Monday, January 31, 2011

Divine Providence

“la divina provvidenza e` la Bella Signora che si alza un’ora prima di noi al mattino e va a dormire un’ora dopo di noi alla sera” (Divine Providence is the beautiful Lady who wakes up in the morning an hour before we do, and goes to sleep in the evening an hour after we do).

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

St Francis De Sales

"To persevere in the devout life it is a matter of deciding upon some excellent and generous maxims, with the right intention. The first I would suggest to you is that of Saint Paul, “All turns out well for those who love God.” [cf. Rom 8:28] If we agree that God can and does draw good out of evil, will He not do that especially for those who give themselves to Him without reserve? Even our very sins (from which may God preserve us!) are destined by Providence for the good of those who serve God. If David had not sinned, he would not have learned his deep sense of humility! … (Letters 1420; O. XVIII, p. 209)

Monday, January 10, 2011

CS Lewis

Sorry for the lack of posting over the past few weeks, but its been very busy with work and family, all good things, but the blog takes a second place. For a couple weeks, I'm going to place a quote on the spiritual life each Monday, instead of a longer posting. Here's a good one from CS Lewis, and an awesome reminder for all married couples.

"You should not get married to make yourself happier, you should get married to make your spouse happier, if you get married to make yourself happier, than the likelihood of you finding happiness becomes that much more unlikely" CS Lewis.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Narnia- The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

My family and I saw a great movie last night, C.S. Lewis's "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader", I highly recommend seeing this movie. It was pointed out to me, that C.S Lewis rarely spoke about the meaning of his books, because he wanted the work to stand on its own feet. But for this book, in an interview he was asked, "What's the point of the Dawn Treader?", and his answer, "Oh, the Dawn Treader, well that's about the spiritual life,". Its so true, and so beautiful. Because there is no major outside evil force like the "Lion, witch and the wardrobe," The main enemy in this book, is inside the characters, the struggles that each of them face. I wanted to point to 4 instances in the movie that we can all learn from,-

1.) Lucy's Struggle- Her major struggle was her desire to be more beautiful. The question she needed answering was, where is her worth? Is your worth tied up in your inherent dignity as a child of God? Or is your worth tied up in your brains, your strength, your beauty? Because if it is, then your happiness will always be fleeting, and as Lucy found out, jealousy will always be right behind you, keeping you away from your mission, because there's always someone smarter, stronger, more money, and more beauty, etc.

2.) Eustace and the Dragon- In Eustaces desire for greed, desire to be above others, he actually became like a dragon, only desiring gain. Before he knew it, he was a dragon. But there was no way out, no amount of money could buy his original self back. But Aslan came to the rescue, Eustace could not remove the scales, so Aslan does it free of charge. This is Jesus with His gift of grace, its totally free and open to everyone, and He can lead us back to ourselves, back to our senses.

3.) Edmund and the desire for manhood- I think the most powerful scene in the movie is at the very end, where Edmund is given a way out of the struggle by the White Witch. She says to him, "Edmund all you want is to be a Man, come with me and I will make you a man," He decides to overcome his fear, and stay to fight. I thought, wow, that sums up the whole struggle for a man. Every man is tempted to believe that the way to manhood is within sexual triumphs, but that is not it at all. The way to manhood is that we stay and fight as a servant. That we give ourselves away, and grow in virtue and self control.

The perfect character is really Reepicheep, the heroic mouse. He is small, but he knows that greatness is alive within him, so he has no fear. He knows that Aslan is never very far away, so fear is pointless anyway. But the greatest part of this character is that he sees the greatness alive in others as well. Its one thing to know that greatness is alive in our own hearts, its another to see it in everyone we meet. As C.S. Lewis was fond of saying, "There are no mere mortals,".

