Consecrated to the Heart of the Redeemer under the patronage of the Theotokos and Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

26 February 2011

This Week in Catholic Liturgy: Infant Immortality

The unthinkable notion that a mother should "be without tenderness for the child of her womb" (Isa) is, alas, conceivable today.  Yet that doesn't prevent the Lord from exercising the utmost care for each of His children.  Our commitment to "seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness" (Mat) fosters within us a similar compassionate remembrance of others, such that persons become more important than things.  Precisely for God's sake we pursue them and rejoice more ardently in acquiring them.

Catholic hierarchy believes confession can help faithful get to better spiritual place

Catholic hierarchy believes confession can help faithful get to better spiritual place

As my 15 minutes of fame dwindle (barring absolute knowledge of God's plan, I suspect I have about 5 or 6 left), I refer the patient reader to the above article. One friend wryly noted, "At least you're not in the police blotter." True, that; but even with the front-page shot I would direct props to the Sacrament I am, qua confessor, simulating in the photo. To someone (maybe Mr. Posten) I jokingly admitted that I wanted to feign shouting at the supposed penitent on the other side, as if to exclaim, "You did what??" I thank God that (1) no priest ever did that to me, and that (2) I've never done that to anyone. Alas, such horror stories still abound.

With due respect to the good author, the articles could never have covered every point exhaustively or with complete accuracy. I would refer the reader to the three (3) conditions for a sin to be mortal, to wit:
(1) The proposition must concern grave matter (serious stuff);
(2) The agent must in real time possess full understanding of the gravity of the bad choice; and
(3) The agent must in real time choose with full consent of the will (without interior or exterior constraint).
These considerations correct the categorical assertion not actually made in our parish Reconciliation pamphlet, that lying is a venial sin. It can be, no doubt, but that depends on the gravity of the matter. The so-called "little white" variety may not be a one-way ticket to Gehenna, but it sure as hell starts the fire. Best to avoid lying.

Noteworthy, too, is the phrase "self-help personal improvement quest for perfection." Quotation marks are appropriately absent, although all of those words escaped my lips in the delightful dialogue. Lord knows that penitents may approach Reconciliation with that false expectation--the desire to shed personal flaws or sinful habits singlehandedly, with God playing the role of an approving mentor. "Look how good I'm becoming for You!" It happens, believe me. No one, not even a priest or consecrated religious, is immune from the tempter's trap in this regard. "Lord, you search me and you know me" (Ps 139)--and yet You love me...

May the article be beneficial for all and for each to engage more deeply and more often this great treasure of the Church, that applies the merits of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection to all who need it.

Gym was altar of sacrifice (2/26/11)

Gym was altar of sacrifice (2/26/11)

24 February 2011

This Week in Catholic Liturgy: Go for two

We have always appreciated those persons who went out of their way to help us--the "second-milers," I've heard them called.  Look for unconventional ways to be a second-miler today.  Get started by recognizing your own weakness and need for help.

12 February 2011

This Week in Catholic Liturgy: Amicable Settlement

"Settle with your opponent quickly on your way to court."  In the "Sermon on the Mount" Jesus sets forth the interior demands of the Law regarding, among other things, our attitude toward those who irritate or oppose us.  The cop-out stance of "I must love X, but I don't have to like X" is not as firmly rooted as the Cross of Christ; if we are to stand firm, we must allow God to shovel (indeed blast) us out of such mental machinations, so that the Cross may be more firmly planted in our lives.

10 February 2011

"Tapping" the Source of Grace and Mercy

A Confession App… with an imprimatur!

This seems like a very useful tool for those who already make use of the sacrament. It's a good diagnostic tool for our "operating system"--our wills, intellects, and passions/emotions. To what extent are these aligned with the mind and will of Christ, the Word made Flesh? Do we employ our passions in the service of intellect and will, or do our passions employ us? Who's the tool here?

If a smartphone application can assist us to grow in the knowledge and love of God, and in the proper estimation of self in light of God's knowledge and love of us, then by all means acquire it and use it!

There are dozens if not hundreds of reliable and exhaustive examinations of conscience out there in print and html form. It's like driving a Ford Focus vs. a Mazda Miata vs. a VW Passat vs. a Chevrolet Impala. Just use something that helps you move forward in your relationship with the Lord and your fellows, and maintain it.

05 February 2011

This Week in Catholic Liturgy: Come to my Demonstration

We're not talking a demonstration of Tupperware or Pampered Chef, but rather of "Spirit and power" (I Cor 2), which takes place whenever the faithful act in accordance with their identity as salt and light by performing good deeds for those in need.  This kind of demonstration is truly sublime; it attracts people not to us, but to Christ.