.  One doesn’t get there overnight.  And don’t think that I’m preaching from the mountain top, I’m not, I’m just like the rest of you losers.  I’m sunk in it, but I don’t want to be.  I wouldn’t be taking the time to write this otherwise.

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off the record

Want to know something that torques my jaw?  Catholic Culture buys Catholic World News.  To improve it.  To save it.  To maximize economies of scale.  Whatever.  In the process, Catholic Culture kills CWN.  Literally.  Nails the coffin shut but won’t even give it a Catholic burial.  Proof?  When is the last time Diogenes posted an “Off the record” comment?  Sometime middle of last month?  Uncle Di’s posts were the life blood of CWN, and now that CWN is gone and Uncle Di is languishing on some Patmos, chained to the other salt miners and with one eye put out, we’re left out here on the mainland to go it alone.

Hey Catholic Culture, burn it or bury it, but don’t pretend it is still alive  in any recognizable form.  I’m not against a resurrection though.

BRING BACK UNCLE DI!

a greater than solomon is here

“…and behold, a greater than Solomon is here.”

This verse has always had great effect on me.  It is similar to the encounter when Jesus said, “before Abraham was, I Am.”  It sends chills up my spine, because He is speaking in no uncertain terms about his pre-existence with the Father, and his Divinity.

We are another generation seeking a sign, not realizing that, as with every other generation, the sign stands directly in front of us.

The sign is God-made-flesh, fixed to a cross with spikes.

We walk past without stopping, looking for an easier sign.

 

tags

A man is either Catholic, or he isn’t.  I’m speaking of those who claim to be Catholic, of course.

In saying this, I’m not being divisive, I’m simply pointing out the obvious.  This is how the Catholic Church presents it. One either aligns himself or falls out of line.  That isn’t to say that a person outside the Church for whatever reason cannot be saved.  God, and not man, reads the heart.  But to say that you’re a liberal Catholic or a conservative Catholic (or a libertarian Catholic?) or a traditional Catholic or a cultural Catholic is not only silly, it is untrue.

You are either Catholic, period, or you aren’t.  It isn’t a political affiliation.  It isn’t a philosophy or a world view.  You’re either a member of the Body of Christ, or you aren’t.  If you’re on the fence, please get your head straight and, as the First Sergeant says, “fall in!”

I’m not going to tell anyone to “get out.”  That isn’t my place.

bigot


Merriam-Webster defines a bigot as a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially one who regards or treats the members of a group with hatred and intolerance.

It is important to distinguish common targets of bigotry and the moral neutrality or negativity behind the behaviors of those who are biased.

I don’t know very many people who would take to the streets decrying the bigotry of those biased against child rapists.  If someone was to take that position, his views would immediately be countered by arguments against pederasty or criminal ickyness in general.

Most will distinguish between bias against a person or group singled out for morally neutral reasons, and bias against certain behaviors or persons on moral grounds.  Are we biased against liars? Thieves?  Murderers?  Sure we are.  Do we feel at all bad when someone calls us out for such a bias?  Come on, be honest.

So, even in the light of Merriam’s definition, the common man would not judge me a bigot even if I was obstinately devoted to my prejudice against child rapists. Who would take to the op-ed page against me if I treated such a person with intolerance?  We should not tolerate child rape, should we?

What truly defines bigotry as a detriment to society?  It is prejudice against a person or group for morally neutral reasons:  The color of one’s skin, his country of origin, her gender, and so forth.

Just as most people would not judge me a bigot for opposing child rape, neither would they judge me a bigot for opposing theft, murder, perjury, polygamy, or bestiality or those who practice those evils.  These are broadly accepted to have morally negative connotations, and you probably didn’t sweat too much when you read the word “evils” in the last sentence.

If I was prejudiced against Hispanics because of their cultural differences, or people of color because of the pigment in their skin, or women because of their gender I should certainly be called onto the carpet.  There is nothing morally wrong with being Hispanic or black or female.

