Showing posts with label Humility. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Humility. Show all posts

20 Mar 2017

Saint Joseph: The Silent Saint of Salvific Service


Saint Joseph, a man of few words; no – make that no words –had a huge impact on salvation history. He is portrayed in the Bible, without ever having spoken one word. All mention of him is in the third person. Yet, silent Saint Joseph was one of the most important instruments of Christ’s salvific action.

Had Joseph refused to take Mary as his wife, Mary would have been placed in a tenuous situation, and so would the safety of her child, Jesus. You see, in Mary’s day, if a woman was caught having relations with a man out of wedlock, she could have been stoned to death. Because Mary was pregnant with Jesus, everyone else would have assumed that Mary was having relations with a man. Therefore, no one would have understood that Mary’s pregnancy was a result of the Holy Spirit’s overshadowing of Mary. Saint Joseph’s silent “yes,” – his own “fiat,” to taking Mary as his wife – paved the way for fulfilling God’s plan for salvation. Thus, Jesus could be given a safe and secure means to grow to manhood. Read more...

3 Feb 2017

Footprints in Ancient Ash

Scientists are pretty sure that Saccorhytus coronarius is an ancestor of lancets, sea squirts, fish, amphibians, reptiles, dinosaurs, and mammals: including us.

Much more recently, about 3,660,000 years back, five Australopithecus afarensis strolled across volcanic ash. One of them was "astonishingly larger" than any other A. afarensis we know of. Exactly what that means isn't, I think, clear. Not yet.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

18 Jan 2017

Stealing God’s Job: Defying Reality

Just like most people, I do not simply break a rule here and there;  no, like every other human being, I continually break the most fundamental law of the universe without any conscious effort by refusing to accept reality. 

Instead of realizing my place in the universe, as one of God’s creations, I put on masks and false personalities in a vain attempt to deny my very nature. 

In pride, I act like a queen at the centre my own little world. Even worse, I steal God’s job by trying to save myself by my own efforts.


continue reading

23 Oct 2016

The Virtue Trap

I generally identify with the tax collector in today's Gospel reading: Luke 18:9-14.

That's okay, since emulating "those who were convinced of their own righteousness," despising everyone else, is a bad idea.

The problem wasn't what the Pharisee was doing.

Fasting, within reason, is a good idea. It can be part of penance. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1434, 1438, 2043)

Along with tithing, it's part of being a Catholic.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

17 Oct 2016

Pride Will Infiltrate Your Soul; Chiseling Required to Uproot


We conclude with the seventh installment of our seven-part series on the seven deadly sins. Today we discuss Pride: the root of all evil!

Pride will infiltrate your soul, leaving no room for anything else. It will drive your thoughts and actions, if you let it. You don’t even know what is happening to you at the time. Unbeknownst to me, that is exactly what happened to me! Only upon reflection, and with a true dose of honesty, can one start the process of moving from prideful to humble. Here is my story:

When I was a child,... Read more...

5 Oct 2016

Gluttony Will Harm You Physically, Spiritually: Time to Do Something About It



We continue with the fourth installment of our seven-part series on the seven deadly sins. Today we discuss Gluttony.

Gluttony, the overindulgence of eating/drinking to excess, will physically and spiritually harm you if left unchecked and unaddressed. Overeating/drinking can result in physical illnesses such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and liver disease, just to name a few. Gluttony robs you of the life you were meant to live, because you become the slave to the object of your temporal desire. You become fixated on the food and/or the drink.

Gluttony causes you to use food and/or drink to ... Read more...

11 Aug 2016

The Spirituality and Miracles of St. Clare of Assisi



August 11 is the memorial of St. Clare, one of my favorite saints. She was the first woman to follow the life of radical poverty practiced by St. Francis of Assisi and is the co-founder of the Poor Clares. Although I am not a Franciscan, I have had Franciscan friends, clergy, and spiritual directors instruct me on the beauty of St. Clare's spirituality. I have also learned a great deal from reading about her over the years. Clare and Francis (2007) is a film which depicts the fascinating story of her dramatic conversion and surrender to the will of God.

