Archive for April, 2010|Monthly archive page

Christian Nobility

In Christianity on April 20, 2010 at 9:35 pm

I awakened recently thinking about how we fool ourselves.  No, I don’t mean that we fool ourselves about our true nobility, in the sense of having been created in the image of God. Rather, I mean we seek to fool ourselves by the excuses we make for our sins:  “Well, of course, I did that because . . . .” And in the “because,” we imagine we excuse ourselves—or, at least, even if we remain culpable and ashamed, we hope we can somehow nevertheless turn away the penetrating light (Light!) from ourselves.

God will not have it so.  He will not allow it. He loves us too much and paid too dearly for our redemption to abandon us in a swamp of self-deception.  He will bring us all-the-way-through to purity; to Christlikeness; to sanctity and holiness—for without that, we cannot dwell in His presence.  Nor would we want to.  We would find ourselves too odious, next to his blazing purity and beauty; next to Christ’s true nobility.

The path to purity may be painful, but it is not impossible.¹

¹ John 14:15, 1 John 3:1-3, Philippians 1:6 and 2:12-13

Simple Things

In Catholic, Christianity on April 7, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Having completed Lent, and making the most of of Eastertide, I found myself doing some small “spiritual housekeeping” tasks today. Real spiritual housekeeping, of course, is an interior act.  But most of us employ external resources to assist in that act, scripture being first among those resources, followed by The Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Some time ago, while in Washington, DC, I stopped at the Newman Bookstore, near the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and The Catholic University of America.  While there, I found one of the most helpful small study aids I’ve encountered in a long time:  a set of page-tabs for The Catechism of The Catholic Church (click this link is for the Catechism in print; it is the Catechism web site in the paragraph above).

Perhaps one shouldn’t find such pleasure in the simple act of mounting page-tabs. But doing so reminded me of the immense privileges and joys of being a child of God. Just the anticipation of the contents of each section should thrill every Christian:  God the Father, Jesus Christ, The Holy Spirit, The Church, The Creed, Sacraments, Life in Christ, Prayer—and that’s only 8 of the 26 sections tabbed!

The other effect of mounting these tabs was to remind me the Catechism is a document meant to be read.  I’m not book-phobic, but a 904 page book is substantial.  The tabs had the effect of breaking the book into digestible sections.  “Oh, I could read that much this morning, or before bed tonight!”

Why does it matter?  Reading the Catechism reminds us of, and confirms us in, what Pope John Paul II called “the strength and beauty of the doctrine of the faith.”¹

The Church [we!  You and I] . . . will become greater in spiritual riches and gaining new energies therefrom, [we] will look to the future without fear . . . Our duty is to dedicate ourselves with an earnest will and without fear to that work which our era demands of us, thus pursuing the path which the Church has followed for 20 centuries.

Yes, that is Christianity Richly.

¹ Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum, The Catechism of the Catholic Church (Vatican City:  Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1997), p. 2.