Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Temptations vs. Trials

I hope to help make a distinction between a temptation and a trials. Trials come from God or are allowed by God to bring us closer to Him, but temptations do not come from God and are to be overcome.
Temptations are:
1– Inevitable -
"Jesus said to his disciples: "Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come." -Luke 17:1
2– Not from God
"When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone"-James 1:13
3– Individual’s responsibility
"but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed." -James 1:14
4 – Being tempted isn’t sinful, entertaining it is.
"he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan." - Mark 1:13
We can also know that:
  • Our temptations are not unique - 1 Cor 10:13
  • God knows my limits. He is not unaware of the situation. - 1 Cor 10:14

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Works of Mercy

A friend in campus ministry sent this to me while she was reflecting on some scripture. I think it applies to how we are all called to help others, not just those of us who work in ministry. It is a very nice spiritual reflection on the corporal works of mercy.

So the last few times I've read yesterday's gospel - Matthew 25:31-40, I have been overwhelmed with joy in being able to do what I do for a living. Thought I’d share my reflection from last night.

"I was hungry and you gave me food"
I think of all those that come to us hungry for the truth - and we get to share it with them.

"I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink"
I think of all those that come to us thirsty for God - and we get to introduce them to a deep, life sustaining relationship with Him.

"I was a stranger and you welcomed me"
I think of all those that have been away from God and from the Church for a long while - and we get to be the ones who welcome them home again.

"I was naked and you gave me clothing"
I think of all the young people that come into my office completely unaware of their true worth and their unchangeable dignity - I get to be the one to tell them they are precious and loved, no matter what.

"I was sick and you took care of me"
I think of all those who come broken, exhausted, lost and ashamed - we get to comfort them and share with them God's healing grace.

"I was in prison and you visited me"
I think of all those who come trapped in sin or past mistakes - we get to share with them the freedom Christ offers and the power of the Cross to break any chains.

How amazing is that my friends?! What a privilege to do what we do. I love my job! Thanks for doing it with me.

Friday, February 23, 2007

More Questions on Lent

Do any drinks violate a fast?
No. But, if you are drinking a ton of something that has a lot of caffeine, calories, etc. and it means you can't quite feel the effects of a fast, then it isn't quite part of the "spirit" of fasting.

How much can I eat when I fast?
The Church law says you can have one meal and two small snacks. But, remember the point to all of this isn't to get caught up in the details, but to allow our bodies to reflect the inner mortification and prayer our souls are caught up into. Without the spiritual effect, the bodily doesn't matter.

I heard you have to abstain from meat every Friday, not just those in Lent, is this true?
No. We are not required to fast every Friday. But, it is still highly recommended that we do some penitential act on every Friday (which could be abstaining from meat). The only days that we (in the US) are required to fast are Ash Wed and Good Friday.

Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving

“Prayer and fasting are good, but better than either is almsgiving accompanied by righteousness … It is better to give alms than to store up gold; for almsgiving saves one from death and expiates every sin. Those who regularly give alms shall enjoy a full life” (Tob 12:8-9).
Maybe we should focus more on almsgiving this Lent...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Pope's Lenten Message - 2007

From Pope Benedict XVI' s Lenten Message for 2007 I will put some excerpts up. If you want the full address you can find it on the Vatican's website.

They shall look on Him whom they have pierced” (Jn 19:37). This is the biblical theme that this year guides our Lenten reflection. Lent is a favourable time to learn to stay with Mary and John, the beloved disciple, close to Him who on the Cross, consummated for all mankind the sacrifice of His life (cf. Jn 19:25). With a more fervent participation let us direct our gaze, therefore, in this time of penance and prayer, at Christ crucified who, dying on Calvary, revealed fully for us the love of God.

It is in the mystery of the Cross that the overwhelming power of the heavenly Father’s mercy is revealed in all of its fullness. In order to win back the love of His creature, He accepted to pay a very high price: the blood of His only begotten Son. Death, which for the first Adam was an extreme sign of loneliness and powerlessness, was thus transformed in the supreme act of love and freedom of the new Adam. One could very well assert, therefore, together with Saint Maximus the Confessor, that Christ “died, if one could say so, divinely, because He died freely” (Ambigua, 91, 1956). 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?

