March 29, 2004

Round Up



Let's round up a few strays, out there on the prairie. (Which is another way of saying what follows will be disjointed and prone to the occasional non-sequitor.)

Piety may not prove a rightly-ordered heart but one could expect that prayer and sacraments influence the heart even if cause and effect can't be measured or seen. (The tendency in our faithless and utilitarian age is that if we can't measure it, it doesn't count.) I don't believe Jesus gave us empty rituals that simply flow from an already rightly-ordered heart, as a Methodist sees Baptism. Cop out or not, Graham Greene was asked why he was such a bad Catholic and he said (paraphrasing here) that the questionner couldn't imagine how worse he'd be if he wasn't Catholic. All men are not created equal; some start from a position (nature but also nurture) such that they have advantages or disadvantages that preclude equal outcomes where holiness is concerned.

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Kathy the Carmelite writes of putting too much of one's faith in supernatural coincidence: "Lots of Christians do. But Teresa of Avila, herself a big recipient of it, said gravely that it's a concession God grants to the weak. Hopefully they'll use the grace of it not to remain weak--but, too often, people receive it and say "COOL!"--and keep on clamoring till they see more of the same. Sometimes God gives it. But sometimes Satan does, or sometimes people just see it in the woodwork--because it's the cloak-and-dagger supernaturalness they adore, not the Lord and the carrying of His cross."

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"Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence." - Robert Frost

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