John Allen, Jr.
During his presentation, Allen talked about his book, which looks at 10 trends changing the Church now and over the next century.
Allen said he's observed them in action during his years of studying the Church.
"I'm not suggesting to you that these are the 10 forces that ought to be shaping the future of the Catholic Church," he said. "Based upon literally hundreds of thousands of miles of travel on the highways and byways of the Catholic world, this is my attempt to identify forces that really are shaping the Catholic future, whatever you and I may privately think about them."
After naming the 10 trends, Allen zeroed in on four of them. The first was the massive demographic change of the global Catholic population.
Before the population explosion of the 20th century, he said, in 1900 there were 266 million Catholics, and 200 million lived in Europe or North America. Many of the rest lived in Latin America.
By 2000, he said, there were 1.1 billion Catholics in the world, with 720 million in the global south, which he defined as Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Oceania.
Allen said the percentage of total Catholics who live in the global south grew from 25 per cent in 1900 to 66 per cent in 2000 and is projected to be 75 per cent by 2050.
"This, ladies and gentlemen, is the most rapid, the most sweeping, the most profound transformation of Catholic demography in more than 2000 years of Church history," Allen said. "And we are living through it right now."
Allen said this trend is significant because of the different perspectives in the global south compared to Europe and North America. He said for many in the south the supernatural is real, and all illness involves spirits, meaning that Catholics in the north need to enter into that mindset when working with the global south.
He added there is not the threat of secularization in the global south, the fear of many Catholics in the developed world. Instead, he said the issue is pluralism, from a "healthy religious marketplace."
Young CatholicsBiotech future
Perhaps most significant, Allen said, is that 90 per cent of the human population under the age of 14 lives in the southern hemisphere, and the Catholic Church reflects those demographics.
"When you visit a typical Catholic parish in sub-Saharan Africa, you often don't know if you are in a Church or in a daycare centre," Allen said.
He said that with so many young people, there is a sense of optimism and dynamism that is very significant.
"It gives you a sense of future, and that very much characterizes the psychology of Church leaders in the global south," he said. "They believe that their historical moment to lead has come."
In the global north, Allen said that a revival in Catholic identity is also a trend that will shape the Church.
He said this is partly a bottom-up movement, where there is a "palpable evangelical energy" among the core of committed young Catholics who grew up after the Second Vatican Council.
"These younger Catholics did not grow up in the stuffy, old Church that they're reacting against," Allen said. "They grew up in a rootless, secular world." This, he said, partly explains the renewed interest in traditions such as the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.
Allen also discussed outside forces that are affecting the Church, such as the biotech industry and globalization.
He said as scientific research continues to move into morally ambiguous territory, the examination of ethical questions could be "ceded to a high priesthood of scientific experts leaving the rest of us feeling disenfranchised."
It will be an important job of the Church, Allen said, to keep the average person in this ethical debate.
"It's going to be an enormous pastoral priority of the Church in the 21st century to make sure that ordinary people remain stakeholders in this conversation."
He added that globalization, which helped to "expand the circle of opportunity" to countries in the global south, continues to have that potential. He said it is important for the Church to continue to forge relationships with secular powers to make a difference, citing the Jubilee 2000 debt relief movement as a shining example.
He concluded by saying these trends could be positive or negative, depending on how Catholics react to them.
"These trends are tremendously exciting. I think they are all rich in potential to unleash creative new Catholic energy. We also have to admit that they are fraught with peril. I think the principal peril is that they could exacerbate the existing divisions within the Church."
Monday, February 28, 2011
OTTAWA - At 53, and a bishop for only two years, Archbishop-elect Gerald Cyprien Lacroix was surprised to get the call to replace Cardinal Marc Ouellet as archbishop of Quebec.
Lacroix knew there were many other good candidates with “lots more experience.”
“So I’m surprised, I’m humbled, and with joy I accept,” Lacroix said. “It is the Lord’s will through the Pope, through the consultation and the prayers of the people,” he said, noting that he knows accepting God’s will “is a source of joy,” and has given him peace, “although it’s a big responsibility.”
