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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Kickin' It Old School

It would actually be a tragedy if a woman defied her father, and married a man he hated. It's tragic either way. He might actually be a bad husband, and a good father would do everything possible to prevent that. On the other hand, if one is living in the small universe of possibility that ignoring Dad is a good thing, that's a tragedy worth mourning, too.

This is the song that prompted me thinking about it, and an interesting discussion besides. I'm not sure I would do it. I'm perfectly capable of an unshakable affection, which might be one reason I wouldn't. Maybe other people are smarter than my heart (and hers).

I would rather live in a world of "outmoded" traditions than this one, where we decide individually what we think best. How's that working out?

Friday, December 19, 2014

The God Who Is There

I believe God is here. I believe he sees what you will see when you read this. I believe He is one God in three distinct Persons. He hears me, and loves me. God is not a concept at the top of an enterprise attempting to do something else; He is God.

The whole world does what it does by His design. We are breathing because He sustains us. Understand what you do if you disdain someone who "gets religion"; unless you are disputing her particular claims or sincerity, (legitimate in the abstract) the other alternative is that you are saying, "I live in a world where He isn't there." You don't want to end your life living in that world; that is one aspect of Hell. I doubt the earnest atheist realizes the extent of what he claims to desire. Frankly, I think most atheists are really anti-fideists; that is, they don't believe we should just take a leap in the dark, believing a fanciful story "just because." I say, "Fair enough." I may not be the guy to give you all the reasons you might want or need, but I've got reasons. I know for sure that I see goodness plain as the nose on your face. I often see the lack of it, too, but my point is, what I see is real; it's not a construct. Don't we know this, in the recesses of our hearts? We don't need proof for the goodness of sex, or ham sandwiches, or forests, even if there might be a right way and a wrong way to enjoy those things. Nor does it preclude a person from forgoing sex and ham sandwiches to live in the forest for the sake of God's Kingdom, but in either case, the point is made: Those things are good. Good as such.

Failure is chiefly a falling short in corresponding to reality, the offer of supernatural friendship. It is only a "Law" in the barest of senses. Every moment of life is an opportunity to acknowledge the real, or to create a false "reality" for oneself. Once more, the latter is as close to Hell as we can get on this side.

Goodness is personal. He is the God who is there.



Thursday, December 18, 2014

Little Things Mean A Lot

I suppose it's a good thing to be on the fence about needing the Sacrament of Reconciliation, if you are a well-formed Catholic with a strong conscience. It means that you are not the sort of person who lives the kind of life that the fear of judgment is inordinately terrifying. On the other hand, the saints seem preoccupied with their own sinfulness. That makes sense; if the light of Christ always shines, it'll see a lot of dust and dirt. In short, I went.

Maybe one gets a little proud on the road to Heaven, because I didn't want to go. I always think there might be a guy who hasn't been in 40 years, and I'm holding up the show. On the other hand, if I cared enough to speak these faults--even, blessedly, not mortal to my soul--God the Holy Spirit thinks these are more serious than I do.

And I felt more sorry about them in the sharing than I did when I was debating whether to go. I have to believe that was a work of grace. God never works shame in our hearts, but he does bring about renunciation. That's a key difference. Shame is the wounded pride of failing ourselves or others; repentance is the firm determination to walk with God, leaving sins behind. We might sin much in a repeated way; it doesn't mean we were not sorry, or that we don't intend to do better. It might mean there is a deep need or desire that we are trying to fill with something else. That something can look pretty good, even many times. We've got to keep our wits about us, so we aren't sucked down further.

He loves us. [Isn't it weird how you rip CCM/P&W all the time, and still link to their songs?--ed.] Yes, it is. However, if you were going to get a completely-unfitting-for-Mass praise chorus stuck in your head, on the condition that you'd actually believe it down to the core of your being, you could do way worse than this one. I want to believe this; if I did, I'm sure I'd live differently.

Read Of The Day

This is the reason Matheny's slack will be 5 years too long. On the other hand, he's great anyway, so it works out.

I'm Not Mad. Really.

I don't know what buffoonish person decided that you must be mad if you answer a simple question in writing or text with "Yes." but it's crazy. I'm not even comfortable ending a text without punctuation. I'm just not. If you ask me a yes/no question, you're going to get a yes/no answer, and probably with a period. I would feel weird putting an exclamation point there; am I excited? Are we laughing? I don't use smileys, either, unless I mean it. I shouldn't have to, to communicate a modicum of goodwill.

Anyway, tell you what: anybody reading this, if you get a one-word text with a period, that period means, "I love you very much, and I'm so happy that you took the time to ask me that question! I'm looking forward to the next time we meet! In person!" It seems a bit melodramatic, but actually, that's a lot closer to the reality than, "I'm angry and seething; I shall communicate my dislike with this period." Seriously, who decided that?

Not me. Thanks for reading. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Let's Cut It With The "Fallen World" BS

It's certainly true that the world is imperfect in some way. We are imperfect in some way, and we know it even before we spend any time analyzing this or that moral situation. So I do not intend to say that we should deny original sin, or our inclination toward evil. The creation groans in expectation for the sons of God to be revealed, says St. Paul.

What really irritates me is when this phrase is deployed when grievous, avoidable, culpable human sin is present. We should say, "That is wickedness," or, "I have done evil, when I had it within my power to do otherwise, by God's gracious help." I don't know if some of you are in the grip of some determinism that disallows blaming the actual people responsible, but it bugs me.

I don't ever want to be so Christian that I talk and think like an insane person. Feel free to lament the fallen world when a young kid who hasn't even learned to ride a bike gets cancer, or a young woman dies before she becomes a mom. That's worth asking God, "Why?" Short of that, we know why: someone actually did something, and it's fruitless to blame God when the truth is plain. If that makes me too much of a Jesuit, or something worse, fine.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Just Shut Up, And Let St. Edmund Campion Talk

Seriously, where has this guy been all my life? Every convert will luck into a few of these, but I'm not gifted like him to present them so clearly. Joe is OK, too.

5 Thoughts For Today

5. Go Cards! [Baseball won't start for awhile.--ed.] Doesn't matter. WOOOO!

4. Thanks a bunch, Ireland. [He's Catholic now.--ed.] Chortle. True story.

3. I'll tell you why. Because R. Kelly is "ghetto." He was never quite acceptable to white people. The most racist thing is this right here: They/we don't expect better. The Cosby thing hurts, because he is like us. He gave us white people exactly what we wanted, in the very deepest recesses of our Lincoln-loving, paternalist souls: the ideal Black man. We could love him without cost, like an entertainer MLK. Man, it's hard to write that. But it's true.

2. Then again, I doubt Ali is any less beloved, though he was about as "unacceptable" at certain points as anybody. Liberal revisionism that worked, for once? Who knows?

1. If Will Smith does something heinous, I might curl into the fetal position and sob, with the rest of White America. Sigh.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Gaudete!

As you may or may not know, this is a plural imperative. In the Southern, then, it is "Y'all rejoice!" I think we all know things that aren't occasions for joy. Yet, this is a day for mercy, and therefore, joy. Mercy consists in this: we have not only pardon for sin, but the abiding invitation to be drawn ever more deeply into the life of the Blessed Trinity. While we cast aside what is common for what is eternal, we find the joy that is the promise of Heaven.