Jesus said: “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself” (Jn 12:32). The response the Lord ardently desires of us is above all that we welcome His love and allow ourselves to be drawn to Him. Accepting His love, however, is not enough. We need to respond to such love and devote ourselves to communicating it to others. Christ “draws me to Himself” in order to unite Himself to me, so that I learn to love the brothers with His own love.

Blood, symbol of the love of the Good Shepherd, flows into us especially in the Eucharistic mystery: “The Eucharist draws us into Jesus’ act of self-oblation … we enter into the very dynamic of His self-giving” (Encyclical Deus caritas est, 13). Let us live Lent then, as a “Eucharistic” time in which, welcoming the love of Jesus, we learn to spread it around us with every word and deed. Contemplating “Him whom they have pierced” moves us in this way to open our hearts to others, recognizing the wounds inflicted upon the dignity of the human person; it moves us, in particular, to fight every form of contempt for life and human exploitation and to alleviate the tragedies of loneliness and abandonment of so many people. May Lent be for every Christian a renewed experience of God’s love given to us in Christ, a love that each day we, in turn, must “regive” to our neighbour, especially to the one who suffers most and is in need. Only in this way will we be able to participate fully in the joy of Easter.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Another Ash Wed. Question

Q - Should I keep the Ashes I receive on all day or wipe them off? It seems that I will be somewhat prideful if I keep them on. What do you think?

A - Thanks for your question! I think you should keep them on, but only for the right reason. We shouldn't make a "show" of our faith, but neither should we be ashamed of it.

It is okay to wear the ashes all day as long as it doesn't become sinful pride. We can be proud to wear ashes as a sign of repentance and a sign of faith, but if it is to be "holier-than-thou" then the vice of pride has entered in.

On the other hand, we shouldn't be ashamed that we are marked by the Church as a child of God and a sibling of Christ. We are marked by the cross of Christ.

So, while we shouldn' t do it as a parade of our faith we also shouldn't be scared of them either.

Keep them on and humbly offer your day to the Lord for His sacrifice for you.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Lent 2007

LENT FAQ

What is Lent?
Lent is a time when the Catholic Church collectively enters into preparation for the celebration of Easter. Lent originally developed as a forty-day retreat, preparing converts to be baptized at the Easter Vigil. Lent is a season of conversion. Conversion is the process of turning away from sin and turning to God. Lent starts with Ash Wednesday (this excludes Sundays, which are not part of the 40 days) and ends on Holy Thursday, the first day of the Triduum, the three holy days before Easter.

So why aren't Sundays part of Lent?
This is because Sundays are always a day of celebration of Christ's passion and Resurrection, so we celebrate on these days.

Does this mean I can "cheat" on Sundays?
Since Sundays are not part of the penitential season, you do not have to practice signs of penitence on these days. But, there is no reason you can't do them either. If you feel you are "cheating" then it isn't helping!

Why forty days and not some other number?
Because 40 is a special number in the Bible. It signifies preparation for something special - as in the 40 day flood of Noah.
* Moses stayed on the Mount Sinai forty days (Ex 24:18),
* Jonah gives the people of Ninevah forty days to repent (Jon 3:4) - (there are many other Old Testament stories)
* We also see this with Jesus, before starting his ministry, he spent forty days in the desert in prayer and fasting (Matt 4:2).
So, as in the Bible, we spend forty days in preparing ourselves to rejoice at the Resurrection of our Lord at Easter.

So, what is Ash Wednesday all about?

Ash Wednesday is so named because this first day of Lent is where we are marked with ashes to show the repentance of our sins and mourning. This is also a Biblical sign that we live today. We can see this in several verses.
* One verse is - "I turned to the Lord God, pleading in earnest prayer, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes" (Dan 9:3)
* Other verses include: 1 Sam 4:12, Jon 3:6, Esther 4:1 and Matt 11:20-21
Today, ashes are still this same sign of repentance and mourning for our sins. They also represent our mortality. "I am nothing but dust and ashes" (Gen. 18:27). We started as nothing and our bodies will become dust and ashes after our death. Reminding ourselves that nobody escapes physical death, we look forward to eternal life.