Ouellet, who left Quebec in August to become Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, one of the top three positions in the Vatican, would have played a significant role in advising Pope Benedict XVI on Lacroix’s selection. Lacroix has served as the diocesan administrator of the Quebec archdiocese since Ouellet’s departure.
Lacroix did not get the usual telephone call from papal nuncio Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana when he was informed of the Holy Father’s appointment. Instead of offering Lacroix the position, Quintana invited him to Ottawa.
“He didn’t want to ask me over the phone,” said Lacroix, adding they “had a long chat” before he accepted.
“The nuncio explained to me the Holy Father wanted someone like you and someone who believed in the new evangelization and someone who is close to the people.”
Lacroix also assumes the role as primate of Canada. Though the title is an honorific one that goes with North America’s oldest See, Ouellet filled the role with a moral authority that spoke to the whole of Quebec and the rest of Canada as well. Asked if he expected a mantle of national leadership to fall on him, Lacroix acknowledged “there will be some expectations.”
“The stakes are very high and the people are putting the bar very high,” he said. “I am named archbishop of Quebec to take care of the flock of the Lord here.
“I hope to have a lot of influence in my diocese and bring people together to unity, to Christ, to evangelization. The rest, we’ll see what happens. I’m not looking any further right now, I have plenty on my hands.”
In a Feb. 22 news conference, televised over ECDQ.TV, the Quebec archdiocese’s Internet-based television network, Lacroix described himself as a simple man, a man of the land and of the people, whose biggest passion is sharing the Good News of the Gospel and inviting people to a personal encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Asked about Ouellet’s influence on him, he said he gained much from the cardinal, and praised his love for the Word of God and his courage.
As a response to the “Walk for Choice,” anonymous teens and young
adults organized a “Pro-Life Flash Mob” over the span of a few
days. The goal of the event was not to counter-protest, but to give a
positive message of joy and life to Chicago.
The youth assembled inconspicuously around the plaza before the rally
hiding their giant yellow balloons in black trash bags. When the
“Walk for Choice” had assembled, the youth prompted by music
coming from a backpack sound system then proceeded to unveil the helium balloons imprinted with the word “LIFE.”
These exclusive videos shows the “Pro-Life Flash Mob” taking the
“pro-choicers” by surprise with Life, Spirit, and Truth!
As participants of the “Walk for Choice” were asked to wear orange for
the event, so the Pro-Life flash mob jovially asks in their sign:
“ORANGE YOU GLAD TO SEE US???”
Which side has more joy?
More videos at Father Z's.
The pro-life movement is being taken over by beautiful young people like this.
"I got the Director of Worship on the phone. I said, “I want to report some liturgical abuse.” I never knew this before, but you can actually hear eye-rolling over the phone.LOL
Otherwise, an interesting post over at Fr. Z's.
Anglicans on the way to full communion in an ordinariate are already discovering that they are part of a surprising adventure of faith. I refer not only to the step of personal commitment, but to a wider and deeper corporate experience of unity in the Faith that comes to us from the Apostles. This Faith of the Church is secured by being “in communion” with the Successor of St Peter.
What some nervous Anglo Catholic may imagine as coming under tighter control, with a narrower vision, is in reality quite the opposite. Catholic unity in faith is a broadening experience – entering a wider domain with endless vistas, yet knowing all the while that here there is always a secure parameter which Chesterton once compared to a garden wall giving children the security to play and be happy. While that is true, I would prefer to emphasize the authoritative point of reference at the centre of the Faith of millions.
This point of reference was identified and celebrated in a magnificent gesture of commitment, when the bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion signed the Catechism of the Catholic Church in Fr Dolling’s historic church at Portsmouth in October 2007. Their action was prophetic, anticipating what would appear two years later in Pope Benedict’s apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, where we read “The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the authoritative expression of the Catholic faith professed by members of the Ordinariate.” (1 § 5).
Sunday, February 27, 2011
I understand why many Christians who come into full communion bristle at the use of the term "convert." That word, used in that way, does not properly apply to them, as it denigrates the sincerity, the dignity and the grace of their prior faith practices as followers of Christ.
There are a couple of things that can be done to move away from a practice that is understandably offensive. First, we can all strive to use language more precisely. Don't say "convert" when it does not apply.
