May 27, 2015

Quick Takes

The early Church fathers, who obviously lived and taught centuries before Protestantism came about, are represented in a customized "Protestant" edition on Logos.  Sad that our divisions are represented even retroactively and anachronistically like that.


The world soccer association FIFA is being prosecuted for corruption. As is so often the case, corruption goes unchecked until it gets so carried away and becomes so full of greed that it becomes stupid and draws attention to itself, like awarding Qatar a bid for the World Cup despite it being a zillion degrees there in summer.  Another case of sin making you stupid, as Mark Shea says. For the sake of the country one can only hope that Bill and Hillary have self-corrupted enough not to become president and first dude.


Saw an ad for CVS Pharmacy that said in big, bold letters: “Because Health is Everything”. Despite the fact that the mortality rate is 100%?


Read an interesting article on wanting versus liking that the part of the brain manufacturing want/anticipation is far more strong and dependable than the pleasure-giving part.

Proving, perhaps, we were engineered with this life not being the goal but the means to a Goal.

I have to constantly remind myself that giving up legitimate pleasure is part of being a Christian.  To put God first.  Interestingly, the article said that higher pleasures like music and altruism trigger the same pleasure sensor as food and sex.  So I guess the project on earth is to subordinate the baser pleasures in favor of the highest one, i.e. love of God and neighbor.  To value what God values and love what he loves and pleasure in what He pleasures in. Easier said than done.


It seems that men in general are lazier than women. Women are ahead of men in nearly every category: they do better in college, are more likely to graduate college, do more housework at home than men, are being promoted into management at a higher rate than men currently, and are less likely to be unemployed. The fairer sex will rule us all one day?


Heather King said on her blog that:
I'm generally very careful not to be “busy” in the sense of hardly a free moment (as opposed to intensely focused, in the sense of a conscious, intentional use of time that nonetheless allows for many hours that are not strictly scheduled or “owed” to others).

As events led up to St Thomas More's imprisonment, he feared greatly not death but torture and whether he could keep the faith under that duress. Similarly many moderns don't fear death as much as the torture that can precede it in a lingering catastrophic illness. Fortunately Thomas More's prayer was answered and he wasn't tested in that way, was not tortured, I understand.


The homilist at St J's today mentioned that Arius spread his heretical teaching with the help of a song, and I couldn't help wondering if  pop culture was a pernicious influence even 1700 years ago!

It's interesting to me that humans are reluctant to accept good news. Bad news surely, but good news perhaps even more so. Thomas the Apostle accepted Christ's death (“Let us go to Jerusalem and die with him.”) but refused to believe Christ was risen when told so by the others, even after Jesus himself said he would rise in three days.

A lot of the heresies of the church seem centered on a refusal of news that sounds too good to be true: many Christians don't accept Mary as their mother and intercessor, or that Jesus comes to us in reality in the Eucharist. The fourth century priest Arius couldn't accept the good news that Jesus was God and not just some sort of messenger from God. Christians often have trouble truly believing their worst sins are forgiven, or that God loves even serial killers and other heinous sinners. We all seem slow to believe good news, most clearly exemplified by the apostles who were slow to believe.


The other day I imagined the Luminous Mysteries for the first time through the prism of Jesus the Bridegroom, of the Maker marrying his creation:

1st mystery is John baptizing Jesus, the ministry of the best man that prepares the way for us to be marital material by Jesus lowering ourselves to our level despite his not being a sinner like the others baptized by John.

2nd mystery is the Wedding at Cana, the pluperfect symbol of another marriage taking place, a higher one, a spiritual one. Jesus changes the water into wine as the celebration of his marriage as his public ministry begins.

3rd mystery is Jesus communicating with his bride intimately, instructing and edifying, preparing her for greater intimacies to come.

4th mystery is Jesus taking his three closest apostles with him and letting them in on the ecstasy to come. It's no wonder Peter wanted to build a tent and camp there;it reminds me of how I longed to prolong the sexual act indefinitely. Here Jesus goes farther than just talking to his disciples but communicating to them non-verbally in his splendor, much as between a man and a woman the sexual act communicates non-verbally in ecstasy and naked splendor.

5th mystery is how Jesus communicates his love not just to Peter, James and John but on-going, forever while there's an earth, the carnal commingling of God and man under the appearance of humble ingredients.

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