St. Clare is the patron saint of television. She is also the patron of eye disorders, embroiderers, good weather, and telephones.

The Contemplative Life

The Lady Clare was born into a noble family in Assisi in 1193 and was admired for her great beauty. When she heard Francis of Assisi preach his Lenten homilies at the Church of San Giorgio, she was captivated by his words. At age eighteen, she heard him say: "When there is poverty with joy, there is inner peace."  She became deeply determined to live out the gospel message in a radical way. On the evening of Palm Sunday, she secretly left her paternal home with her cousin Pacifica, never to return. In the dead of night lit only by torches, Clare met Francis and his friars at the ‘Portiuncola’. There, in the little chapel of ‘Mary of the Angels’, Francis cut her long blond hair and Clare laid aside her fine clothes, clothing herself in a simple dress of sackcloth and a thick veil. She vowed from that moment on to give herself totally to God, her eternal spouse.

Read more at Catholic Fire.

31 Jul 2016

Humility isn't Being Delusional

Truthfulness and humility are virtues, pride is a sin, and we’re supposed to practice humility.1

So Olympic athletes should say they're puny?

Small wonder some folks think faith makes no sense.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

15 Jun 2016

Presence Evangelism


Now the Spirit of God is moving among the grassroots. It is the time 
for the little people to shine.

 God is choosing humble, ordinary people who have suffered and lived obscure lives faithful to Him and allowed Him to purify and mold them into His presence. 
Such men and women attract others who are hungry for God because people sense the love and power of God in them. There is no room for pride or ego because it is all about God saving them in their littleness.
continue reading

9 May 2016

Tim McGraw: "Humble and Kind"


Not sure if y’all knew this or not, but I am a big country music fan. I heard Tim McGraw sing his new song, Humble and Kind, at a recent Country Music Awards show. Then, I seemed to catch it every time it played on the radio. Tim McGraw has a wonderfully distinct voice and this song speaks to my heart. Being the lover of virtue that I am, I immediately honed in on the lyrics, as well as the melody, of the song. I had some thoughts on the underlying message, but I was interested in learning how Tim McGraw interpreted the lyrics. So, I went to YouTube to see the video. Visual messages seem to have a way of really drilling the concept home. The video... Read more...

23 Feb 2016

Illusion or Reality? Pride or Humility?

During Lent, God presents us with a fundamental choice. Will we choose to continue to live in our human illusions or will we allow God to reveal His reality to us? Will we cling to false pride or embrace true humility? All too often we think we are more humble than we really are, especially if we have been striving to grow spiritually for a long time.
The Pharisees were also earnest about their religious practices. As Christians, it is easy to denigrate the Jewish Pharisees, thinking we have risen above such behaviour because we live in New Testament times, no longer under the burden of the Old Testament Laws. However, before we judge these men too harshly, we should remember they were simply striving to be good, observant Jews. In their zeal, they inadvertently ended up seeking respect for themselves rather than inspiring love for God.

15 Jan 2016

Transforming Prayer with Humility and Confidence


I think God is pleased with all our prayers, no matter how imperfect they may be. After all, even if we’re pretty distracted, the fact that we’re praying tells God that we care. We believe in him. We want him involved in our lives. And he’s merciful. If we take one step toward him, he’ll take ten toward us.
So if you’re praying and trying to connect with God even just once a day (more about how to do that here), you’re already doing great.
But there is a way to make our prayers more meaningful. Our attitudes make a difference. Not because God gives more grace or less grace depending on how “good” our prayer is, but because the state of our mind and heart makes a difference on how open we are to receiving that grace. Think of the simple image of a cup. You’re standing before a waterfall. The water flows on, and on, and on… ceaselessly. How much you receive depends on you, and the cup you bring with you. If your cup is full of other stuff, you can’t take as much water away with you. If your cup is empty, you can take more.

