Saturday, December 9, 2017

Lojong and Catholicism

Recently I have been very interested in the philosophy of Mayahana Buddhism, especially Tibetan Buddhism. There is a practice known as Lojong (mind training) which is a collection of slogans or maxims that can easily be applied by Catholics without needing to abandon their faith. 

Of particular interest to me within Lojong is the practice of Tonglen (giving and receiving). This almost reminds me of how in Catholicism we can take on the sufferings on others, with our own sufferings, unite them in the Passion of Jesus and offer it to God so it is Co redemptive suffering. Anyone reading this blog will know that this concept has a special place in my heart and deep meaning to me. 

In Tonglen you visualise taking in all the suffering and evil around as a black smoke - and inhale it. Then you exhale light, pure blessings and compassion. It's a meditative method to help you develop compassion for other people. In a sense, Catholics could argue that Jesus actualised this by taking on sin and suffering on the Cross, and then turned the curse into the Tree of Life for us. 

I am in no way advocating Buddhism or a non critical approach, however there are some practices and teachings that resonate with our Faith and they may be helpful to some people. This is why I am discussing it as it is helping to deepen my spirituality and outlook - especially as I suffer depression, anxiety and am same sex attracted. 

Peme Chödrön has a very good way of distilling the teachings in a secular psychological way that I recommend checking out. 






Original justice of the Immaculata

I came across this quote from a friend on Facebook, and to be honest it blew my mind as I have never thought of it that way before.

Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (1695), a Mexican nun and a poet, dramatist, and spiritual writer, wrote this:

The Mystery of the Immaculate Conception

God finished his creations ad extra and perfected them when he formed humans in his likeness as rulers over the entire world.  The creatures created on this day (the animals of the earth and humans) rendered obedience to the one who the Lord predestined and distinguished as Mother of his Son as an act of justice rather than grace.

When Adam was created in original justice and grace, it was his nature to be ruler over all that was created on the earth, and so all the lesser creatures rendered him obedience. When he sinned and transgressed against God he was rejected by his inferiors.  The elements and the rest of the creatures rebelled against him.  Therefore, if Mary most holy was preserved from this original poison, in justice she would be owed all the privileges due her because of being conceived in grace.  Therefore, as a matter of original justice all creatures would be subject to her, because she did not participate in that sin which caused their rebellion against Adam and all of his children.

This benefit is not to be considered as a new gift but a manifestation of the benefit that her Son and our Lord gave to her by preserving her from Original Sin.  And all the homage rendered her by the creatures of the earth resulted from the grace of her conception, like the grace of the original creation of Adam, and is a testimony to her being immaculately conceived.  She alone was the one in whom the image and likeness of God, erased by the sin of our first father, the perfection of all the universe, was restored.  Holy Scripture calls Adam the perfection and ornament of all creation either because the final creature is the crown of the entire work or because the rest of the creatures were created for his sake.  All the other creatures were left imperfect through the sin of Adam.  Divine Omnipotence is to be credited not only with restoring human nature, by redeeming it, but by making use of human nature, by predestining and preserving in his eternal mind a pure creature adorned with sanctifying grace from the first instant of her being.  Through her the image and likeness of God was restored, perfecting the rest of his work and restoring it to its rightful order.

For this reason it is not only human beings who are in Mary's debt but all the other creatures as well because she gives them perfection and nobility.  They all owe her their service for this, if for no other reason.  On this day, therefore, all the brute beasts render her obedience.



Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Eucharist - sacrament of mysticism

If you want to get into some solid Catholic theology on the Eucharist that will blow your mind and is not sentimental saccharine piety then I highly recommend you check out "The doctrine of spiritual perfection" by Fr Anselm Stolz (has imprimatur) 
He goes through his definition of mysticism of the spiritual life as union with God, that Christ restored and therefore he follows from Garrigou Lagrange that mysticism is based in baptism and open for all, not for spiritual elite - 

"We merely point out that the Eucharist as a sharing in Christ's sacrifice anticipates in a sacramental manner the union with God one day to be realised, and establishes between a Christian and the Heavenly Father that intimacy which the head of the mystical body enjoys uninterruptedly. Thus the Eucharist, as the perfect fulfilment of what is given at baptism is the proper sacrament of mysticism... 
To understand the Eucharist as the sacrament of mysticism, a person can begin with the fact it conveys to the soul Christ in person, and thus effects the highest degree of union with God...
Participation in the Eucharist is not merely one means among others towards mystical union: rising as it does on the foundations of the Grace bestowed on baptism, it is much more the actual achievement of that mystical oneness, to which so far in the believer there can only be a more or less powerful reaction" 

