See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Shine a light, shine a light...

Philadelphia freedom.
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I love that Elton John song - but the only reason I quote it is because today's Gospel made me think of it - "let your light shine before men" - although Elton sang, "let your light shine through the eyes of those left behind". I know!
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But seriously. It is important for us not to hide our faith and to witness to the truth, even more so in these days when many would like the Church to shut up and stop tormenting the conscience of unbelievers - although we don't have to come off like evangelical bible-bangers when we do so.
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For those of us who once were mired in the very same sins we are now able to name, it is good to always remember we were just as hostile and defensive as those who now oppose our attempts to live as faithful Catholics. Having found the grace and courage to say yes to God, to love him to the point of contempt for self, we need to be on guard against that self-love which leads to self-righteousness as regards individuals who set themselves or their doctrines against our faith.
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Conversion is a great thing, but sometimes we can get a little smug about ourselves - as if we did it all on our own, or that we are better than the others now that we are holy. For instance: "Yeah, I'm normal now, I no longer have those issues." Or, "I've been sober for 15 years and so and so is still drunk." And,"I may not be fashionable but at least I'm not running around with my butt hanging out." Or, "I'd maybe hang out with you if you didn't walk like a girl." You know stuff like that. "Oooooooo! I wear a chapel veil and kneel for Communion you heathen in the jeans and t-shirt." Shut up now Terry.
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OK - so you get my point. Due to my lack of tact and decorum, I manage to insult just about every friend I have ever had, although I never intend to do that. (I'm just a big fat sinner - I have no excuse for myself.) However, when I write about what the Church teaches, including my faith and obedience to Church teaching, as well as my experience of the truth of Church teaching, I do so to counter the many false teachings that people promulgate and buy into. I'm not personally attacking or condemning anyone. Some will say - "Yes you are baby!" But I have to answer saying - "No I'm not, and my first name ain't baby - it's Terry - Mr. Nelson if you're nasty."
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I admit my posts can sound harsh at times, it's a major fault of mine that I react to insult and injury and comments which can be even more harsh and rude and dirty rotten than whatever I was trying to say. The hostile comments some people make call to mind the demon in the Exorcist when he reminded the priest of his personal sins and failures. In an exorcism the priest is not supposed to respond to such accusations - though my blog has nothing to do with an exorcism, I do and I don't respond. If and when I do, I usually do so in an effort to avoid giving greater scandal, but self-defense rarely goes well since it is most always a loaded cocktail, shaken - not stirred, by self-interest and pride.
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Anyway. Whatever. And all of that.
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We need to constantly be aware that conversion is about the convincing of sin - and this convincing is in effect the loving action of the Holy Spirit in his convincing power. Throughout his pontificate, JPII referenced this central message of salvation in his writings and allocutions. The Church and the individual Catholic, through the power of the Holy Spirit can now call evil by its name - and this is what we do - although none of us likes to be called a sinner, yet that is what we are; once convinced of that, we can no longer condemn others, despite the fact we can now call evil by its name. And I'm convinced that is why John Paul constantly returns our attention to the Garden - to the original sin - which he positions for us at the feet of Jesus Crucified, where enlightened by the Holy Spirit, the world is 'convinced concerning sin'...
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"St Augustine, with extraordinary perceptiveness, described the nature of sin as follows: 'self-love to the point of contempt for God'. It was self love which drove our first parents toward the initial rebellion and then gave rise to the spread of sin throughout human history. The book of Genesis speaks of this: 'You will be like God, knowing good and evil', in other words, you yourselves will decide what is good and evil.
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The only way to overcome this dimension of original sin is through a corresponding 'love for God to the point of contempt for self'. This brings us face to face with the mystery of man's redemption, and here the Holy Spirit is our guide. It is he who allows us to penetrate deeply into the 'mystery of the Cross' and at the same time to plumb the depths of evil perpetrated by man and suffered from the very beginning of history. That is what the expression 'convince the world about sin' means, and the purpose of this 'convincing' is not to condemn the world.
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If the Church, through the power of the Holy Spirit, can call evil by its name, it does so only in order to demonstrate that evil can be overcome if we open ourselves to 'love for God to the point of contempt for self. This is the fruit of Divine Mercy..." - John Paul II, Memory and Identity (Thanks to Magnificat.)
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This is what the Christian witnesses to. This is the light that has come into the Church in our age, and this is the light that cannot be hidden.
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[Incidentally, students of Theology of the Body, or any one of JPII's teachings should make it their aim to study his work within the context of the whole body of his writings. I think one of the reasons TOB is so often misunderstood is because students tend to isolate it from the rest of his teaching.]

7 comments:

  1. One of your best posts, evah!

    Terry - you are never harsh. For some people the truth is harsh.

    I must link to this. Yes - right now!!

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  2. Beyond hot! Positively sizzling ...

    We need some serious prayers coming our way....

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  3. Terry, that's you in white suit? Lookin' good, my man!

    I concur with Adrienne - this is a great post.

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  4. Thanks Lar - I'll be wearing tonite as I watch the game.

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  6. That graphic is such an apt portrait of The Night, it could've been captured in many another country besides America. Media hosts are the nearest thing to Scribes there could be. They literally use people, and we literally fund it. Ugh. In revolt, if I get crazy enough to watch tv, I watch the Spanish channels. I don't understand a word of it, but the makeup looks like mine, the blouses are 1969-friendly, and there's a Cross and/or a spiritual battle in every scene. (Plus, the Spanish are not terrified of old people.)

    Anyway, as you say, we need self-contempt in the proper light: honesty with God; God Who loves us and does indeed will to heal us.

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  7. Isn't spaceboy from Southern MN?

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