Speechless

The opening of the Gospel of John continues to inspire and amaze.  John boldly proclaims “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be.”

As Catholics we believe that the world was created ex nihlio, that is “out of nothing.”  The Creation account consistently repeats the phrase “and God said..”.  God didn’t roll his sleeves up, prepare the materials, gather His tools, and create the world.  No, he SPOKE it into existence, out of nothing.

And we know that all things were created through Christ who was the  Word.  And when it came time, at just the right time, Christ became flesh.  He who spoke the world – all we see, all we taste, all we touch, all we feel – into existence came onto the scene as an infant.  The etymology of our modern word infant comes from the Latin “infans” meaning “unable to speak.”

And so, on this Christmas morning we ponder the infant Christ, born of a Virgin, foretold by prophets, heralded by angels, blessed by shepherds and . . . → Read More: Speechless

Chased

Just cracked open Thomas Merton, “The New Man,” and within two pages I was struck by something which points at one of the more mysterious elements of my life.

To begin, here’s the passage from Merton:

“Life and death are at war within us.  As soon as we are born, we begin at the same time to live and die.

“Even though we may not be even slightly aware of it, this battle of life and death goes on in us inexorably and without mercy.  If by chance we become fully conscious of it, not only in our flesh and in our emotions but above all in our spirit, we find ourselves involved in a terrible wrestling, an agonia not of questions and answers, but of being and nothingness, spirit and void…

“Everything hangs on the final issue, in the battle of life and death.  Nothing is assured beforehand.  Nothing is definitely certain.  The issue is left to our own choice.  But that is what constitutes the dark terror of the agonia:  we cannot be sure of our own choice.  Are we strong enough to continue choosing life when to live means to go on and on with this absurd . . . → Read More: Chased

The “War” on Christmas

It seems like every year the Christmas controversy rages.  You know which one I’m talking about.  Many faithful grumble aloud about the old “Holiday-Christmas” word switcharoo.  The Word on Fire blog even decried it as a “War on Christmas.”  I don’t want to seem like I’m coming down on people who feel this way.  Their frustration certainly is justified, and the injustice of making money on Christ’s birth while never wanting to mention His name  is certainly silly, but I think we sometimes get our knickers in a bunch unnecessarily.

When I drive around my hometown and see all the light posts adorned with decorations, I see all of the lighted shops, and all the Christmas trees in the window I can’t help feeling like this is all a part of the Divine drama of life.  To me the “war” on Christmas is actually the most dramatic representation of the need to evangelize we have in this world.  Sure, the world might not recognize Christ in Christmas, but it certainly does palpably show a desire for Him. Think about it.  Think of the millions of dollars municipalities in this country spend on their Christmas decorations.  Think of all the man hours that go into . . . → Read More: The “War” on Christmas

Catholicism and Buddhism

I have been listening to “A New Earth,” by Eckhart Tolle, which was pitched on audible.com as an introduction to Buddhism.

Buddha.

I’ve long been curious about Buddhism, and so sought to educate myself on the basics.

The book deserves a complete review, but that isn’t going to be possible here.  What follows are some of the highlights and conclusions from my “reading” of Tolle’s work.

1. There is a great deal to admire in Buddhism and the pursuit of Enlightenment.

2. Tolle narrates, and has a tremendous presence through his voice.

3. I say as a matter of faith (and not as a self-deluded “theologian” or some such) that Buddhism has a great deal of truth in it, but perhaps not all.  The remaining points will focus on this.

A. Of all the people Tolle quoted, he quoted Jesus most often.  I suspect that he was targeting the Western audience and saw Jesus as common ground.  At one point, he suggests that many of history’s enlightened have had their teachings twisted and misinterpreted posthumously.  (Obviously the Christian takes issue with the implication that this happened with Jesus).

B. Still, in his use of Jesus’ sayings, Tolle offers new angles. . . . → Read More: Catholicism and Buddhism

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