Sunday, June 24, 2007

On being Catholic
There is a lot of joy and consolation in the Catholic religion. (Remember the famous quotation from Hilaire Belloc? Benedicamus Domino.) But:
I am not a Catholic because it feels good; I am a Catholic because I want to save my soul, and that means embracing the truth as revealed by the Son of God.
As friend Paul Goings sympathetically said recently lots of people ‘get burned by organised religion’ (even the church is made up of fallible people but is more than that) but people who are ‘into spirituality not religion’ often want instant gratification: I’m in charge; God is like a vending machine. No.
In Iraq at this moment, being Catholic means suffering murder, rape and exile. No, it is not always a fun, happy and enjoyable thing to follow the Catholic religion.

The point is, being a Catholic means that
sometimes you cannot marry the person you want to marry, when you want to marry them. It means not always being able to sleep with the person one may want to sleep with, at one's personal convenience, if at all. At times, being a faithful Catholic means NEVER being able to marry or sleep with the person one loves. It means self-denial and taking up the cross, which is why chastity and consecrated celibacy are among the highest forms of love and martyrdom.

So many people want the trappings of Catholicism, but not the inner core of suffering and sacrifice that must accompany true belief. As St Teresa of Avila said: "The battle will not last long, and the reward is everlasting."
Mark 8:34...

From Tea at Trianon.

And there’s this from Orthodoxy:
...The amazing thing about the author’s family in Karen was not that they were [Roman] Catholic but that their whole lives were lived in the context of their faith. It was deeply woven into every day, every decision. That is what I longed for. That is what I have found in Orthodoxy. A faith that is not content to stay neatly confined to Sunday morning but overflows its banks, sweeping away the debris of my soul and pouring through every crack, every corner of my life. Fasts and feasts, darkness and candlelight, the scent of incense, the taste of bread, all running together in a glorious flood that transforms the ordinary into a sacrifice of praise. That transforms me.
I heard Clark Carlton speak once on his journey to Orthodoxy. He quotes an archimandrite from Mount Athos who said "A God who does not deify man; such a God can have no interest for us, whether he exists or not." True Christianity is integral to the whole man; mind, body, soul and heart and man yearns to be whole.

I am an Orthodox Christian because I am broken and I long to be whole.
From From Wittenberg to Athens.

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