“If anyone says that Christ Jesus was given by God to men as a redeemer in whom to trust, and not also as a legislator whom to obey, let him be anathema.”
Trent VI, Canon 21… Good stuff.

Sabbath to Sunday

Just heard this quoted:

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."

As part of an explanation on why Catholics worship on Sunday rather than Saturday. The Sabbath was linked to the original creation… the day that God rested. Sunday is linked to the new creation.

“For when God loves, all he desires is to be loved in return; the sole purpose of his love is to be loved, in the knowledge that those who love him are made happy by their love of him.”
St Bernard of Clairvaux
“Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.”
Fr Silver
“All our learning should consist of finding out what God has planned for us at each moment. Anything we read which is not chosen for us by God is harmful. Without God, all our theorizing and reading are useless, and as they are without the life-giving power of God, all they do is drain the heart and fill the mind… The will of God is now manifesting itself in those circumstances which are the duty of the present moment. It is the fulfilling of this duty, no matter in what guise it presents itself, which does most to make one holy. for example, if it is God’s will that the present moment should be spent in reading, then reading will exert a mystical power in the depths of the soul; but if he wishes us to abandon reading for the duty of contemplation, then it is contemplation which will work on our souls and reading would be useless and detrimental; if he wants us to put aside contemplation in order to hear confessions even for a very considerable time, this duty unites us with Jesus Christ, and all the sweetness of contemplation would then only destroy this union. …There is nothing better for us than for us to do what God wants at any particular moment. We must regard everything else with complete indifference and as something worth nothing at all.”

The Catholic Church Is Wealthy, But Jesus Was Poor

Recently, a friend criticized the Catholic Church for being led by a wealthy, powerful man. To illustrate, he pointed to the Pope’s fancy clothes and the big, ornate Cathedrals. “Jesus was poor,” he added.

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I often hear this critique. It usually is couched in some sort of pious pretext, such as, “Why doesn’t the Church sell all of that fancy stuff and solve world hunger?”

My first response is to point out how similar this reasoning is to that of Judas:

John 12:5 (Judas’ response to costly perfume being poured on Jesus’ feet) “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.”

Secondly, no organization does more to help the poor of this world than the charities of the Catholic Church. It’s the biggest charitable organization in the world.

Thirdly, no one lives Gospel poverty as clearly as Catholic saints like Mother Theresa, Benedict, Francis of Assisi, and so on.

Fourthly, spending money on places of worship (and liturgical garb) is Biblical:

1 Kings 6 (Temple, as decreed by God)
23 For the inner sanctuary he made a pair of cherubim out of olive wood, each ten cubits high. … 28 He overlaid the cherubim with gold. 29 On the walls all around the temple, in both the inner and outer rooms, he carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers. 30 He also covered the floors of both the inner and outer rooms of the temple with gold.

(This is also, incidentally, a good text to refer people to when they criticize the Church for her statuary.)

Exodus 28 (Priestly garb, as decreed by God)
6 Make the ephod of gold, and of blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and of finely twisted linen—the work of skilled hands. … 17 Then mount four rows of precious stones on it. The first row shall be carnelian, chrysolite and beryl; 18 the second row shall be turquoise, lapis lazuli and emerald; 19 the third row shall be jacinth, agate and amethyst; 20 the fourth row shall be topaz, onyx and jasper.[b] Mount them in gold filigree settings.

The full thing can be read here:
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus%2028&version=NIV

And finally, money spent on big fancy Cathedrals is not wasted money. Imagine if, instead of building the Sistine Chapel, the Church had donated that money to the poor. It would have long ago been spent and forgotten. How much poorer we would all be for it! But instead, generations of people have stepped into that breathtaking space and been drawn into worship, or at least they’ve been inspired. Such spaces are of inestimable value and are a *far* better investment than spending millions on some megachurch gymnasium-style building that has about as much lasting inspirational value as a cardboard box.

The OT contains many examples of money being well-spent on places of worship, and the NT Church is just a fulfillment of the OT, after all, and a pointer to the eternal kingdom.

Mother Teresa’s Nobel Peace Prize speech

If you haven’t read Mother Teresa’s speech, I highly recommend it. There were two themes that particularly struck home. The first was the importance of thinking of missions, of loving Christ, as something that must begin and be strong in our closest relationships.

On the neglect of our elders:

I never forget an opportunity I had in visiting a home where they had all these old parents of sons and daughters who had just put them in an institution and forgotten maybe. And I went there, and I saw in that home they had everything, beautiful things, but everybody was looking towards the door. And I did not see a single one with their smile on their face. And I turned to the Sister and I asked: How is that? How is it that the people they have everything here, why are they all looking towards the door, why are they not smiling? I am so used to see the smile on our people, even the dying one smile, and she said: This is nearly every day, they are expecting, they are hoping that a son or daughter will come to visit them.

On the neglect of our children:

I was surprised in the West to see so many young boys and girls given into drugs, and I tried to find out why - why is it like that, and the answer was: Because there is no one in the family to receive them. Father and mother are so busy they have no time.

Or on their outright murder:

…if a mother can kill her own child - what is left for me to kill you and you kill me - there is nothing between.

On reversing the tide:

I found the poverty of the West so much more difficult to remove. When I pick up a person from the street, hungry, I give him a plate of rice, a piece of bread, I have satisfied. I have removed that hunger. But a person that is shut out, that feels unwanted, unloved, terrified, the person that has been thrown out from society - that poverty is so hurtable and so much, and I find that very difficult… I think that if we all look into our own homes, how difficult we find it sometimes to smile at each, other, and that the smile is the beginning of love… Smile at each other, make time for each other in your family. Smile at each other.

The full text can be found here.