Our Lady and Sheen

Sheen and Love in the confessional

The Power of Love by Ven. Fulton Sheen gives an encouragement to those who wish to love. Namely priests and doctors.

One can never love in a hurry… To hurry the distressed and the disturbed, either through the confessional or the parlor or the clinic, is to make oneself a merchant dealing with things, rather than a dedicated servant of the poor, the sick and the disturbed…

Every human person has within himself a rhythm or a tempo, to which the one who serves must tune in…The speeding up of confessions, the rushing of consultations, or imposing one’s own mind in counseling, are failures to love. To love anyone means to give one’s talent, to give one’s time, to give one’s money; in a word, to become identified with the soul in crisis.

How intense a calling it is then to be a priest, or a doctor, or a teacher! Let us examine quickly the ideal that Ven. Sheen is calling for. First, we must give of ourselves. It may not be money, or counsel, but it will be that more precious item we are given by God: TIME. Each time we help someone, we MUST give time. Using time is the most charitable act that we can have upon earth. I may be wrong, but if we are to do things for our fellow man out of Love of God (the theological virtue of Charity), we give only what God has already given us. Time is irreplaceable on earth, and is the most charitable of gifts.

Second, we must always look towards the person as a person in the image and likeness of God. We do not errr… We should not pretend to know God in his wholeness, for who is God’s counselor? (Romans 11:34). We take time to “investigate” God through prayer. Sometimes with our friends we receive more knowledge that we wish to have, and we lose part of our friendship. The same was true with Christ’s mission on earth, many abandoned him when it became too “intimate” (John 6:66). We must invest time in our relationship, even if you are blessed with interlocutions they still take seconds to process in our mind or ears. How much more then should we listen to our fellow man, who is not yet perfected as God is perfect? My guess is that it would take more than a cursory glance at the man.

Finally, sometimes we must give money, or talent, or something else of value. We can not always just tell someone to have peace, and be warm and fed; we must often do more than just give our time! (James 2:15-17) We must give talent and treasure to the needy, or we have done little to help them see the physical manifestation of Christ’s passionate love.

For those of you called to lay down your life for a friend, how blessed are you to partake in the sacrifice of Christ! For those of us called to lay down $20 or a coat and perform a smaller act of love, are we too proud to perform that act of humble charity? Perhaps in the building up of e virtues of Charity we will be more ready to courageously face the laying down of our physical life for our friends… Or, with the Grace of God lay down our lives for our enemy.

Perhaps, the greatest act of love is to lay down our lives out of love for God, constantly. I know I am far from that goal. But one day, perhaps, God will give me the grace to answer his call more deeply and be less selfish.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!
Our Lady, Mother of God, pray for us.

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March 18, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The worst sinner I know

I was listening to the Busted Halo Show on the Catholic Channel (Sirius/XM 129) last evening, after having listened to our Bishop speak on some issues in a local parish.  Fr. Dave mentioned a pet peeve of his being when people respond to the prayers of the faithful with “Lord, hear our prayer*S*,” this is also distracting to me, so I called in to thank him for expressing something I had always bit my tongue about.  I have been accused, and accuse myself now, of being too critical about things, especially liturgical.  I usually do it out of a desire for perfection, which isn’t a bad thing, but it sometimes can be the enemy of the good.  During my discussion on air Fr. Dave helped me go deeper into looking at this, and I came to the revelation that I know so much because it is an interest of mine, but at some point knowing the technical aspects of something has to be integrated into the Life of Christ… especially Charity.  Sometimes people use “false” charity, allowing people to “get away with things,” and that’s not what I mean.  I mean to live so deeply in Christ that I am able to abandon my wants and desires to Him.

Only once before a couple weeks ago had I thought that I was being “critical,” and even after a particularly harsh rebuke, I think part of my apparent lack of Charity comes from my inability to express myself, even though I want only the best for everyone involved.  That being said, this is a large part of my next few journeys towards the Lord, and if you will pray for me to have the gift of Wisdom more abundantly (or, let’s be honest, at all sometimes), I would be greatly appreciative.

How wonderful it is to be reminded of our deepest desires.  Especially when I only called in so that the call screener could pass along my fake enthusiastic “thanks” to Fr. Dave.  God works in mysterious ways?  I think so.

Our Lady, Mother of Mercy, Pray for us.

Archbishop Sheen, Pray for us.

April 13, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why does God not provide even lowly bread to the hungry?

Pope Benedict XVI, as a personal reflection, examines the temptation of Christ in the desert, as Satan tempts him to turn stones into bread and feed himself.  Jesus responds to this temptation by quoting Deut 8:3, “Man does not live by bread alone, but… by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.”

Why then does God, who can do all things, not provide food for the hungry by casting down bread?  His Holiness quotes Alfred Delp: “Bread is important, freedom is more important, but most important of all is unbroken fidelity and faithful adoration.”  The Holy Father then continues:

When this ordering of goods is no longer respected, but turned on its head, the result is not justice or concern for human suffering.  The result is rather ruin and destruction even of material goods themselves.  When God is regarded as a secondary matter that can be set aside temporarily or permanently on account of more important things, it is precisely these supposedly more important things that come to nothing.  It is not just the negative outcome of the Marxist experiment that proves this.

