Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Ash Wednesday is an important day for the Church. We begin the holy season of Lent and the journey starts with ashes and the invitation to do something to transform our lives. It is a wonderful opportunity to grow in our faith as we journey with Christ to his death and resurrection.
The gospel calls us to the practice of prayer, almsgiving and fasting. We are often asked this question. What are you doing for Lent? We may respond in many different ways.
Some people give up something they really like. Sweets seem to lead the list.
Others attend daily mass or read scripture.
A few may make donations to a charity or give of their time in service to people in need.
These are good things to do, but we might be missing the purpose of Lent.
The season of Lent is the final preparation for those people who are members of RCIA and will be baptized, confirmed and make their first communion at the Easter Vigil. The community who gathers with them and those at Mass on Easter Sunday is asked to renew their Baptismal promises. We reject Satan and all his works and profess our faith in God. Easter is a time of renewal for everyone in the Church. Lent is our preparation to do so.
What does this have to do with our practice of Lent? It is our turning away from the negative things in our life and making a deeper commitment to follow the risen Lord. Prayer, Fasting and Alms giving are not meant to be something that we give up. They help us move towards a renewal. It is to do it as a community.
May we be transformed by what we do leading up to the celebration of Easter.
Rev. Joseph .H Carey, C.S.C.
Beauteousness. This past week has been a week of beauteousness. And mostly just random little moments of delight, little dots in an impressionist painting, that all blend together to create a full picture.
And P.S. When I grow up, I want to drive a vegetable car.
Saturday, February 18, 2012
The silver cross was offered to be kissed.
The men came up, lugubrious, but not sad,
And knelt reluctantly, half-prejudiced.
(And kissing, kissed the emblem of a creed.)
Then mourning women knelt; meek mouths they had,
(And kissed the Body of the Christ indeed.)
Young children came, with eager lips and glad.
(These kissed a silver doll, immensely bright.)
Then I, too, knelt before that acolyte.
Above the crucifix I bent my head:
The Christ was thin, and cold, and very dead:
And yet I bowed, yea, kissed - my lips did cling.
(I kissed the warm live hand that held the thing.)
Friday, February 17, 2012
Keen, fitful gusts are whisp’ring here and there
Among the bushes half leafless, and dry;
The stars look very cold about the sky,
And I have many miles on foot to fare.
Yet feel I little of the cool bleak air,
Or of the dead leaves rustling drearily,
Or of those silver lamps that burn on high,
Or of the distance from home’s pleasant lair:
For I am brimfull of the friendliness
That in a little cottage I have found;
Of fair-hair’d Milton’s eloquent distress,
And all his love for gentle Lycid drown’d;
Of lovely Laura in her light green dress,
And faithful Petrarch gloriously crown’d.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Merely to override a human will (as His felt presence in any but the faintest and most mitigated degree would certainly do) would be for [God] useless. He cannot ravish. He can only woo.
--C.S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters
Monday, February 13, 2012
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Thank you for the gift of C.S. Lewis. You did a really stellar job with him. He's a winner, that's for sure.
In class, we just finished reading The Pilgrim's Regress, which I never really loved. But now that I re-read it in the context as Lewis' fictionalized account of his own conversion, it makes me the happiest. It is the story of a soul who seeks Joy. Who seeks something beyond the far reaches of the world. It's a tale of wanderlust, desire, and the story of how you can run away from God, but if you are seeking happiness, you'll find yourself bumping into Him at every corner. Because all those substitutes for the happiness that God offers leave the soul feeling cheated and faded.
"Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."
--The Weight of Glory
How fickle my heart and woozy my eyes, sings Mr. Mumford and his sons. And how true. What should be at the center of our lives is desire. Overweening and unquenchable desire for our beloved. Auntie Seraphic recently wrote in a brilliant post:
Love," I said, "is when you hate being on the wrong side of the ocean from someone because you are haunted by the fear that you might not be able to get back on the right side, or that he might not be able to get back to you."
"Love is also when you are sitting in your parents' house across the ocean for a month waiting for your temporary Spousal Visa, and you cry every day because you are on this side of the ocean and he is on that side of the ocean, and what if a volcano blows up and you can't get back? And it hurts and hurts and it sucks but that is the price you pay for love and it is worth it."
Love is also being happy most of the time you are around the beloved. When you are truly in love, you love almost everything about the beloved, including his country and his family and his friends and his ties and everything that reminds you of him, and because you are surrounded by all these reminders, you are generally very happy, and people feel happy around you because your happiness leaks out by osmosis.
I recognize that this is a lot for the Single readers to take on board, but I am writing it out for you to read because our societies are so in love with love that we are willing to take a chance on counterfeits and squint intellectually, or take off our emotional glasses, so that the counterfeit SEEMS like what I have just described. We WANT to be in love, so we IMAGINE ourselves into it, and when we feel terrible because the man we are "in love" with is a jerk, we rationalize that by saying "Well, love is pain."
But love is only pain when you are separated from the beloved, not when you are around him.
We are currently on the opposite side of the ocean. And we are longing to cross the sea.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Monday, February 6, 2012
Sunday, February 5, 2012
It does not always take the form of an Island, as I have said. The Landlord sends pictures of many different kinds. What is universal is not the particular picture, but the arrival of some message, not perfectly intelligible, which wakes this desire and sets men longing for something East or West of the world; something possessed, if at all, only in the act of desiring it, and lost so quickly that the craving itself becomes craved; something that tends inevitably to be confused with common or even with vile satisfactions lying close to hand, yet which is able, if any man faithfully live through the dialectic of its successive births and deaths to lead him at last where true joys are to be found.
"When I was in my cradle, a wood woman, a Dryad, spoke this verse over me: 'Where sky and water meet, Where the waves grow sweet, Doubt not, Reepicheep, To find all you seek, There is the utter East.' I do not know what it means. But the spell of it has been on me all my life."
--The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
"I idly turned the pages of the book and found the unrhymed translation of Tegner's Drapa and read, 'I heard a voice that cried, Balder the beautiful Is dead, is dead.' ...I knew nothing about Balder, but instantly I was uplifted.... I desired with almost sickening intensity something never to be described....I will only underline the quality common to the three experiences; it is that of an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction. I call it Joy, which is here a technical term and must be sharply distinguished both from Happiness and from Pleasure. Joy (in my sense) has indeed one characteristic... in common with them; the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again."
--Surprised by Joy
Here's the Thing about C.S. Lewis: he finds some brilliantly beautiful concept-such as Joy- and then weaves it into all his stories. It's like one of those good infections he's always talking about. All of his work is infused with these beautiful concepts. And that's the wonderful thing about reading Lewis. The more you read his books, the more familiar they become- you begin to see the beautiful consistency and overlap in his thought.
I love the man.