So, why are the ashes made into a cross on the forehead?
Because it is the ancient sign of being marked by Christ in our baptism. We are no longer our own, but Jesus Christ owns us. The book of Revelation tells us that all the elect will be marked by the sign of Christ - "On Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads." (Rev 14:1)

Where do we get the ashes?
They come from burning the palms from last years Palm Sunday Masses.

Who can receive ashes?
Anyone can receive ashes on Ash Wed. While we have communion only for Catholics who are in good standing with the Church, all may receive ashes.

Is Ash Wed a holy day of Obligation?
No. But all Catholics are strongly urged to attend, because it is the start of the Lenten season.

Do we have to fast and abstain from meat on Ash Wed?
Yes. This means that all Catholics from 14 and up are required to abstain from meat and Catholics 18-60 are required to eat only one average meal and two snacks without anything else. Children, the elderly and those who are sick are not obligated to do this.

Why fast?
Again, this is because we are called to by Jesus. By denying ourselves something good, we remember what the highest good of all is - GOD. We also practice self-discipline and self-mastery, which we need in order to achieve holiness. Jesus fasted in the desert and calls us to as well. * "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full." (Matt 6: 16) * "and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer." (Luke 2:37)
Fasting also helps focus us in our prayer. *Yet when they were ill, I...humbled myself with fasting.” (Psalm 35:13)

Why abstain from meat?
Because of the spiritual discipline it provides. "In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia . . . 'I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.'" (Dan 10:1-3) We give up meat, which still today is a luxury in some parts of the world, as a good thing that we offer up in order to remember that Christ is better than food.

Why is fish not considered meat?
Because it was the food of the poor who could not afford meat, yet could catch fish to sustain them.

So, what are the other days of fast and abstinence?
Good Friday is a day of fasting and abstinence. All Fridays during Lent are days of abstinence - Friday was the day Christ died.

So, why do people "give up" things during Lent?
While we are not required to “give something up” we are required to do something penitential. Lent is a great time to break a bad habit and give it to the Lord. These sins and vices we should not take back after Lent. It is also a time to give something up that is good during this season. This is why people give up something they enjoy. In doing so we can draw closer to God by our temporary sacrifice. We should find an appropriate balance of giving something up and not completely cutting ourselves off of good things. We will find our need for God if we do it correctly.

What else then IS required during Lent?
The Church asks us to increase our prayer, fasting and almsgiving. It is assumed that we are already doing these things and should merely increase them.

Got any suggestions?
First off, pray about what you are going to do for Lent. Ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in your spiritual practice of Lent. Then find a few things that you feel called to do. Don't do too much or too little. Stretch yourself, but don't pick things you won't stick to.

LENTEN SUGGESTIONS

Increased Prayer:
· Wake up 20 minutes early and start the day in prayer.
· Daily Mass 1-2 times a week.
· An hr. in Adoration a week.
· Go to Confession.
· Read Scripture daily.
· Go to a lenten Bible study.
· Read a spiritual book.
· Start to pray a daily Rosary.
· Pray the Liturgy of the hours.
· Pray a Divine Mercy Chaplet.
· Stations of the Cross on Fridays.
· Pray for your enemies.
· Watch The Passion of the Christ and then meditate on Christ’s life.
· Read about the life of a saint.
· Do an extra spiritual activity at Church
· Get involved in St. Mary’s if you aren’t already.
· Memorize Scripture verses.
· Check out a book on spirituality from St. Mary’s library.

Increased Almsgiving:
· When you fast from a meal, give the money you would spend to the poor.
· Use a coin box from and put all change into it for the poor.
· Volunteer with St. Vincent de Paul.
· Spend more time with your parents.
· Visit a nursing home.
· Start tithing.
· Make a pledge to St. Mary’s.
· Forgive an old grudge.
· Invite someone to Church
· Share your faith with someone.
· Give someone a Catholic tract or CD.
· Exercise patience and love.
· Speak in a pleasant tone to everyone.
· Look for extra ways to help others.
· Go out of your way to talk to someone who is shy or difficult.
· Offer to watch a mother’s child(ren).
· Drive with love.
· Write a letter to a relative you haven’t seen in a while.

