Saturday, June 02, 2012

Are the biggest proponents of Christopher West's version of Theology of the Body married Deacons?

What?  Just thinking out loud here.

My title for this post is meant to be provocative - but I have nothing to add to it, right now.  Of course, many lay people love the Westian version of TOB, so my other question is:  Is TOB THE conclusive, definitive, theological-dogmatic work on human sexuality?  Is it infallible teaching?  (Not exactly.)  To be sure, I'm not at all trying to discredit the Holy Father's teaching, but I really have to question some of those who interpret it, and 'teach' it. 

That said, a priest will always get my attention when it comes to teaching on faith and morals, much more so than a layman or even a deacon could.  No offense to married deacons intended, just stating a fact - I'm much more interested in what a moral theologian who happens to be a priest has to say.  A friend sent me a link to something Fr. Gregory Gresko, OSB, a monk/priest, moral theologian, wrote concerning "how a flawed interpretation of Blessed John Paul II's seminal work on human sexuality can lead to a fundamentally wrong understanding of sex."  It's very good.
In his column, the avid blogger, scholar and chaplain of the Blessed John Paul II Shrine in Washington, D.C., examines Christopher West's newest book, “At the Heart of the Gospel: Reclaiming the Body for the New Evangelization.”

Fr. Gresko begins by calling West's definition of lust problematic, as the author describes it in his new book as a “disorder of the heart.”

While this is certainly true, Fr. Gresko says West falls short in his interpretation by failing to clearly define what is meant by “heart” and whether or not he fully takes into account human concupiscence – or “the tendency to sin.”
Fr. Gresko says West claims that “a more complete spousal understanding of the 'body' provides the key to rectifying the sinful diseases of the 'heart.'”

But such an attitude, he writes, overlooks a humans tendency towards sin, which is “objectively present in the body” even after Baptism.

The priest points out in his column that even the most virtuous saints “had to wage battle daily” against sin. Therefore, assuming that lust or other disorders of the heart can be completely removed from the spousal act, as West seems to suggest, is false. - CNA
"When the Church tells people publicly what sexual actions they can get away with without sinning, many people will push the envelope."

In his CNA column, Fr. Gresko affirms the Holy Father's work, writing:  "Among the greatest works of his Pontificate is his Catecheses on Human Love (Cat.), also known as “Theology of the Body”, profoundly beautiful but theologically complex teachings on human love that at times have been subject to misinterpretation."  The column then goes on to critique the difficulties one encounters in Christopher West's interpretation.  Some highlights:
Use of “Sexual” Terminology
West insists on using “sexual” language throughout his work in an attempt to communicate more easily the truths of John Paul II’s often complex teaching to his readers. To West’s credit, in a few places he emphasizes that his use of such terminology always is intended to mean an integrated sexuality, that is, one that respects the unitive and generative aspects of human sexuality within the confines of marriage. However, in his insistence of utilizing the language of “sex”, he risks both threatening the reverence that is due before the mystery of sexuality as well as reducing John Paul’s Catecheses to being solely about sexuality, evidencing a separation between John Paul II’s work and his own. The Catecheses are far broader in scope than sexuality in addressing numerous other themes of theological thought and inquiry.
Interpersonal communion
John Paul II speaks of communion as interpersonal, that is, as person to person. This theological and anthropological approach springs from his great treatise on sexual ethics, Love and Responsibility, in which – writing as Karol Cardinal Wojtyla -- he explains how our regard for another human being always must value the other as a person, one who is a unity of body and soul, in a manner consistent with what he termed the personalistic norm. This argument is fundamental for understanding the full scope of the Catecheses. Such interpersonal communion by its nature is most intimately a face-to-face encounter. John Paul II, to my understanding, never refers to this communion as being merely between bodies. In West’s discussion, perhaps unintentionally, the body is overemphasized to the point that it appears idolized. It is crucial to highlight in discussions of bodiliness that we are talking about the body of a person. Indeed, the body manifests the person. John Paul’s use of such personalistic terminology is very specific, as was also clear in Love and Responsibility, protecting his theology from being reduced to the level of a mere bodily sexuality. Of course, sexuality is a main aspect of the Catecheses, that goes without saying. However, it is always the sexuality of persons, body and soul, never intended to be reduced to the bodily aspect alone. In conjugal union, the entire being of the person, body and soul, grows in communion and enters into the mystery of the Divine Communion of Persons.
Mature purity
Such purity involves one spouse’s ability to see the other spouse’s body in purity. Spouses certainly should not be seeking to look at other persons’ naked bodies (except when necessary to care for their children or when medically required, with the obvious complete respect for human dignity that is due). However, West argues that mature purity at a virtuous level signifies being able to look at any body and maintaining perfect chastity; if he has to look away, West states that he is merely continent but not virtuous, although admitting that the vast majority of persons would find themselves in such a position. If discussions on the virtue of chastity, or “mature purity”, attempt to look at any body with the hope of seeing the other with pure eyes, West’s theological presentation is under serious threat of becoming an apologia for pornography, which is precisely the separation of the body from the person. West spends much time talking about the importance of loving others’ bodies properly, but what is missing from the discussion is the greatest need to love other persons most, encountering them as integrated bodies and souls, with virginal innocence. Loving persons accordingly is consonant with Karol Cardinal Wojtyla’s articulation of the personalistic norm in Love and Responsibility, without reducing the person to mere bodiliness. - Full article here.
Good stuff, huh?

