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Showing posts from August 5, 2012
Sooner or later, you're going to have to face it: The irreconcilable dilemma between the central hermeneutical principle of the Reformation, Sola Scriptura--with all its true implications--and the earnest desire nonetheless to have visible ecclesiastical expressions as mediating institutions between the individual man and his God. The highest and best expression of Sola Scriptura, coming as it does with a great "respect" and hopefully awareness of the ancient history, leaves one as a renaissance man, perhaps, but it does not fundamentally change the arbiter of truth: the individual. He decides what the Holy Spirit says in the Scriptures, he decides which ecclesiastical decisions from the past were the right ones, he provisionally consents to the authority he lives under now. None of this is itself an argument for Catholicism as such. But if the bitter taste of that leads you to consider the paradigmatic alternative, thanks be to God. In any case, face up to it , and don&#
Pride, I'm convinced, is the worst of all vices. It keeps you from seeing the most obvious good things in the world. It keeps you from turning around in the spiritual life. To be brief about it, it keeps you from Love. Most average people--who are not especially wicked--know when they've made a mistake, let's say a bad one. What happens next depends on pride. Pride is the opposite of strength; it is insecurity named theologically. What drives you crazy with some people is, they're apologetic about the smallest offenses, and it really is a fault. And then they miss the heart of the matter. They miss something really big. And if one happens to experience this, you can taste the incomprehensibility of it all. Gnats, camels, the whole bit. And then you are astonished at the pride, again. To be frank, it doesn't mean you're "sensitive," it means you are a Pharisee. I suppose it happens to all of us at one time or another. And I do need grace to be the
It'd be pretty easy to go on a sanctimonious rant about this. But instead, maybe I'm just supposed to ask a question. What are we actually doing when we go to church? That is, what is its purpose? Is it possible that Jim and his commenters had the purpose wrong, and when what they thought was the purpose did not bear fruit, they drew the wrong conclusion? And this is where my Catholicism falls out as a matter of course. It really isn't just cheerleading. We go to Mass to offer sacrifice. That is, our life in union with His. We owe God that. We owed him that even before the full revelation of his Son. But because nothing we could offer ourselves would be worthy, it must be in Christ. More than that, it must be Christ. And my life is the pittance, yet most necessary bilateral gift. But alas, it is said, Christ died only once, and yet you call it sacrifice, even to say Christ is immolated on the altar. That is true. Yet what is this so close a relation? Is Calvary repeat
One thing that moves me very deeply is to remind people in my life that God loves them. Insanely. Fanatically. Unendingly. If only I could believe that myself! But it is true to say that God loves us more than we could possibly love ourselves. The Cross shows us this. For many of you, the Cross of Christ is about the total removal of sin and guilt, and to be sure, there is an element of satisfaction in it. But it is not primarily transactional; it is relational. I was in dialogue with a guy who agreed with me (without knowing it) that it was relational, and this was his reason for being Reformed and not Catholic. But would he understand how far the Reformed tradition has moved back toward the Council of Trent in its popular piety! On the ground, "faith alone" is freighted with everything that "faith formed by love" means for a Catholic. Loving trust, that heart of living faith, is already assumed. People would reject extra nos imputation as preposterous if they th, self-awareness and freedom of action are key problem areas in the Borg way of life. In fact, in a subsequent encounter with the Borg--named in the narrative re-telling of the mission logs as, "I, Borg"--the crew of the Enterprise realizes that a Borg who has become self-aware ought not to be used to destroy all Borg, aside from the questionable ethics of doing it in the absence of that awareness. For one thing then, the Borg show us that our flesh--I mean the word literally, not spiritually--is not what makes us human. They regard purely artificial life-forms as inferior. But to disrespect and deny that basic self-determination, that individuation, is to deny something at the core of our being. (Different species in the Star Trek universe are simply a medium to talk about human cultural differences.) Quite frankly, I don't see how theosis approaches this. If we take the sacramental life as a guide--because in it, we get partial realization and a preview of our
I have often humorously compared the Catholic Church to the Borg Collective. The similarities are slightly unnerving for a Protestant considering conversion. In recent days though, ideas have bubbled up that the Catholic/Orthodox idea of theosis destroys individuality. I think it would be good to contrast the Borg Collective with being a member of the Catholic Church, for instance, so that we can see how the Catholic Church is not like being assimilated into the Borg. Let's recall who the Borg are, so that we can think about what it's like to be assimilated. The USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D) under the command of Jean-Luc Picard, was thrown a great distance from the explored area of the galaxy by the flippantly malevolent super-being "Q," into system J-25, where they encountered a cubic Borg vessel of great power that killed several members of the crew, assimilated several others, and nearly destroyed the ship. Each Borg is tied into the collective mind; he or she hear
I spent most of the day with Bryan and Carol Cross (and Olivia and Laura). I admit I did most of the talking. [You always do most of the talking.--ed.] We spoke of discussions we recently had with the Reformed, where they might go, and the state of the Catholic Church. [Not good, at least here.--ed.] It's improving. I had missed Bryan so much, it was bound to be a blather-fest. My brain is random, too. We went from Jim Brickman's catalogue to liturgical music and back again with scarcely a pause. I saw Fr. Barron's Catholicism series just chillin' on a bookshelf; I prevailed upon him to make a plan to get a gang together to watch it. So he did. We'll see when it goes down. JK's Thought Of The Day: If Jesus was silent in the face of the most outrageous injustices against him, if he swallowed up our iniquity in the power of the all-embracing love of his sacrifice when he had every right to exact retribution, perhaps the petty slights against us are unworthy of