Monday, September 23, 2019

My Soul Thirsts, no. 5

“[T]he basic challenge is to ‘show’ men the beauty of the face of God manifested in Christ Jesus so that they are attracted to Him. If we want everyone to know and love Jesus Christ and, through Him, [to come to a personal encounter] with God, the Church can not be perceived only as a moral educator or defender of truths, but above all as a teacher of spirituality and [a place in which to come to have a deeply human] experience of the living God.”

Spain's Bishops

Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Sacraments

In his sacramental theology, Aquinas makes two great points that are very pertinent in this regard. One is that we are, as animals, in need of being touched by the grace of God. This is the point of the sacraments. In the seven sacraments instituted by Christ, we are receiving what is most transcendent and what is most essential to our happiness: God and life with God. In itself, the mystery of God is transcendent and evades us, but in the sacraments, we receive what is most transcendent—what we most need—in the most connatural way, even directly through the senses. Not even through a book! That’s a very beautiful way to receive God (through the Scriptures), but really to touch God, that’s the sacramental life. It’s very interesting to watch a baby being baptized and to think about how Divine Life is being infused into the immaterial soul of this child by pouring water on its head. Or the Eucharist: you can hold it in your hand, you can receive it on your tongue. You are being nourished by the death of Christ; you are being nourished by the life of Christ resurrected. That is very mysterious, but it is so simple. It’s about receiving love from God in the most connatural way and then, when we receive these physical signs, grace truly acts upon us! When someone says the words of pardon over you in the sacrament of confession—when they say little words over you—Christ acts and your sins are forgiven. It’s amazing!

So we receive God through the most connatural forms but also, secondly, this knits together the Church as a community, not a church of my own making in my own mind, but the Church that Christ founded. We live in the Church that the Apostles founded, based on the apostolic succession of the bishops and priests. Yes, the mediocre bishops and priests and the mediocre laypeople. The mediocre people of God, but kept alive through this living bond of the sacraments that keeps us as a family bound together in the death and resurrection of Christ. This is a serious religion, a visible religion—one in which you can truly live, truly die and truly attain to eternal life. Human beings put up protests and say that Catholicism is too monolithic, but deep down our human nature is made for the kinds of challenge to conversion and holiness that traditional Catholicism presents. There is no point in proposing to other people an unserious religion. And Aquinas’ sacramental vision gives you a serious religion to propose to people. The sacraments are causes of grace. God causes grace in the soul through this set of physical gestures that Christ gave the Apostles, that the Apostles gave to the Church, and that the Church brings to us.

Fr. Thomas Joseph White, OP

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.

Costly grace confronts us as a gracious call to follow Jesus, it comes as a word of forgiveness to the broken spirit and the contrite heart. It is costly because it compels a man to submit to the yoke of Christ and follow him; it is grace because Jesus says: "My yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Contemplative thought

Though I have read this Psalm many, many times its deeper meaning hit me powerfully this morning. I do not change the world or self by all my thinking, planning or scheming. The needed changes come through gazing on the Lord through Liturgy and Scripture and allowing them to affect my deeper self, my soul, like a river can smooth rock in its riverbed over time.

A king is not saved by his army,
nor a warrior preserved by his strength.
A vain hope for safety is the horse;
despite its power it cannot save.

The Lord looks on those who revere him,
on those who hope in his love,
to rescue their souls from death,
to keep them alive in famine.

Our soul is waiting for the Lord.
The Lord is our help and our shield.
In him do our hearts find joy.
We trust in his holy name.

May your love be upon us, O Lord,
as we place all our hope in you.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

St. John of the Cross.

O soul most beautiful among all creatures, who dost long so ardently to know where thy Beloved is so that you may meet Him and be united with Him, at last you have been told that you yourself are the place where He dwells, and the hiding place where He is concealed. Well may you rejoice, knowing that your whole good, the object of your love, is so close to you, that He dwells in you, or to express it better, you cannot be without Him!

Friday, August 16, 2019


Traditions are the solution to forgotten problems,
Throw them out
And the problems return.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Benedict XVI

"We are living in alienation, in the salt waters of suffering and death; in a sea of darkness without light. The net of the Gospel pulls us out of the waters of death and brings us into the splendour of God’s light, into true life. It is really true: as we follow Christ in this mission to be fishers of men, we must bring men and women out of the sea that is salted with so many forms of alienation and onto the land of life, into the light of God. It is really so: the purpose of our lives is to reveal God to men. And only where God is seen does life truly begin. Only when we meet the living God in Christ do we know what life is. We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary. There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him. The task of the shepherd, the task of the fisher of men, can often seem wearisome. But it is beautiful and wonderful because it is truly a service to joy, to God’s joy which longs to break into the world."
Benedict XVI