The second thing that could be done — and it would be a real service to those who are sincerely confused on this point — would be for our bishops and pastors to rethink the way people are received. Since the apostolic era, the Church has had a sense of a catechumate, persons of different cult who are discerning the Faith and contemplating requesting baptism. Since the Great Schism, the Church has understood that this is a very different situation from that of baptized faithful in impaired communion who are contemplating coming into full communion.
Then, at just the moment in history when many Church leaders decided that formal catechism instruction for its members had ceased to be "relevant," along came the instructional model of RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults), which in practice, and despite the transparently clear meaning of its name, is indiscriminately applied to a wide range of people whose faith and pastoral needs vary greatly.
Drop in to an RCIA class at your local parish and you are likely to find a lively mix of Episcopalians, Lutherans, Baptists, Mormons, Jews and others, all of them inquiring sincerely, and all of them entitled to respectful treatment of their present beliefs. And the fact is, the Episcopalians and the Lutherans are baptized Christians, the Baptists may or may not be baptized but are thoroughly and sincerely professed Christians, while the rest are genuine catechumens.
We correctly apply the term "convert" to the catechumens (if they go all the way). But we treat the inquiring Christians identically. In many parishes we exclude them all, Christian and pagan alike, from the greatest mystery of the Faith (even if they have been memorializing it in separation all of their lives), publicly dismissing them after the Gospel to go off to lay-led rap sessions at which they seek to "break open the Word."
Can we blame the people in the pews (John and Mary Catholic, as one bishop disparages us) if we think of all the newcomers as "converts," if we fail to recognize that some of the "converts" are our Christian brothers and sisters who in some cases may be better catechized than we are?
Young people do foolish things because they can't foresee the consequences. For this reason, it is incumbent to offer them negative examples, vividly bringing to their attention the life outcomes a certain, superficially attractive, course of action entails.Shocking, eh? You should go check out the rest. Very sad.
The Multnomah County (Portland, OR) Sherriff has posted to the web a gallery of before and after mug shots of people with drug offences. This link ought to be shared with all young people.
Dr. Sanity has some interesting thoughts on addiction:
Part of my job is dealing with chemical addictions and the addicts who have them. One definition of chemical dependency that I particularly like and have seen validated over and over again is this: "Chemical dependency is essentially a committed pathological love relationship to a mood altering chemical substance."
This reality is sometimes hard to believe, especially when you regularly observe the chaotic mess most of the lives of addicts are. Especially the chronically homeless (because of drugs); the chronically penniless (because of drugs); the chronically friendless and isolated (except for other addicts); and the chronically angry and paranoid (because of drugs). But, if you ask an addict why he takes drugs, he is very likely to tell that he likes or enjoys them.
She then goes on to talk about how so many in America are addicted to spending other peoples' money.
Their love of and dependence on your money is extremely strong. They feel they cannot live without it; and they will fight to keep on getting it--even behaving in ways that are deplorable and socially reprehensible. Like the biological addicts, they are willing to lie, cheat and do violence in order to remain in this committed and pathological relationship with your money. And, in addition, they have the delusional belief that they are entitled to it without question, without possibility of alteration for forever. Are you broke? Too bad. They are entitled to continue to get it.
Withdrawal or even detoxification efforts (gradual changes) are met with anger and rage and increasingly unreasonable demands and threats. Having had free access to your money for so long time, their perception of reality is distorted; their judgment is impaired. They can no longer see what is happening in the world around them and attempts to make them understand how their behavior is impacting the rest of the social network is met with utter and complete psychological denial.
Lately, we have been witnessing the rage of these addicts on a daily basis on our TV sets and even perhaps in our communities.
Let us continually be aware that each person approaches this matter of moving toward communion with Rome from a different perspective, e.g., personal background, theological understanding, current catechesis, etc. These differences in perspective raise significant challenges for the community. For example, there are those of us (I include myself in this group) who have for several years believed everything the Catholic Church believes. Consequently, the move to communion is merely the logical result of our beliefs. However, and I will speak for myself, the "baggage" I carry is when I am confronted with talk that I am a "convert." By dictionary definition conversion is change in belief. When I am received into the Catholic Church I will change nothing in terms of my belief. I will merely be where I belong given those beliefs. So, this talk of "conversion" may be a source of consternation for some.
