December 19, 2006


Compassio, which literally means 'suffering with', is another Catholic concept that has undergone a metamorphosis...The main culprit behind the modern retooling of the concept is Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Rather than see compassion as a selfless, even painful habit of goodness, Rousseau praised it as a sweet and essentially onanistic feeling or emotion. Compassion for Rousseau brings with it a sense of elation that we are not the ones who are suffering. Those of us who have been properly reared in the sublimination of our emotions can then demonstrate our own superiority by helping the suffering person, an act that gives us even more pleasure and satisfaction and verifies our natural goodness...As Allan Bloom notes, "Rousseau's teaching on compassion fostered a revolution in democratic politics, one with which we live today." Almost single-handedly Rousseau was able to make his retooled understanding of compassion the benchmark of what it means to be decent. - Michael Foley of "Why Do Catholics Eat Fish on Friday?"

A grave should have a certain...gravitas, so to speak...and not be tainted by amusement park attractions... When the time comes for me, I hope I can trust my children not to get an animatronic cow involved. - Ellyn of "Oblique House" on Billy Graham's son's plan to bury his father at a museum with a talking cow

Even the winter solstice celebration gets shifted to a Sunday. - Terrence Berres on news that Bishop Sklba will Celebrate Winter Solstice with Congregation of the Great Spirit, Milwaukee on Dec. 17th

Not one of the philosophers or systems before him [Christ] had effectually escaped falling either into pessimism, seeing the end of life as trouble and weariness, and seeking to escape from it into some aloofness or some Nirvana; or into optimism, ignoring or explaining away the suffering and trial which, as our first experience and as our last, surround us on every side. But with him, and alone with him and those who still learn and live from and by him, there is the union of the clearest, keenest sense of all the mysterious depth and breadth and length and height of human sadness, suffering, and sin, and, in spite of this and through this, a note of conquest and of triumphant joy. - Friederich von Hugel

If you look at a majority of Catholic blogs, people simply aren't terribly interested in improving spirituality. They like to argue a lot and speculate and theologize...People just don't want to deal with it because they feel they have nothing to contribute. And THAT is one consequence of poor catechesis. We walk better when we walk together, when we talk and share and try to understand together, when we pray together and when we share the deep spiritual things of our lives. - Steven Riddle of "Flos Carmeli"

How does a person know if a time of spiritual darkness and dryness is a trial permitted by God or more the result of infidelity to grace? - Sr. Lorraine on Annunciations, suggesting a question for Fr. Benedict Groeschel

'Power' and 'authority': Pilate and Jesus. Even if, in the short term, power prevails. - dot.commonweal, via Patrick of Orthonormal

The social gospel and the state cannot be married because the government cannot love you. This is not a metaphysical point but a practical one. States cannot love individuals in much the same way deck furniture cannot write poetry: it is not in their nature. It cannot be done. And when people attempt otherwise, horrible folly ensues. Gerson thinks the victims of Katrina got that way because of the indifference of the State. I would argue that a more likely culprit (or at least accomplice) was a State that tried to love them and hurt them in the process. - Jonah Goldberg of NRO

My father...gave me a "pep talk" after I had just lost a fight. I had to box the same fighter again two or three days later, and I was despairing. He found me in the bathroom retching, seemingly ruined. This was at a time when we barely spoke, and if we did, it was usually in pursuit of an argument. How easy it would have been for him not to mount those stairs to the second floor. Or to simply walk on by when he heard me inside. Or to think, "I'll just pray for him; he needs to go through this alone." But he didn't do that. He knocked on the door, scooped me up in his arms with words of comfort and inspiration, and changed my life. Winning that second match changed everything. It just did. School was always easy, but sports never was. For the first time in my life I had faced a true challenge and overcome it. "So this is confidence," I thought. And he helped give it to me. - Rich Leonardi of "Ten Things"

-Christmas novena from "Nunblog"(

Keep the Mass in Christmas: We may be overly familiar with this Christmas story to notice what it might be telling us. What exactly is a sign? It is not an end in and of itself but rather points to a greater reality. What is the sign the shepherds are told they will witness? They are told that they will find an "infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger." A manger is a feeding box for animals. We are told that it is a "sign", what they witness points to something beyond the experience of the birth of Christ to something else. When the angels leave, the shepherds say, "Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us." The key phrase here is "Bethlehem" which literally means "house of bread". "Let us go to the House of Bread to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us." All of this is how the Gospel of Luke begins, but how does it end?... He takes bread, says the blessing, breaks it, gives it to them, then physically vanishes from their site. Luke tells us quite blatantly, for the really dense reader, that they recognized Him in the "breaking of the bread". - Michael of Annunciations

Adam! Adam, look up!
Your Maker has become your son.
Adam, blush with shame at the extremity to which your sin has brought Him!
Your fall brought death and the bondage to death for all who followed you. His descent and willing acceptance of death will bring freedom for you and all who follow Him....When He comes to where you lie, then He will take your hand and lead you forth.
See Him now as He comes to set you free.
Adam, look up!
Your deliverance is now at hand.
Adam, rejoice at the love He shows to all your race!
- Henry of "A Plumbline in the Wind"

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