Monday, February 26, 2007

"Led into the desert"

Fr Philip captured the wandering feeling I've always had about Lent. He reflected on last Ash Wednesday's readings and commented how Jesus did not go into the desert not because He wanted to pray there, not because He wanted solitude there (well I won't know this one for sure!), but most likely because He "was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days to be tempted by the devil."

Likewise, Lent has always caught me unprepared; no matter how much we religiously follow the Church's liturgical calendar, Ash Wednesday always drifted in too soon, always at an inconvenient time of my life, and always demanding something beyond the exterior practice of fasting and penance. Fr Philip wrote this inspiring post to remind us that each Lent we are called to face the temptation of evils in our lives. Read the rest for yourself!

For more reflection material this Lent, read our dear Pope's reflection contemplating Christ Crucified.

Have a blessed Lent, everyone!

Friday, February 23, 2007

From dust to dust

My favorite liturgical season, Lent, has started. I'm not sure when Lent became my favorite time of the year; this morning's homily made me realize how sometimes Lent is reduced to the idea of repentance and reflection, and not the practice of "rending [my] heart" itself.

As I go through several major crossroads in many areas of my life right now, I realized that too many Lenten seasons have gone by without a real resolution and a real repentance. Over the next six weeks I'm going to try making several resolutions and reflect about it here.

This week's resolution has been: To find a virtue to cultivate and a vice to fight for Lent :)

Monday, February 12, 2007

A little gem from St Gertrude

If you've experienced dryness and lack of enthusiasm when receiving the Eucharist, this gem may help to remind you of His goodness and mercy:

Once, when Gertrude heard the bell which called her to Communion and the chant had already commenced, as she felt that she was not sufficiently prepared, she said to our Lord: "Behold, Lord, Thou art coming to me. Why hast Thou not granted me the grace of devotion, so that I might present myself before Thee with a better preparation?" He replied: "A bridegroom admires the personal beauty of his bride more than her ornaments. In like manner I prefer the virtue of humility to the grace of devotion."

Once, when many of the religious had abstained from Communion, Gertrude returned thanks to God, saying, "I thank Thee, O Lord, that Thou hast invited me to Thy sacred Banquet." To which our Lord replied, with words full of sweetness and tenderness: "Know that I have desired thee with My whole heart." "Alas, Lord," she exclaimed, "what glory can accrue to Thy Divinity when I touch this Sacrament with my unworthy lips?" He replied: "Even as the love which we have for a friend makes us take pleasure in hearing him speak, so also the charity which I have for My elect makes Me sometimes find satisfaction in that in which they find none."

Once, as the Saint ardently desired to see the sacred Host as the priest communicated the people, but could not do so on account of the crowd, she heard our Lord saying to her: "A sweet secret shall be between us, which is unknown to those who absent themselves from Me. Thou, if thou wouldst enjoy it, approach. Thou shalt not see, but taste and prove the sweetness of this hidden manna."

The Revelations Of Saint Gertrude
Monsignor Wm. J. Doheny, C.S.C.

(From The Witness Ministries)

Friday, February 02, 2007

"Catholic" ethics

Recently I encountered ideas that compare Catholic and Protestant work ethics; mainly proposing that "Protestant" countries tend to be richer than the "Catholic" ones and this difference has got to do with the different philosophy behind their respective work ethics. This is a broad sweeping statement that many have sought to analyze; whether to debunk or to affirm.

I’m going to start a series of posts to explore this theme. In particular, I’m going to focus on the Church's teachings of social justice, and look at Catholic-owned businesses and Catholic-related businesses and see whether this is reflected in their work ethics. (Read: are they really that different from their "Protestant" counterparts?)

To start with, here's a book review. It basically says that money isn't that important for Catholics, but it is a symbol of affirmation in Protestantism. I don't agree with this point the original author makes:

Tropman points out that in a Catholic culture, work, though obviously important, “does not have sacred personal and transcendental meaning, nor does it become the sine qua non of social acceptance.” For a Catholic, one’s vocation is his calling to the priesthood or religious life or marriage, not his job.

(More coming up...)

If anyone out there has any suggestions about what to read, what to look up, just drop me a note: catholiclinuxmonkey ( at ) gmail ( dot ) com. Thanks!