November 08, 2010

Notes from a Retreat

Heard retreat master Fr. W say that about half of Catholics shouldn't be presenting themselves to Communion. Said that he doesn't want to have to install "metal detectors at the communion rail". Said that this came up during the pro-abort politicians receiving Communion, and how it opened up a can of worms. Said that we need to catechize; many don't know, thankfully, that they shouldn't be presenting themselves for Communion. The greatest sin is sacrilege, is receiving Christ unworthily. That's why the priest prays, "May this communion not bring me condemnation."

* * *

He said that two kinds of love, eros and agape, were brought together in Christ on the Cross. Eros <> sex. Because Jesus was simultaneously offering Himself to God (eros) and laying down his life for us (agape). Beautiful imagery about the Vine and the branches: what do vines do? They split themselves open to let the branch come out. .

Said Jesus didn't use his divine powers to defeat the devil (in the garden and in the desert) but purely human power. His divine power was limited until after the crucifixion and resurrection. It was the faith of the people that worked the miracles, such that he couldn't do miracles in his home town because there was too little faith. It was only after the Resurrection that his powers came to such fulfillment, as a message to us that our greatest powers lay only after the cross. Remember, Jesus was still in Heaven, in his divine nature, while his earthly soul was on earth.

The wounds on Christ's resurrected body were not to show us what we did to Him, but to show the devil that death, wounds have no power. It's to use the devil's greatest advantage, death, and to use it to save us. It sort of a taunt to the devil.

* * *

Fr. Wehner said that seminarians may want to be priests for reasons A, B and C, but remain priests because of D, E & F. Similarly we may marry because of beauty, attraction or what not but stay married for completely new reasons.

Faith alone leads to superstition. Reason alone leads, ironically, to madness.

It is unthinkable that Jesus lust after a woman because He created her and that would be incest.

* * *

I was delighted to see donuts after breakfast and and I thought about the coolness of us having the same reaction to the goodness of donuts. Our shared humanity - that which I find delightful, others do too. A simple thing.

"One holy, catholic, apostolic church" is an event, not a thing. It's the entire span of time from the conception of God the womb through the Resurrection. Sacraments are "outside of time" and can thus bring us to those events again. "Sacrament" comes from the word for "mystery" which means "things we can't see but can experience." (Like love, patriotism, etc...).

Christ made the Trinity visible, the Church makes Christ visible, and we make the Church visible. Faith becomes flesh.

* * *

Visited the chapel to pray the afternoon liturgy of the hours and prayers of petition. Then read some of the book "Exercising Your Soul" and I'm surprised by how often the author mirrors something I just learned from the padre here: "Humans were created to be greater than angels!" and "Perfect union with God happens in death." The good padre says that the definition of "saved" is to be face-to-face with God, which happens only when we die. None of us are "saved" yet by that definition, contrary our Protestant brothers and sisters.

One difference is the approach of sin. Fr. W preaches against it strongly, while the author of "Exercising" argues we focus too much on it, saying "we become what we focus on. If we think we're a loser, we'll become a loser. Two thousand years of focussing on sin has got us...what?" Fr. W says that we must not negotiate with evil, not compromise by thinking "a little sin is okay" or "I can follow this or that church teaching but not that one."


Jim Curley said...

I went on a couple retreats and the formula given for eliminating any particular habitual sin was NOT to concentrate on the sin, but to concentrate on building up the virtue opposite from the sin.

May be obvious, but it wasn't to me at the time.


TS said...

Not obvious to me either! Good to hear from you Jim, hope things going well down there.