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee

I got my flags out!  Pip pip, cheerio, and all that rot!

Her Majesty is a pretty nice girl...

One-a-Day: Greatest hits.

Anything by Rufus and Chaka - but here's a favorite of mine not everyone knows about.  (It speaks to me of when I used to sneak off to visit the Blessed Sacrament before my conversion... true love always wins out.)

Friday, June 01, 2012

So anyway...

Fine Young Cannibals.

As part of my series Greatest Hits, I posted one of my favorite songs by the group Fine Young Cannibals.  An anonymous commenter left a message, "You wouldn't be posting this if you knew what was going on."  So I immediately thought - "there is a vast conspiracy online against me, and this anonymous commenter is warning me!"  I know!  Nuts, huh?  It actually made no sense to me either - but I had to wonder what the commenter meant - until this morning...

Cannibals are in the news.  It's freaky, scary, really.  This past week there have been breaking news stories of men cannibalizing other men.  The first big story which broke this past weekend, covered the guy allegedly whacked out on bath-salts in South Beach, chewing the face off another guy, then just yesterday, the Baltimore student story broke, and now the Jeffrey Dhamer wannabe guy on the loose in Canada is all over the news.  It's creepy.

Evidence of Satan in the modern world.  Definitely.

St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Art: Source

The Sacred Heart of Jesus

Today is the First Friday of June, and June is the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Promises of the Sacred Heart to those who embrace this devotion.
1.I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.

2.I will give peace in their families.

3.I will console them in all their troubles.

4.They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death.

5.I will pour abundant blessings on their undertakings.

6.Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.

7.Tepid souls shall become fervent.

8.Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.

9.I will bless the homes in which the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honoured.

10.I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.

11.Those who propagate this devotion shall have their name written in My Heart, and it shall never be effaced.

12.The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under my displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.

“Oh, how sweet is death when one has had a tender devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ!” - St. Margaret Mary

+ + +
"How do we serve God faithfully? We serve Him only as faithfully as we serve Him lovingly, by giving ourselves to the needs of everyone whom God puts into our lives. No one reaches heaven automatically. Heaven must be dearly paid for. The price of reaching heaven is the practice of selfless love here on earth.
That is why God puts into our lives so many occasions for loving people who obviously do not love us, or giving ourselves to people who have never given themselves to us. How desperately we need, especially in today’s world, to learn that God became man in order to suffer and die out of love for us on the Cross.
That is what devotion to the Sacred Heart is all about. It is the practice of selfless love toward selfish people. It is giving ourselves to persons that do not give themselves to us. In all of our lives, God has placed selfish persons who may be physically close to us, but spiritually are strangers and even enemies. That is why God places unkind, unjust, even cruel people into our lives. By loving them, we show something of the kind of love that God expects of His followers.
Devotion of the Sacred Heart is the solution to the gravest problem in the modern world today. How can we give ourselves to those who do not love us, who even positively hate us? We can love them, with the help of divine grace, by following the example of Jesus Christ, who died on the Cross out of love for a sin-laden human race." - Fr. Hardon
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

One-a-Day: Greatest hits.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Perhaps a sea-change...