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Things to look for in "Its a Wonderful Life"

Do youself a big favor and watch It's a Wonderful Life this Christmas, and here is something to look for. Check out the quote under the Mr. Bailey's photo- As George is trying to decide to stay or go, he looks long and hard at his father's picture in the boardroom, under the picture is a quote from the Catholic saint, St. Lawerence, "You can only take with you, that which you give away," Critics have always said the movie is corny or overly simplistic, but that is crazy, because in many way's "Its a Wonderful Life" is a very dark movie, think about it, he yells at his kids, he yells at his wife, he yells at his childrens teacher, and he ends up drunk on top of a bridge ready to commit suicide. Can you get much darker than that?

George Bailey is probably one of the greatest characthers in the history of movie's, probably because it stay's so true to life. There is a constant struggle in every man's heart, to live for yourself, or to die to yourself. Here's the best part of the movie, George Bailey chooses to die to himself, but he does it relunctly. People critize the characther, because it does seem that his life's choices are thrust upon him, so what is the greatness in that. But watch as George makes his first choice in the movie, as he reads the St. Lawarence quote, "You can only take with you, that which you give away," This shows that he understood the choice he was making was for others, and not for himself. There is incredible beauty in that, because as the following choices come, you can almost see those words coming into his head each time. "You can only take with you, that which you give away,".

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Importance of Joy in the Spriitual Life

Writer H.L. Mencken described Puritanism as “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” And G.K. Chesterton once famously remarked about puritans:

"In America, they have a feast to celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims. Here in England, we should have a feast to celebrate their departure. "

Those fears of religious faith haunt secular people even to this day, and I think in some sense they haunt the religious believer as well. Here's the saddest part of the whole story for both the non believer and the believer, its not true. Here's a passage from the book of isiah about heaven, but also about the Kingdom of God in man's soul now,

"On this mountain the LORD of hosts
will provide for all peoples
A feast of rich food and choice wines,
juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.
On this mountain he will destroy
the veil that veils all peoples,
The web that is woven over all nations;
he will destroy death forever.
The Lord GOD will wipe away
the tears from all faces;"

St. Teresa of Avila famously commented, "Lord save us from sour faced saints," All the great saints knew that the devil is so angry about a joyful soul, because a joyful soul has great trust in God. We're called to give up on Gossip, pettiness, envy, anger. We are not called to give up on fun, and in fact fun can help us in the spiritual life, because it keeps tempations at bay. Think about it, when were sad or stressed, those are the moments when we can fall into sin the easiest.

So go out and enjoy life, and have fun, do you think God created this massive world of unbelievable beauty so that we should not enjoy it?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Grateful for the Pope

Sorry for not posting in a while, but the New York Times woke me up this morning with their constant mis-reading of Pope Benedict the 16th. I wanted to quickly weigh in on the Pope's comments on condoms, because it says something about the hope and love in this man's heart. You might be asking what does the Pope's statement on condom's have to do with hope and love? The answer is everything, and that is what the world is missing within this debate.

The question for the Pope was on condoms for the prevention of Aids? Here's the Pope's answer-
There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really lie only in a humanization of sexuality.

Here's where the hope and love comes in, the first thing I thought when I read this was, the Pope believes there's even hope for a male prostitute. In some sense, could you fall any lower in the world away from your dignity of a child of God than becoming a male prostitute?, but there's hope for conversion even for a male prostitute.

All the Pope is saying is that Prostitution is such a grave evil, so beyond the pale, that a condom is not even a part of the moral equation. Its almost silly, can you imagine two prostitutes, saying, "lets stop, the Pope has said that condoms are evil," But if a prostitute used a condom, it is an awakening in his heart to some goodness, he is basically saying, "I don't want to harm this person any further, I don't want to sicken this person with aids," Its the beginning of conscience to think those things. Lastly the Pope makes it clear that the only answer to the Aids crises is a humanization of sex. Sex is not a drug, it is literally a life giving, and life creating act. To reduce it to mere pleasure is a real catastrophe, and sad, here's the Pope,"

"This means that the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalization of sexuality, which, after all, is precisely the dangerous source of the attitude of no longer seeing sexuality as the expression of love, but only a sort of drug that people administer to themselves. This is why the fight against the banalization of sexuality is also a part of the struggle to ensure that sexuality is treated as a positive value and to enable it to have a positive effect on the whole of man’s being. "