Why Francis and Benedict are Right: Proselytizing is Folly

Limerick parade, 2002/Elizabeth Scalia

Do you know why, as Pope Francis rightly noted (as Benedict did, before him), proselytizing doesn't work?Because it is not Incarnational. It has nothing in common with the example set by the Word when he condescended to join humanity and "set his tent among us". Not near humanity, but still apart; not above humanity, overseeing it, but among and with and in commonality with us.When Proposition 8 was roiling California in 2008, a group of Evangelical Christians decided to make a weekly … [Read more...]

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“It is Consummated”: the “Mad Eros of the Cross”

Christ the Bridegroom**

On the Cross, God’s eros for us is made manifest. Eros is indeed – as Pseudo-Dionysius expresses it – that force “that does not allow the lover to remain in himself but moves him to become one with the beloved” ("De divinis nominibus", IV, 13: PG 3, 712). Is there more “mad eros” (N. Cabasilas, "Vita in Cristo", 648) than that which led the Son of God to make Himself one with us even to the point of suffering as His own the consequences of our offences?Dear brothers and sisters, let us look a … [Read more...]

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Christ Crucified Explains it All…

A friend of mine, reading about Pope Francis' admission to children that he is sometimes fearful, wrote admitting that he too was often fearful -- debilitatingly so -- particularly when reading the headlines and watching our social dynamics. He wondered how to not be afraid.I told him, "I know I sound like a broken record, but get a crucifix." I told him to "study the crucifix while pondering the words of Julian of Norwich."Her words, juxtaposed against the crucifix, explain everything. … [Read more...]

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The Hope of Humanity

“Each small meanness, each thoughtless expression of hatred, each envious and bitter act, regardless of how petty, can inspire others, and is therefore the seed that ultimately produces evil fruit, poisoning people whom you have never met and never will. All human lives are so profoundly and intricately entwined – those dead, those living, those generations yet to come – that the fate of all is the fate of each, and the hope of humanity rests in every heart and in every pair of hands.” ~Dean Koon … [Read more...]

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Pillar of Cloud, Water of Life: All of a Healing Piece & Peace

baptismofoursavior

For a little while longer, we are still in Christmas, but every day the mysteries of the season seem to wither a little, like the leaves of the poinsettias; the expectation of Advent seems far away, and in just a few days we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord, and enter -- with some sense of refreshment, because after a time we long for the comforts of what is routine and regular -- into Ordinary Time.The Baptism of the Lord is being presaged in the readings and prayers of the Divine Office. … [Read more...]

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A Hermitage in Your Future?

My husband thinks this will be me, one day:The hermitage isn't what you'd expect: a small home in a quiet neighborhood of Essex, Maryland, that was originally built as a one-room fishing shack 100 years ago. But then, the hermit who lives there isn't what you'd expect, either. Mary Zimmerer, now Sr. Maria Veronica of the Holy Face, is a bubbly widow who discerned a call to the contemplative life after her husband passed away five years ago. Having made a public profession of vows last … [Read more...]

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Stars and the Excess of Clarity

Spent some time stargazing a while back, when I couldn’t sleep.No telescope, just the naked eye, a dark neighborhood and a willingness to wonder. I was digesting a bit of Thomas Merton's The Seven Storey Mountain, and it had stayed with me through evening's pass – the sight of the stars, the early, wise writings of a monk.Does the fact that we can no longer see the stars have anything to do with our loss of wonder? These things, the stars, and all creation - they are more splendid, perfect, … [Read more...]

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The Crying out of Flesh and God

oratory autumn

Sometimes the things you done a thousand times can bring new results; the prayers you've said a million times bring new insight.My Oratory has an assortment of Holy Icons and small pewter statues, an old standing crucifix, and a second-class relic of St. Philip Neri, who is my Patron for this year. Generally, as I begin my morning prayer, I ponder what is before me. Currently I have an Icon of the Resurrection up, and before it a small pile of tumbled stones, reminding me of the … [Read more...]

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Five Reasons I Love Jesus

Reposted from 2007 by request of Reader Mark:Five Reasons Why I Love Jesus5) He's got a good sense of humor. In this I see I am joined by Julie at Happy Catholic, for pretty much the same reasons. I love the sort of loving, semitic and word-based humor on display in scripture. In Matthew, Chapter 14, Simon and Andrew - probably nagging at each other as they cast their nets into the sea - needed only one phrase to drop their nets and follow him, and the phrase was a dandy, "Heh. Hey … [Read more...]

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Prayer is ruining me for blogging…

I love my oratory. It's so nice, so restful, so mine. Going there to pray every day ("going there;" it's on the other side of my desk) just...shapes the whole day.But it's really playing hell with my blogging and the direction of the blog.I mean, here's my morning: I shower, get dressed, wrap the towel around my wet head (hey, it's a handy headcoving!) and then go to my oratory. I light tea candles, one before each Icon, one before the Crucifix, one before my little pewter statues. … [Read more...]

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