There are some interesting responses to this post, including this one from a knowledgeable Catholic layman who calls himself "Norm."
Yes, and well it should be a cause of consternation — and not only for those who are coming into the Catholic Church, but also for those who continue in the denominations and especially congregations from which they come. Such misuse of terms such as "convert" and "conversion" implies either that the Catholic church does not adhere to Christian faith or that the denomination from which they come does not adhere to Christian faith. The dogmatic constitution Lumen Gentium promulgated by the Second Vatican Council infallibly contradicted both of these assertions. The consequent alienation of non-Catholic congregations does not exactly further the cause of ecumenism, either. Thus, I cringe whenever I encounter such misuse.
And Norm writes this to:
A Catholic in Pittsburgh,
You wrote: As a cradle Catholic, I find the use of the term "communion" in this sense to be quite odd. While I certainly understand its intended meaning and take absolutely no offense/offence, it just sounds so "Protestant" to my ear since I usually associate the term with the ever-shifting alliances or communions between various Protestant denominations. When my eyes read "communion" on this blog, my mind's ear hears "unity with."
Unfortunately, this is a case of pastors failing to teach the right way to the people in the pews for about forty years. As part of the liturgical reforms after the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI promulgated the Order of Reception of Baptized Christians into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church for reception of individuals baptized in other denominations. This order of worship was published both in an appendix in the volume containing the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and in a separate booklet in the very early 1970's (IIRC, my copy of the separate booklet has a copyright date of 1972).
Going back even further, in the dogmatic constitution Lumen gentium on the church, which is intrinsically infallible, the Second Vatican Council stated that there is an imperfect communion among all Christian denominations based on what we have in common. This document is nearly fifty years old.
You wrote: As part of my parish's RCIA instructor team, we are taught to never use the word "convert." It's not the church's proper term for Christians being "received into" the church, yet everyone in our class routinely refers to themselves or their spouses as converts.
Argh! "Fr. Clueless" strikes again, apparently in the person of your pastor!!!
The General Instructions to both the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) and the Order of Reception of Baptized Christians into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church state quite clearly that those baptized in other denominations who are coming into full communion do not belong in the RICA. Rather, the latter stipulates that they are to receive individual instruction tailored to their circumstances and their previous formation. Only those who come from either unbelief or non-Christian faith, who really are converts and thus are correctly called converts, belong in the RCIA. Further, the same general instructions very strongly imply that the reception of baptized Christians into the full communion of the Catholic Church also should NOT occur at the Easter Vigil.
Of course all of us are constantly called to deeper and deeper levels of conversion, to become more and more truly Catholic, but that's different from being a "convert."
Saturday, February 26, 2011
If you are going to accuse me of thundering, don’t quote a line that shows me calmly and accurately describing an admittedly controversial situation. Doing so only causes readers to shift their focus from me to you, making them wonder "What sort of hypersensitivity to religious commentary must Collins have if he views a line like that as thundering? Collins needs to read some Jonathan Edwards or Samuel Parris if he really thinks Peters is thundering here.” *
Heh heh heh. Gotta bookmark this guy.
Since it is so hard to post comments on this blog and hard as well to see whether there are comments, I thought I would highlight it here:
Father Lewis Berry
I love this post.
It is the multitude of small events that really constitute the most of life in our earthly existence and which, added together, help condition our souls - for better or worse. Everyday courtesies, careful and caring service, doing small jobs well, and friendship offered and received in even brief and fleeting and casual encounters, and above all an awareness and appreciation of these things: all that can be the difference between a bleak, cold, sterile existence and a life which even during hard times has its small moments of warmth and joy.
Thank you, Fr. Lewis, and I look forward to meeting you at the Anglicanorum coetibus conference in Mississauga Mar. 24-26.