Increased fasting:
The following are good things we can fast from and have back at a later time:
· Fast on bread and water on Fridays.
· Fast from snacking or candy.
· Fast from TV
· Fast from the radio in your car.
· Fast from ‘facebook’ / internet.
· Fast from caffeine.
· Do not use seasoning on your food.

The following are things we can fast from and continue to give up:
· Fast from alcohol (especially if you drink too much or are not 21)
· Fast from speeding.
· Fast from sarcasm or gossip.
· Fast from pornography.
· Fast from being lazy or lying
· Fast from not studying.
· Fast from complaining.
· Fast from some other bad habit.


Evangelization Part III - Talk the Talk too

“Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” (Matt 4:17)
If you were to go to a group of 100 average Catholics and ask for a definition of evangelization, most of the responses would almost certainly contain the idea of explicitly proclaiming or preaching the gospel message given to us by Jesus. Being the most visible part of evangelization it is no wonder that it is commonly mistaken for the entirety of evangelization. The idea of an evangelist is widely considered to be the door-to-door missionaries, the street corner preachers, or the people who give up their comfortable lives to go to the ends of the earth in order to spread the Gospel in foreign mission-lands. While this is certainly a part of proclaiming the good news, it does not make up the whole of it and these are more extraordinary forms of evangelization and not the norm.

This Kerygma, or preached Gospel, is a necessary and key part of evangelization. In fact, evangelization is incomplete until the declaration of the saving message that Jesus commands us to proclaim to others is pronounced. This is of course the part of evangelization that is most intimidating to the majority of people whose hair stands on end when “evangelization” is mentioned.

A quick side note on this aspect of evangelization: I am one of many modern Catholics who grew up in the Church, fell away, and now has come to love the faith after an initial conversion as an adult and then through an intense study Catholic teachings and apologetics. As we have stated, apologetics is a defense of the faith and showing that the faith is reasonable. This study of the faith helped me to understand what the Church taught, but like many Catholic apologists, I made many mistakes when I felt the call to then share my faith. I have tried to win an argument rather than souls, been arrogant, sought affirmation, thought my apologetic arguments were God’s infallible word, and been wrong and failed to admit it.

The mistake I can most readily identify with is using apologetics as an offensive weapon in order to beat others into submission. This is the antithesis of true evangelization. Archbishop Fulton Sheen evangelized according to the fitting motto, “win the argument, lose a soul.” If we aim to win, we are not sharing our faith out of love, but pride - and pride is the original sin. Pride keeps us from loving anyone else but ourselves as we should. Pride keeps us from humbly accepting God’s grace. Sinful pride opposes humility and as we have said, humility is necessary for all Christian in order to grow in holiness. Pride is therefore incompatible with evangelization.

I am blessed to be able to see numerous young people fall in love with Jesus and the Catholic faith. Many of them take hold of their faith, like other Catholics, and then feel the need to share and defend it. But, they continue to fall into the trap that I did. We mistake offensive volleys against those that aren’t Catholic for a defense of the faith. Yet, most of those we are arguing into a corner need to be loved into the Church, not argued into it. I am certainly not saying that there is not a great need for defending the faith or being able to “give a reason for your hope” (2 Pet 3:15), but we must not forget the second part of the passage that says to do it with “gentleness and reverence.”

Let it suffice for the present to say that there is no technique that is foolproof or perfect for everyone, except to do as Jesus did. Any other technique or program for preaching the Gospel is merely a tool. No tool is right for every situation or person. We must constantly keep in mind that evangelization is a work of love, which rises above any particular technique. When Jesus sent his followers out to preach, he had them watch his example and learn from him. Even more importantly he taught them to love. I don’t want to get too “touchy-feely,” because I still believe that for every argument against the Catholic Church, there are many more in favor of her. I do want to make sure that apologetics is given proper recognition, but let us not make the mistake of believing apologetics fulfills all of our evangelistic work for us.

