Mother Teresa is the model for the virtue of magnanimity. Yet, my guess is that most of us know little about this noble virtue. So let’s start with a definition:
Magnanimity: The virtue which prompts one to do morally good acts of exceptional quality. Magnanimous persons are disposed to perform actions of extraordinary generosity, kindness, fortitude and charity; not in order to gain fame, glory or recognition, but simply to do what is right, good, just or needed. Magnanimous actions are… Read more…
Life gives us opportunities, blessings, trials and tribulations. Life is a journey; both physical and spiritual. It’s what we do with this life that matters most. How does one persevere in life when there are so many challenges, obstacles and hurdles to overcome? And why must they even exist? Why can’t life be just peachy?
There is a simple answer to these questions: Without the challenges, obstacles and hurdles, you wouldn’t grow spiritually. Also, without difficulties in this life, you would take the opportunities and blessings for granted. You would take God for granted!
Perseverance is such a necessary virtue. Anything worthwhile usually does not come instantly. It comes after we have put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into the situation. If we give up too soon, we… Read more…
If you read the works of the saints, or their biographies, you can see that they were aware of a truth that America has forgotten—sin is real and it alienates us from God. Instead, America (or, rather the whole of Western civilization) has a bad habit of presuming that God “doesn’t care” about the action we do that falls under the category of sin. As a result, we have an understanding about sin that is both self-contradictory and has nothing to do with the reality:
- When others do something we dislike, we have no qualms about acknowledging it as a sin.
- When we do something that is a sin, we refuse to acknowledge it as a sin and call it an arbitrary decision made by human beings that doesn’t matter to God.
In other words, while people are perfectly willing to denounce others, the fact is that, instead of thinking rationally about the good or evil of our actions we contemplate doing, we rationalize the things we already do to avoid thinking about whether they are good or evil or rationalize a reason not to do what we ought to do.
This mindset actually convicts the person before God—because we call the actions of others “sin” or “wrongdoing,” we acknowledge that there is a good which must be lived and an evil which must be avoided. But because we refuse to apply this knowledge to ourselves, we show ourselves to be hypocrites and evildoers.
Well, people are writing with fear and panic underlying their comments and articles in the face of the States sanctioning same-sex marriages.
We are people of hope, not doomsayers or fearmongers.
Christ has already triumphed over sin and death. We are not called to focus on disasters, on evil, on sin. Christ commanded us to refrain from condemnation and judgment so we will not be judged and condemned by our Master. Our mandate is simple; allow the Light of Christ to grow ever more brightly within us, especially as the darkness deepens. Then we will be a light unto the world. He will conquer darkness through us. We are simply channels of truth, light and mercy. This is the central message of the New Testament.
Missionary religions have the task of persuading people to totally transform their lives. In pursuit of this objective there is a temptation to over-egg the pudding. The old life is painted in vivid language as being one of unrelieved misery totally immersed in wicked sin. By way of contrast the new life of the convert is portrayed in glowing terms full of happiness, joy and general goodness. Unless the person being evangelised is in a particularly vulnerable emotional state or has the wisdom to see a core truth concealed within the apparent hyperbole they will not be convinced. They will seldom think of their own lives in such bleak terms or of themselves as being such moral reprobates. If, moreover, they know many religious believers they will but rarely observe them to be significantly more happy or more virtuous than their unbelieving neighbours.
A fiery Christian preacher might argue that what they are saying constitutes an objective truth and that only a false consciousness (to borrow an expression from Marxism) prevents their unredeemed listeners from accepting it. This may be so but a personally experienced subjective reality has more power to convince than the truest of objective truths not directly felt. Most lives, I suspect are lived in a neutral zone, islands of misery or of happiness occasionally loom out of the fog and then are more or less swiftly left behind. click here to read more
Being a Christian today—at least one who takes a position contrary to what is currently favored culturally—is becoming an unpopular and potentially dangerous stand to take. While society is stressing the importance of being nice, and not saying anything negative about someone we disagree with (except when directed against said Christians), we are unpopular because we say “This is wrong, and cannot be done.” To which, the world says “Stop judging, you bigot!” (completely unaware of the self-contradiction). The impression one gets is that society would be perfectly willing to welcome us back into the fold if we would stop being so obstinate and go along with what they hold.
If the society was the source of determining what was right and wrong, then it would be foolish of us to be countercultural. Under such a view, whoever rejected the mores of society would be a hateful person. But this is where the problem lies. Christianity cannot accept society as the source of determining right and wrong. Indeed, we know that societies have a bad habit of going very wrong. In America, our mistreatment of American Indians and African-Americans give us examples of behavior that cannot be considered good even though society once favored it. The totalitarian dictatorships of history give us examples of behavior we cannot condone. So there has to be a source for determining right and wrong which is outside of society. Otherwise, when a new group is in power, people will find themselves without grounds to protest actions they find offensive. And society, in the name of freedom, is rapidly undercutting the pillars that support freedom. They do this by saying, “Stop trying to push your values on us!” while pushing their values on others.
We all have relationships with others that are disordered. These could be with family members, co-workers, acquaintances or friends. They could be with anyone we are in any sort of relationship with.
I know you can think of a few in your life right now. Some have been there so long you cannot imagine a life without them and some may have just started to bud.
We intuitively know these relationships are not healthy, yet we allow them and even draw them into to our lives. Continue Reading
Prayer is essential. How many times have you heard that, but wondered just how essential is it really? Or, what’s in it for me to pray? How many times have you prayed and heard silence? How many times have you given up on prayer, because your prayers weren’t answered the way you wanted?
In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we look to quotations from Saint John Damascene and Psalm 130:1 to define prayer:
Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God. But when we pray, do we speak… Read more…
Persevere in Faith
To persevere in Faith, “we must nourish it with the Word of God.”1 That means that we need to read Scripture. The more we become acquainted with the Word of God, the more we come to know God, trust God and love God. Through the nourishment of the Word, we are able to believe in Him and all that He promises. This helps us to grow in trusting the Lord. Yet there are times when He is silent, and during these times we quickly feel abandoned. It is at these times that we must persevere in Faith. We must trust in God’s timing, and never give up. Read more…
The Supreme Court has ruled today legalizing “same sex marriage” in a very poorly reasoned decision. This is something a Christian cannot support in good faith. Of course we believe that we are called to treat each individual with all the love and respect that is due a human person. But that love we are called to does not mean that we are required to recognize a morally bad act as if it were good. Therefore we deny that our actions are motivated by hatred when we say that homosexual acts are wrong. However, people will accuse us of hatred anyway.
Because those political and cultural elites have decided that the only moral wrong is “hatred,” and because they decide that any action or belief they dislike is “hatred,” it stands to reason that we will become social pariahs in society. I fully expect that families will be divided as Our Lord warned in Matthew:
34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. 35 For I have come to set
a man ‘against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
36 and one’s enemies will be those of his household.’ (Matthew 10:34-36)