Readers may have noticed that I haven't updated much this month. It's been a long one. For one reason and another -- especially the attacks that have been launched against my friends at Spiritual Friendship (and, to a lesser extent, against myself) by Deacon Russell -- I've been positively exhausted. I'm hoping to have a chance to convalesce with some friends early next month, but I will probably be largely away until after that time.
On the subject of Spiritual Friendship, however, Ron Belgau -- a founding member of the blog, who has been invited to address the World Meeting of Families during Pope Francis' imminent visit -- has written a really outstanding piece on the relationship and contrasts between them/ourselves and that of Courage Apostolate, whose outlook and methods are rather different. Belgau writes:
In a 1996 interview, a journalist asked then-Cardinal Ratzinger how many ways there are to God. Ratzinger's response was:
"As many as there are people. For even within the same faith each man's way is an entirely personal one. We have Christ's word: I am the way. In that respect ... everyone who is on the way to God is therefore also in some sense on the way of Jesus Christ. But that does not mean that all the ways are identical ... on the contrary, the one way is so big that it becomes a personal way for each man."
Read the essay in full here.... [T]he Church has always embraced a variety of approaches to spiritual growth. God gives diverse gifts, and those gifts build up the Body of Christ in diverse ways. The Catholic Church has always recognized this and so welcomed and encouraged different approaches to cultivating our own spiritual growth, sharing the Gospel, and reaching out to those in need.
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I neither know enough, nor have the strength, to write a piece on the ghastly situation confronting refugees from the war in Syria (though they are by no means fleeing only from Syria). I can, however, provide my readers with this link to Catholic Relief Services, which is providing refugees with housing, food, medical care, and trauma counseling. I urge you to offer your prayers and your resources to God for these people. The United States can do more, and that starts with us, personally, deciding to do more.
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Joseph Prever of Gay, Catholic, and Feeling Fine is blogging again, if you weren't aware! (Though let's be honest, if you read Mudblood Catholic you were probably a Steve Gershom fan already.)
I am very happy about this: Joseph's a good friend and an extremely funny, smart, devoted man, whom I'm glad and privileged to walk alongside. (Admittedly he's further along than I am, but he's never once made me feel bad about it, which is pretty phenomenal, especially since I'm the sort of person apt to resent being passed by other cars on the highway.) He posted this excerpt from an interview with the Catholic World Report last month, conducted after he spoke to Courage's leadership at their conference in July.
And speaking of interviews with funny and intelligent Catholics, if you're familiar with the Eye of the Tiber (a satirical Catholic e-paper, along the lines of the Onion), this dialogue with its creator, S. C. Naoum, is truly delightful. Well, and if you aren't familiar with the Eye, it's still delightful.
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I couldn't think of a fourth thing, so I suggest reading the Evil Overlord List on TVtropes. It's chock-full of excellent advice for when you, personally, become a megalomaniacal villain, complete with lair and minions. A few of my own favorites:
16. I will never utter the sentence, "But before I kill you, there's just one thing I want to know."
34. I will not turn into a snake. It never helps.
47. If I learn that a callow youth has begun a quest to destroy me, I will slay him while he is still a callow youth instead of waiting for him to mature.
67. No matter how many shorts we have in the system, my guards will be instructed to treat every surveillance camera malfunction as a full-scale emergency.
85. I will not use any plan in which the final step is horribly complicated, e.g. "Align the 12 Stones of Power on the sacred altar, then activate the medallion at the moment of total eclipse." Instead it will be more along the lines of "Push the button."
Where in this day and age you will find a suitable top hat and mustache wax, dear reader, I leave to you.
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Mass this past Sunday was peculiarly consoling. For whatever reason -- maybe because we're back on to our ordinary schedule, in which the liturgy I attend is at 10 in the morning instead of 9 -- the prayers and texts reached me more than they generally have of late. I thought I'd share some of them here.
I am the saving help of my people, saith the LORD God: out of whatsoever tribulation they shall pray unto me, I will surely help them, and I will be their God for ever and ever. Hear my law, O my people: incline your ears unto the words of my mouth. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost: as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Grant us, O Lord, not to mind earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to cleave to those that shall abide; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Lesson (Wisdom 2.12, 17-20, RSV-CE)
The wicked say: "Let us lie in wait for the righteous man, because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions; he reproaches us for sins against the law, and accuses us of sins against our training. Let us see if his words are true, and let us test what will happen at the end of his life; for if the righteous man is God's son, he will help him, and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries. Let us test him with insult and torture, that we may find out how gentle he is, and make trial of his forbearance. Let us condemn him to a shameful death, for according to what he says, he will be protected."
Epistle (James 3.16-4.3)
Brethren: Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity. And the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. What causes wars and dissensions among you? Is it not your passions that are at war in your members? You desire and do not have; so you kill. And you covet and cannot obtain; so you fight and wage war. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
Graciously raise up, O Lord, those you renew with this Sacrament, that we may come to possess your redemption both in mystery and in the manner of our life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.