Life and Loves- Mariela’s gorgeous little blog

Get thee to my dear friend Mariela’s stunner of a blog “Few have been where we’ve been“.

Can’t you just feel the adorbs?

On leaving her baby for the first time, this bit really got me:

‘I don’t know how you leave him every day’, I said absentmindedly to my husband as put my phone in my bag. ‘It’s hard; I miss my family when I’m gone’, Eddy admitted, revealing the extent of a truth he’d been too kind to share with me all along. I’ve never before been so grateful that he works hard so we can afford for me to stay home with our baby.

Follow her blog for regular touching, heartwarming posts on the beginnings of family life!!

+AMDG

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sorrowful mysteries and Sin.

Excellence right here:
“In meditating upon the sorrowful mysteries I realized that Christ already gave us the perfect solution to sin: imitate Him. I know it sounds obvious, but the sorrowful mysteries shed new light on what it means to imitate Christ when we are faced with sin.”

worthy of Agape

It was a Friday evening as I sat in line for confession. I thought to myself, “This certainly isn’t how the average twenty-something gal spends a Friday night.” I sat in a quiet church with the Blessed Sacrament exposed, waiting for my turn to get my soul scrubbed clean. As I waited, I pulled out my rosary and began to pray the sorrowful mysteries. While I prayed and prepared myself to come face to face with my sins before God’s mercy, I couldn’t help but connect Christ’s suffering and passion to the choices I make when I sin.

sorrowful mysteries and sinMore often than not I know something is a sin before I do it. There are even times when I reason with myself and try to “logically” convince myself that what I’m about to do isn’t in fact a sin, despite the fact that I’ve confessed it before without a priest stopping…

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Parish Shopping

Parish shopping is a pet peeve of mine. More on that another time, but for now, Fr Dwight Longnecker has a rant of his own:

“The church shopping has started to disintegrate. Not only do people church shop in order to find a church community to which they want to belong, but they church shop from week to week. I have an increasing number of people who say, “I belong to two parishes.” or “You may not see us every week Father, we divide our time between three different parishes.” or “We’re glad to belong to your parish, but we often like to go to the Latin Mass at —” or “I like this parish, but I also like Fr —’s homilies, and we go there sometimes too.” Even more disturbing are the people who cherry pick the different ministries from different churches. “We go to — for the Youth Group and really like —here in your parish for our Middle Schooler. Your parish school is great, but we like going to Fr — for Mass.”

How on earth is a pastor supposed to build any kind of community in a parish when people treat the church like a hamburger joint? You can’t even address this very easily because Americans are a nation of shoppers. They are used to having it their way. The customer is king and they are used to being royalty. They don’t like being told what to do. They will shop and choose what they want where they want it and you better deliver or they will go somewhere else.”

+AMDG

Sydney Anglicans and Reformation Sunday

As I mentioned earlier, Reformation Sunday just occurred. Although I knew there would be some who would herald it as a great day to remember, it’s still amazing to me that on the Sydney Anglican Archdiocese website they can so readily publish an article with the following quotes: (Don’t Let the Reformation Become History, by Phillip Jensen)

While the Reformation involved political movements, nationalism and even warfare, it was at heart a spiritual and theological reform of people and churches. The gospel had become lost over the centuries of European history.Corrupted by power, the church no longer preached Christ with clarity.

Martin Luther, “Reformer” [oooh ouch ;)]

Claiming that the gospel had been lost completely is a huge claim, and one for which I am yet to see real evidence for, particularly that the Reformed conception of the gospel is the one preached by the early Church. Behind all of the article is the implicit blame laid on the Catholic Church for all the “problems”, although it isn’t mentioned.

The Reformers returned to preaching five great themes: Scripture alone; faith alone; grace alone; Christ alone; and Glory to God alone. The emphasis on “alone” was the removal of the many church traditions that had come to obscure the gospel.

Even a brief perusal of an understanding of Sacred Tradition and “small-t” traditions would reveal that they did not, and do not, in fact obscure the gospel.

 It was one of the struggles of the Reformation to establish the freedom of the Christian’s conscience.

I’m not sure what this even means, but it sounds like another “oppressive Church” claim. The irony is that many of the Reformers’ doctrines actually did away with free will.

The Reformation did more than reform the abuses of organized religion. It was a recovery of the gospel that transformed the very nature of the church.

Again, reference to the “recovery” of a “lost” gospel. Also a dig at any kind of “organised” religion as inherently bad.

Through the work of Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin and many more, the great doctrines of salvation were once more hammered out and explained to the people. Their hymns and prayers, books and translations taught their own and subsequent generations the great doctrines of God’s grace in saving us through the death and resurrection of His Son, and of the Spirit’s work in regenerating us to repent and put our faith solely in him.

This insinuates that the Catholic Church wasn’t explaining salvation to people. Every single thing that the Church is, does, and teaches is about salvation. While there’s no denying that there were problems in the Church at the time, the problems were fundamentally in certain practices, in particular clerics abusing their positions. Developing a fundamentally different understanding of the Church and salvation as won for us by Christ, and how it is applied to us and lived out, is completely different to reforming wayward practices. But this is what the “reformers” did.

The fundamental problem with all of this is that what actually happened in the Reformation was not reform, but schism. If real reform had taken place, it would have taken place within the one Church. What happened instead was a protesting breakaway, which has now developed into a plethora of denominations, completely lacking in unity.

