When the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation began to be proclaimed it immediately provoked strong reactions. Jews thought it a horrible blasphemy, Greeks a foolish absurdity. From the moment of their first encounter with it they realised its revolutionary implications for the world of thought and religion and reacted accordingly. So radical were these implications that even many who were attracted by the figure of Jesus rejected them and most of the heresies which the primitive Church had to battle, from Gnosticism to Arianism, aimed quite precisely at removing the doctrine of Incarnation from the Christian credo.
However with the spread of Christianity and the passage of time Incarnation became the new normal. It’s implications did not stop being revolutionary but these implications for the most part did stop being considered. Humans adapted to the extraordinary by banalising it, ignoring it or denying it under a form of words which implied accepting it. It belongs, however, to the peculiar genius of the Catholic Church that it is this doctrine above all others which she has held patiently, doggedly and unapologetically before the eyes of the faithful and the world these past two millennia or so. It is this which lies behind the myriad images of the baby Jesus and the crucified Christ, behind the cult of Mary and the saints, behind the relics, the shrines, the pilgrimages and most of all behind the holy sacrifice of the Mass as the ‘source and summit of Christian life.’ To the extent that we simply consider these things severally and together as just being the Catholic ‘brand’ the stuff that Catholics do then we miss the point that it is not just what Catholicism does but also what Catholicism is. To see why this is so we need to step back several paces so that we can encounter the doctrine of Incarnation as if for the first time. Click here to read more
Are you searching for true joy? Has joy been missing from your life, or that of a loved one?
Joy is both a virtue and a fruit of the Holy Spirit. It provides an experience of happiness parallel to nothing else; a sense of deep contentment and satisfaction.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI shared his thoughts on this virtue in his 2012 address at World Youth day, where he stated, Read more…
What can be done to alleviate the suffering of the poor and homeless? How can one person make a meaningful difference? Caring for the poor and homeless requires that we first acknowledge that the poor and homeless exist and need assistance from you and me. Leaving the task to someone else means that we lack compassion and have only pity.
Watch this very interesting, short video, from the New York City Rescue Mission. It has received over 5 million views. I hope it has the same affect on you that it had on me: to raise your self-awareness of the plight of the poor and homeless. Read more at…
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I reflect on what the short Catholic Epistle of St Jude the Apostle teaches us. Considering in particular the path dominated by sensuality and that dominated by the spirit. With a digression, courtesy of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, on the subject of the right use of Scripture as opposed to the doctrine of Sola Scriptura
Because I have a short attention span I’ve always had a soft spot for the Very Small Books in the Bible. I’m especially fond of the Old Testament books of Ruth and of Jonah. They are good stories and, apart from their religious content are full of little vignettes of human emotion from tender love to extreme crabbiness. The Very Small Books of the New Testament are more ‘difficult’ since they lack narrative and touch on deep spiritual and theological themes which you can’t really get to grips with unless you have a good working knowledge of the ideas contained in the rest of the NT. Nonetheless the Catholic Epistle of St Jude the Apostle has several things going for it, its only 25 verses long, it illustrates the wheat and tares parable of our Lord and it is attributed to the patron saint of lost causes who is an appropriate patron for this little cottage blog that dreams of international stardom.
Essentially the letter concerns the presence within the body of Christ of those who do not truly belong to it….
How can you support the sick and elderly by alleviating their suffering and pain? There are several ways to accomplish this that are up for discussion today. As with all acts of compassion, there are differing degrees of commitment of your time, talent and treasure that can be spent on the sick and elderly. I’ll start with the easy ways, and work my way up to the intense means of acting with compassion. Read more…
Melanie Jean Juneau is wife and mother of nine children. The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people. Her writing is humorous and heart warming; thoughtful and thought provoking with a strong current of spirituality running through it. Part of her call and her witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life.She blogs at joy of nine9 and mother of nine9
How do you support local children? Where are the opportunities in your neighborhood or state to act with compassion? How can you enter the sphere of suffering to do what you can to alleviate that suffering, without forming judgment? Keep in mind, that at times the call to compassion may take little effort, and then again, sometimes the Lord is calling some of us to do what we think might be daunting. With that in mind, I’ll start with the easy suggestions and work my way up to the daunting ways in which you can support local children: …Read more