The Christocentric Life

May the Holy Spirit make you creative in charity, persevering in your commitments, and brave in your initiatives, so that you will be able to offer your contribution to the building up of the “civilization of love”. The horizon of love is truly boundless: it is the whole world!--Pope Benedict XVI

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Blessings to our friends in Oxford!

Stratford Caldecott, Winston & Barbara Elliott
The Community of Eternal Love, the Blessed Trinity makes his creatures by Love for Love. And then, if free will does not hide it in the darkness, our souls expand in the love we share with one another, a glimpse of the brilliant and overwhelming Love of the Triune God who is Love in singular and communal form. Mysterious? Yes. A gift of mystery. A loving response to love received our greatest offering?


Three questions worth asking: What is worth living for? What is worth dying for? Of what is the spirit made? The answer to all three is the same. Love.

Tessa & Leonie Caldecott with Barbara
Love (another word is Grace) is all around us and yet...the darkness often seems to be expanding today...the victory is promised...but many battles are lost until the end...and yet some victories? To our beloved friends each evening of the days until the Creator of time slips us out of time, sleep well kept warm by the Love of all Loves from the Giver of Love eternal and Grace abundant.


Thank you to Friends from far away who
Khalil Habib & Winston
made far away warm and wonderful. The sites were magnificent, the Bodleian Library beautiful. The friendships, we treasure beyond measure.

Winston

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Quote of the Day: St. Maximilian Kolbe

The militant desires for everyone the light of faith, happiness, forgiveness of sins, and a heart afire with God's love. His dream is the happiness of all humanity in God.--St. Maximilian Kolbe

Monday, August 8, 2011

Quote of the Day: Bring Christ to the World-Blessed John Paul II

It is not enough to discover Christ-you must bring Him to others! The world today is one great mission land, even in countries of longstanding Christian tradition.--Blessed John Paul II

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Quote of the Day: Gerard Manley Hopkins

The best ideal is the true
And other truth is none.
All glory be ascribed to
The holy Three in One.
--Gerard Manley Hopkins, Summa

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Feast of the Transfiguration

August 6, 2011 by Communio
José Granados,, Embodied Light, Incarnate Image: The Mystery of Jesus Transfigured. (pdf, 2008).
From the text:
What is new and surprising in Christ is that in him we see not only a fraction of the past, but the ultimate origin from which everything comes; that he foreshadows not only a slice of the future, but the ultimate goal of the universe. In the life of the Son, time encounters its own truth by making visible the depths of eternity.

Now the glory of the one who eternally comes from the Father and eternally returns to him in love enters into the flesh, into the space where past and future, coming from and walking toward, memory and promise, are joined in the density of the present. We see then how Christ can fulfill the human experience of time beyond what is imaginable while faithfully preserving its structure. These reflections allow us to see in the Transfiguration a key to understanding the rhythm of salvation history. That the glory of Easter is anticipated on Mount Tabor is no exception, but rather a witness to Christ’s dominion over time, including the past and future. The second epistle of Peter tells us, indeed, that the Transfiguration validates the Old Testament in retrospect. From this point of view it is possible to see how the prophets and the just of the Old Testament were justified by the Spirit of Christ. We can glimpse also the meaning of Tertullian’s sentence, quoted in Gaudium et spes 22, in which he sees in the image of man a prefiguration of Christ’s image: “Thus that clay, already putting on the image of Christ who was to be in the flesh, was not only a work of God but also a token of him.” (full text)

Quote of the Day: St. Maximilian Kolbe on Truth, Good & Evil

"No one in the world can change Truth. What we can do and and should do is to seek truth and to serve it when we have found it. The real conflict is the inner conflict. Beyond armies of occupation and the hetacombs of extermination camps, there are two irreconcilable enemies in the depth of every soul: good and evil, sin and love. And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we are ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?"
~ St. Maximilian Kolbe

