In the Making

By Richard Wu
What is “wrong” in my life is not so much a matter of “sin” (though it is sin, too), but a matter of unawareness, lostness, slackness, relaxation, dissipation of desire, lack of courage and decision, so that I let myself be carried along and dictated by an alien movement. The current of “the world,” which I know is not mine. I am always being diverted into a way that is not my way and is not going where I am called to go. And only if I go where I must go can I be of any use to “the world.” I can serve the world best by keeping my distance and my freedom.

—Thomas Merton (via contrariansoul)

(via bethmaynard)

My joy is the great power of Christ. And for that, above all, I am glad of my deep moral poverty, which is always before me these days, but which does not obsess or upset me because it is all lost in His mercy.

—Thomas Merton  (via contrariansoul)

(via bethmaynard)

My Catholicism is not a result of a single conversion but a habitual way of responding to reality through embodied action. It is more akin to how I go to the gym each morning, not because I made some decision years ago to be fit. Instead, I go to the gym because it’s 7 AM and my body, my subconscious, my own being desires it (even often against my conscious will).

So too relative to my own sense of Catholic discipleship. When I hear that someone is sick and dying from cancer, I say the Hail Mary. When I encounter an opportunity to light a candle and kneel in prayer, I do. When I walk by a church while traveling, I sign my body with the cross. When I encounter the poor in the street, I look them in the eyes–for before me, it is Christ. My “Catholic” identity is not something that I have “chosen” consciously to make central to my being. Rather, it was written upon my body as I have done the sort of things that make one Catholic. Often, it surprises me how much this way of being has become a part of my identity, the way that I think about politics and economics, philosophy and theology, advising students and making a phone call.

Timothy P. O’Malley, Director, Notre Dame Center for Liturgy.

(via bethmaynard)

England was converted to the faith when St Augustine of Canterbury arrived on the island of Thanet with forty companions. They might have offered service and they probably preached, but they certainly settled down to Benedictine stability and contemplated God. That is one out of thousands of examples of the mystical process of spiritual power. It is mysterious but indisputable.

When we look at our contemporary trouble spots, at violence in the inner cities, at racial hatred, or torture, murder and rape, I can muster little faith in the efficacy of ‘praying about it’. I have absolute confidence in the efficacy of planting a contemplative community in the middle of it and letting God manifest his power. Prayer, real prayer, is no last resort but the first priority.

—Martin Thornton (via bethmaynard)

I know my way around American Christian Culture pretty well, but this took me completely by surprise. Where does something like this even come from?!? Come on, Zondervan: show some self-respect. We both know that you’re better than this.

I know my way around American Christian Culture pretty well, but this took me completely by surprise. Where does something like this even come from?!? Come on, Zondervan: show some self-respect. We both know that you’re better than this.

There is no point in converting people to Christ, if they do not convert their vision of the world and of life, since Christ then becomes merely a symbol for all that we love and want already — without Him.

Alexander. Freaking. Schmemann.

(via bethmaynard)

What makes Sarah Palin’s ‘joke’ about waterboarding as baptism so very vile is this: that at baptism, we are baptised into a death, Christ’s, and pass through its deep waters. But into life. And while there is a torture victim in this picture — this metaphor, this sacrament — it is Christ himself, and Christians on the whole do not laughingly boast of acting as his tormentors.

Francis Spufford nails it.

Oh, Sarah Palin. This is an ugly, ugly thing that you have done. I never once imagined that I would have to use this word, but alas, this must be named for what it is: sacrilege.

Czesław Miłosz, “Ode for John Paul II”

We come to you, men of weak faith,
So that you might fortify us with the example of your life
And liberate us from anxiety
About tomorrow and next year. Your twentieth century
Was made famous by the names of powerful tyrants
And by the annihilation of their rapacious states.
You knew it must happen. You taught hope:
For only Christ is the lord and master of history.

Foreigners could not guess from whence came the hidden strength
Of a novice from Wadowice. The prayers and prophecies
Of poets, whom money and progress scorned,
Even though they were the equals of kings, waited for you
So that you, not they, could announce, urbi et orbi,
That the centuries are not absurd but a vast order.

Shepherd given us when the gods depart!
In the fog above the cities the Golden Calf shines,
The defenseless crowds race to offer the sacrifice
Of their own children to the bloody screens of Moloch.
In the air, fear, a lament without words:
Since a desire for faith is not the same as faith.

Then, suddenly, like the clear sound of the bell for matins,
Your sign of dissent, which is like a miracle.
People ask, not comprehending, how it’s possible
That the young of the unbelieving countries
Gather in public squares, shoulder to shoulder,
Waiting for news from two thousand years ago
And throw themselves at the feet of the Vicar
Who embraced with his love the whole human tribe.

You are with us and will be with us henceforth.
When the forces of chaos raise their voice
And the owners of truth lock themselves in churches
And only the doubters remain faithful,
Your portrait in our homes every day reminds us
How much one man can accomplish and how sainthood works.

(Source: cosmosinthelost, via wesleyhill)

Darrell Johnson – The New Human for a New Era (39 plays)

The New Human for a New Era, by Darrell Johnson at First Baptist Church, 20th April 2014. (See 1 Corinthians 15:1-9, 20-26, 45-49 or the sermon transcript.)

Sarah says that she “finally felt like a Christian” after hearing this sermon today. I knew immediately what she meant. This is one of the most rich, lucid and approachable public proclamations of the Gospel that I have ever heard. If you need a solid Easter sermon, this is it.

(Note: Darrell was a professor of preaching at Regent for many years, and has now returned to his first love of pastoring. If you want to know what Regent preachers sound like, this is an excellent archetype. Darrell has shaped the voice of the school, and to that effect, our own individual voices.)

(Source: firstbc)