One is forced to invent a radically different understanding of Church and sacraments, in fact of most doctrines, in order to disagree with Church teaching. One has to assume that the Church cannot teach with Christ’s authority in order to disagree with her, for if she does speak with the voice of Christ, who could possibly contradict her in any serious way? Thus we have an essentially circular argument happening, wherein the Reformers assume that the teaching of the Church about herself and her authority is wrong, in order to claim that much of the rest of her teaching is wrong. Meanwhile, the Reformers have somehow gotten everything right all of a sudden after all these centuries, despite them not even agreeing amongst each other… :S

It was a gospel understanding that freed us from priestcraft and religiosity, from false doctrine and authoritarianism. During the 16th century a new flowering of Christian understanding, scholarship, evangelism and conversion reformed the church.

More digs at religion, and particularly the priesthood, and therefore, by extension, the sacraments, and ritual, all as inherently bad, and restrictive.

It all came at a dreadful cost as people were persecuted and martyred for their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We owe it to the memory of those who died for our freedoms to never lose sight of the Reformation.

The overall tone of this article is holding up the Reformation as a grand thing, where Christians were saved from the oppressive and oppressively wrong Catholic Church. This a.) doesn’t hold up to historical scrutiny, and b.) basically says schism is justified. (Which it’s not. Ever.)

It was because of martyrs like William Tyndale and Thomas Cranmer that we have our Bible in English, as well as our Prayer Book and Articles of religion. They, together with many others, died to bring these privileges to us. We forget them at our peril.

Actually, I’m pretty sure the bible was translated into English well before these guys… with the support of the Catholic Church. 

In the centuries that have followed the tribalism and sectarianism even became detached from the great beliefs that lay at the heart of the Reformation.  People took sides because of their family tradition with little understanding of what the Reformation stood for, or against. This has been a sad feature of Australian history. Yet, we will not resolve the differences by ignorance of our background. 

This part, however, I thoroughly agree with. We should be striving to resolve our differences, which requires that we are aware of them. I find all too often that people are not aware, and don’t even care. I think Protestants should be so aware that they should still be actually actively “protesting”, by which I mean, I think they should have thought through and have good reason for not being Catholic.

I haven’t really said much by way of substantial argument, I just wanted to pour out my thoughts on the mistaken assumptions behind this, and to lament the fact that after nearly 500 years, they’re still floating around, and obstructing the path to reunification.

+AMDG

The Mighty Breastplate of St. Patrick

EPIC PRAYER. St Patrick… what a boss.

The Catholic Gentleman

selfdrive_st_patrickSt. Patrick is one of the most well-known saints in Christendom, and he left an indelible stamp on the Church despite the fact that we know very little about his life. In addition to being the missionary who almost single handedly converted Ireland, and being the man who permanently ridded the Emerald Isle of snakes, St. Patrick also happens to be the author of what is perhaps the manliest prayer the Church has ever seen—the “Lorica” or “breastplate” of St. Patrick.

This powerful, and quite beautiful, prayer can be said each morning, and it is recommended that it be prayed with Psalm 5, though this is optional. If you face “burning,” “wounding,” or “spells of women and smiths and wizards,” on a daily basis, this prayer is an absolute must.

Lorica of Saint Patrick

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator…

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Bible reading? Finding time is not the problem.

Enough Light

Nearly forty books of the Bible can be read in an hour or less. Half the books of the Bible can be read in less than thirty minutes. And twenty-six books can be read in fifteen minutes or less. That’s pretty amazing for a book that many people think is too massive to read. When you think about it, time really isn’t the problem when it comes to reading the Bible. It’s a good excuse, but not good enough. How much we read of the only book God ever wrote depends mostly on how much of it we want to read. Reading God’s Word is less dependent on our schedule and more dependent on our desire and discipline.

– From Read Your Bible One Book at a Time by Woodrow Kroll

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The Virtues and the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit

I’m planning to write a bit about the connection between the virtues and the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, as it’s not something I’ve thought about in great depth before. For today, the important points from the Catechism, well worth the read:

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”62

A virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself. The virtuous person tends toward the good with all his sensory and spiritual powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions.

The goal of a virtuous life is to become like God.63

THE HUMAN VIRTUES

Human virtues are firm attitudes, stable dispositions, habitual perfections of intellect and will that govern our actions, order our passions, and guide our conduct according to reason and faith. They make possible ease, self-mastery, and joy in leading a morally good life. The virtuous man is he who freely practices the good.

The moral virtues are acquired by human effort. They are the fruit and seed of morally good acts; they dispose all the powers of the human being for communion with divine love.

The virtues and grace

Human virtues acquired by education, by deliberate acts and by a perseverance ever-renewed in repeated efforts are purified and elevated by divine grace. With God’s help, they forge character and give facility in the practice of the good. The virtuous man is happy to practice them.

It is not easy for man, wounded by sin, to maintain moral balance. Christ’s gift of salvation offers us the grace necessary to persevere in the pursuit of the virtues. Everyone should always ask for this grace of light and strength, frequent the sacraments, cooperate with the Holy Spirit, and follow his calls to love what is good and shun evil.

THE GIFTS AND FRUITS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

The moral life of Christians is sustained by the gifts of the Holy Spirit. These are permanent dispositions which make man docile in following the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. They belong in their fullness to Christ, Son of David.109 They complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations.

Let your good spirit lead me on a level path.110For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God . . . If children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.111
The fruits of the Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory. The tradition of the Church lists twelve of them: “charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity.”112

I’ll leave you with this thought, which has been the source of much reflection for me of late:

“The virtuous life and the happy life are synonymous.” ~ Fr Emmerich Vogt

Sts Simon and Jude, pray for us!

+AMDG