Friday, August 5, 2011

Quote of the Day: The Devout Life

But even as Josue and Caleb declared that the Land of Promise was good and fair, and the possession of it would be easy and pleasant; so the Holy Spirit, speaking by all the Saints, and our blessed Lord Himself assure us that a devout life is a lovely, a pleasant, and a happy life.-St. Frances de Sales

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tolkien: Lover of the Logos

From the Spring 1993 issue: Mark Sebanc, JRR Tolkien: Lover of the Logos (pdf).
From the text:
Tolkien’s is an exquisitely proleptic art that takes a pagan, pre-Christian universe and suffuses it discreetly with a sacramental holiness stemming implicitly from what Balthasar makes bold to call a Christian form. . . . . Like a colossus, Tolkien bestrides the abyss which separates the ancient and medieval worldviews from that of modern man, who has utterly lost sight of the Christ form as the primary means of access to the noumenal world. The power of the Word has been repudiated, and all around us now we see only its debased and slatternly distortions, hideous and mass-produced, like Tolkien’s Orcs. Tolkien’s art restores the incarnational, Christo-logical inclination of language. . . .  (full text).

Monday, June 27, 2011

Enriching the Good: Toward the Development of a Relational Anthropology

From the Winter, 2010 issue:
D.C. Schindler (bio). Enriching the Good: Toward the Development of a Relational Anthropology
From the text:
[W]ealth is not simply a collection of possessions (or indeed an abstract measurement of their monetary value) but more fundamentally a way of being, and specifically, being good. A response to the problem of poverty requires, before some sort of redistribution of wealth, more radically a reconception of wealth, and so an “enrichment” of the notion of the good, or it risks reinforcing the individualistic atomism at the root of poverty.

Ultimately, in order to overcome the poverty of individualism, which is a spiritual poverty at the root of material poverty, we must think of the common good in its most transcendent sense, and this entails a recovery of the Platonic understanding of goodness. (full text)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Mystery of Grace by Romano Guardini

Through your creation, O Lord, goes a voice that reminds us of something that is above everything created. The things and their ordering, earth, sun and stones, seem to be pure reality, but our heart knows that they proceed from your holy freedom, and are gifts that should always be accepted afresh. And so they point away from themselves to something higher than they are; but what they might be they do not say.

This indication is stronger in our own life. Plants and animals grow from their own nature and perfect themselves in it; not so men. Only in joining with this other does he come to himself; he gains his own being only when he gives himself to the other. But there is nothing mortal that could be the last fulfilling encounter for him, and so he is always wandering and searching.

But what he in fact seeks, he never gains through his own strength. Only grace can give it to him. On grace depends our salvation, but we have neither a right to grace nor the power to compel it. Grace must reveal itself to us, and only then will we recognize it. Grace must give itself to us, and only then will we possess it. And in it alone do we receive our own true self, which you, O God, assigned to us as you created us.

In the work of your redemption, O Lord, you started a fresh work. You yourself came and called to man. Your being, veiled from all creation, “shown out to him in the face of Jesus Christ”. You showed him how he was lost, and offered him forgiveness. Your love and holiness streamed out to him; now he can accept them and share them.

All that is your free gift, and yet the answer to our innermost need. We cannot conceive it with our own strength, but when you reveal it, we feel that it is the truth upon which we live. We must preserve it from the claim of the world and from the contradiction of our own inadequacy. But when our heart is open, the truth speaks within it and bears up our existence.

Awake within me a holy disquiet, O Lord, so that at all times I may search for you. Teach me to understand the mystery according to which you made my being: that I can only live from that which is above me, and that I lose myself as soon as I place myself within myself. Take my hand; help me to cross over to you, so that I may truly find myself in you.

Amen.

