How Catholics Read Scripture

Strange Notions (the place to be online for Catholic-Atheist dialogue) is running a super series on how Catholics approach Sacred Scripture. I’ve written on this briefly before, but if you want more detail but not a whole book, Mark Shea is your man.  Continue reading

Being sanctified in the very ordinariness of life

Hellooooo, my dearest readers!!! I have missed the blogging world very much. We have just finished moving house, and moving eight people’s worth of stuff in two weeks is no mean feat, let me tell you. However, exhausted as I am, we are home, and I am once again at leisure to write down a thought or two.

First of all, I must share with you this gem from Neal Obstat. It is one of the most beautiful encapsulations of seeking holiness in everyday life, the very heart and soul of what Opus Dei is all about. Continue reading

The True Interpreters of Scripture: the Saints

Currently working my way through the first volume of BXVI’s Jesus of Nazareth, and came across this beauty, on the interpretation of Scripture:

The saints are the true interpreters of Holy Scripture. The meaning of a given passage of the Bible becomes most intelligible in those human beings who have been totally transfixed by it and have lived it out. Interpretation of Scripture can never be a purely academic affair, and it cannot be relegated to the purely historical. Scripture is full of potential for the future, a potential that can only be opened up when someone “lives through” and “suffers through” the sacred text.

As they Incarnate the Word, by living it, and conform themselves to Christ (the Word), the saints thus provide us with the most intense, vivid illustrations of the meaning of Sacred Scripture.

Awesome, no?

+AMDG

The Advent of Advent

It’s true!! Advent IS nearly upon us, unbelievable though it may be. [That statement makes this very relevant:]

This does not mean, however, that Christmas has actually arrived. Advent is the time in which we anticipate the celebration of Christ’s first coming, by preparing ourselves appropriately, and in so doing we also anticipate Christ’s second coming.

It’s always a bit awkward to know exactly how best to prepare oneself though, isn’t it? It’s a penitential season, which we know because everything turns purple, but it’s somehow a bit different.

At any rate, everyone ought to be thinking of some way they can prepare themselves to receive Christ well this Christmas. My own gameplan: Morning and Evening Prayer, to immerse myself in the Scriptures that herald Our Lord’s coming.

What have been your most fruitful Advent commitments? Plans for this year?

+AMDG

BXVI: The Narrative of the Inclusive Kingdom

I thought I’d share this tidbit from Pope Benedict’s first volume of Jesus of Nazareth that I read this morning, regarding the secularist reinterpretation of the Kingdom (p. 53)(paraphrased). It tells the narrative of how the evolution of the notions of “tolerance”, “unity” and “inclusiveness”, given ever-wider definitions, have led to the climate of religious and political ideas that we see today amongst certain academic circles in Catholic Theology specifically, but that obviously coincides a great deal with ideas prevalent in wider society as well.

It was claimed that prior to Vatican II the dominant position was “Ecclesiocentrism“, where the Church was presented as the centre of Christianity, interpreted as being somehow in place of Christ, or Christ and His Church as being in competition. This kept us separate from other Christians, for as long as we claim to be the True Church, it implies others are not, and thus is divisive.

Then post-Vatican II there was a shift to “Christocentrism“, yet this did not solve the question of division, for Christ belongs exclusively to Christians.

‘Jesus of Nazareth’ by Pope Benedict XVI

Hence the next transition to “Theocentrism“, which allegedly brought us closer to other religions (which is apparently our goal). However, even God can be a cause of division between religions and people.

Therefore, the move was made (or is in the process of being made) to “Regnocentrism“, the centrality of the Kingdom. Apparently we have finally gotten to the heart of Christ’s message, and it is this position that will help us finally harness mankind’s positive energies and direct them toward the world’s future. Here the “Kingdom” simply means a world governed by peace, justice and the conservation of creation. Working together to attain such a world is the true goal of religions. They are free to live in their respective traditions, each bringing them to bear on the common task of building the “Kingdom”, where peace, justice and respect for creation are the dominant values.

This sounds good, but it leaves a number of questions: how do we figure out what justice actually means, and how we acheive it?

Furthermore, in this “Kingdom”, God has disappeared. “Man is the only actor left on stage.” Religion now matters only insofar as it can be directed towards to political goals of the organisation of the world.

Sound familiar?

+AMDG

A Lazy Man’s Spirituality

From The Catholic Thing:

This is vitally important, especially to a slug like me. I am not always properly disposed or attentive at Mass – a truism that might be lost on those who don’t make Mass a daily priority. Those of us who do make it a priority know that it’s certainly not because we’re particularly holy, or anywhere close to it. In fact, the opposite is the case: We know we’re lousy sinners, and we want to be holy. Getting to daily Mass is just the lazy man’s approach to the matter.

Lazy man’s approach because, as Belloc was suggesting, all you have to do is show up to accrue some benefit. I even confessed this once – that my practice of going to Mass every day seemed like spiritual sloth because it was just too easy. Shouldn’t I be doing more than that? My confessor laughed and pointed out the pride in my question. “Just being at Mass is of infinite value, regardless of your state of mind. . . .After all, it’s Jesus that’s doing all the work. You just have to get yourself in the pew.”

Read the rest here.

Hilaire Belloc (whom the author quotes a fair bit). I think he looks a lot like an actor… but I can’t think who!!

 

+AMDG