The Blessed Mother knits. And she likes circular needles too!
Hat tip: The Pious Sodality of Church Ladies
Blunting Caesar’s Sword
2 hours ago
Five general principles of discernment of God's will that apply to all questions about it, and therefore to our question too, are the following:
- Always begin with data, with what we know for sure. Judge the unknown by the known, the uncertain by the certain. Adam and Eve neglected that principle in Eden and ignored God's clear command and warning for the devil's promised pig in a poke
- Let your heart educate your mind. Let your love of God educate your reason in discerning his will. Jesus teaches this principle in John 7:17 to the Pharisees. (Would that certain Scripture scholars today would heed it!) They were asking how they could interpret his words, and he gave them the first principle of hermeneutics (the science of interpretation): "If your will were to do the will of my Father, you would understand my teaching." The saints understand the Bible better than the theologians, because they understand its primary author, God, by loving him with their whole heart and their whole mind.
- Have a soft heart but a hard head. We should be "wise as serpents and harmless as doves," sharp as a fox in thought but loyal as a dog in will and deed. Soft-heartedness does not excuse soft-headedness, and hard-headedness does not excuse hard-heartedness. In our hearts we should be "bleeding-heart liberals" and in our heads "stuck-in-the-mud conservatives." [Ed. note: Is this not the most delightful and incisive sentence you have read all day?]
- All God's signs should line up, by a kind of trigonometry. There are at least seven such signs: (1) Scripture, (2) church teaching, (3) human reason (which God created), (4) the appropriate situation, or circumstances (which he controls by his providence), (5) conscience, our innate sense of right and wrong, (6) our individual personal bent or desire or instincts, and (7) prayer. Test your choice by holding it up before God's face. If one of these seven voices says no, don't do it. If none say no, do it.
- Look for the fruits of the spirit, especially the first three: love, joy, and peace. If we are angry and anxious and worried, loveless and joyless and peaceless, we have no right to say we are sure of being securely in God's will. Discernment itself should not be a stiff, brittle, anxious thing, but—since it too is part of God's will for our lives—loving and joyful and peace-filled, more like a game than a war, more like writing love letters than taking final exams.
There is only one part of the story that makes me sad. Joseph and his brother immigrated to the United States after his father was imprisoned by the Communists after the fall of Saigon, so he will never be eligible to be President of the United States.He entered the Jesuits in 1990, spending two years in the novitiate in Grand Coteau, Louisiana. While working as a Jesuit in Mexico he had an experience that led him out of the Order and into the world of politics.“I went all over the world to work with the poor and experienced a crisis of faith in Mexico over human suffering and God. I asked my spiritual director, ‘What is God doing about all this suffering?’ He told me that ‘God sends people to help.’ That was when I began to realize my calling was politics.”
It doesn't have much of a beat, the kids can't dance to it, and it's sung in a dead language, but Gregorian chant seems to be the hottest thing in sacred music right now.
The common good can never be adequately incarnated in any society when those waiting to be born can be legally killed at choice. If the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision that African Americans were other people’s property and somehow less than persons were still settled constitutional law, Mr. Obama would not be president[-elect] of the United States. Today, as was the case a hundred and fifty years ago, common ground cannot be found by destroying the common good.
With you, I pray that all the topics we consider in our meeting now and all we do in the difficult days to come will be done together in the charity of Christ, who is the source of our unity and our strength. In so governing, in calling all to join us in listening to the incarnate Word of God from within his body, the Church, what we do now will have consequences for eternity; and we will be good shepherds to our people, good servants in our society and good disciples of Our Lord.
And when emboldened pro-choice Democrats move to enact the Freedom of Choice Act that would strip away even the minimal protections currently in place for unborn life (and they will), we should expect that Catholics for Obama will speak forcefully against it and insist that its enactment would undermine the Obama pledge to unify the country. And when pro-choice Democrats seek to repeal the Hyde Amendment and use taxpayer money to finance more abortions (and they will), we should expect that Professors Cafardi, Kaveny, and Kmiec will speak as publicly and vigilantly as they did urging his election to remind President Obama that using the wealth of government to fund the industry of death contradicts the theme of the Obama campaign to move beyond the politics of division.
Something about all this has not been sitting well with me. If we discuss the implications of the election and the “what comes next” with the assumption that the results are a result of rational processes, we risk careening off into unreality.
In my view, the tide of popular enthusiasm of Barack Obama cannot be attributed simply to the media’s bias, voter registration drives and the imbalance of campaign funding. Mark Levin of the National Review Online expresses something we ought to ponder:
“I honestly never thought we’d see such a thing in our country - not yet anyway - but I sense what’s occurring in this election is a recklessness and abandonment of rationality that has preceded the voluntary surrender of liberty and security in other places. I can’t help but observe that even some conservatives are caught in the moment as their attempts at explaining their support for Barack Obama are unpersuasive and even illogical. And the pull appears to be rather strong.”