(From Prayers from Theology by Romano Guardini)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Become Humble like Mary-Mother Teresa

With deep appreciation, I thank you for you remembering me in your prayers. My gratitude will be my prayer for you that you may become humble like Mary, so as to become more and more holy like Jesus. Together, let us thank God for all his tender love and care. Continue to pray for me and my sisters that we may not spoil God’s work. Always be one heart full of love in the hearts of Jesus and Mary by loving one another with a most tender and forgiving love.--Mother Teresa

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Creation of Man-Romano Guardini

O Lord, you made all things. You gave them their being, set them in their place and gave them their measure. They are filled with your mystery, and the pious heart is moved by it.

We people, too, O Lord, were called into being and placed between you and the things. You have formed us in your own image and made us to share in your dominion. You have placed your world into our hands that it may serve us and that in it we may complete our work.  However, we must remain your subjects, and our dominion becomes rebellion and robbery if we do not bow down before you, who alone bears the eternal crown and is Lord in his own right.

Wonderful, O God, is your generosity. You did not fear for your sovereignty when you created beings who were masters of themselves and entrusted your will to their freedom. Great and truly regal are you!

You have placed the honor of your will in my hands. Each word of your revelation says that you respect and trust me, that you give me dignity and responsibility. Teach me to understand that. Give me that holy maturity that is capable of receiving the right that you grant and of assuming the responsibility that you entrust. Keep my heart awake that at all times it may be before you, and let what I do become one with the command and the obedience to which you have called me.

Amen.

(From Prayers from Theology by Romano Guardini)

Working With the Grammar of Creation: Benedict XVI, Wendell Berry, and the Unity of the Catholic Moral Vision

June 23, 2011 by Communio
From the Winter 2010 issue:
David CloutierWorking With the Grammar of Creation: Benedict XVI, Wendell Berry, and the Unity of the Catholic Moral Vision
From the text:

At the heart of Berry’s work is a conviction about the pattern of nature, a pattern he seeks to discover through the careful practice of farming. He is sometimes called an “agrarian writer,” and he notes the influence of the “Southern agrarians” on his work. Yet he worries that, for some of these writers, their agrarianism “is abstract, too purely mental . . . too often remote from the issues of practice.” Berry’s own life is “forcibly removed” from “abstraction,” and instead “must submit to the unending effort to change one’s mind and ways to fit one’s farm.” But ultimately such effort is aimed at “seeing in nature the inescapable standard and in natural processes the necessary pattern for any human use of the land.”

The patterns are discovered through ignorance and discipline.  “Ignorance” here refers to a “humbling knowledge” that is “a way of acknowledging the uniqueness of every individual creature, deserving respect, and the uniqueness of every moment, deserving wonder.” Such a way of proceeding acknowledges limits, both in oneself and in the human condition. Since we are often uncomfortable with such limits, hewing to them also requires discipline. In preferring a lack of discipline, we ordinarily end up allowing our desires to determine what we will do and how we will do it. However, “we have, in fact, no right to ask the world to conform to our desires.” . . .

[The] conflict between environmental romanticism and industrial capitalism, two oversimplified patterns, also appears in virtually the same form in our thinking about human sexuality. Indeed, Berry argues that our sexual lives are governed primarily by a “sexual romanticism,” that worships “true love,” trying to defend against the “sexual capitalism” of purely instrumental use of sex for pleasure. Sexual capitalists, he remarks, are merely disillusioned sexual romantics. As he puts it wryly, “The sexual romantic croons, ‘You be-long to me.’ The sexual capitalist believes the same thing, but has stopped crooning.” An oversimplified pattern of possessive ownership replaces the much more complex mutual belonging that is marriage.

Summarizing these oversimplified grammars in an essay on language, Berry diagnoses its “increasing unreliability” by explaining two types of language that fail to be accountable in their imprecision, and hence oversimplification. One kind of language is “diminished by subjectivity, which ends in meaninglessness . . . .” This is the language of expressivist romanticism. But then there is also “a language diminished by  objectivity, or so-called objectivity (inordinate or irresponsible ambition), which ends in confusion.” This is the language of  specialization, which Berry so often derides, a language characteristic especially of industrial science, but which also infects most areas of knowledge. Both these sorts of language, in different ways, ultimately dispense with the matter of truth, insofar as they fail to be accountable to the reality which they are trying to designate. Therefore, the languages are useful for concealing ignorance, but also for attempting supposed knowledge of things without the practices of discipline actually required. (full text.)

