Monday, June 26, 2017

"We are fools on Christ’s account, but the super Catholics are wise in Christ; we are weak, but they are strong; they are held in honor, but we in disrepute."

And what are bricks worth anyway? 
What matters is the promise of Christ, 
what matters is the cement that unites the bricks, 
which is the Holy Spirit. 
Only the Holy Spirit is capable of building the church 
with such poorly molded bricks as are we. 
- Carlo Carretto

Brick by brick ...

After Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Avila, and the writings of John of the Cross, one of the first contemporary spiritual writers I read after my conversion was Carlo Carretto and his book, The God Who Comes.  The book literally seized me and ignited a great devotion to prayer, while remaining in the world, as they say.  The urban desert.  Fortunately, I had a wonderful spiritual director at the time, a very practical man.  He warned me away from the 'Wanderer' types and those who rejected everything written after 1960.  He watched me make mistakes, and was there to help me learn from them.  But anyway.

Little Brother Carlo sounded a lot like Pope Francis.  Back in the day I was told to 'be careful' of his writings.  His little book was like my very first "Philokalia" on my pilgrimage.  Today's readings reminded me of that: "Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father's house to a land I will show you."  I'm still on that journey.

Carretto was a prophet in my life - in my journey.  His words, so completely simple echoed God's will for my life.  Yesterday at Mass I experienced a sort of epiphany, I suppose.  Hard to explain.  I like to think, 'I found my place - at the end of the line.'  I'm reminded of St. Paul's admonition, "'Associate with the lowly' - because that is what you are."
“We often fail to realize the depth of evil, terrifying as it is. I am not speaking only of the selfishness of the wealthy, heaping up riches for themselves, or of those who sacrifice to achieve their self-selected goals. Or of the dictator who breathes in the incense due only to God. I am speaking of the selfishness of good people, devout people, those who have succeeded through spiritual exercises and self-denial in being able to make the proud profession before the altar of the Most High, “Lord, I am not like the rest of men.” Yes, we have had the audacity at certain times of our lives to believe we are different from other men. And here is the deepest form of self-deception, dictated by self-centeredness at its worst: spiritual egotism. This most insidious form of egotism even uses piety and prayer for its own gain.” - Little Brother Carlo

Echoes of our Holy Father Francis.

"Hear, O daughter, and see; turn your ear,
forget your people and your father's house." - Psalm 45


  1. "spiritual egotism. This most insidious form of egotism even uses piety and prayer for its own gain.” - Little Brother Carlo

    Thanks for the reminder of what I want not to become and it is a struggle tbh.

    1. He spoke like Francis does now. It's encouraging, isn't it?

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    3. Yes it is. I need lots of encouragement atm.

  2. Terry....yet ANOTHER thing we share in common: inspiration from the writings of Little Brother Fr. Carlo Carretto. I, too, was "warned" but came to realize just WHO I should be careful about: Carretto or the one warning me (a "status quo" everything-is-fine-no-need-to-change-anything cleric). As a member of Jesus-Caritas Fraternity I understand where he is coming from and it is a place of love and devotion.

    His poem on the Church (from "The God Who Comes") was and remains so moving to me but it must be read and pondered in love and from love or else it easily seems to be what it is reminds me of the honest words exchanged between lovers...

    “How much I must criticize you, my church, and yet how much I love you! You have made me suffer more than anyone, and yet I owe more to you than to anyone. I should like to see you destroyed, and yet I need your presence. You have given me much scandal, and yet you alone have made me understand your holiness. Never in this world have I seen anything more compromised, more false, yet never have I touched anything more pure, more generous or more beautiful. Countless times, I have felt like slamming the door of my soul in your face–and yet, every night, I have prayed that I might die in your sure arms! No, I cannot be free of you, for I am one with you, even if not completely you. Then too–where would I go? To build another church? But I could not build one without the same defects, for they are my defects. And again, if I were to build another church, it would be my church, not Christ’s church. No, I am old enough. I know better.”

    1. Amazing! I love that passage. It's true - it needs to be pondered in love, with love. That is why it cannot frighten us. Thanks.

  3. This is why I treasure your blog Terry. Never heard of Br. Carretto. Now I have to check him out. Thomas Merton was the biggest influence for me as an adult Catholic. He made me think and reflection just what being a Christian meant to me. Our Church is so rich in spiritual grace. There is no other even close. Thank you for helping me, at my old age, keeping learning.


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