There’s no doubt whatsoever that the KJV is one of the great masterpieces of the English language. We use phrases from it every day, often without realising we’re doing so. Much the same can be said of the Book of Common Prayer – one may take issue with the late Archbishop Cranmer’s Zwingliite deviationism, but his command of language is magnificent. In both cases, it’s the fact that the text was designed to be read aloud, and in the solemn setting of worship, that gives the language its extraordinary power.
In this week’s editorial column, [in The Tablet] we have – conveniently enough – a reflection on the KJV anniversary, which then morphs into a whinge about the new Missal, getting in a sly dig at the Douay-Rheims translation on the way:
But the Catholic version… stayed as close to the Latin Vulgate as possible. It introduced English versions of Latin words, and translated obscure passages equally obscurely lest any theological nuances were lost. The Anglican translators, on the other hand, sought – not always successfully – to resolve uncertainties of meaning rather than reproduce them, and they preferred words of Anglo-Saxon origin to Latin or Greek.
Ahem. Anyone who’s ever done translation work, should it even be translating a passage of Cicero at school, will know there’s a constant tension between being faithful to your source and rendering your translation in idiomatic English. That can never be avoided. That said, I think this account of the Douay-Rheims is a little tendentious – as Bible translations go, it isn’t really all that difficult compared to the KJV, and what you lose in immediacy you gain in accuracy.
But let us return to the Peppermint Spinster:
Differences of approach such as those between the King James and the Douay-Rheims versions are still alive today. Like the latter, the anxiously awaited new Catholic Missal in English has put literal accuracy above sensitivity to language, which is why many are warning that the rendering will be clumsy. [Though the old Missal isn’t exactly Henry James, is it?] At least the translation at present in use, whatever its shortcomings as literature [Told ya!], tried to stay closer to contemporary speech patterns, as did the translators commissioned by King James.
You what? “Contemporary speech patterns”, forsooth. One may argue that the KJV is somewhat less stilted than Douay-Rheims, but any fule kno that the language of the KJV was archaic even for its time, and deliberately so. Such was felt to be necessary for a translation of sacred texts.
His first book, Aborting America, revealed the advocacy tactics of the abortion industry. The claim he often made that 10,000 women died each year from illegal abortions was entirely fabricated, the true number being around 250. The other effective tactic was make abortion a religious issue, rather than civil rights one.
“We systematically vilified the Catholic Church and its ‘socially backward ideas’ and picked on the Catholic hierarchy as the villain in opposing abortion. This theme was played endlessly,” he wrote.
Given that the United States had just come out of the civil rights movement – led by Christian clergyman – it was a considerable achievement to persuade America that unlimited abortion should be allowed in part because Catholic doctrine was against it.
In 1985 Nathanson produced the film The Silent Scream, an ultrasound image of an actual abortion. Bringing the reality of abortion to the light caused an enormous controversy, as proponents of the abortion licence had to confront what a child being destroyed in the womb looked like. For the pro-life movement it was a major milestone, as it brought new energy to the cause when many were eager to claim that abortion was a settled issue.
It remains the most unsettling of all issues, and Nathanson was deeply unsettled about his role in the 1.5 million annual abortions in the United States. His public policy conversion was but a first step and while remarkable, not unprecedented. On abortion and other issues, changes of position do take place. Yet more difficult was confronting the mystery of evil in his own life.
“Abortion is now a monster so unimaginably gargantuan that even to think of stuffing it back into its cage … is ludicrous beyond words,” he wrote. “Yet that is our charge — a herculean endeavour. I am one of those who helped usher in this barbaric age.”
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) released a video of the protest showing rainbow flag-waving protesters shouting and holding signs stating, “It’s time to stop being nice to anti-gay bigots.” “The Catholic leadership has ranged itself against equal rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community for too long!” declared one homosexualist protester. Others called for an end to government cooperation with the Church’s charitable activities on the basis of its “bigoted” views.
Churchgoers withstood the angry protest passively. One said that the pastor present for the Mass “was almost attacked and was called a bigot.” The Chicago Tribune reported that there was a small counter-protest defending traditional marriage and Cardinal George.
While it was illegal for the protesters to disrupt a religious service, the Chicago City Council announced that police would not enforce the law in this instance - a move that NOM castigated.