Full fathom five thy father lies:
Of his bones are coral made:
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.

Yesterday I was surprised to see my name - me - outed as SSA, chaste-gay, gay-Catholic, and so on.  The sites who identified me in this manner are friendly sites and they are friendly writers, and they acted in good faith.  It goes without question the editors just assumed.  How often I have done likewise!  So I repeat, they acted in good faith and without malice, and I am just fine with that.  In fact, it was providential.  Although I did contact one site and asked that the link the editor provided be reworded because it could be misleading to people who do not know me.  Truth be told, in the past, other readers, along with some friends, have told me my blog is obvious - just reading the text and viewing the photos seems to reveal my 'sexual orientation'.  I have no control over what other people think of me, or the opinions they form of who or what I am.
That said, I'm none of the above.  I don't know how to express it very well at all.  There is a prayer St. Francis of Assisi was heard to utter in ecstasy, crying out, "O God!  Who are you, and what am I?"  It is a favorite prayer of mine when I sometimes experience the presence of God, a prayer intermixed with aspirations of love.
What am I?
I am a man.  I am a single man.  I have always been happy that I am male.  I do what other men do, I eat and sleep and work and play and so on.  I'm a sinful man.  My sins are more numerous than the hairs on my head, as the psalmist says.  They are more varied and malicious than mere sins of the flesh.  They are deeper than any passing 'attraction'.
I do not, cannot, identify myself as being anything other than a man, a male human being, created by God.  I may be a penitent, but I'm not a recovering anything.  I'm not a recovering alcoholic.  I'm not a recovering dissident.  I'm not a recovering ssa person or an ex-gay, or ex-sex addict.  Neither am I a survivor, or a victim, or anyone 'special'.  I am not so easily defined, so easily branded, so easily and conveniently limited and disabled by such labels and socio-politico mistaken identities.  I am an ordinary man.  A Christian man.  A Roman Catholic man.
Unfortunately, after yesterday, many people will assume the blog is a gay blog - a gay-chaste-Catholic-ssa blog maybe - but still a 'gay' blog.  Hence, the blog is no longer relevant.  It is a place few will  want to be associated with, identified with - because it has been defined, labeled, categorized, and inventoried, and neatly put on the shelf.  By people who never knew me.
I'm sure I'll be called homophobic and self-hating after this post - just as I have been for the last 6 years I have written this web-log.  So be it - like I said, I cannot control what other people think.  Believe me when I tell you, I do not even mind being called homophobic, and I will admit that I am in the sense that I hate homosexual acts - homosex.  A friend asked me last week, in a comment on another post, how I viewed myself in relation to ssa people.  I removed my answer - with his permission - because I felt it was indiscreet as it touched upon spiritual graces and insights, which generally are better kept to oneself.  In view of what happened yesterday, I decided to re post the comment and answer, which I will include here.
My question, then, is: you seem to separate yourself from "the gays," and "those who struggle." You seem to write from an "outside looking in" perspective, even when at other times you contradict that notion by emphasizing your innate familiarity with the issues at hand. So, then, do you personally struggle with this, or have you evolved to a place where you no longer consider yourself as anything but heterosexual, scrubbed clean of any lingering hangups?

More directly: are you self-examining, or on the outside peering in?

Answer:  (Edited slightly for greater accuracy.)

That's a good and fair question. I'm not sure how to answer it. As for self examining - I've been self examining all of my life - day in and day out. I'm definitely not on the outside peering in. And right up front, I will say that 'it' is a very difficult struggle, but no one gets through life without suffering. I am different - I realize that every day as I read other blogs. I just don't consider myself special.

