Monday, December 22, 2014
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Sunday, November 9, 2014
Friday, November 7, 2014
Series on "Wisdom and Innocence: a Life of G.K. Chesterton" by Joseph Pearce
Chapter 6 treats of another move and of the Chestertons' dealings with a family living near their new homestead. What it is really about, however, is G.K. Chesterton's dealings with children and his love for them.
A truly beautiful portrait is presented us in this chapter of profound happiness and content. It tells of a grown man who enjoyed the stories and the jokes he told as much as, if not more than, his young listeners. It tells of this man, having lost himself in the fun and games, needing to lock himself in his room at the last moment to write a column due that evening. It can sound so proud and stuck up to speak of someone else as being simple, but that is exactly the quality of Chesterton which this chapter brought me to admire. Life for him was so beautiful, and as a man he himself was so sincere with how he lived. These two qualities, which children, when they feel trusted, seem to possess and master so effortlessly, meant that he and children were made for each other.
He thrived in their company. He was truly himself with them and they loved him for it. As one author wrote, "he did not, like many grown-ups who are reputedly 'fond of children', exploit the simplicity of childhood for his own amusement. He entered, with tremendous gravity, into the tremendous gravity of the child." One of his young friends later shared this reflection: "It was not, as is sometimes cosily and fallaciously supposed, that he became like a small boy, but that he made small boys feel that they had become men."
This chapter highlights another quality. Chesterton was simple, yet brilliant, and he had an innate knack for putting into words what other people merely feel without the ability to describe. During a difficult period for his wife, and so for him, he wrote to Fr. O'Connor, their close friend. First, he shared why he wrote to him in particular, and not someone else, in this period of trial:
"I would not write this to anyone else, but you combine so unusually in your own single personality the characters of 1. priest, 2. human being, 3. man of the world, 4. man of the other world, 5. man of science, 6. old friend, 7. new friend, not to mention Irishman and picture dealer, that I don't mind suggesting the truth to you."
He then shared a reflection on his marriage:
"One of the mysteries of Marriage (which must be a Sacrament and an extraordinary one too) is that a man evidently useless like me can yet become at certain instants indispensable. And the further oddity (which I invite you to explain on mystical grounds) is that he never feels so small as when he knows that he is necessary."
This chapter is a showcase of what seem to me to be two of the qualities which make Chesterton Chesterton.
Saturday, February 1, 2014
A similar case that came to mind was St. Faustina Kowalska. Jesus called her to found an order and she, despite serious illnesses did everything she could to realize his desire. She died before foundation took place. It looks, again, like a let down, almost like God was messing with her. Yet she, too, stayed strong in the faith until the end. Why?
I would propose that God is greater than his promises. For Abraham and St. Faustina, it was worth much more to have God than to have anything else. They believed and hoped that his promises and desires would be fulfilled, but those things were on a totally secondary level. All those things came after knowing and loving the Lord. With God theirs hearts were content. They were utterly satisfied by their relationship with God. Everything else, had or not had, failed to influenced the happiness and peace they found in God.
Monday, January 27, 2014
309 If God the Father almighty, the Creator of the ordered and good world, cares for all his creatures, why does evil exist? To this question, as pressing as it is unavoidable and as painful as it is mysterious, no quick answer will suffice. Only Christian faith as a whole constitutes the answer to this question: the goodness of creation, the drama of sin and the patient love of God who comes to meet man by his covenants, the redemptive Incarnation of his Son, his gift of the Spirit, his gathering of the Church, the power of the sacraments and his call to a blessed life to which free creatures are invited to consent in advance, but from which, by a terrible mystery, they can also turn away in advance. There is not a single aspect of the Christian message that is not in part an answer to the question of evil.
I read this whil I was studying this morning and it really struck me. And I did not add the italics- I read it like that in the Catechism. Why did this number strike me? Maybe for this reason: my integral, deep living of my faith furthers the solution to the problem of evil in the world, indeed, to all the bad we see and experience.
What does "live the faith," in the previous paragraph mean? It means treating God like a person, getting to know him, and growing in my relationship with him. Growing in this relationship makes the world a better place.
Monday, January 20, 2014
I believe that the answer is, simply, TRUTH. Fundamentally, I think that formation is attempting to move the will by presenting it with the truth in all its goodness and beauty. I believe that formation is absolutely not getting someone to do something or getting them to behave within certain parameters but rather helping them to desire the true, the good, and the beautiful in all of their profundity. It is an empowering. This also means not settling for passing pleasures or superficial counterfeits instead of these transcendental realities. For more on this check out #89 of Pope Francis's recent publication Evangelii Gaudium.
Formation is ongoing introduction to / discovery of the truth and then the conforming of one's life to that reality.