“It’s outrageous that the city of Chicago stepped in and basically told police not to enforce a law for this one occasion,” said NOM president Brian Brown.
“Gay Liberation Network is not above the law. If the city believed the ordinance was unconstitutional they should either repeal it for everyone, or go to court to get a determination. What happened instead was indefensible: stripping Catholics of their legal right to attend religious services peacefully.”
“We don’t know yet if this signals a new phase in the gay marriage movement: organized protests at churches nationwide.”
Jeff Field, a spokesman for the Catholic League, told LifeSiteNews.com that the city council’s refusal to protect the Catholic worshippers was “disappointing to say the least.”
“Everybody has a right to practice their religion. For the city council to deny that right for Catholics is disappointing,” said Field, who pointed out that Muslims and Orthodox Jews shared a religious dedication to traditional marriage. “You wonder if they would allow protests in front of a mosque or a synagogue during their religious services,” he said.
I was raised as what I would call a “Broad Church Episcopalian.” In my childhood parish in Somerville, New Jersey, the Eucharist gradually moved from being a once a month main service celebration with “Solemn High Morning Prayer” (with the elevation of the cash!) for the other Sundays of the month to being the principal Service. It was dignified and reverent, and the beauty and power of the Prayer Book’s language took deep root in me.
I first felt a call to the priesthood at the age of fourteen through the holiness of the Rector of our parish. I would arrive in the sacristy on Sundays at about 7:15AM to serve as his acolyte for the 8:00AM Service of Holy Communion. (I arrive at everything early, and am a bit of a punctuality freak.)
Upon arriving in the sacristy, I would always see the Rector kneeling at the communion rail in silent prayer. I had no idea how long he had been there in prayer. He would rise from his knees ten minutes before the Service; would step into the sacristy in silence; put on his vestments; lead a prayer of preparation, and then to the Altar we went.
I was not in any way put off by his silence and refusal to engage in pre-Service conversation. I knew unconsciously that what he was about and what we would be corporately about was very serious, and very holy. I wanted to be like him.
I embraced the Anglo-Catholic tradition when in seminary through my attendance at the Church of the Ascension, Chicago – where I first experienced Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament (which took a mystical grip on me, especially in the silent moments of Adoration), and also through my two years of field education work at a parish in the western suburbs of Chicago under the tutelage of a fine priest who had been raised Southern Baptist in Texas, and who described his “conversion” to Anglo-Catholicism as “swallowing the hook, line, and sinker – Mass, Mary, and Confession!”
I’ll fast forward this to about ten years ago when in my third rectorship after 10 years as Rector of Good Shepherd, Rosemont, I was elected President of Forward in Faith North America. Forward in Faith internationally had entered into a “Communion Relationship” with the Traditional Anglican Communion. I came to know the TAC and Archbishop John Hepworth through meetings and conferences of FIFNA and FIFUK, and learned that the raison d’etre for the TAC was Eucharistic unity with the Holy See. I found myself being drawn to their purpose and mission.
As Archbishop Hepworth stated in his recent Pastoral Letter addressing disunity in the Anglican Church in America amongst its bishops, “Christian unity is not an option for the Church. It is the will of Jesus Christ made clear in the Gospels;” “For Anglicans, the healing of the separation from Catholic communion at the Reformation must be the first act of Christian unity;” “To be truly ‘catholic’ demands that one is in Eucharistic Communion with the Church led by the successor of Peter;” “From the most ancient times, that has been the understanding of ‘all the churches.’ The tragedy of Continuing Anglicanism – and indeed of the Anglican Communion – is the absence of Eucharistic Communion with anyone but itself;” and “It was to carry the dreams unleashed by the first ARCIC conversations that the TAC was formed.”
Friday, February 25, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
I don't have much jewelry and what I have is generally not worth much except to me. I tend to wear the same pieces over and over again. But over the past year, three of my favorites broke. The clasps came off. For months I kept the necklaces in a plastic bag as I wondered what to do about them.
Given that I'm not crafts-oriented, the idea of my going to a beads store and fixing them myself gave me spiritual hives. I asked at one jewelry store if they might repair them and they said, no, they only deal with silver or gold. I tried a watch repair place, but they declined.