 

The aid offered by the West to developing countries has been purely technically and materially based, and not only left God out of the picture, but has driven men away from God.  And this aid, proudly claiming to “know better,” is itself what first turned the “third world” into what we mean today by that term.  It has thrust aside indigenous religious, ethical, and social structures and filled the resulting vacuum with its technocratic mind-set.  The idea was that we could turn stones into bread; instead, our “aid” has only given stones in place of bread. (Ratzinger, J.  Jesus of Nazareth, 33)

I pondered this as a question of to what do we give the needy of the world?  Do we stop providing food, medical care, and education?  Of course not, and the Holy Father was not saying that we should.  His attempt to convict our hearts was instead, I believe, a call to do things in the proper order.  If we are giving men and women education, so that they can become free, and then adore God, is that good?  In a sense yes, we are providing the opportunity for the greater good to occur.  Is this not a wonderful thing?  I would say that helping someone suffer less is an amazingly wonderful thing, I hope you would agree.

But!  What about this thought: If instead of giving education (or bread, or any number of examples) to make men free I give them Christ.  Christ, crucified.  Christ, resurrected.  Christ, the Second Divine Person of the Holy Trinity.  Christ, crucified so that they can unite their sufferings with Him and look for Justice; and in doing so, gain freedom from the slavery of sin.  Christ, resurrected to give them Hope and Mercy; and in doing so, Love more purely.  Christ, the Son of the Living God, so they could be united with the Trinity, and use the power of God to change the hearts of men and configure them like unto Jesus’ own Sacred Heart.

When we see this order can we not see that men, capable of nothing by themselves, can do all things in Christ?  Instead of the “we know better” mentality that carved up Africa, Asia, the Americas, can’t we provide the, “I am in service to The One, Who does indeed know better.”  When men receive their God, does not true Freedom begin; Freedom of the heart and soul that no man can smother out.  When that Freedom exists in a society, is it not a plain to see that bread will be given, neighbor to neighbor, father to son, community to community?

Do we stop sending food?  No.  But we send food for the right reason!  We send food so that man may see Christ.  Which, as a person in the “first world” would you prefer?  Someone putting bread on your plate, or God forming our will to go and earn bread?  It is up to you, individually.

Also, keep in mind.  “We” have bread in abundance… which makes us then ask for soup… which makes us then ask for steak… which makes us then ask for phones… computers… cars… and so on… the real question is, “What are the ‘basics’ that need to be provided for.”  The only answer that is true is Salvation, because God cares more for you than I could ever love; He cares more for me than I could ever love myself.

 

March 5, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

All Stars

16 years and 2 days ago, I was with my dad driving to Pittsburgh from northern Virginia to go to Three Rivers Stadium to watch the 1994 Major League All-Star Game.  My aunt had managed to get us tickets, and when I say tickets, I mean first row staring at third base.  Ozzie Smith was playing shortstop, came over and ran near the stands, there were streamers shooting out of the stadium right in front of us. I got to see pretty much the 1990’s best baseball players: Ken Griffey, Jr., Frank Thomas, Kirby Puckett, Cal Ripkin, Jr., Joe Carter, Wade Boggs, Barry Bonds (just after he left the Pirates for the Giants, and before the steroid controversy), and Mike Piazza (who I had seen in the minor leagues with the Tidewater Tides, and I’m pretty sure was the coach at a catcher’s camp I went to a few years earlier).

In addition to all the All-Stars and MVPs of Pirate teams past, that day also celebrated the dedication of a statue to the great Roberto Clemente, with his surviving family on hand for the occasion.  Roberto Clemente was a great baseball player, a Marine, but also a Catholic.  For those of you who don’t know the story, Roberto Clemente was killed while accompanying a shipment of supplies to Nicaragua after a devastating earthquake.  While he did not necessarily suffer a “martyr’s” death in the sense of being murdered for his faith, he did serve as a witness to Christian charity by going to a land that was not his own in an effort to relieve the suffering of the native people.

Of course, I hold the man in high esteem, and I know that he had his flaws as every man does, but, would I be willing to give up fame and fortune for people I did not know?  Would you?

Although he will probably never be canonized a saint, Major League Baseball did pay him one of the highest honors they could have, by waiving a 5 year waiting period and inducting him on the first ballot into the Hall of Fame the year he died.  In that capacity, the story of Roberto Clemente’s charity, presumably and hopefully given to him as a grace by God, will inspire many young baseball players and fans to imitate Christ’s charity of the Cross.

(in the spirit of asking those who have gone before us to pray for us, knowing that if they are in heaven their prayers will be re-echoed, and if they are in purgatory, hoping that acts of prayer for us will assist them, I pray:)

Roberto Clemente, pray for us.

And also, May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace!

July 14, 2010 Posted by | Random Stuff | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

To be fair

I made a post on the charitable nature of Americans earlier this week, but I feel that I was unfair in a certain regard. While in Rome, I came back and the restaurant I was going to eat at, the only one I knew in the city near me, was closed. When I got back to the convent, dinner was going on and I asked how much it was. It was 18Euro.

I had about 5 Euro left for the rest of my Roman trip, so I asked if I could just have a small piece of cheese. The sister said yes, and she’d get it for me. Miraculously, as I was sitting speaking to the English speaking desk worker, a hot ham and cheese sandwhich appeared in front of me. It was amazingly delicious, especially after having run around all day in the Roman heat.

Additionally, the non-English speaking sister who was serving the tables, kept insisting that I have vino, until I finally allowed her to pour me a small glass. I realise they are religious, and charity comes as an almost natural charism on top of that, but the hospitality of these sisters was greatfuly accepted.

July 2, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment