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.

This looks like a really good intro to Catholicism, similar in quality to Fr Barron’s Catholicism project. Definitely worth checking out.

Interesting numbers

Protestants removed 7 (the perfect number) books from the Old Testament, and ended up with 66 (a rather ominous number) books in their Bibles. The real Bible has 73 (the perfect number, and the trinitarian number) books.

The Protestant ten-commandments is split into 4 (about God) and 6 (about man). The Catholic’s is split into 3 and 7 (again trinitarian and perfect).

Just an interesting observation.

“Works without faith is never more than an ideology. It’s the false religion of trying to make this world a better place rather than trying to make our way to a Better Place.”
Fr Longenecker (in his article "Works Without Faith is Dead"). Here, he makes the case that faith must come first, as a gift, followed by works. He corrects the mistake made by many “social justsice” Catholics who seem to view the Church as little more than a big charity. He also corrects the common Protestant claim that Catholics believe in salvation by works.

A finely tuned universe

Here is a series of videos from Fr. Spitzer on evidence of God from astrophysics. And here is a TED talk on the Higgs Boson field, something that Fr. Spitzer doesn’t mention in his video series, but which is equally fine-tuned.

Sex and marriage, prayer and God

This is an email I sent to a friend, but I thought I’d post it here, as it seems helpful:

Tonight, I was reflecting on the subject of this email. I had a thought, and based on your desire to effectively evangelize, I thought of you.

If you agree with the thought (which follows at the end of this email), then you will see that you don’t need to do any scheming or superficial prompting in order for evangelism to happen. You don’t need to put signs on water coolers, or wear Christian slogans on your shirts. I don’t think the apostles did these sorts of things, though maybe they did, and there is nothing wrong with it.

But this occurred to me earlier: in a culture which has been immunized to Christianity, that is, a culture which has had a superficial taste of Christianity, slogans and in-your-face messages won’t do. They’ve heard the messages. They’ve been inundated with them. The images and messages are now associated in their minds with phoniness, hypocrisy, and manipulation.

In a culture which hasn’t heard the gospel message, a bold, fresh proclamation of it is a good technique. In a culture which has heard nothing but a watered down gospel, mere snippets of it will not work. In a way, the south is the most difficult place in all of the USA to do evangelistic work. Seattle is much more pagan, and therefore much easier to evangelize. The luke warm are almost impossible to save.

The only thing that can work is an all-out inundation with the pure, unadulterated, raw Gospel.

What does that look like? Probably nothing like you’ve ever experienced in any church. I’m reading a book called: “Living the Gospel Without Compromise”. It’s a kick in the pants.

I would ask you this question: how often do you read the gospels of Matt, Mark, Luke, and John? You should read from them daily. Inundate yourself in the gospels. Look at Jesus as he was on this earth. Become his disciple. See him afresh, with eyes encumbered by preconceived theology and man-made constructs. Who do you see? Someone radical, surprising, ancient, and always new.

The second thing is to foster a deep, intimate prayer life.

Without these things, you cannot evangelize. And note, too, that evangelism isn’t the end goal. Your prayer life, your deep intimacy with God— that is the end-goal. Seek the end, and all else will fall into place.

Well, anyway, that was a lot of sermonizing which I didn’t intend. Probably, I can blame the late hour for that. Here is my meditation that prompted this email in the first place (and yes, it is about sex and prayer):

They are the hidden, most secret, most vulnerable parts which bring intimate union. And through this union, hidden from the world, new life is created which is visible to the world. Fruit is the visible effect of an intimate love life. And so, this: if you want to evangelize, there is only one thing you must do: cultivate a hidden, secret, intimate life of love. “You have died, and are hidden with Christ in God.”