One can never say one has arrived and surprisingly I don't at all separate myself from gay people - nor do I from heterosexual people. I just no longer understand myself as limited to that identity, and frankly, though I get along with friends who are gay, I no longer identify as closely with them either. That's a complicated and easily misunderstood statement however - but it's the best I can offer at the moment.

I would like to make very clear however, that I genuinely consider 'dissident' gay-Catholics - you know what I mean by that description - to be Catholic. Just like I consider a Nancy Pelosi or Joe Biden to be Catholic - once baptized always a Catholic. Even if they would be excommunicated - even then they are Catholic - only not in good standing - not in communion with the Church. I can judge and not approve of their conduct, but I cannot judge their soul. So, since no one has condemned them in that way, or barred them from Communion - I continue to consider them to be Catholic, and as far as I understand it, Catholics in good faith - until the proper authority decides otherwise.

As St. Paul or St. Edith Stein couldn't separate themselves from the Jews- likewise I do not see myself any better or worse than the most dissident gay Catholic. I sound the way I do, using they and them and so on, because I don't buy into the gay mentality per se - I don't approve of homosexual behavior. To be honest, I find the sexual behavior repulsive, and truth be told, some behaviors I have always considered repulsive and disgusting.

To be frank, I have struggled with these issues for many years, but around 12 years ago I experienced a wonderful grace and gift of freedom of spirit as regards sexual sin. The temptations seemed to decrease in intensity, although they never went away of course, but I was able - through sheer, undeserved grace, to put them in perspective, or cope with them in peace. Likewise, I experienced a certain freedom from objectifying others as sexual beings and was able to move beyond lusting after the body of another - which I understood as a form of idolatry and covetousness.  
Temptations never go away - thank God - nor should they.  It seems to me Our Lord has taught me how to deal with them - or not, by which I mean, suffering through them. In fact I often seem to notice an increase when I pray for others.  Again - I do not believe the 'sufferings' are any greater than those suffered by ordinary people.  As a matter of fact, I think the sense of extraordinary suffering experienced by ssa persons is often due to their disappointment in their failures and that they are not made perfect overnight, and that the temptations do not somehow disappear.  That is an error sometimes referred to as 'angelism'.

Interestingly, in the spiritual life, when one spiritual battle seems to have been overcome - or a particular vice seems to be at least in retreat, another soon follows - so it seems to me. I've learned that temptations take different forms. The world and the flesh and the devil are very seductive, so we are never safe. We are always tempted at our weakest point in novel ways.

So the answer to your question must be 'no' - I'm not scrubbed clean of lingering hang ups and I'm not on the outside peering in. I'm your friend and your brother - and I'm in the very same boat as you. - Original source

Art:  The Tempest, Felix Nussbaum

The Visitation

Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste...
Brothers and sisters:
Let love be sincere;
hate what is evil,
hold on to what is good;
love one another with mutual affection;
anticipate one another in showing honor.
Do not grow slack in zeal,
be fervent in spirit,
serve the Lord.
Rejoice in hope,
endure in affliction,
persevere in prayer.
Contribute to the needs of the holy ones,
exercise hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you,
bless and do not curse them.
Rejoice with those who rejoice,
weep with those who weep.
Have the same regard for one another;
do not be haughty but associate with the lowly;
do not be wise in your own estimation. - Romans 12: 9-16

One-a-Day: Greatest hits.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What happened in 1960?

Why was 1960 so pivotal?

When Archbishop Bertone asked Sr. Lucy about the third part of the secret of Fatima, he asked: “Why only after 1960? Was it Our Lady who fixed that date?” Sister Lucia replied: “It was not Our Lady. I fixed the date because I had the intuition that before 1960 it would not be understood, but that only later would it be understood."