If this does not set your soul on fire after reading I don't know what else would!! 😍



Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Pray for Cardinal Muller

Image result for cardinal muller

This is from Rorate Caeli


“There  is a front of traditionalist groups, just as there is with the progressivists, that would like to see me as head of a movement against the Pope. But I will never do this. I have served the Church with love for 40 years as a priest, 16 years as a university professor of dogmatic theology and 10 years as a diocesan bishop. I believe in the unity of the Church and I will not allow anyone to exploit my negative experiences of recent months.  Church authorities, on the other hand, need to listen to those who have serious questions or justified complaints; not ignoring them, or worse, humiliating them. Otherwise, unwittingly, the risk of a slow separation that might lead to a schism may increase, from a disorientated and disillusioned part of the Catholic world.  The history of Martin Luther’s Protestant Schism of 500 years ago, should teach us, above all, what errors to avoid.”


“The Pope confided to me: ‘Some have told me anonymously that you are my enemy’ without explaining in what way” he recounts unhappily. “After 40 years at the service of the Church, I had to hear this: an absurdity set up by prattlers who instead of instilling worry in the Pope they would do better visiting a 'shrink'.  A Catholic bishop and cardinal of the Holy Roman Church is by nature with the Holy Father. But, I believe, as Melchoir Cano, the 16th century theologian said, that the true friends are not those who flatter the Pope, but those who help him with the truth and theological, human competence.” In all the organizations of the world, delatores of this type serve only themselves.” 

“The tensions in the Church arise from the contrast between an extremist traditionalist front on some websites, and an equally exaggerated progressive front which today seeks to credit themselves as super-papists”.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Prayer ravished by the divine light

'Two states of pure prayer are exalted above all others. One is to be found in those who have not advanced beyond the practice of the virtues, the other in those leading the contemplative life. The first is engendered in the soul by fear of God and a firm hope in Him, the second by an intense longing for God and by total purification. The sign of the first is that the intellect, abandoning all conceptual images of the world, concentrates itself and prays without distraction or disturbance as if God Himself were present, as indeed He is. The sign of the second is that at the very onset of prayer the intellect is so ravished by the divine and infinite light that it is aware neither of itself nor of any other created thing, but only of Him who through love has activated such radiance in it. It is then that, being made aware of God's qualities, it receives clear and distinct reflections of Him.'
St. Maximos the Confessor

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Sunday, November 12, 2017

Catholicism and the Dalai Lama

Recently I have had a growing interest in Buddhism from a philosophic point of view, especially in regards to mindfulness, inner peace etc. 

I came across this very well written article that I highly recommend. He makes very good points that Catholics interested in Tibetan Buddhism are not spiritually fed in the Church. There's a lack of authentic catechesis, sense of mystery and emphasis of our amazing  spiritual wisdom from Mystics and Doctors of the Church 




Friday, November 3, 2017

The Eucharist - foretaste of heaven

THE HOLY EUCHARIST

“Receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord is, in a certain sense, like loosening our ties with earth and time, so as to be already with God in heaven, where Christ himself will wipe the tears from our eyes and where there will be no more death, nor mourning, nor cries of distress, because the old world will have passed away.”

St. Josemaria Escriva
Passionately Loving the World, no. 51



Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Saints - inserted in Christ


Pope Benedict XVI 
Angelus, Solemnity of All Saints, 1 November 2012

Today we have the joy of meeting on the Solemnity of All Saints. This feast day helps us to reflect on the double horizon of humanity, which we symbolically express with the words “earth” and “heaven”: the earth represents the journey of history, heaven eternity, the fullness of life in God. And so this feast day helps us to think about the Church in its dual dimension: the Church journeying in time and the Church that celebrates the never-ending feast, the heavenly Jerusalem. These two dimensions are united by the reality of the “Communion of Saints”: a reality that begins here on earth and that reaches its fulfillment in heaven.

On earth, the Church is the beginning of this mystery of communion that unites humanity, a mystery totally centred on Jesus Christ: it is he who introduced this new dynamic to mankind, a movement that leads towards God and at the same time towards unity, towards peace in its deepest sense. Jesus Christ — says the Gospel of John (11:52) — died “to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad”, and his work continues in the Church which is inseparably “one”, “holy” and “catholic”. Being a Christian, being part of the Church means being open to this communion, like a seed that dies in the ground, germinates and sprouts upwards, toward heaven.

