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Saturday, March 21, 2015

No, Seriously: God Loves You

Call me a hippie, but I seriously don't think we talk about this enough. Some people think the problem in the American Catholic Church is that we talk too much about it, that we should talk about sin more. Well, that's true also. The reason we don't talk about sin is that we don't talk about God's love.

God is Love. God is immutable--that is, unchanging--and what He unchangingly is, is Love. When the Sacred Scriptures say, "For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God," what they mean is that we do not love as God does. There are a million different ways to botch it up, but at the end of the day, that's the story. In another way, we can't love the way God does, because He is supernatural Love, and we are but creatures; we're just people. That's why we need grace. Grace is the favor of God, and the presence of God living in us to do what we cannot do: love supernaturally. We cannot love God in the way we are supposed to, unless He brings us to His level, so to speak. Yes, we absolutely need forgiveness, but the only way we are seated in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, as St. Paul tells us and the Ephesians, is grace.

I'm gonna just shoot it straight: Some people have just enough knowledge and wisdom to scare the Hell into themselves. Here's the truth: Sin is nothing more and nothing less than the opposite of supernatural Love. If we find that we are sinners--and this is what we always find--we should think, "I must be meant for a great destiny, if I am aware of falling so short. God must really love me!" It's by grace that we know this! The grace of repentance is a grace. On this side, wicked sinners seldom hate God; they are indifferent. Listen to the priest. There might be somebody--or a great many somebodys--who are presuming upon the mercy of God. Fair enough. But if you're in the Confession line weekly, (or close) this isn't you.

I am convinced more and more each day that we really do need this New Evangelization we've been talking about. There are dozens of people walking down the streets of our parishes, who think that Sunday is a Funday, who don't necessarily think they owe God anything, much less see also their debt of sin. If I had the authority, by contrast, I would forbid all scrupulous people from reading or speaking about mortal sin for a month (or more). Without God who is Love, all other things are meaningless.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Read Of The Day

I see Confirmation Sponsor Guy in my daydreams (day-mares?) yelling stuff like, "A popular argument doesn't mean it's a good one!" when I read stuff like this.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Ed Peters, Call Your Office!

There has been a dust-up since that editorial against the death penalty co-authored by the editors of the 4 Catholic newspapers. And maybe Bruenig is getting too big for her britches, in other contexts. But the Left is right on this one. Capital punishment has never, and is not now, forbidden in the abstract by the Catholic Church. And since I agree that murderers deserve death, we don't need all this whining from the Catholic Right about their motives being impugned. I trust that your motive is the same as mine: justice. Does the capital punishment system in the United States further justice?

No.

It systemically ignores its own safeguards; it is arbitrarily enforced; it gives political rewards to those who trample on the rights of defendants. It is both agonizingly slow, and not slow enough. The guy in Ohio who waited 39 years to die for a crime he didn't commit can tell you all about it.

There is nothing symbolic about this penalty; if you can't make sure you've got the right person, and that the guilty have every access to capable representation, especially after the verdict, you can't do it. We're not even close to that.

In fact, even a cursory glance at the system reveals that the killing of the innocent is not only possible, but likely. That should trouble everyone. It doesn't, though. It's almost enough to make you question motives.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Grace Abounds All The More

I have to believe--on nothing more than the promises of God--that God is deluging the world with grace. Frankly, we're not just missing the mark these days; that's a cutesy evangelical sermon staple. We've missed the target, the hay bale, and we hit the judge right in the eye.

Whether it's us or someone else we know, we're actually wondering, "Is your grace this big?"

We need not only forgiveness; we need someone to bind up our wounds. We are the walking wounded. If it doesn't come with transforming power, the news isn't good enough.

Blessedly, Our Savior knows this. Behold him there on the cross; I wonder if He understands?