I remember a time when text messaging first came on the scene. Not the date or time, but the general feeling surrounding text messaging as an idea, as a social communication concept. I was sure it was a dumb idea. There was no way people would text. Why would you? It seemed so foreign, like suggesting someone start communicating via Tele-sonic-mind-waves. That sounded so stupid. Not only was it not going to overtake verbal communication on the phone, but it wouldn’t even catch a start. No way, no how.
It was an idea that had absolutely no traction. And then the slow change occurred. Now people barely talk on the phone. Shows you how much we change, and how generally unaware we are of it.
(sidenote: “slow” and “fast” have changed dramatically over the years, so I’ll be setting aside the discussion of what is actually slow and fast)
Your life changes when your habits change. And your habits change in two ways. Fast and loud or slow and quiet. Fast could be like a political coup, with explosions and the like. This likely fades as fast as it grew. Slow is less obvious because it is a habitual change that happens in small increments daily. It is a change that doesn’t remind you of its presence. It likely doesn’t want to either.
Your life changes when your habits change. Slow change is better because it takes time to build up and time to eliminate. And you want change that sticks. If your life changes when your habits change, take time to change your habits. Every day you hit that snooze, delay that morning prayer, or delay changing anything is another day you say “I don’t want that change”. And committing to tomorrow doesn’t count. Unless you are talking about paying rent, showing up to court, or finishing that project for work… wait… no. Committing to tomorrow still doesn’t count.
Think of new years resolutions as habit changers. Think of a Lenten penance as a habit changer. It’s not something you do, its a habit you alter.
”No one wants to be catechized unless they have first been evangelized.” -
Check out more here. I can say that I shamelessly own dozens of these and have learned more in the car driving around Texas than at any other time in my daily routine. Dead sea scrolls, Origins of the Eucharist, The Year of Faith… you name it and there is probably something covering it. Here are a few of my favorites here, here, here, here, here, and here. Enjoy.
Listen to the Podcast streamed through your browser here.
This podcast by Dr. Michael Barber, Professor of Theology at John Paul the Great Catholic University in SanDiego, and Author at The Sacred Page, covers the Liturgical Roots of the bible, and by that I mean how the books of the bible were determined to be scripture by the early church in large part by whether or not the book could be read during Mass, or read in the liturgical worship of God.
Here is a two page bulleted synopsis of the radio show. (highly recommended for a brief of the show or to follow along with Dr. Barber as the show goes on.)
Here is the main page for the podcast on the Catholic Answers website.
This exclusive clip is from Episode 7 of CATHOLICISM, entitled BREAD OF HEAVEN – The Mystery of the Church’s Sacrament and Worship.
In Episode 7, Father Barron explores the ancient practices of the Church’s worship that endure to this very day, and the notion that “all value is summed up in the liturgy, the supreme act by which we commune with God.
Considered by the Catholic Faith to be “the source and summit” of its identity and mission, the Eucharist is the central practice of the Church’s culture. Father Barron describes all the parts of the Mass, and shows how the Sacred Liturgy embodies the whole of the Faith in diverse places as Jerusalem, Rome, Chicago, Orvieto, Mexico City.
A few of the best one(or two…)-liners.
“The point is not to have a permanent council. The point is to turn from the meeting to the work.”
“The great meeting of Vatican 2 was needed. At that meeting great virtues were in place. But when the meeting is over, it’s now time to get back to work. It’s not the moment to perpetuate meeting. It’s not the time to bring the virtues of the meeting permanently to bare. It’s now time to get back to work.”
Good stuff as usual from Fr. Barron.
I’m about 5 weeks behind on my weekly series on faith, and am completely consumed by architectural models, building sections, and Rhino modeling… but I don’t want to leave this place stagnant for too long. So leave you with a quick sampling of what I listen to while I’m working up in studio.
(disclaimer: I do not endorse the content in these – some I outright disagree with, but I just found them interesting/good listening.)
What is the Catechism of the Catholic Church (often abbreviated as CCC)?
Back in 1985 Pope John-Paul II assembled all of the Bishops in the world and they asked him for an official collection of the teachings of the faith. Why would they do this? Well, the last time we had a Catechism (the only other one besides this one) was in the 16th century, just a few years after Christopher Columbus sailed to the Americas. The last time a Catechism was released, at the council of Trent, there was no electricity!
The Catechism is the official compendium of everything we believe as Catholics. It is systematic (deliberate structure) and organic ( coherent interlinked structure) synthesis of everything we believe as Catholics. It is essentially scriptural exegesis.
And it does not just cover the basics of the faith. It was written in the 80′s so it addresses issues that were not even around a hundred years ago. Organ donation? Stem-cell research? Just War? Cloning? Baptism? Salvation? Prayer? It’s all covered in there.
