*******Squaring the Circle of Our Rad Trad Catholic Girardian Conserberalism******* all 4 1 & 1 4 all
Friday, April 30, 2010
So a Rabbi Walks Up to the Pope
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Blessed Luchesio and Buonadonna - First Members of the Secular Franciscans Order
Luchesio Modestini (birth date unknown) was a merchant in the town of Poggibonzi in Tuscany. At some point Lucesio had a moment of conversion and realized how foolish it is to strive only for worldly goods. About this time Saint Francis of Assisi came to Tuscany. After his sermon on penance, many people desired to leave all and enter the convent. But Saint Francis admonished them calmly to persevere in their vocation, for he had in mind soon to give them a special Rule according to which they could serve God perfectly even in the world, without entering into Religious life.
At Poggibonzi Francis visited Luchesio, with whom he had become acquainted through former business transactions. Francis greatly rejoiced to find this avaricious man so altered, and Luchesio, who had already heard about the blessed activities of Francis, asked for special instructions for himself and his wife, so that they might lead a life in the world that would be pleasing to God.
Saint Francis then explained to them his plans for the establishment of an Order for lay people; and Luchesio and Buonadonna asked to be received into it at once. Thus, according to tradition, they became the first members of the Order of Penance, which later came to be called the Third Order, and then the Secular Franciscan Order.
I personally would add and go along with the following from Every Day Catholic this inspirational byte (scroll down on link a little past half way to SAINTS AND HEROES AMONG US) on what it means to be a member of the SFO:
As Secular Franciscans together, the Flickingers have drawn "closer to each other and to God," says Lois. "There is no stronger bond as a couple than seeking together to deepen your spirituality," she told Every Day Catholic.
E. F. Schumacher - Convert
Amidst the laudatory valedictions his conversion to Roman Catholicism late in life was seemingly lost. Perhaps it was overlooked, forgotten or merely considered irrelevant. It is certain, however, that Schumacher considered his conversion of supreme importance. This can be seen from the fact that he considered his spiritual work, A Guide for the Perplexed, to be his most important achievement.'Pop handed me A Guide for the Perplexed on his deathbed, five days before he died,' says his daughter. He told her 'this is what my life has been leading to'. Yet when she began researching her biography of her father a lot of people were 'astounded' when they discovered his conversion. 'They hadn't realized that he had become a Catholic. They thought it was a real let-down, a betrayal'.'
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Longenecker - Shepherd's Voice
Monday, April 26, 2010
Sharing Faith with Family - FIRST: Be Conformed to God
“The more we are conformed to God, the more attractive we will be” in witnessing to our faith, said Father Henehan.“Evangelization is not about winning arguments,” Father Henehan told about 50 young adults attending a Theology on Tap evening at The Medici restaurant and bar near Illinois State University. “The goal of evangelization is winning souls.”
Sunday, April 25, 2010
THERE ARE NO ELEPHANTS HERE! See?
Who You Going to Trust
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Happy (Life on) Earth Day
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
God becoming the breath of our whole being
Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds hide me.
Suffer me not to be separated from thee.
From the malignant enemy defend me.
In the hour of my death call me.
And bid me come unto Thee,
That with all Thy saints,
I may praise thee
Forever and ever.
I have been reading The Words We Pray: Discovering the Richness of Traditional Catholic Prayers by Amy Welborn and I have to admit that I do not recall reading or hearing the Anima Christi before, but something in it connected with a meditation of the day in the Magnificat that follows.
Evil is precisely the absence of God. It is the veil cast over the light of one’s Christ, preventing the life of Christ from circulating in us. The good is the unimpeded circulation of God. It is his presence communicating itself and becoming the breath of our whole being.
Hence, we are not subjected to a law prescribing us to do this or that. There are no more commandments, no more laws for us, there is only one reality: the life, the presence of Christ entrusted to us, who wants to live in our heart, in our mind, in our tender love, in our friendships, in all our human activities, so that the Incarnation may be pursued through us and the world may breathe God’s tender love.
Everything is simplified, admirably simplified when reduced to a Face. You see the admirable symbol of the sixth station of the Way of the Cross: Veronica holding out her veil to the face of the Lord and wanting to restore it to its first beauty.
The meaning of Christian life and the effort of the Christian is to bring out, to give back all his own beauty and that of others to the Face of Jesus. The dalogue of our interior life must be reduced to that. It is not a matter of hypercritically examining our actions. It is a matter of placing ourselves again before a Presence, of losing ourselves in a dialogue while we are fulfilling ourselves and to feel always in greater depth that the life of God is handed over into our hands. that is the great and supreme purity. -- Father Maurice Zundel [Father Zundel († 1975) was a Swiss mystic, poet, philoso-pher, liturgist, and author.]