30 Dec 2015

A Dream of Padre Pio

Before God gave me my current Spiritual Director,
I was feeling very alone, and I asked God to send me someone to guide me. 
That night I had a dream. I was in a large beautiful Church, like a Cathedral. The floors where marble.
Padre Pio came up to me carrying an open book, He......

3 Nov 2015

A Parable: Squeaky Clean and Sloppy Joe

Squeaky Clean, a wealthy but honest businessman, was dissatisfied with life.  Although he was a practising Catholic as well as an active member of his parish, God seemed far away. Even worse his inner spirit was withering. When he stumbled on  a beautiful farm for sale, he just knew this was God’s answer to his dilemma.  Surely a back-to-the-earth lifestyle would bring him closer to God.

Squeaky Clean worked long hours renovating the farmhouse, building barns, silos and fences, clearing brush and planting gardens. After a few years, his farm was charming and well-kept, a stark contrast to Sloppy Joe’s messy place just down the road.  Neighbours marvelled because not only was his farm picture perfect.

15 Oct 2015

Spiritual Freedom

“You can be right. You can be dead right and bring death to all those around you."- Jean Vanier ( founder of L’Arche) 
Holy people realize the closer they actually get to God, the less they really know. They are the simple souls who simply look at God and let Him gaze with love on them in return.

25 Sep 2015

Mercy and Not Judgment




I have not been able to shake a heavy feeling I've had since I first heard the news about the Kentucky clerk who refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses. The heaviness, I’ve come to realize, has had very little to do with the issue of same-sex marriage. What I’ve been feeling is embarrassed by my fellow Christians.

11 Sep 2015

Big Eyes, Bonobo Squeaks

Neanderthals apparently had bigger eyes than folks living today. One scientist says that means they didn't play well with others.

Bonobos, chimps living south of the Congo River, squeak. The squeaks are the same, whether they're happy, sad, or angry — and may tell us something about how language developed....

...I think accepting God's universe 'as is' makes sense, so I'll ramble on about hubris, movies, and St. Thomas Aquinas, before discussing Neanderthals and squeaking bonobos....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

26 Jul 2015

Why Make a Universe?


(From NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); ESA/Hubble Collaboration; used w/o permission.)
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky proclaims its builder's craft."
(Psalms 19:2)
Genesis 1:1-31 says that God created the universe, and us, and found everything "very good."

Psalms 19:2 says that the celestial light show declares the glory of God.

Who is this message being directed at?

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

4 Jun 2015

Grant Me a Humble, Teachable Spirit

Today’s Gospel: Mark 12:28-34
ScribeThis passage is a unique exchange between one of the scribes and Jesus. This particular scribe is not out to ensnare Jesus but approaches Him with an open, honest, and extremely intelligent mind. Jesus is actually impressed by this man’s insights and intuitive understanding of the Word of God; even though He does not give the man a traditional, rote answer, the scribe agrees and even expands on Christ’s answer with further insights that are in keeping with the spirit of Jesus’s own, new spirituality.
The scribe asks, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replies, quoting from the Old Testament:
“The first is this: The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Now Jesus has added a second commandment to the traditional, Old Testament command. However, the scribe is not offended but becomes excited as he agrees with Christ’s addition

29 Mar 2015

Humility, Science, and Accepting Reality

I could be a Christian, following my Lord, if I believed that we live on a flat plate with nothing between us and the cosmic ocean but a sold dome that holds the stars.

But my faith doesn't depend on maintaining ignorance of what we've learned in the last two dozen or so centuries.

Imagery in 1 Samuel 2:8 and Psalms 148:4 is beautiful, poetic, and consistent with Mesopotamian cosmology: hardly surprising, considering where the Hebrews lived.

That was then, this is now, and we've learned quite a bit about the universe since the days of Kubaba and Enmerkar. Some details of their lives seem exaggerated, but folks still pad their resumes, and that — isn't another topic....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

The Past: What We Know, What We Don'’t

I was writing about cancer and medical knowledge we've accumulated over the last few millennia, when I realized that I'd gotten mo...