“What is presented here is no theory but an encounter with a Person who lives within the Church.” - Pope Benedict XVI on the Catechism
Structure of the Catechism – The Four Pillars
Lets cover some basic ways of navigating the book. The CCC is composed of four primary “Parts”, and sub parts called Sections, Chapters, and Articles. And every few sentences there is a big number in the column that marks a single thought. There are almost three thousand of these in total. So you can browse through the names of these to find what you want, or you can go straight to the number. The most typical way of seeing a CCC reference is the “CCC” followed by a number 1-2865. So you may see something like “… like it says in CCC 1077 the blessing given during the liturgy…” yatta yattta.
The four primary parts of the CCC are The Creed, Liturgy and Sacraments, Morality, Prayer. Below are explanations of what is in each part…
- The Profession of Faith - Those who belong to Christ through faith and Baptism must confess their baptismal faith before men.16 First therefore the Catechism expounds revelation, by which God addresses and gives himself to man, and the faith by which man responds to God (Section One). the profession of faith summarizes the gifts that God gives man: as the Author of all that is good; as Redeemer; and as Sanctifier. It develops these in the three chapters on our baptismal faith in the one God: the almighty Father, the Creator; his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour; and the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier, in the Holy Church (Section Two).
- The Sacraments of Faith - The second part of the Catechism explains how God’s salvation, accomplished once for all through Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit, is made present in the sacred actions of the Church’s liturgy (Section One), especially in the seven sacraments (Section Two).
- The Life of Faith - The third part of the Catechism deals with the final end of man created in the image of God: beatitude, and the ways of reaching it – through right conduct freely chosen, with the help of God’s law and grace (Section One), and through conduct that fulfils the twofold commandment of charity, specified in God’s Ten Commandments (Section Two).
- Prayer in the Life of Faith - The last part of the Catechism deals with the meaning and importance of prayer in the life of believers (Section One). It concludes with a brief commentary on the seven petitions of the Lord’s Prayer (Section Two), for indeed we find in these the sum of all the good things which we must hope for, and which our heavenly Father wants to grant us.
The primary sources are the Sacred Scriptures, the Fathers of the Church, the Liturgy, and the Church’s Magisterium. The CCC is intended primarily for those responsible for teaching the faith (Bishops), and to priests, and other teachers of the faith. (source) So, while it is meant for everyone to read, it is a universal norm for teaching the faith. Get yourself one.
“On page after page, we find that what is presented here is no theory, but an encounter with a Person who lives within the Church. The profession of faith is followed by an account of sacramental life, in which Christ is present, operative and continues to build his Church. Without the liturgy and the sacraments, the profession of faith would lack efficacy, because it would lack the grace which supports Christian witness. By the same criterion, the teaching of the Catechism on the moral life acquires its full meaning if placed in relationship with faith, liturgy and prayer.” - Pope Benedict XVI on the Catechism (emphasis mine)
You can buy a new paperback copy for $10 and a used paperback copy for around $4 on Amazon.
What the Catechism is NOT:
- The Catechism is not an adaptation of doctrine required by differences in culture, age, spiritual maturity, or social condition.
- It is not just a compendium of catholic words to memorize.
- It is not a replacement for the Bible. (It is biblically saturated!)
- It is not a book that you should delay acquiring and reading.
The CCC prologue ends with this jewel regarding the pastoral principles of catechesis (emphasis mine).
“The whole concern of doctrine and its teaching must be directed to the love that never ends. Whether something is proposed for belief, for hope or for action, the love of our Lord must always be made accessible, so that anyone can see that all the works of perfect Christian virtue spring from love and have no other objective than to arrive at love.” – via
The Seven Great Qualities
- A relationship with Jesus Christ cultivated by prayer
- Ardor sourced by a keen sense of the Resurrection
- Knowledge of the story of Israel. If Jesus is the fulfillment of something, the “Yes to all of God’s promises”, you have to know what that something is.
- Knowledge of the culture. Bible in one hand and “newspaper” in the other.
- Love of the Great Tradition and Arts. Revelation of scripture unchanging and unfolding across space and time.
- A missionary heart.
- Knowledge and love of the new media.
“Do not waste time bothering whether you ʿloveʾ your neighbour; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.”
~ Mere Christianity (emphasis mine)
Make no bones about it, Love is an act of the will. Willing the good of the other as other.
Much of the time its easy to align our wills with our emotions or senses and love. Still even when there is no other reason pointing you toward love, you can will it actively. You could make the case then that Jesus’s most willful act (and therefore most loving), because it is a pure act of the will, is allowing himself to hang on the cross and be killed.
Think about that.
“Apart from the cross, there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.”
-St. Rose of Lima
“God is far nearer by His Grace to those who are afflicted in various ways, than to those who enjoy uninterrupted prosperity.”
Today marks the end of the first week of The Year of Faith. Exciting first week right? Well, if you haven’t heard this is your friendly reminder.
This is a particularly significant year, as it is the first year in the life of my son Kolbe, who was born 5 weeks ago, and it is my job with as his dad to be the primary teacher of the faith with my wife (parents are always the primary teachers of the faith). Big task and I can’t wait.