Monday, April 19, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
The Morning Offering
The present moment holds infinite riches beyond your wildest dreams but you will only enjoy them to the extent of your faith and love. The more a soul loves, the more it longs, the more it hopes, the more it finds. The will of God is manifest in each moment, an immense ocean which only the heart fathoms insofar as it overflows with faith, trust and love. — Jean-Pierre De Caussade in The Sacrament of the Present MomentFrom Amy Welborn's The Words We Pray
Duffy - The Medieval Mass
Sunday Nite Follies
Saturday, April 17, 2010
A rigorous examination of that sordid period
"A rigorous examination of that sordid period (beginning — about 1965 — and ending — about 1985) should be even-handed and unsparing, to public and private institutions and the underlying culture."I think that we who participated and had much influence during this period will have much to answer for in the generations to come...
Gratitude for the Greatest Gift
". . . You touch the door and the road straightens behind you.
Benedict - Myth of the Autonomous Self
This supposed freedom from everything, including freedom from the duty of obedience to God, “Is a lie,” said Pope Benedict, a falsehood regarding the basic structure of human being – about the way women and men are made to be, “because,” he continued, “human being does not exist on its own, nor does it exist for itself.”
The Pope said it is a political and practical falsehood, as well, because cooperation and sharing of freedoms is a necessary part of social life – and if God does not exist – if He is not a point of reference really accessible to human being, then only prevailing opinion remains and it becomes the final arbiter of all things.
Citing the Nazi and Communist regimes of the 20th century as examples, Pope Benedict said such dictatorships can never accept the notion of a God who is above ideological power – and he also stressed that in the present, there are subtle forms of dictatorship like that of a radical conformism, which can lead to subtle and not-so subtle aggression toward the Church.
The Holy Father also stressed that for Christians, true obedience to God depends on our truly knowing Him, and he warned against the danger of using “obedience to God” as a pretext for following our own desires.
“We have,” he said, “a certain fear of speaking about eternal life.”
“We talk of things that are useful to the world,” continued Pope Benedict, “we show that Christianity can help make the world a better place, but we do not dare say that the end of the world and the goal of Christianity is eternal life – and that the criteria of life in this world come from the goal – this we dare not say.”
We must rather have the courage, the joy, the great hope that there is eternal life, that eternal life is real life and that from this real life comes the light that illuminates this world as well.
The Pope noted that, when we look at things this way, penitence is a grace – even though of late we have sought to avoid this word, too.
Now, under the attacks of the world, which speak to us of our sins, we see that to be able to do penance is a grace – and we see how necessary it is to do penance, that is, to recognize what is wrong in our lives: to recognize one’s sin, to open oneself to forgiveness, to prepare for pardon, to allow oneself to be transformed.
The pain of penance, the pain of purification and transformation – this pain is grace, because it is renewal – it is the work of the Divine Mercy.
Pope Benedict concluded his homily with a prayer that our lives might become true life, eternal life, love and truth .. More>>
Friday, April 16, 2010
You Know that God is at Work...
“You know that God is at work when you are unlovable and you still get loved: when you have done something unforgiveable and you get forgiven: and you are untrustworthy you are trusted anyway.”
From: “Let This Mind Be in You” tape series on conversion by Gil Bailie.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
'We Can't Cuff Him?'
Off Their High Horses
This goes, in particular, for elected representatives of our government on both sides of the aisle. I am not asking for "citizens' arrests" of some kind or another. Rather, I am speaking about the kind of common sense that once not only prevailed in American society, but was, in a sense, its hallmark; a trait we see in a diffuse, unfocused way in the rather unfortunate phenomenon known as "Tea Parties" these days.
The trouble with Tea Parties is that politicians have become too sophisticated in the ways of media exploitation and manipulation, quickly (and all too easily) branding them "racist" or other accusations that turn sympathy away from them and toward their (supposed) "victim". The trouble with this cool, snarky bit of sophistry is that it lends itself to that kind of hubris we now see in our present-day politicians in office.
I would simply like to see newspaper editorials once again appeal to a moral authority beyond that of focus groups or the set of values of any - ANY - group right or left, Democrat or Republican, etc.
I had better not hold my breath.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Novena for Pope Benedict
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Remembering that receiving the Eucharist we are incorporated into the work of Christ in history
For much of my presentation so far I have talked about story, recovering the story in scriptural terms, and of course we have to do that. But there is this place where we actually enter the story. We don’t just learn the story, and say the story, but we become actors in the story; we begin to perform the story. And I don’t think we should be too self-conscious about that kind of language. Refer to the unbelievable central passage from Paul, “I live now not I, but Christ lives in me.” We have to take that at face value. One has to say about that what Flannery O’Connor said about the Eucharist, if it is just a symbol, the hell with it. It is not just a symbol. Christians are here to be incorporated into the work of Christ in history...
