Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Stations of the Cross

Act of Contrition: O God my Redeemer, see me here at your feet. From my deepest heart, I am sorry for all my sins, because they have offended you, whom I should love above all things. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, have mercy on me, a sinner! Amen.

First Station: Jesus is Condemned to Death

Dearest Jesus, help me to rejoice in suffering unjustly, or when I am reviled, remembering that you suffered likewise.

Our Father...Hail, Mary...Glory be.

Second Station: Jesus Carries His Cross

Lord Jesus, when I suffer, grant me the grace to see that I have a small part in your cross, and thus, that I have cause to rejoice.

Our Father...Hail, Mary...Glory Be.

Third Station: Jesus Falls the First Time

My Jesus, the weight of my sins has thrown you to the ground. May my love and compassion grow along with my pity, ultimately for my good, and your glory.

Our Father...Hail, Mary...Glory be.

Fourth Station: Jesus Meets His Mother 

Lord, it pleased you to console your Mother most holy. Console us as we await your final vindication. Grant us also grace to ponder the mysteries of our salvation.

Our Father...Hail, Mary...Glory Be.

Fifth Station: Simon of Cyrene Helps Carry the Cross 

Lord Jesus, Simon was an ever-present help in time of trouble. Help us to gratefully accept help, and to give it to others in turn.

Our Father...Hail, Mary...Glory be.

Sixth Station: Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

Veronica could only do this small thing, but with it you were well pleased. Grant us also the grace to do small things with great love.

Our Father...Hail, Mary...Glory be.

Seventh Station: Jesus Falls a Second Time 

Merciful Lord, once more, our guilt pushed you to the ground. Grant us grace to lessen your burdens by our obedience.

Our Father...Hail, Mary...Glory be.

Eighth Station: Jesus Comforts the Daughters of Jerusalem

Lord, we know you have always kept a faithful remnant for yourself, even in the darkest days. Raise our eyes, that we may endure to the end.

Our Father...Hail, Mary...Glory be.

Ninth Station: Jesus Falls a Third Time

My Jesus, my sins have weighed you down again. Forgive me, and bid me follow you once more.

Our Father...Hail, Mary...Glory be.

Tenth Station: Jesus is Stripped of His Garments 

Jesus, you were stripped of even the pretense of dignity. Help us to take your part when we are unfairly reviled.

Our Father...Hail, Mary...Glory be.

Eleventh Station: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross 

Dear Jesus, my sins have driven the nails into you. Grant us grace to obey, and somehow bring you consolation.

Our Father...Hail, Mary...Glory be.

Twelfth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross

Lord Jesus, by dying, you destoyed our death; by rising, you restored our life. Help us to rejoice at your preaching to those who died in the bosom of Abraham.

Our Father...Hail, Mary...Glory be.

Thirteenth Station: Jesus is Taken Down From the Cross 

Lord, finally, you received the tenderness you deserved, from Joseph of Arimathea, and your Mother. May we like them handle you with tenderness in our hearts.

Our Father...Hail, Mary...Glory be.

Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Laid in the Tomb

Lord, your sleep became one of victory, when you rose from the dead. Help us to prepare our hearts to meet you in glory. 

Our Father...Hail, Mary...Glory be.

I hope this helps you in your spiritual journey!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

"Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day" Was The Most Fun I Ever Had Doing Political Activism

That was several years ago. Do you remember it? Though some of the organizing energy doubtless smacked of crass opportunism, (this was Mike Huckabee, after all) I did it. And I'm not entirely insensitive to the Christian criticism that it was unnecessarily combative toward the so-called "gay community." But I went, and I felt better about it as it went along. I want to live in a country where, if it must be pluralistic, we can still take the risk to live and believe what we will. We may offend people--and Heaven knows I don't actually enjoy it--but this is America, and it's time for some progressives to put on their big-boy and big-girl pants (and the other identities, if you like) and just deal with it.

Especially in light of their willingness to hire homosexuals (and others) while steadfastly maintaining a Christian identity. Firing up the grills on a Sunday, no less, to feed those affected by the Orlando tragedy, and dozens of other things, shows any sensible person who is not a fascist that if these folks are "anti-gay," the word has no meaning.

And that means, hand-wringing, "forward-thinking" evangelical, I will not apologize for chicken sandwiches. I don't need to. If I can't muster the courage to defend Mr. Cathy, maybe I don't have the courage to speak the truth in Christian love at all. Maybe it can be done even better than he did, but I know it can be done worse, and there is no reason to disavow Christians who say what Christians have always said about sexuality and marriage. You will not find the magic way of not offending sinners. You are not special. You will bear the cross. If you don't, actually, you may not be following Christ at all.

This of course doesn't give me the right to be a jerk on purpose, and honestly, I am pretty good at that. Still, I can't promise I won't offend. I can't say necessarily that the fault will be mine, if I do. I might well be tired of over-the-top rhetoric on every side, but I am also weary of Christians who do everything but tell the truth. I just sense an awareness that I'm still that guy, naming cowardice for what it is.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Now I Have To Say Something

You could find some good here, if you wanted to. Overall, if I may, however, I find it self-indulgent, self-flagellating nonsense. The shooter wasn't even a Christian! What exactly are we supposed to be apologizing for?

Here's a few things in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Though I would love to find out what "unjust discrimination" means in this context, I have no problem assenting to these paragraphs. I know one thing for sure: currying favor, and attempting to placate people who don't know what they want is a fool's errand. Christian, you don't need to be "dialoguing" with anyone who thinks "Homosexual practices constitute sin" is functionally equivalent to murder. There is no apology I am required to offer for my existence, and for upholding the traditional Christian teaching on sexuality, and there is nothing good to be gained from saying, "I'm not like those Christians" unless you intend not to hold the traditional Christian teaching. Really stop and think about the possibility of scandal; that is, introducing doubt, confusion, or encouraging dissent about a matter of faith or morals. One can do that maliciously, or unintentionally.

Of course, dear Christian, consider that your separation from the Church that Christ founded is likely the reason why you have to use silly phrases like, "theologically conservative Christian" in the first place, and why that ground may be gone before anyone notices.

There is a time to stand in solidarity with non-Catholics and sinners of various sorts. I don't think we should do it with blog posts like that one.

Monday, June 13, 2016

No Hot Takes Here

I don't want to say anything about recent events. This blog is sanctimonious enough. I doubt that I have anything to add. I will say it reminds me of our fragility. We often think there are many days, weeks, months, and years ahead. That may be our most foolish conceit. Get about the business of living the worthiest life you can, as emphatically as you can. We just don't know.

God of mercy, hear our pleas, for our own sakes, and for our friends and neighbors. We ask this through Christ the Lord, Amen.