So over the next year I will be writing posts dealing with the various aspects of the Catholic faith, particularly dealing with topics discussed in the Documents of the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism. (hint: that means pretty much everything is on the table)
Week 1 is short and sweet. An intro to the Year of Faith in FAQ format:
- What is the year of faith? It is a “summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the One Savior of the world” (Porta Fidei 6). (i.e. to grow in faith)
- Why a Year of Faith? Because there has been a crisis of faith and a general religious illiteracy of faith among lay Catholics. It is aimed at enhancing and fueling the Church’s effort in the new evangelization. The purpose is to understand what we believe, to know it inside us, and for us to become a credible witness for this belief in the Person of Jesus. The ultimate goal is to know more, so that we can know Him more.
- When does it start / end? - October 11, 2012 – through November 24, 2013
- Why these Dates? The anniversary of two big events. October 11th marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of The Second Vatican Council and the 20th anniversary of the release of The Catechism of the Catholic Church, and November 24th is the Feast of Christ the King, which always falls on the last Sunday in Ordinary Time, it marks the end of the liturgical year, and the Season of Advent begins right afterwards. (this is why the year of faith lasts longer than a calendar year)
- Who called the year of Faith? Pope Benedict XVI (16th).
- What do we do in the Year of Faith? Study and reflect on the documents of Vatican 2 (short hand for the Second Vatican Council) and the read the Catechism.
Recap, what do to now:
1) Read Pope Benedict’s address titled “Porta Fidei” latin for “Door of Faith”, 2) read a few pages a day of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and 3) read the documents (four constitutions) of Vatican 2.
Father John Riccardo has a nice explanation of the Year of Faith, why it’s needed, and why the Catechism and Vatican 2 matter to us today.
“Humility is the Mother of Giants. One Sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak.” – G.K. Chesterton from Father Brown story “The Hammer of God”
The USCCB (The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) does not mince their words, make flippant remarks, nor do they often outright deny the truth of statements a high ranking political figure unequivocally stated as fact a few hours after the “facts” were spoken.
The Catholic Bishops have been very clear that there is indeed a distinct disagreement with the us gov. regarding the proposed sterilization and contraception laws (to the tune of 43 lawsuits filed by various groups), though the VP would have you think otherwise. The Bishops even tweeted their thoughts.
Here is a quote directly from the Bishops statement (emphasis mine):
“Last night, the following statement was made during the Vice Presidential debate regarding the decision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to force virtually all employers to include sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion, in the health insurance coverage they provide their employees:
This is not a fact. The HHS mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain “religious employers.” That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to “Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital,” or any other religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served.“
When 43 separate Catholic Hospitals, Schools, and Churches sue you, they don’t agree with you. If you disagree with the Catholic Church’s position, just say it. Disagreement is fine. Heck, you wouldn’t be the first to disagree with the Catholic Church. Not by a long shot. However, not acknowledging a disagreement when there is clearly one present makes it hard to move forward.
In the closing of a recorded talk, I heard Patrick Madrid read this and couldn’t help but share. Enjoy.
I AM A PART of the Fellowship of the Unashamed.
The die has been cast. The decision has been made. I have stepped over the line. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still.
My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is in God’s hands. I am finished and done with low living, small planning, the bare minimum, smooth knees, mundane talking, frivolous living, selfish giving, and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, applause, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, the best, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith. I lean on Christ’s presence. I love with patience, live by prayer, and labor with the power of God’s grace.
My face is set. My gait is fast, my goal is heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my Guide is reliable, and my mission is clear.
I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won’t give up, shut up, let up or slow up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and spoken up for the cause of Christ.
I am a disciple of Jesus. I am a Catholic. I must go until He comes, give until I drop, speak out until all know, and work until He stops me. And when He returns for His own, He will have no difficulty recognizing me. My banner is clear: I am a part of the Fellowship of the Unashamed.
Adapted from the original (author unknown) by Patrick Madrid, emphasis mine.
(The following are bits and pieces paraphrased from the above video to entice the video-weary reader to watch)
The coming together of subsidiarity (preferential option for local solutions) and solidarity (make up the heart of Catholic Social Teaching. Understanding this in a complete way, one can not say that big government is good or bad. It depends on the situation.
The mark of catholic thought across the board is, as Chesterton put it, that of bipolar extremism. At the heart of this is the incarnation. Jesus Christ is not just man, nor is he just God. Nor is he some kind of weird hybrid of the divine and human. Rather we would say He is fully human, and fully divine. Not one or the other, or a blending of the two, but both-and at the same time with equal vehemence.
This principle invades all of Catholic thought.
It doesn’t like a unipolar extremeism, or a bland moderation. It likes the both-and. Are we for subsidiarity? You betcha! All the way. We are totally for subsidiarity. Are we for solidarity? Absolutely. All the way. And it is the two of these shouted at the top of our lungs that is the mark of Catholic Social Teaching.