I thought about this conversation yesterday, after receiving some grave prophecies from a friend which echo those made at Fatima in 1917 - just five years short of one hundred years ago now.  The prophecies caught my attention since, and I'm not kidding,  Fr. Z seems to be rather concerned about preparedness for disaster these days.  Of course there is talk of war in the Mideast, as always - although it appears to be more determined lately.  And then there is the Cardinal against Cardinal scandal in the Vatican - even the Pope commented on it - the Vatican leaks situation that is.  Reminds one of the Akita message, huh?  Which may explain my apocalyptic preoccupation, as it were, and no, I'm not scared.

That said, it really shouldn't surprise anyone that my mind sometimes drifts back to 1960 and Fatima, as such scandals and rumblings and rumors of war grab the headlines.  One must remember that to a pious little Catholic school boy, the year loomed before me because there had been an expectation of something mysterious about to happen in 1960 as a result of the long anticipated secret of Fatima, which was to be read that year and revealed to the world.  It never happened of course, but such an apprehension left a deep impression, which may explain why 1960 came to be something of a reference point in history for me - even after all of these years.  BTW - I want to repeat that I believe the secret was revealed in its entirety later, and that the consecration was made and accepted by Heaven, etc..

Anyway.  What did happen in 1960?

What was it that changed the world, and perhaps even the Church - at least those in the Church
May 9, 1960 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announces that it will approve birth control as an additional indication for Searle's Enovid, making it the world's first approved oral contraceptive pill.
Of course a whole bunch of other stuff happened in 1960 as well.  France lost its colonies in Africa, the Soviets launched Sputnik and captured, tried and convicted one of our spies.  American Catholics thrilled because Kennedy became President, Wiki has a timeline here.

Nevertheless, I still maintain that a tiny little pill was the instrument that changed morality, and therefore, the world.  As Sr. Lucy told the Cardinal: "I had the intuition that before 1960 it would not be understood, but that only later would it be understood."  Call me naive and pious, but I'm convinced, if we are honest with ourselves, we can understand what is going on today.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Just a thought...

It seems sort of nuts to spend so much of one's time online discussing gay issues.  The more one focuses upon it, the more one seems to be providing evidence that aside from being an objective disorder, the worldview of its adherents cannot help but remain subjectively imbalanced as well.

Like Karen Walker said, "Honey, it's a cult."   (Although she was talking about the ex-gay movement, which wasn't.  But I think it works here.)

I've wasted a lot of time here.

Cattychetics for you know whosits...

Occasions and sources of sins...

I went through a period where I thought that by hanging out with all the brothas would be a good way to evangelize...  I thought since I went to daily Mass and prayed every day, I was good to go.  I could be chaste and sober and...  So what was the occasion?  This isn't Oprah, so never mind.  Nevertheless, I think it is easy for many of us to believe an occasion of sin does not represent a danger to our solidly stable, immutable, spirituality.  So maybe the follow points are not applicable to many - if any - of my readers; but just skim through the following, and give it some thought.  That way, the next time you find yourself doing what you don't want to do, you might be able to figure out that the devil didn't make you do it - you did it all by yourself... because you weren't careful about those damn occasions of sin. 

What is the difference between an occasion of sin and a near occasion of sin?  Official answer here:
It is important to remember that there is a wide difference between the cause and the occasion of sin. The cause of sin in the last analysis is the perverse human will and is intrinsic to the human composite. The occasion is something extrinsic and, given the freedom of the will, cannot, properly speaking, stand in causal relation to the act or vicious habit which we call sin. There can be no doubt that in general the same obligation which binds us to refrain from sin requires us to shun its occasion. Qui tenetur ad finem, tenetur ad media (he who is bound to reach a certain end is bound to employ the means to attain it).

Theologians distinguish between the proximate and the remote occasion. They are not altogether at one as to the precise value to be attributed to the terms. De Lugo defines proximate occasion (De poenit. disp. 14, n. 149) as one in which men of like calibre for the most part fall into mortal sin, or one in which experience points to the same result from the special weakness of a particular person. The remote occasion lacks these elements. All theologians are agreed that there is no obligation to avoid the remote occasions of sin both because this would, practically speaking, be impossible and because they do not involve serious danger of sin. - Catholic Encyclopedia
Now there can be exceptions regarding the proximate occasion of sin, although these warrant a very good spiritual director's help to discern the situation.  For instance: "The difficulty is to determine when a proximate occasion is to be regarded as not physically (that is plain enough) but morally necessary. Much has been written by theologians in the attempt to find a rule for the measurement of this moral necessity and a formula for its expression, but not successfullyIt seems to be quite clear that a proximate occasion may be deemed necessary when it cannot be given up without grave scandal or loss of good name or without notable temporal or spiritual damage."  Discretion is key.