The rationalizations of “Catholics for Obama” that at some level Obama was the preferable “pro-life” candidate are a sterling example of the victory of wishful rationalization over reasoning. In Barack Obama’s own words:
“With one more vacancy on the Supreme Court, we could be looking at a majority hostile to a women’s fundamental right to choose for the first time since Roe v. Wade. The next president may be asked to nominate that Supreme Court justice. That is what is at stake in this election.
“Throughout my career, I’ve been a consistent and strong supporter of reproductive justice, and have consistently had a 100% pro-choice rating with Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America.
“When South Dakota passed a law banning all abortions in a direct effort to have Roe overruled, I was the only candidate for President to raise money to help the citizens of South Dakota repeal that law. When anti-choice protesters blocked the opening of an Illinois Planned Parenthood clinic in a community where affordable health care is in short supply, I was the only candidate for President who spoke out against it. And I will continue to defend this right by passing the Freedom of Choice Act as president.”
If prominent Catholics not only supported Obama but went as far as to begin political organizations based on such fatuous foundations in the face of the avalanche of evidence that was available, how can we expect that rational accountability and re-evaluation will ever take place? If we are dealing with elements that are (dare I say it) delusional, it is equally delusional to expect them to play by the rules of the Rational Game.
I don’t mind making logical arguments in the public forum. I just think it’s a misguided use of resources to expect that they will have much impact. Amy, I don’t know anyone who was directly influenced by Catholics for Obama, but they didn’t need to be. The tide sweeping the U.S. (of which Cs for O is a symptom, not a cause) picked them up and carried them off just fine.
So what do we do now? I’m feisty and I’m not just going to sit here. And, figuratively speaking, I can see Russia from my house.
R. Lord, have mercy on us.
Jesus, we trust in you.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your kindness.
In your compassion, blot out my offenses. (Ps 51)
You have seen the trouble and sorrow,
You note it, you take it in hand.
The helpless trusts himself to you
For you are the helper of the orphan. (Ps 10)
God of hosts, turn again we implore.
Look down from heaven and see.
Visit this vine and protect it,
The vine your right hand has planted. (Ps 80)
And the apostles said to the Lord,
"Increase our faith." (Luke 17)
God is our refuge and strength
A very present help in distress. (Ps 46)
"Be it done to me according to your word." (Luke 2)
You sit enthroned, judging with justice.
Have pity on us in our sufferings,
You who save us from the gates of death. (Ps 9)
On this rock I shall build my church
And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Mt 16)
I will remove disaster from among you
So that none may recount your disgrace. (Zeph 3)
Many conduct themselves as enemies of the cross of Christ,
But our citizenship is in heaven.
Stand firm in the Lord, beloved. (Phil 3-4)
Mortal man is no more than a breath.
O Lord, hear my prayer.
O Lord, turn your ear to my cry.
Do not be deaf to my weeping. (Ps 39)
Whatever gains I had, I count as loss
Because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. (Phil 3)
He, the Lord, is our God.
Throughout the eath his judgments prevail. (Ps 105)
Before my people call, I will answer;
While they are yet speaking,
I will hear and answer them. (Is 65)
Wait for the Lord with courage --
Be stouthearted. Wait for the Lord. (Ps 27)
Hold onto the word of life. (Phil 2)
My soul clings to you;
Your right hand holds me fast. (Ps 63)
I say to God, my rock, "Why hast thou forgotten me?"
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
O send me thy light and thy truth,
My help and my God. (Ps 42-43)
Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver us. (Ps 40)
What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable.
It is sown in dishonor -- it is reaped in glory.
It is sown in weakness -- it is raised in power. (1Cor 15)
Behold, a white horse. He who sits upon it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed -- King of Kings and Lord of Lords. (Rev. 19)
Adonai says to my lord, "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet." Ps 110
Be exalted, O God, among the heavens. (Ps 108)
Let us pray.
O God who makes all things new, accept our sacrifice of contrition and praise, and glorify yourself in us.
Give us the grace to be conformed to your will and your heart in every particular.
Do not dispose as we deserve but have mercy on us as we offer you the body and blood, soul and divinity of your dearly beloved son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
We ask all these things with the help of all the saints and angels and in submission to our Lord, Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord, and the King of all Kings.
"I can certainly see that part of the attraction of Calvinism. Interestingly, the evangelical at Internet Monk writes, 'I’d far prefer the out and out Roman view of 'assurance,' plainly stated as something you can’t have with certainty, than the advice to look at my own life for evidence I’m a real Christian. As Catholic convert and commentator Mark Shea says, 'I became more secure in my relationship with God once I was no longer certain I was going to heaven.' This is where we end up when we self-reference assurance.'"In my view (as a non-theologian who spent 15 adult years in a Reformed congregation before returning to the Catholic Church), the emphasis on personal assurance of one's own salvation (actually more common in Baptist and other traditions) is a weakness of Reformed churches, though not a fatal one. It appears to be a response to the natural concern about one's own eternal fate that, in Catholics, might have its expression in a paranoia about falling into sin characterized by an over-scrupulous adherence to the less-critical aspects of faith and moral teaching (such as 'I can't miss Mass on Sunday unless I'm so sick I absolutely can't drag myself out of bed.').