There’s the catch.  Morality.  Even the “why can’t we all just get along” crowd has prejudices.  It is mostly directed at the religious who haven’t gotten past the whole morality thing, but they, too, are prejudiced.

We live in a post-Christian, post-modern society that will eventually become post-moral without divine intervention.   I didn’t used to believe that, but the more I see, the more I wonder.  Not that I’m going to drop my own moral compass and run screaming into the wild woodlands, but society is becoming more and more tolerant of morally negative behaviors.

What should a person do in such a situation?  As for myself, I’m going to be myself and uphold, promote, and live the teachings of the Catholic Church,  no matter who thinks that because of it I’m a bigot.

I know why I believe what I believe in regard to faith and morality, and there are more than three thousand years of “why” that gives cogent arguments to underpin my beliefs.

So I don’t (because the Church doesn’t)  see people in terms of “straight” or “gay.”  If somebody wants me to define him according to those terms, I won’t play.

Even those who want to redefine what is moral or immoral still expect others to tell them the truth.  It isn’t as easy as it used to be because even the definition of truth is under attack.  There are some who say “what is true for you may not be true for me.”  They say that there is no such thing as absolute truth.  But in saying so, they refute their own argument because they are making a definitive statement that something is absolutely true:  namely that their own statement is untrue (that there is no absolute truth).

[Insert sound of a head exploding].

All sexually immoral acts attack one central truth that has been the basis of human society from the beginning of recorded history:

Marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life, and the only morally good (and societal good) use of genitality is the unitive and procreative act within that marriage.

That isn’t just my truth.  It is THE truth.  Am I going to drag you down the street in chains behind a four wheel drive if you don’t live up to that?  No.  People have continually sinned against that ideal forever.  I am surrounded by people who have sex outside of marriage, who get married and divorced multiple times, who have sex with someone else’s spouse, men who have sex with men and women who have sex with women,  &c ad nauseum.  I still have to go to work.  I still have to go to the store.  I know that not everyone lives up to the ideal.

The point is, as a Catholic and as a Christian, I’m not called to tolerate people, I am called to love them.  And if love requires me to speak truth, I am not opposed to speaking that truth, because in doing so I am loving them.   I love some of these folks dearly and have for years, and yes that includes people who consider themselves homosexuals.

So, if we must disagree on this subject, think of me as a throwback who just doesn’t get it, but someone who genuinely cares and loves anyhow, even if you think that I’m misguided.  And I’ll think the same of you, but cherish your love in spite of it all and always have your best interests at heart.  That is, after all, what love is.

pray, pray, pray

This is adapted from the writings of an internet friend:

If you don’t know how to pray – pray the Rosary.

If you don’t know how to meditate – pray the Rosary.

If you can’t get to Mass – pray the Rosary.

If you want to overcome sin – pray the Rosary.

If you want to overcome sexual sin – pray the Rosary.

If you want to stop doing drugs and drinking – pray the Rosary.

If you imagine you are the world’s biggest loser – pray the Rosary.

If you want to reform your life – pray the Rosary.

If you want to love your neighbor – especially if he is your enemy – pray the Rosary.

If you want to be a priest or a nun – pray the Rosary.

If you want to teach all nations – pray the Rosary.

If you want peace – pray the Rosary.

If the world is falling down all around you and if it seems the Church is filled with devils – pray the Rosary.

If you want to know God and find favor with Him – pray the Rosary.

If you seek repentance and conversion – pray the Rosary.

If you seek to advance in the spiritual life – pray the Rosary.

If you seek perfection and union with God – pray the Rosary.

If you desire the signal graces Our Lady grants to her faithful children, pray the Rosary.

No matter who or what you are, pray the Rosary.

By the prayers of the Rosary you can obtain everything you ask for.

By the prayers of the Rosary you can scale any wall the demons erect against you.

Don’t worry – pray the Rosary.

If you only have time to pray a single decade, pray the Rosary.

If distractions in prayer constantly assail you, pray the Rosary.

Pray the Rosary every day, and if you can, pray more than one.

Pray without ceasing, pray the Rosary!