Elsewhere, I came across a few helpful examples of what common occasions to sin are:
Bad companions.  One who provokes or leads us into sin is not a real friend.  Which is exactly why I stopped linking to some of you. 

Dance halls.  (I know!)  Not every dance is sinful.  But many dances are occasions of sin: and public dances without the presence of respectable adults...
  • Okay, okay, there are no dance halls anymore - it's an old book, but I really think night-clubbing can be a very real occasion of sin for some people...

Bars and Liquor saloons:  These are very proximate occasions of sin, leading to intemperance and worse evils.  Need I say more?

Obscene literature.  Porn.  Internet porn.

Bad books.  Including anything by Ann Rice or Steven King - I mean, who reads that crap?  What?

Indecent pictures and shows.  Primetime TV.

Dangerous parks and recreation centers.
Very seriously, I think from time to time many of us disregard the very idea of the occasion of sin, or worse, we no longer recognize the dangers, or that it is even present.  Similarly, I think other venial sins are overlooked and thought to be equally as harmless or insignificant.  The trouble is, aside from offending the love of God, our laxity in these matters dulls the conscience, removing even the sense of sin, leading to apathy and tepidity in the service of God.  Such infidelity in 'small' matters portends a failure in 'greater' matters.  Thus we become more vulnerable and disposed to mortal sin.  Even the good we thought we had may be taken away.

Been there, done that.  Lord have mercy!

[If I'm in error here, I hope someone will either correct me or add to the discussion.  Thank you.]

One-a-Day: Greatest hits.

 How long? 

Monday, May 28, 2012

While out for a ride...

The Butler reportedly said:  "Stop the car, I have to take a leak."

Real story here.

Forthcoming Vatican Conference: One Flesh - The Language of the Body and the Conjugal Union.

An illustrated Theology of the Body could be forthcoming...*

One can only hope - videos might be nice too.
.- This coming September an international colloquium in Vatican City will consider how men and women become "one flesh" in marriage, and examine the "language of the body" from Christian perspectives.

"What type of union is the conjugal union, which comes about when a man and a woman become 'one flesh'?" asks the conference announcement.

The Vatican City-based Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family is hosting the Sept. 20-21 colloquium, titled "'One flesh: the Language of the Body and the Conjugal Union." - CNA
Lest you think I'm a prude, I believe the conference is just fine - I'm sure married couples don't know what they are doing anyway... never have.  (I blame the parents - going back to the first.)  Anyway - "The conference announcement said it is necessary to distinguish the conjugal union from "substitutes" in a society that has lost the sense of what it means to become "one flesh."

No doubt.

 *Oh wait - that's been done already - at ancient Pompeii - see illustration at top.

Singles need not apply.

Just "Christian"...

Dear friends, we must live according to the Spirit of unity and truth, and this is why we must pray for the Spirit to enlighten and guide us to overcome the temptation to follow our own truths, and to welcome the truth of Christ transmitted in the Church. - Benedict XVI, Pentecost 2012

Something for Nan...

Hi Nan!

One-a-Day: Greatest hits.

For Memorial Day.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Pentecostal thoughts...

"The Spirit and the Bride say 'Come!'"

Or rather, reflections on the feast of Pentecost.

One little gem that Blessed John Paul II wrote/issued is the encyclical, On the Holy Spirit in the Life of the Church and the World: Dominum et Vivificantem.  It is a wonderful work, wherein the Holy Father refers constantly to the documents of Vatican II - which helps us understand the important role the council played in helping to define Church teaching in the modern world.