DAVID CLOUTIER is associate professor of theology at Mount St. Mary’s
University in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

St. John Fisher-An Example for Our Time

Saint John Fisher, Bishop & Martyr
If more Catholic Bishops were like Fisher more Catholic politicians would be like St. Thomas More
June 22nd

John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester
Born at Beverly, 1469 - martyred June 22, 1535, Tower of London
Canonized (with Saint Thomas More) 1935

Saint John Fisher studied theology in Cambridge, England and became Bishop of Rochester. His friend Saint Thomas More wrote of him, "I reckon in this realm no one man, in wisdom, learning, and long approved virtue together, meet to be matched and compared with him."

Saint John Fisher and his friend Saint Thomas More gave up their lives in testimony to the unity of the Church and to the indissolubility of marriage.

Source: Daily Roman Missal, Edited by Rev. James Socías, Midwest Theological Forum, Chicago, Illinois ©2003

Born at Beverly, 1469 + June 22, 1535, Tower of London 

Reply to Bishops Stokesley, Gardiner and Tunstal, sent to the Tower by Thomas Cromwell to persuade Fisher to submit to the King: 

Methinks it had been rather our parts to stick together in repressing these violent and unlawful intrusions and injuries dayly offered to our common mother, the holy Church of Christ, than by any manner of persuasions to help or set forward the same. 

And we ought rather to seek by all means the temporal destruction of the so ravenous wolves, that daily go about worrying and devouring everlastingly, the flock that Christ committed to our charge, and the flock that Himself died for, than to suffer them thus to range abroad. 

But (alas) seeing we do it not, you see in what peril the Christian state now standeth: We are besieged on all sides, and can hardly escape the danger of our enemy. And seeing that judgment is begone at the house of God, what hope is there left (if we fall) that the rest shall stand! 

The fort is betrayed even of them that should have defended it. And therefore seeing the matter is thus begun, and so faintly resisted on our parts, I fear that we be not the men that shall see the end of the misery. 

Wherefore, seeing I am an old man and look not long to live, I mind not by the help of God to trouble my conscience in pleasing the king this way whatsoever become of me, but rather here to spend out the remnant of my old days in praying to God for him. 

On the scaffold he said to the people assembled: 

Christian people, I am come hither to die for the faith of Christ's Holy Catholic Church, and I thank God hitherto my stomach hath served me very well thereunto, so that yet I have not feared death.

Wheefore I do desire you all to help and assist me with your prayers, that at the very point and instant of death's stroke, I may in that very moment stand steadfast without fainting in any one point of the Catholic faith free from any fear; and I beseech Almighty God of His infinite goodness to save the king and this Realm, and that it may please Him to hold His holy hand over it, and send the king good Counsel. 

He then knelt, said the Te Deum, In te domine speravi, and submitted to the axe.

Of all the English bishops, only Bishop John Fisher of Rochester publicly opposed Henry VIII's mandatory Oath of Allegience, which unlawfully declared King Henry the head of the Church of England. The bishop's stand ultimately cost him his life. May his example inspire all Catholics today, especially the bishops on whose courageous leadership the Church depends.

Collect:

Father,
You confirm the true faith
with the crown of martyrdom.
May the prayers of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More
give us the courage to proclaim our faith
by the witness of our lives.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. + Amen. 


First Reading: I Peter 4:12-19
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in so far as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or a wrongdoer, or a mischief-maker; yet if one suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but under that name let him glorify God. For the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? And "If the righteous man is scarcely saved, where will the impious and sinner appear?" Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will do right and entrust their souls to a faithful Creator.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 10:34-39
"Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's foes will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.