We are called to bring forgiveness into the world, being there with people who are suffering from their own unforgivenness and being simply an agent in the presence of whom people can begin to feel forgiveness. Forgiveness is a great mystery; it is not some sanctimonious thing that somebody who has it gives to somebody else. It is a spirit that infects us – it always has an infecting agent. There is always somebody who brings it in and introduces it into a situation of unforgivenness, and it is our Eucharistic responsibility to be about that business. In order to be able to be about such business, we have to experience the kenosis (meaning: a self-emptying) of Christian discipleship. So we take our lives, and this is our supreme privilege, we must not see this as some kind of melodramatic act of renunciation, it is the source of our freedom, to take our lives, thank God for them because it is a gift to us, and break them or let them be broken and give them away. And then, Jesus says, “do THIS in memory of me.” Do what? Do this in memory of me. Not just the gesture, of course we do the gesture; of course the Real Presence, but when Jesus says, do THIS, He is talking of something much more vast then that. He means doing that which the gesture represents – being Christ in the world.
I think that is what drinking the cup is all about, so that sins might be forgiven; so that the knot might be broken; so that the animosity might be absorbed or dispersed; so that the healing and forgiveness might be brought into this situation where unforgivenness is about to get the upper hand... It is at the Eucharistic table that we receive this gift and are nourished for the journey to go back out into the world and be Eucharistic people, be Christ to the world, absorbing that unforgivenness and being people who are not there on their own, but rather people who are saying with Paul, I live now not I, but Christ lives in me.
Friday, April 09, 2010
Divine Mercy, Girard, and the Paraklete
A key question then becomes: how should we respond once we have rightly accused ourselves? The renowned anthropologist Rene Girard (in his books The Scapegoat and I See Satan Fall Like Lightning) explores the phenomenon of accusation in tandem with a rich and fascinating explication of the term Paraclete. Some might recognize it as one of several appellations for the Holy Spirit, like the Comforter, and perhaps assume that they are all interchangeable.
But Girard argues that the most precise meaning of Paraclete in the original Greek is a “defender of the accused,” akin to a defense attorney in a court of law. The lawyerly language becomes more illuminating when we discover that the word Satan referred, in the original Hebrew, to an “accuser before a tribunal.” (Diabolos in Greek has the same connotation). In other words, Satan plays the role of the prosecuting attorney, against whom the Paraclete (first Jesus while he was on earth and then the Holy Spirit) takes up our defense.
This of course is not to say we have no guilt, no need of redemption – quite the opposite. The Paraclete at once makes us aware of our faults, in order to spur conversion, and acts as our greatest Advocate. Dwelling on our own faults – even grave ones – cannot be the end of the story (even if recognizing them is a necessary beginning). That would be to listen too much to the Accuser and not enough to our Advocate.
Without trust in Jesus to redeem us, we stand perpetually accused and unconverted, in a no man’s land of despair. Jesus tells St. Faustina quite plainly: “Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy.” Girard’s words also seem especially timely for the feast of the Divine Mercy this Sunday: “the time has come for us to forgive one another. If we wait any longer there will not be time enough.”
Quote from Violence Unveiled by Gil Bailie Chapter 11
[i] Max Picard, The World of Silence, (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Gateway, 1988), p. 89.
All these sayings are hard; who can accept them?
April 9, 2010
Friday in the Octave of Easter
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, answered them, “Leaders of the people and elders: If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a cripple, namely, by what means he was saved, then all of you and all the people of Israel should know that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead; in his name this man stands before you healed. He is the stone rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”
I am thinking at Mass this morning, listening to the readings as I do each morning, here is another one of those statements we hear - only to wave it off as we are drenched in the dictatorship of relativism. As Athos pointed out: "Without a working knowledge of mimetic theory, it is nearly impossible to extricate one's thoughts and feelings from the ..." shrill of the maddening crowd which not only is stuck in the swirling vortex of victimization, it is also caught up in the spell of relativism. On virtually every page of a newspaper or soundwave from your favorite talk show scandal is the norm and we don't even recognize it...
