Mary, Mother of the Word Incarnate

Mary, Mother of the Word Incarnate
Pray for us, oh Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

What is Faith?

St. Paul knows that the Jews, as children of Abraham, are the adopted children of God. Even prior to the coming of Christ and His revelation of God, St. Paul understood that it is through faith, and not through family or tribal lineage nor by adherence to the Mosaic law, that gentiles are justified.   This is St. Paul's point in the excerpt from Galatians, below.
Gal 3:7-14
Brothers and sisters:
Realize that it is those who have faith
who are children of Abraham.
Scripture, which saw in advance that God
would justify the Gentiles by faith,
foretold the good news to Abraham, saying,
Through you shall all the nations be blessed.
Consequently, those who have faith are blessed
along with Abraham who had faith.
For all who depend on works of the law are under a curse;
for it is written, Cursed be everyone
who does not persevere in doing all the things
written in the book of the law.
And that no one is justified before God by the law is clear,
for the one who is righteous by faith will live.
But the law does not depend on faith;
rather, the one who does these things will live by them.
Christ ransomed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us,
for it is written, Cursed be everyone who hangs on a tree,
that the blessing of Abraham might be extended
to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus,
so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Now, all that remains is to define "faith". What does it mean to have faith in Christ? What is the role of good works in one's justification? Do Catholics and Protestants define "faith" in the same way?

The answers to these questions can help both Catholics and Protestants as we discuss this pivotal question: "Are we justified by faith?" Peter Kreeft turns his lithe intellect to this question in a chapter from his book, Fundamentals of the Faith. .

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

C.S. Lewis: Idolatry

"All that we call human history - money, poverty, ambition, war,
prostitution, classes, empires, slavery - [is] the long terrible story of
man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy." C.
S. Lewis

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Chesterton on Common Sense and the Decay of Society

"A society is in decay, final or transitional, when common sense really
becomes uncommon."

- G.K Chesterton

Monday, November 19, 2012

My Son's College Application Essay on Abortion

My son wrote this essay for one of his college applications.

Honors Essay
            Public opinion is a complex, inconsistent, mutable animal.  A society's very definition of "right" and "wrong" are relative to location, era, demographics, and a plethora of other complicated, interrelated variables.  We can see with little difficulty the immense changes in American values over the last fifty years.  In the midst of all of the social changes that the last half-century has brought us, many of our standards have leaned towards tolerance rather than judgment, usually positively (or at least neutrally) affecting the values of our society.  But in one particular area, this permissive philosophy has gone too far.  Specifically, the morality of "terminating" a pregnancy based solely on socioeconomics, public image, and convenience needs to be called into question.  The ethics of abortion is a complex subject that needs to be analyzed methodically from both sides of the debate. 
With Roe v Wade, abortions performed by licensed professionals were legalized in the United States with very few restrictions in response to a variety of arguments made by pro-choice advocates.  They argue that a woman has the right to decide what happens within her own body, regardless of the implications.  In choosing not to birth a child, a woman potentially prevents a child from being born into a situation in which its parents either cannot or do not wish to support it.  Also, this woman avoids the shame of an unwanted pregnancy, preserving her public image.  Rationalizing the abortion procedure itself, they state that fetuses are not entirely human because they are not fully developed and are unable to survive outside of the uterus.  Fetuses that are less than about twenty weeks old are unable to feel pain, and therefore purportedly, no harm is done. 
However convincing these points may initially appear, they crumble under closer inspection.  To be considered ethical, abortion must be clearly differentiated from murder, the unlawful killing of one human being by another, especially with premeditated malice.  From fertilization, zygotes (and later fetuses) are both biologically living and genetically human.  The DNA of a man, from in utero formation to old age, remains unique to each individual and distinctly human.  The only physical differences between a fetus and an infant are resultant of developmental stage.  No amount of rationalization and euphemisms can refute these facts.  Killing any human on the basis of its ability to feel pain is clearly unacceptable, as is killing any human on the basis of its age or physical traits.  In choosing abortion over adoption, a woman denies her child any potential to lead a satisfying life by flat out ending it.  But perhaps the most chilling motive of all is the decision to kill another human being in order to appear "responsible" to friends, family, and coworkers. 
In response to Anatole France's question, the foolishness or righteousness of an idea is intrinsic, not determined by the opinion of the masses.  When we debate the morality of issues, we need not listen to others, but the truth within the issue itself. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Earthly pleasures and Christ

"No earthly pleasures, no kingdoms of this world can benefit me in any way.
I prefer death in Christ Jesus to power over the farthest limits of the
earth. He who died in place of us is the one object of my quest. He who
rose for our sakes is my one desire. Do not talk about Jesus Christ as long
as you love this world."

- St Ignatius of Antioch (+ a.d. 108)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Truth Seeks and Destroys

In an address given by Pope Benedict XVI: "Be Witnesses of Our Living Faith", as reported by Zenit, on 11/14/2012:
"Continuing from last week's catechesis on the desire for God, the Holy
Father meditated on the paths to knowing God while always keeping in mind
that the initiative of God always "precedes any action of man." The Pope
recalled the words of St. Augustine which says "it is not we who possess
the Truth after "seeking it, rather it is Truth that seeks us out and
possesses us."" 
In the spring of 2008, I was not seeking Truth. I felt happy and fulfilled
in my life as a husband and father and, incidentally, as a Catholic. And
then my wife encouraged me to go to a Christ Renews His Parish (CHRP)
weekend. I'd heard about it but didn't have any idea what it was. I didn't
want to go. I gave reasons why I shouldn't go: my wife was expecting, we
had 5 kids at that time and it would be really hard for her to run the
house without my help, etc. She said that I should go anyway.

And what happened?

I went.

And my life was turned upside down. Truth worked through my wife to seek
and posses me. My life has not been the same since that weekend, the
weekend from which I delineate the two phases of my life; per-CHRP and

I thank God for loving me enough to seek me, to destroy the old me and to
bring me to new life, through Him who is Love.

(I wonder if Francis Thompson was thinking of St. Augustine when he wrote
the Hound of Heaven?)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Byrd: Ave Verum Corpus

Would it be wrong to listen to this on my ipod during communion?

The original Latin text:
      Ave verum corpus, natum
            de Maria Virgine,[2]
      vere passum, immolatum
            in cruce pro homine,
      cuius latus perforatum
            fluxit aqua et sanguine:[3]
      esto nobis praegustatum
            in mortis examine.[4]
      O Iesu dulcis, O Iesu pie, O Iesu, fili Mariae.
            Miserere mei. Amen.

A translation into English is:
      Hail, true Body, born
      of the Virgin Mary,
      who having truly suffered, was sacrificed
      on the cross for mankind,
      whose pierced side
      flowed with water and blood:
      May it be for us a foretaste [of the Heavenly banquet]
      in the trial of death.
      O sweet Jesus, O pious Jesus, O Jesus, son of Mary,
      have mercy on me. Amen.