“For we do not preach ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord.” (2 Cor 4:5) When we do preach Christ to others we must once again take on the humble attitude of a servant wanting to please his master. Here Paul is telling the Corinthians that the purpose of his preaching isn’t to steady his own reputation or to make others think more highly of him, but rather to preach Christ. He says again:

“When I came to you, brothers, proclaiming the mystery of God, I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom. God I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling, and my message and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of spirit and power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.” (1 Cor 2: 1-5)

Paul’s humility is evident whenever he talks of the Gospel. It is not of himself, but of Christ alone. He wants no credit, no glory. Paul humbly seeks only to point out Christ and what he accomplished on the Cross, not what Paul accomplishes by being a good steward of the gifts he has been given to preach. The Catechism echoes this sentiment:

“No one can give himself the mandate and the mission to proclaim the Gospel. The one sent by the Lord does not speak and act on his own authority, but by virtue of Christ’s authority; not as a member of the community, but speaking to it in the name of Christ.” (CCC, 875)

St. Paul tells us that he was an “ambassador for Christ.” (2 Cor 5:20) An ambassador was a person given the full authority of the leader they represented. As an emissary for Christ, Paul now carries the saving message of the Lord with him and is empowered to give it to others. We must see that it is not only St. Paul and the other apostles who were given this charge, but all of us who are baptized into Christ. We have all been made to share in the ministry of Christ to all souls on the earth. Do we share the gospel with others when we have the opportunity? How can we do this? We will talk about specifics in other posts devoted to proclaiming the Gospel.

“Here, there are two elements at work: witness, which is the simple living of the faith; and sharing, which is spreading the Good News of Jesus in an explicit way.” (US Bishops - GMD, 36)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Evangelization Part II - Witness/Holiness

“Laymen cooperate in the Church's work of evangelization; as witnesses and at the same time as living instruments, they share in her saving mission.” (Vatican II - AG, 41)
We are each called to participate in the call of Christ to evangelize. This call is not an option for any Christian. If we are truly to be effective evangelists we need to start living our lives more perfectly every day. Simply put and yet much harder to do - the call to evangelize cannot be separated from the universal call to holiness. As Pope Paul VI wrote,
“our evangelizing zeal must spring from true holiness of life… Without this mark of holiness, our word will have difficulty in touching the heart of modern man. It risks being vain and sterile.” (Paul VI, EN, 76)

The call to holiness came from Christ and was given to the apostles who have passed down that call to us today. Jesus tells us to “be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect.” (Matt 5:48) Because Jesus is God and by his nature we know that God is truth, Jesus cannot tell a lie. So, when he commands us to be “perfect,” he really means this is what we are called to do. Perfection is nothing less than living our lives free of sin, full of virtue and acting out of love for our savior and our neighbor. This is a goal that is attainable by all of us, Because Christ is not a liar.

St. Paul and St. Peter echo the call to holiness as the following verses demonstrate:

“Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of flesh and spirit, making holiness perfect in the fear of God.” (2 Cor 7:1)
“God did not call us to impurity but to holiness” (1 Thes 4:7)
“He saved us and called us to a holy life, not according to our works but according to his own design and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began.” (2 Tim 1:9)
“Like obedient children, do not act in compliance with the desires of your former ignorance but, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, for it is written, “Be holy because I am holy.’” (2 Peter 1: 14-16)
Throughout the history of the Church, the saints have repeated the call to holiness. In the documents of Vatican II the Church once again issued the clarion call – we are to be holy. In Lumen Gentium, the Sacred Constitution on the Church, we see the call to holiness once again come front and center. Vatican II sent out the call to holiness once again –
“All Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity.” (Vatican II - LG, 40)

Our holy father, Pope John Paul II has repeatedly reaffirmed our need for holiness as well. This universal call to holiness must be answered in each of us if we are to be effective evangelists who glorify God by our witness. This silent example of Christ is the first way that we spread the good news. Paul VI writes,

“such a witness is already a silent proclamation of the Good News and a very powerful and effective one. Here we have an initial act of evangelization.” (Paul VI, EN, 21)

Holiness is not achievable by our own merits or hard work, but only by cooperating with the grace that God provides to us through the sacramental life. Therefore, holiness is not so much what we are doing, but what God does through us. As in all things in the spiritual life, we must start with the proper recognition of God and ourselves. When we are able to properly examine the relationship of God to man, we see that we must become more and more humble. Humility is the basis of all the other virtues, because without humility we will not be able to recognize that it is all because of God’s power, salvation and grace that we do anything of eternal value. If we are not humble, we cannot be holy.