The emphasis on 'the convincing power of the Holy Spirit' is a favorite source of meditation for me, it is part of my deepest prayer.  It is the Holy Spirit who convinces us and the world concerning sin, righteousness and judgement.  How essential this action is, not just once, in a sort of baptism of the Spirit, or confirmation, but ongoing: deep calling unto deep, drawing us deeper into the mystery of the Trinity; the abyss of mercy and love, calling to the abyss of sin and misery, convicting the soul in an embrace of the merciful love of Christ crucified.  Things I can't put into words because I have no higher degrees in theology, no skill in writing, but they are things that one can know, without knowing as it were - experientially - in and through prayer and sacred reading.

Excerpts from the Holy Father's encyclical:
[31]Conversion requires convincing of sin; it includes the interior judgment of the conscience, and this, being a proof of the action of the Spirit of truth in man's inmost being, becomes at the same time a new beginning of the bestowal of grace and love: "Receive the Holy Spirit."118 Thus in this "convincing concerning sin" we discover a double gift: the gift of the truth of conscience and the gift of the certainty of redemption. The Spirit of truth is the Counselor.

The Holy Spirit, who in the words of Jesus "convinces concerning sin," is the love of the Father and the Son, and as such is the Trinitarian gift, and at the same time the eternal source of every divine giving of gifts to creatures.

The Council rightly sees sin as a factor of alienation which weighs heavily on man's personal and social life. But at the same time it never tires of reminding us of the possibility of victory.
45. The Spirit of truth, who "convinces the world concerning sin," comes into contact with that laborious effort on the part of the human conscience which the Conciliar texts speak of so graphically. This laborious effort of conscience also determines the paths of human conversion: turning one's back on sin, in order to restore truth and love in man's very heart. We know that recognizing evil in ourselves sometimes demands a great effort. We know that conscience not only commands and forbids but also Judges in the light of interior dictates and prohibitions. It is also the source of remorse: man suffers interiorly because of the evil he has committed. Is not this suffering, as it were, a distant echo of that "repentance at having created man" which in anthropomorphic language the Sacred Book attributes to God? Is it not an echo of that "reprobation" which is interiorized in the "heart" of the Trinity and by virtue of the eternal love is translated into the suffering of the Cross, into Christ's obedience unto death? When the Spirit of truth permits the human conscience to share in that suffering, the suffering of the conscience becomes particularly profound, but also particularly salvific. Then, by means of an act of perfect contrition, the authentic conversion of the heart is accomplished: this is the evangelical "metanoia."
The laborious effort of the human heart, the laborious effort of the conscience in which this "metanoia," or conversion, takes place, is a reflection of that process whereby reprobation is transformed into salvific love, a love which is capable of suffering. The hidden giver of this saving power is the Holy Spirit: he whom the Church calls "the light of consciences" penetrates and fills "the depths of the human heart."176  - Dominum et vivicantem

All of creation labors and is in travail...
O Holy Spirit, enlighten, guide,
strengthen and console me.
Tell me what I ought to do,
and command me to do it.
I promise to be submissive in everything you ask of me.
I promise to accept whatever you permit to befall me,
only show me what is your will.

I will run in the way of your commands,
because you give freedom to my heart!

We cannot obtain freedom of spirit when we make accommodations for evil.

Image:  Our Lady as she appeared to St. Catherine Laboure.  The Immaculate Conception is the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, and Mediatrix of all Graces.  'O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you, and for those who do not, especially the enemies of the Church and those recommended to you.'


"The Holy Spirit is the master of prayer, and causes us to abide in continual peace and cheerfulness, which is a foretaste of Paradise." - St. Phillip Neri

Yesterday was the feast of St. Phillip Neri, a favorite saint of mine, and a wonderful saint especially devoted to the Holy Spirit, and extravagantly gifted with charismata.  I was blessed to have been baptised on his feast day, which this year, happened to be the Vigil of Pentecost. 

On this feast of the Holy Spirit, I want to express my gratitude to the Holy Trinity for the favors granted to St. Phillip as well as to myself. 

One-a-Day: Greatest hits.

I still love the instrumental in this.  BTW - this is why I never answer the door.  What?