Bootstrapping the Interior Life: Time

So you've begun to pursue the interior life. You're learning to respond to the Lord's nudges. Maybe you've even asked Him to help you hunger and thirst for righteousness. So what happens next?It's like this. There's this person you've been bumping into. Maybe you meet them at the grocery store, or in the hallway at work, or at the gas station. And you find that when you bump into them, you have one of those neat conversations that just goes on and on, even though you both really need … [Read more...]

How To Call Someone To Repentance

Last month I spent many pixels criticizing a particularly bad and ineffective way of explaining to someone the error of their ways and calling them to repentance. It seems only fair that I should spend some time talking about the right way to do it.Um.Well.You know, I'm not sure I know just what the right way is, as a general thing. It's a hard thing to do. (Q: How do porcupines make love? A: Very carefully.) But there are couple of things I think I know.First, I think it … [Read more...]

Bootstrapping the Interior Life: Direction

A couple of weeks ago I compared the interior life to a kitchen remodel. You've got a skilled workman doing a complicated job, and while he's responsible for the work, you still need to cooperate with him or the job won't get done.But there's another way that the interior life is similar to a kitchen remodel: it's not always obvious what's going on. In fact, it's usually not obvious what's going on. Some weeks it seems like there's a flurry of activity to no great effect. Other weeks, it … [Read more...]

Bootstrapping the Interior Life: Feelings

When you embark on the interior life, you'll find that feelings come with it. Sometimes you'll feel that God is so close you can practically touch him. Sometimes (alas) you'll feel so bored you'd rather do anything else—almost. Sometimes even more than almost.The thing is, the interior life isn't about feelings; it's about an objective relationship with Jesus Christ. It's about knowing Christ and loving Christ, which is to say it's a matter of the intellect and of the will. It's about c … [Read more...]

On Being a Conduit of Love

Receiving God's love is kind of like tuning in on a radio signal. God's love is always there: fifty-thousands watts straight out of paradise, and you can catch the signal anywhere on earth. And we're natural receivers, we men and women; God designed us to pick up on the signal with high fidelity. But we're almost all of us badly out of tune with that signal: we pick up it fitfully, now and then, here and there.Now, love is naturally expressive of itself, says St. Thomas, and it seems to … [Read more...]

The Touchstone of Obedience: Medjugorge and Other Apparitions

I am not an apparitions kind of guy. I'm aware of Fatima and Guadalupe and Lourdes, and find them somewhat interesting, but they don't form a significant part of my daily spirituality. Thus, I have no particular dog in the fight over the apparitions in Medjugorge; but this week's statement about Medjugorge from the CDF (i.e., don't assume the apparitions are real) led me to reflect on obedience and humility, which I regard as perhaps the most important touchstones for the behavior of living … [Read more...]

The Pony Principle

Many years ago I formulated what I call the Pony Principle, which is this: if you really want a pony for Christmas, ask your parents for a pony. You probably won't get it—but if you don't ask for a pony, you certainly won't get it.Or, to put it less colorfully: ask for what you really want, even if it seems unreasonable. Of course, you have to ask cheerfully, and you have to be willing to take no for an answer; and when you get "No!" for an answer you have to take that cheerfully as well. … [Read more...]

Bootstrapping the Interior Life: Cooperation

Looked at one way, the interior life is a long series of repairs. We are broken people in so many ways, we fall so far short of the perfection God has in mind for us; and as we grow in the interior life these things slowly get fixed.I wrote this post in the middle of a long kitchen remodel; and perhaps not coincidentally, it occurred to me that growing in the interior life is less like being a handyman and playing Mr. Fix-It in your own home, and more like hiring a contractor to remodel … [Read more...]

Mere Catholicism

So Elizabeth Scalia welcomed me to Patheos on her blog a couple of days ago, and quoted my post "Righteously Bad Theology." One of her readers left a rather cryptic comment on her post:wonderful selection, I'm Catholic patheos is taking the progressive approach...I'm assuming that some word like "glad" or "pleased" or "happy" was omitted between the words "I'm" and "Catholic", in which case the reader is assuming that I'm going to be a progressive voice at Patheos. I think this would … [Read more...]