Living Faith

Last Sunday, I was given a reminder of what Easter last year looked like. A catechumen went through a “scrutiny”, one of a series of welcoming rituals for converts who have felt the call to join the Church at Easter. It reminded me that last year, at this time, I was also going through the conversion process.

Last year, my wife and I were nearing the end of a long period of waiting. We had been going to classes (called RCIA) at our church for months. We were not conflicted about our decision, since we had read our way into the Church, but we were conscious that we were caught between two traditions, neither one nor the other. While those traditions share a core agreement about Jesus Christ, they differ on many other important topics. It was a hard time, but it was a spiritually vibrant time.

This year, it feels like life has gotten significantly busier. I no longer have the time to pursue projects that I enjoy, with all of my time going to preparing for work. Prayer time seems to be squished and constrained. I’ve had precious few theological discussions since we moved. More mundane matters that occupy conversations and thoughts. It does not feel as overtly fulfilling, and there’s no immediate goal to look forward to. But through it all, Christ is still there, moving. Moments like this remind me of that.

Looking back on the intervening year, my first year as a Catholic, I see that God has done so much for us. There’s no glamour in moving from a provincial capital to a small, northern town; but God has been leading us quietly. May He use us and all Christians in this Lenten season for the greater glory of God and for the unity and health of the Church.

Unity

nicaea_iconThe week of prayer for Christian unity is here. This year is special for Western Christians; for this is the 500th anniversary of an event that shattered the unity of Western Christianity. 500 years ago, the Reformation informally began with the nailing of Dr. Martin Luther’s grievances to the church door in Wittenberg.

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Joy to the World

04567_christmas_nativity_scene_at_the_franciscan_church_in_sanok_2010God, all powerful, beyond all time and matter, Lord of all Creation, the one who made the stars and universes beyond count, became a child. Not the child of a king, but the child of a poor couple; a single income family where the breadwinner worked at a sort of menial job in a forgettable blink-and-you’d-miss-it little town situated in a tumultuous backwater province. His first cradle was a feeding trough.

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Extraordinary or Ordinary?

Generalvikar_Dr._Weis_1.JPGAmong the first things my wife and I were exposed to after becoming Catholics is the great liturgical discussion in Catholic circles over two forms of the Mass in the Roman Rite. (Mass is Catholic for “church service” and Roman Rite indicates that it is the largest of the 23 churches in communion with the Pope which is being spoken about.) This friendly discussion can be a hot button issue for some people, and it’s not hard to see why.

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God is Real: The Argument

Question_markIt’s a basic topic, but an important one: how do you know that God exits? Many people are unable to articulate a convincing answer to this. This doesn’t make such a person’s faith wrong; personal experiences of God can be hard to articulate and are normally not verifiable, requiring one to trust the words and experiences of another human being. These experiences are still valid proof for an individual, but don’t make good arguments. How can we construct a good argument for the existence of God for someone who has not had these experiences?

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Walking with Jesus through the Hours

IMG_20160705_180707396_HDRThis year, I have discovered great new spiritual disciplines for my daily walk with Jesus. One of the greatest of these is the Liturgy of the Hours. This is a beautiful set of prayers (seven a day, plus the Office of Readings) based heavily in Scripture. Most of it comes straight from Scripture and a repetition of the Glory Be prayer. A print copy is prohibitively expensive, but we use a digital Kindle copy from Universalis. Now, I’m not pretending I do all seven of them (though I am sure that would be an immensely profitable practice!) Currently, my wife and I daily do three of these eight readings:

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The Nativity of John the Baptist

john-the-baptistToday is the Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist. A ‘Solemnity’ is a feast day, and not somber as one would be tempted to think. I must confess that I’d never really spent a lot of time thinking about John the Baptist before today. He was kinda like a footnote to the life of Jesus, a minor figure who introduces Jesus and then walks off stage. So it was sort of surprising to me to discover that John the Baptist is the only saint (other than Mary and Joseph) to have two feasts dedicated to himself.

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