Advent 2, year A

•December 7, 2013 • Leave a Comment

The commonality between the three readings, excluding the Psalm, can be seen on different levels. Spirit. Unity. Of course, the spirit is the source of unity.

St Paul speaks of and to a church of Jew and gentile, united by and around her lord. Unity. And he appeals to the scriptures, essentially the Old Testament, which was written for our edification, as the source of this understanding of this unity. The scripture in our reading this week references how the Gentiles will find peace through the god of Israel. Our reading cuts short, and only lists one such reference, but there are more in the following text, one of which is directly from the first reading in Isaiah.

This first reading speaks of this mysterious stump, which buds. It was dead, but is alive. The promise of the Judaic kingdom remains. The spirit rests on this figure (baptism of Jesus). And in him the Gentiles shall hope, it says.

In the gospel, just prior to the baptism of Jesus, John is baptizing. He wears clothes that evoke Elijah the prophet, who was to precede the messiah’s entrance onto the scene. And he says to the Pharisees that they need no longer rely on their abrahamic lineage, for if necessary, god could raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And indeed, that is what he did. The Gentiles were incorporated. Brought into the body. Engrafted into the olive tree. But the axe lies at the root, so repent and bear fruit worthy of the gospel, lest the same fate befall you. The church cannot be thrown off, but you can.

Repent. Bear fruit. Serve unity through the joy of the gospel, in the spirit.

Contraception

•July 9, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I see it everywhere these days.  People insisting the Church opposes”artificial contraception”, but is Ok with natural methods.  BS.  The Church opposes contraception of any stripe. Introducing the artificial distinction between artificial and natural means only makes it seem like the Church is OK with natural contraception.  And what is the most well known form of natural contraception?  Well, NFP, naturellement.  But of course, NFP is not contraception.  Contraception is a specific thing, whether natural or artificial, and NFP ain’t it.

Comment Boxes

•August 24, 2010 • 1 Comment

Sometimes it’s worth wading through comment boxes at certain blogs.  To wit:

Not every joke is supposed to make you laugh. Some of them are meant to make you sad, as they make you regret certain life choices you’ve made, while at the same time pointing towards the inevitablity of death.

Happiness is a Warm Gun

•August 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Actually it’s not.  It’s listening to the Innocence Mission’s latest album, My Room in the Trees.  An album that is too unbearably slow to listen to.  Where’s the pop and zazzy stuff?  Until you realize that you are moving too fast.  And that is the joy of this album.  That it forces you to sit down and listen to it.  Listen to songs of a slower, quieter, sadder, more real, more joyful life than your fast-paced whirlwind.  A slow walk through the real and wondrous world of light and leaves and Love. 

Thank God that someone out there has the eyes to see what I can’t.  And has the skill and beauty to share it with me.

Uh yeah

•July 1, 2010 • 1 Comment

Haven’t written anything in a while and that’s probably for the best.  But today, a combinaton of factors has put me in the mood to say something, but I’m not sure what.  Sitting alone in a cubicle, with too much work to do, caffeine coursing through my veins, a long weekend ahead, a concert for one of my favorite bands, it’s all got me…happy.  That’s not to say that life is unhappy.  Much the contrary.  But sometimes the routines become ruts become drudgery.  And I’m grateful for a temporary escape from it all.

In many ways, the last two years have been a slow death of a certain aspect of who I thought I was.  In most instances, I have found that deaths like this take more the form of suicides.  Dying to self is not fun, and is not lightly undertaken, and requires a lot of repeated effort and failure.  But in this case, it has mercifully been more of the nature of a murder.  Murdered by God.  Sounds like a Dan Brown novelette.  The past two years would have been the time, had I been Protestant, when I would have switched churches.  After a few years in one place, the excitement tends to wear off, I become complacent and fall back into horrid habits.  When the spiritual life needed the old kick-start, I used to turn to divorce and remarriage.  And it worked.  The excitement of new people, a new place, new worship, it all conspired to get things going again.  But notice thatit was not God that was sustaining me through the difficult times.  I just bailed and started the process again.  And the excitement would carry me for a few more years.

But that is no longer an option.  The only alternative to the Church is…nothing.  Atheism…I consider it every now and then, but there’s nothing there, both literally and figuratively.  It can’t account for itself.  And so I am here…stuck.  “Lord, to whom shall we go?”  And that brings me to the death part.  With the excitement of being a works-riddled Catholic long since extinguished, and no prospect of rekindling the excitement through mere change, things have remained…stagnant for a while.  Stagnant could imply changelessness, but think of a South Carolina swamp.  It stinks.  It’s hot.  Things start to decay.  The bugs start to bite.  All my interest in things spiritual, theological, polemical etc has vanished.  Turns out I really enjoyed these things for the sake of playing the part of the member of X church.  These have waned in perfect correlation to my excitement levels.  Turns our I liked trying to prove that I was smarter than the people I had left behind.  I liked being the Christian with the answers. 

Anyway, that’s all gone, and mercifully so.  Sure, I am left with a bit of a vacuum.  I used to love to read books about the Faith.  Now the thought is…uhm…repulsive.  I used to have a good prayer routine.  Now, not so much.  I loved Mass.  Now it’s a bit of an ordeal, though squirmy tikes might have something to do with that.  But really, what it means is that all ulterior motives are now gone.  I don’t follow Christ, if I do, because it’s exciting, or because I am smart, or because (as I used to) the girls are nice.  Or any such thing.  At this point, it’s all about Christ, or it’s not.  It’s all about following him, and not some ephemeral fantasy.  Or course, devoid of all other incentives, I am less sure than ever that I will daily make the right choice.  But now that all that crap is gone, at least what is happening is real.  As someone said, more and more, I’m secretly just me.

How’s that for your quarterly dose of self-absorption.

Book recommendation

•March 4, 2010 • 2 Comments

Protestant.  Catholic.  Pope.  Scripture.  Bible alone.  Tradition of men.  Whore.  Babylon.  Mary.  Mediatrix.  Redemptrix.  Immaculate Conception.  Assumption.  Confession.  Penance.  Sacrament.  Eucharist.  Transubstantiation.  Pelagian.  Mortal sin.  Works salvation.  Justification.  Faith alone.  Worship of saints.  Latria.  Dulia.  Hyperdulia.  Priest.  Father.  Rome.  Roman.  Romish.  Infallibility.

Just making sure I catch your search terms.  OK, now.  Read Pope Benedict’s book, Jesus of Nazareth.  You’ll learn a lot.  That is all.

Mondays

•March 3, 2010 • 1 Comment

I do not think any efforts of my own will can end once and for all this craving for limited liabilities, this fatal reservation. Only God can. I have good faith and hope He will. Of course, I don’t mean that I can therefore, as they say, “sit back.” What God does for us, He does in us. The process of doing it will appear to me to be the daily and hourly repeated exercises of my own will in renouncing this attitude, especially each morning, for it grows all over me like a new shell each night. Failures will be forgiven; it is acquiescence that is fatal, the permitted, regularised presence of an area in ourselves which we still claim for our own. We may never, this side of death, drive the invader out of our territory, but we must not be in the Resistance, not in the Vichy government. And this, so far as I can yet see, must be begun again every day. Our morning prayer should be that in the Imitation: Da hodie perfecte incipere– grant me to make an unflawed beginning today, for I have done nothing yet. ~ CS Lewis

If it grows over me like a shell every night, it grows all over me like a casket over weekends.  ‘Nuff said.

 
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