Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Been Busy

Sorry you haven't heard from me in a while. I've been busy on some of my other websites. Here are some of the things I've been writing:

Mary Speaks to All of Us

What I Learned About Marriage From Two Nursing Home Residents

I re-posted my last reflection on Lumen Fidei.

Saint of the Day: Saints Fausta and Evilasius

Some memes I've made:

Confirmation Classes are starting again. Technically, I'm going to be teaching two classes at once which is unheard of in my parish. One of my classes will be ending in November, so it shouldn't be too bad. 

There have been a number of things in the news lately about pro-life and women's issues that I would like to comment on and I'll get to work on that. I just wanted to let you know I haven't disappeared. 

I gotta use this cartoon every excuse I get. Although I'm done with the shameless plugging.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Lumen Fidei #22: Why Does God Allow Suffering?

From #57: To those who suffer, God does not provide arguments which explain everything; rather, his response is that of an accompanying presence, a history of goodness which touches every story of suffering and opens up a ray of light.
In my time as a nursing assistant and later as a chaplain intern, I was asked many times why is there suffering. It came up in many of my classes. I even had one class that dedicated a semester completely do that question in college.

The best I can say is that no one answer is going to work for every person in every situation. If someone who is suffering asks you "Why?" there is no answer you can give that will help them. The best you can do is, if appropriate, help them find an answer themselves and listen to them.

One thing I appreciate about Christianity is that it offers something more than an answer. It offers a God who knows all about suffering and who cares about each and every one of us deeply. Jesus Christ died abandoned by his friends in one of the most horrifying ways imaginable (likely asphyxiation). During his life, he suffered all the pains we do. Friends of his died, notably Lazarus. He lived far from home as he traveled preaching. He felt hunger, he felt thirst, and I'm sure he felt all the other aches and pains that we do.

So when we come to him in our suffering, he understands us intimately. He's been there. He might not be able to tell us why we are suffering, but he can be present to us in our suffering.

This is the last installment in a series of posts reflecting on quotes from Pope Francis' first encyclical. It's been fun and given my background, I think it's very appropriate that we ended with a post about the meaning of suffering. If you want to read more, visit here.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Lumen Fidei #21: God of Creativity

Wikipedia cites it as "God creating the cosmos (Bible Moralisee, French, 13th century)"
From #55: If it possesses a creative light for each new moment of history, it is because it sets every event in relationship to the origin and destiny of all things in the Father.
All things originate in God and all things are destined in God. Out of this fertile ground, creativity grows. God is not stagnate, He is active. You may have heard the quote, "God, to me, it seems, is a verb not a noun." (R. Buckminster Fuller) Like many popular quotes, there is some truth in it and some absurdity. That's beyond the point of this post however.

Creativity and the arts can be holy. Creating and viewing it can lead one to the Divine. As JPII said in his letter to artists:
None can sense more deeply than you artists, ingenious creators of beauty that you are, something of the pathos with which God at the dawn of creation looked upon the work of his hands. A glimmer of that feeling has shone so often in your eyes when—like the artists of every age—captivated by the hidden power of sounds and words, colours and shapes, you have admired the work of your inspiration, sensing in it some echo of the mystery of creation with which God, the sole creator of all things, has wished in some way to associate you.
And for the consumer, a quote from Francis Schaffer as quoted by Joe Carter at First Things:
The arts and the sciences do have a place in the Christian life—they are not peripheral. For a Christian, redeemed by the work of Christ and living within the norms of Scripture and under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, the Lordship of Christ should include an interest in the arts. A Christian should use these arts to the glory of God—not just as tracts, but as things of beauty to the praise of God. An art work can be a doxology in itself.
The creation of art brings the artist closer to God and the consuming of art should bring the consumer closer to God's truth. This is all because all things come from God and all things will ultimately end in God. Art is an important part of this cycle.

This is part of a series of articles reflecting on quotes from Pope Francis' first encyclical. To read more, visit here.