From René Girard's Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World:
For us, as for those who first heard the Gospel, the stone rejected by the builders has become the permanent stumbling block. By refusing to listen to what is being said to us, we are creating a fearsome destiny for ourselves. And there is no one, except ourselves, who can be held responsible.From René Girard's I See Satan Fall Like Lightning:
Christ plays this role for all who remain scandalized by the wisdom embodied in the text. His role, though understandable, is paradoxical, since he offers not the slightest hold to any form of rivalry or mimetic interference. There is no acquisitive desire in him. As a consequence, any will that is really turned toward Jesus will not meet with the slightest of obstacles. His yolk is easy and his burden is light. With him, we run no risk of getting caught up in the evil opposition between doubles. (pp. 429-430)
The phrase "Scandal must come" (see Matt. 18:7) has nothing to do with either ancient fatalism or scientific determinism. Taken individually, human beings are not necessarily given over to mimetic rivalries, but by virtue of the great number of individuals they contain, human communities cannot escape them. When the first scandal occurs, it gives birth to others, and the result is mimetic crises, which spread without ceasing and become worse and worse. (I See Satan Fall Like Lightning, pp. 16-18)From René Girard's The Girard Reader:
All those who join a belligerent crowd act more or less (similar ...). They all transfer their private scandals to some public target. Men become so burdened with scandals that they desperately, if unconsciously, seek the public substitutes upon whom to unburden themselves. As they become more numerous, the target's attractiveness as a target increases, and the process becomes irresistible.From Gil Bailie's Violence Unveiled: Humanity at the Crossroads:
The notion of scandal bridges the gap between individual and collective violence. The mobility of scandals, their tendency to unite around a common victim, provides a mediation, a communication between the two levels.
The violent unanimity of the Passion results from a massive transference of scandals, a snowballing so powerful that its effects become inescapable. (The Girard Reader, pp. 199-200)
To dispense with sacrificial systems without accepting greater moral and religious responsibility is to follow Cain down a dark road that, ... (p. 139)
According to this Gospel, the only viable alternative to living in witless complicity with the father of lies is to live in conscious conformity with the “heavenly Father” which Jesus’ life made visible. (p. 225)
These references that I have included in this post and the many others that are on our sidebar can help you grasp what is going on in the world today and why so many sayings of Jesus were truly hard. There is a real anthropological reason for the sayings and we are just beginning to have the intellectual tools to apply to them. Don't settle for the shallow and slanderous rhetoric of mainstream media - rather challenge the "system" and pick up one of these books. But whatever you do be about deepening your religious sensibilities finding your way back to church. As John W. Dixon, Jr. proclaimed, "Christians stubbornly clung to their language even when it could be said they really didn’t understand it. (And the sad thing is that, now when we are about to acquire the intellectual means for understanding the terminology, a failure of nerve has set in and many Christians are abandoning the terminology.) Please, let us not be abandoning the only cornerstone for which our salvation rests.
French Intellectuals - Appeal to Truth
Thursday, April 08, 2010
Witnesses in Dark Times
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
It Is 'More Than This Scandal'
Monday, April 05, 2010
Lift Up Your Hearts
Saturday, April 03, 2010
To Know the "Goodness" of the "Good" in Good Friday is Paramount
It becomes difficult for those who seek to understand, as they are found whirling around faster and faster in this vortex of ressentiment, especially when they self-identify with the victimizing group, to listen to and to learn from it. In countering such desire for revenge, a helpful approach is to recognize the deeper roots of ressentiment. These roots are found in our tendency to make scapegoats out of others, a tendency to project blame for the ills that afflict us onto the other. Instead of being about the activity of flinging revengeful and hurtful ressentiment we need to be about bringing a level of calm and groundedness that can only be birthed from a conversion, daily if not in each moment - a death of the self enmeshed in the swirling vortex of violence (Good Friday) to a resurrection of new life (Easter).
THIS is Easter!
At one level, Easter is a personal conversion and resurrection from a life based in self-centeredness where we are brought to a moment of recognition - where we can see the "old self" based in a false individuality linked to the contours of the scapegoat mechanism vividly displayed in our own heart. It seems to me that such recognition is what Girard appreciates about some scriptural texts like the Joseph cycle from Genesis. This model of recognition provides an example of a preparatory step that may be necessary for our personal Easter - our personal resurrection into Christ. It starts first with the recognition of own "old self" grounded in the ressentiment of the scapegoat mechanism and then the experience of our conversion - a personal grafting of our self into the New Creation as St. Paul writes in Galatians 6:14-16 (The New Jerusalem Bible):
But as for me, it is out of the question that I should boast at all, except of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. It is not being circumcised or uncircumcised that matters; but what matters is a new creation. Peace and mercy to all who follow this as their rule and to the Israel of God. After this, let no one trouble me; I carry branded on my body the marks of Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, my brothers. Amen.This is a life journey of daily conversion - it is making the personal choice - the YES of Mary - to being members of this new creation - it is living Good Friday to Easter moment to moment.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
Friday, April 02, 2010
Katz - Pink Slip the NYT
This enabled him not to pause, in his subsequent studies, on the analysis of the mechanism of violence, but to point out also how to come out of it. Many, unfortunately, continue to quote René Girard as the one who denounced the alliance between the sacred and violence, but they do not speak of the Girard who pointed out in the paschal mystery of Christ the total and definitive break of such an alliance. According to him, Jesus unmasks and breaks the mechanism of the scapegoat that makes violence sacred, making himself, the victim of all violence...