To truly be an effective witness for Christ we must do as Christ taught us. How did he witness to his contemporaries? He healed, he preached, and he resisted the political powers. But, this isn’t the heart of his witness. What he did for us is God became man at the Incarnation, the definitive moment of history. He then would die for our sins and rise from the dead. He now sits at his Father’s right hand and pleads for us with the wounds marking his body for eternity. He witnessed to the world what it means to be a lover of others.

Christ loved sacrificially and calls us to do the same. To witness to our family, our friends, our co-workers, and everyone else, we must be willing to die as well. Even though most of us in our society today are not called to a bloody martyrdom, we are still all called to die to our selfish and sinful desires. If we are truly to follow Christ’s examples, then we must live a life of sacrifice.

When I talk about love to different groups, I ask them what they believe love is. There are many false ideas of “true love.” Some believe love and sex are synonymous. Others believe that falling “in love” is what love is and it depends on our emotional state at the time. I then ask them if I can offer my own definition of love. I tell them that true love is to desire what is best for another, regardless of how much it may cost them. I have never had a single person say they disagree with that definition. With all of us on the same page, we then discuss the life of Christ. How did Jesus fail to love? He didn’t. Christ loved us to the point of suffering torture, humiliation, scourging, mocking, betrayal, and a horrible death on a cross. This is the kind of love we are called to and nothing less. This is the love a follower of Jesus must aspire to. Yet, this kind of love is anathema to modern man and takes a concerted effort to teach true love on the evangelist’s part.

We can practice this kind of love every day. Personally, I used to hate doing the dishes because I was required to do them when I was growing up. After I got married, I continued to dislike the dishes and found that every chance I got to get out of doing them I would take. It dawned on me one day – through the grace of God – that what I was doing was failing to love my wife. So, I decided from that day forward that I would make doing the dishes my desire. That doesn’t mean that I immediately enjoyed doing the dishes, but my perspective changed. Instead of trying to get out of a chore, I saw it as a chance to love my wife by dying to my own desires. I know that my wife is happier with my attitude about the dishes.

What was underlying this attitude change was a paradigm shift at a deeper level. I found that in the past I wasn’t in a relationship to love, including my marriage, but rather I was in the relationship to try and get the most out of it for myself. Instead of sacrificing myself for my wife, children, family, friends and others, I was trying to use them. Pope John Paul II teaches in his Theology of the Body that using another person as a means to an end is the opposite of true love. True love according to the Pope is giving yourself as a gift to others – as an end unto themselves. This is where my head realized what I was doing and my heart started to change. In no way have I perfected this humble and gift-giving love, but my mind and heart are properly oriented now, so I have the opportunity to love more humbly, selflessly and fruitfully.

This change has made me a more effective witness, in the small, yet important, daily tasks. To try and be the instrument of God without this sacrificial love is impossible. We have to look to the master of witnessing and model ourselves after his love. Anything less would be a waste of our time and effort.

Witness of life, which is the initial act of evangelization, is indispensable to the Catholic evangelist. As Pope Paul VI says, “Above all the Gospel must be proclaimed by witness.” (Paul VI, EN, 21) The witness of the Christian is done by conforming our human will to the divine will of Jesus. In living out our faith daily, we point to the one that gives us the strength, joy, and love that draws people to seek what it is that makes the Christian “tick.” This cannot be done without growth in holiness, prayer, conversion and continually seeking grace in the sacraments.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Open Minded?

"Don't you have an open mind?" I guess I really don't and to tell you the truth, I think that is a very good thing. An open mind can be a dangerous thing to waste because:
  • Do you really want an open mind about genocide?
  • Do you really want an open mind about rape?
  • Do you really want an open mind about abortion?
  • Do you really want an open mind about sin?
I think that problem lies in the fact that many open-minded people aren't very "open-minded" about those who disagree with them. They want everyone to think as they do...of course it ends up looking pretty close-minded when quickly examined.

I think GK Chesterton said it best:
Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.