Tag: Christianity

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How complete was the Lord’s suffering for us?  Jesus knew the joy of Heaven before the day of His resurrection. The second Person of the Trinity, the Logos, our Creator — He knew the perfect justice, perfect love, and perfect peace of His own trinitarian nature before He created humankind; before He adopted this limited […]

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What worlds have you made?  It is good that we have questions for our Creator. Faith and reason belong together and do not contradict. We were made to reason. Christianity dares to suggest that we can understand much about our divine Lord and His unfolding plans for us. But surely reason must lead us to […]

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Is Palm Sunday Still Honored?

 

Today is a holy day among Christians, at least it used to be. Palm Sunday was always featured in headlines and honored.  The only headline I saw this morning was a bombing in Indonesia during a Palm Sunday Mass, with fatalities. Does the world still stop on this day, and think about its significance?

In Matthew’s recounting of the entrance into Jerusalem, Matthew specifically draws attention to a number of Old Testament prophecies being fulfilled in Jesus.

In the first verse of Matthew’s recounting of the entrance into Jerusalem, we hear that Jesus and the disciples were in Bethpage. Bethpage is one of the last villages on the road from Jericho to Jerusalem, and is located on the Mount of Olives.

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We learn to love in that order. “Obedience precedes understanding” as Fr Mike Schmidtz says.  As young children, we begin by obediently doing our chores, if only to put away one’s toys when finished playing with them. We go where we are told, eat what we are served,  say “Thank you” because that is what […]

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A Life Redeemed from Destruction

 

Yesterday I wrote a piece that provoked some interesting comments, including an entire sub thread about something that had little to do with the original post. That’s how things go on Ricochet. If I’ve learned anything from this past year, it’s that people in my circles have said things … new things, that have surprised me. In regard to my closer friends, I thought I knew them. And I thought they knew me. It’s as if all this time we’ve been playing on the margins and now as the fires have gotten hotter, the conversations are suddenly changing, taking us down new and uncharted roads.

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Today, Catholics recall the ten Commandments in the book of Exodus. Bishop Barron is not alone in likening this time of Lent to spring training for athletes or to boot camp for soldiers. It’s a time to review the familiar basics which nevertheless challenge us still.  Here are the bishop’s very brief reflections on the […]

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Abraham and Isaac

 

“How could the Lord ask a father to sacrifice the life of his own son?” That’s the wrong question. At least, it’s a terrible place to stop. It is like objecting to a scene in a novel or film before the story or even the chapter has concluded. Abraham does not kill his son. The Lord’s messenger stops him. That episode ends rather with this oath from the Lord:

“[…] because you acted as you did
in not withholding from me your beloved son,
I will bless you abundantly
and make your descendants as countless
as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore;
your descendants shall take possession
of the gates of their enemies,
and in your descendants all the nations of the earth
shall find blessing—
all this because you obeyed my command.”

Split Focus

 

God began early, hunting me down and taking hold of me when I was just a child in Farmington, Connecticut. I wasn’t born there, but close by in Maine at a Naval hospital that no longer calls itself a hospital, and to this day still raises questions of its location; Maine or New Hampshire? My parents weren’t exactly religious given my father was a rigid perfectionist and my mother was a neurotic depressive. I emerged from the womb happy, which was taken advantage of by my mother and beheld with contempt by my father.

I say this to now say that we sometimes went to church (at least until the elders came to the house to collect offerings and ticked off my mother), I didn’t go to catechism, and in third grade, I was best friends with a Jewish girl who had never heard of Jesus until I told her about Him while playing out in the field near the school’s monkey bars. I don’t remember exactly when I found Him, except maybe the one summer I went to vacation Bible school in Farmington and we used felt-covered boards and characters to show Jesus running down the hill away from the big boulder chasing Him from the tomb. The young teen-aged teacher was creative even if not theologically sound.

Chef’s Surprise: Taste & See

 

I’m going to cheat a little bit here and not write about food at all. Instead, I’m going to talk about one of my favorite verses in all of Scripture. In fact, I love it so much that it’s in my email signature.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the person who takes refuge in him!”
Psalms 34:8 CSB

The Dignity of Fate

 

“It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you” —John 15: 16

The gospel of Christianity is not only that the Creator loves us, that He understands us, and that He accepted the due punishment of our misdeeds so that we may join His holy family in the splendor of the Lord’s presence. The “good news” is also that there is a place in His plans for all. Our lives are never without purpose and value. 

Love Thy Neighbor

 

It is when we have the most cause to hate and reject our neighbors that we most need to remember the command to love them. Yes, my fellow Christians, it is a command and not merely an invitation. Though no challenge could be so difficult to fulfill, it is the foundation rather than the pinnacle of Christian love. It is a challenge not reserved only for the holiest saints but rather put to every one of us. Our Lord and Creator doesn’t even stop there. “Love thy neighbor as thy self.”

A philosophy professor and friend once caught me off guard by claiming that the Golden Rule is nothing special. Any person raised in a good home knows not to mistreat others as oneself doesn’t want to be abused.

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I can only paraphrase the Canadian bishop I heard by chance. He recalled when the Apostles were caught in a violent storm, sure the boat would capsize and they all would drown. Jesus demonstrated His lordship over all by calming the water. Not your typical Christmas remembrance.  Preview Open

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Earlier this week, a massive fire engulfed the Collegiate Church of New York, part of a group of historic churches that identified originally as reformed Protestant. In a Fox News report, firefighters responded quickly, but the historic church was already in flames. The fire is reported to have started in a building next door. “Built […]

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Loving Pain as Given: A Review of Heroes, a Dark Twist on the Grateful Acre

 

For B, and other youth whose grateful acres host, if not prairies, at least patchy meadows. And for Gary McVey.

It’s been a year since Will Arbery’s play, Heroes of the Fourth Turning, took the conservative Catholic blogosphere – or rather, that part able to see the play or a private script – by storm. Now the script is available to the public. I ordered my copy here. If you can afford to, read it. Theaters remain closed, but the theater of imagination richly rewards reading a play. Reading reveals motifs easy to miss when a play just happens to you in performance and you can’t revisit it. This review addresses unspoken pressures, like the prosperity gospel (which may not influence orthodox Christians’ theology, but can influence their social expectations), behind what conservatives speculate is Heroes’ demonic finale, the “We” who may, or may not be, Legion.

Pro-life Christian: A Definition

 

I read something today that was patently absurd: “I’m a pro-life Christian, and I’m voting for Biden.”

I think Inigo Montoya probably said it best. “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

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Recently I came across an article titled The Tragedy of Voting for the “Lesser of Two Evils” by Austin Rogers, via the Libertarian Christian Institute. I was intrigued by the title because I have been thinking lately about the Christian’s relation to the ballot box. I believe there are many good reasons why Christians ought to […]

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Here in PDF format is this year’s political guidance letter from the American Catholic bishops. For someone who has repeatedly thought about the issues in depth and has been educated about many Church teachings, the document might be more bother than aid. Ethical principles are touched on too briefly to offer much insight or to […]

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