The Saints — those proclaimed by the Church and whom we celebrate today and also those known only to God — have lived this dynamic intensely. In each of them, in a very personal way, Christ made himself present, thanks to his Spirit which acts through Scripture and the Sacraments. In fact, being united to Christ, in the Church, does not negate one's personality, but opens it, transforms it with the power of love, and confers on it, already here on earth, an eternal dimension.

In essence, it means being conformed to the image of the Son of God (cf. Rom 8:29), fulfilling the plan of God who created man in his own image and likeness. But this insertion in Christ also opens us — as I said — to communion with all the other members of his Mystical Body which is the Church, a communion that is perfect in “Heaven”, where there is no isolation, no competition or separation. In today’s feast, we have a foretaste of the beauty of this life fully open to the gaze of love of God and neighbour, in which we are sure to reach God in each other and each other in God. With this faith-filled hope we honour all the Saints, and we prepare to commemorate the faithful departed tomorrow. In the Saints we see the victory of love over selfishness and death: we see that following Christ leads to life, eternal life, and gives meaning to the present, every moment that passes, because it is filled with love and hope. Only faith in eternal life makes us truly love history and the present, but without attachment, with the freedom of the pilgrim, who loves the earth because his heart is set on Heaven.

May the Virgin Mary obtain for us the grace to believe firmly in eternal life and feel ourselves in true communion with our deceased loved ones.



Monday, October 30, 2017

Christians are not made for boredom


I came across this quote from Pope Francis' General audience  11 October 2017
Christians are not made for boredom; if anything, for patience. We know that hidden in the monotony of certain identical days is a mystery of grace. There are people who with the perseverance of their love become as wells that irrigate the desert. Nothing happens in vain; and no situation in which a Christian finds himself is completely resistant to love. No night is so long as to make us forget the joy of the sunrise. And the darker the night, the closer the dawn. If we remain united with Jesus, the cold of difficult moments does not paralyze us; and if even the whole world preached against hope, if it said that the future would bring only dark clouds, a Christian knows that in that same future there will be Christ’s return. No one knows when this will take place, but the thought that at the end of our history there will be Merciful Jesus suffices in order to have faith and not to curse life. Everything will be saved. Everything. We will suffer; there will be moments that give rise to anger and indignation, but the sweet and powerful memory of Christ will drive away the temptation to think that this life is a mistake

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Secret holy whispers of the God who loves you

There is a priest I follow on Facebook and I highly recommend you check out this brief video of his 



Friday, July 21, 2017

St Lawrence of Brindisi - Marian Doctor of the Church

 

Mary was seen clothed with the sun that we may know that she is like the sun which, although one, illumines and warms each man as if it had been created by God for him alone, for there is no one that can hide himself from his heat. So the Virgin Mother of God is both the mother of all men and the mother of each individual man. To all she is a common mother; to each his own personal mother. As the one sun can be seen in its entirety by each and every man (for every man at the same time sees a complete outline of the sun), so every one of the faithful, who from his heart devotes himself entirely to the Virgin, may enjoy her complete love as if he were her only son. For this reason Christ spoke to Mary in the singular when He said: Woman, behold thy son.


Mary also possessed Christ most perfectly as her only and beloved Son. How was it possible for the Virgin not to shine with sunlike splendor when she carried Christ, the Sun of infinite light, in her virginal womb? If God enclosed the sun in an immense crystal vase, would not that vase seem to be clothed with the very sun? In this way the sun clothes and adorns with its brilliant rays the pure substance of heaven, which it surrounds and engulfs. Just as the sun, glowing within the crystal on every side with its light, so the heavenly Virgin is clothed with Christ, the Sun of justice and glory. This divine vision signifies that, as bride and mother, the most holy Virgin shares in the glory of Christ and God to a high degree, so that no greater sharing or participation can be thought of.

 
 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Lord has gone up

PSALM 47 

2All you peoples, clap your hands;

shout to God with joyful cries.

3For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared,

the great king over all the earth,

4Who made people subject to us,

nations under our feet,

5*Who chose our heritage for us,

the glory of Jacob, whom he loves.

6*God has gone up with a shout;

the LORD, amid trumpet blasts.

7Sing praise to God, sing praise;

sing praise to our king, sing praise.

8For God is king over all the earth;

sing hymns of praise.

9God rules over the nations;

God sits upon his holy throne.

1The princes of the peoples assemble

with the people of the God of Abraham.

For the shields of the earth belong to God,

highly exalted.