But then my friend Mary told me to try Nettleton's Jewellery.
"I've never gone wrong in buying something from Nettleton's," she said. "Their service is really personal. They take their time with you. No job is too small. And they have a nice line of stuff at a moderate price."
So I went in one day a couple of months ago with my three necklaces with broken clasps. One of the two Nettleton brothers, I can't remember which one----this is Cameron Nettleton in the photo---took a look and said one of them might have to be restrung which could be expensive, but he would try to avoid that if possible.
A few days later, I got a call, the necklaces were fixed; no restringing necessary and the price was lower than I anticipated. So now I am happy, happy, happy with Nettleton's.
The day I picked up my necklaces, I wanted to take a picture or two and post on my blog, but I forgot to take my camera with me. It took several weeks, but I was in the neighborhood today and went in. Cameron Nettleton probably doesn't even remember me. But I said I would do this and better late than never!
I also like the fact that this is business that's been run by the same family for three generations---starting with a shop on Bank St. that opened 90 years ago.
Here are my necklaces, which have much more sentimental than monetary value. The green beads were sent to my mother from one of her aunts or cousins who live in Russia and she passed them on to me; the necklace in the middle was made by my sister-in-law who has all my missing genes when it comes to creativity in the crafts department; and the necklace of chestnuts I bought to go with the red jacket that you might see in the various glamour shots Chris Humphrey took in 2006 when my novel The Defilers was published. It goes with many things I have and I wear it a lot.
Nettleton's is located in the Westgate Mall on Carling Avenue, just a bit west of the Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus.
See it here.
I will have a perfect cross on my forehead on Ash Wednesday.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
I watched Archbishop-elect Lacroix do his news conference yesterday via ECDQ.TV. He was relaxed, communicates extremely well on his feet, he exudes joy and seemed very comfortable in front of the cameras. He described himself as a pastor rather than a theologian, someone who wants to be with the people and who wants above all to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and invite everyone to a personal relationship with Him.
I spoke to him briefly yesterday and I will be writing up my story this morning.
Here's Rocco Palmo's take over at Whispers in the Loggia. I note that a link in his text takes to a previous post of his in which he quotes my last interview with Cardinal Ouellet extensively.
Good Tuesday morning... and with it, big news for our friends up North.
Appointed an auxiliary to Cardinal Marc Ouellet all of 22 months ago, this morning the Pope named 53 year-old Bishop Gérald Cyprien Lacroix as the new archbishop of Quebec in succession to the now-prefect of the all-powerful Congregation for Bishops.
A native son of the million-member Quebec church -- and, along the way, an alum of Manchester's St Anselm's College -- Lacroix (left) becomes its 25th chief shepherd, and primate of Canada as leader of North America's oldest diocese, whose foundation dates to 1658.
Given the nominee's launch from junior prelate to honorary first among equals of the Canadian bench, it can be gleaned that the media-friendly Lacroix -- a member of the Pius X Secular Institute, a new movement dedicated to redoubled efforts at evangelization -- embodies Ouellet's articulated model of his preferred qualities in episcopal leadership, which the cardinal has outlined as “men of faith... [with] the guts to help people live it out” and someone who's "audacious in proposing the Word and in believing in the Power of the Word and the power of the Spirit."
Monday, February 21, 2011
OTTAWA, Ontario, February 21, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa, long-praised for his dedicated promotion of Canada’s annual National March for Life on Parliament Hill, has called on the Ontario councils of the Knights of Columbus to show up en masse at this year’s May 12th March.
“Your presence as well as a representation from your council would witness to the importance of standing up for life and family in our country,” the Archbishop wrote in a January 31st letter.
“Your encouragement is invaluable and we are grateful for whatever support you are able to give this event,” he wrote. “Please support with your prayers all involved in planning this day and we in turn will pray for other marches being held locally.”
The prelate also noted that “several bishops have already indicated their intention to attend.”
Ontario State Deputy Arthur Peters told LifeSiteNews that the Knights consider the March for Life “very important.”
“We invite all Councils to participate in the March for Life, and also to encourage the support of schools in their area that wish to attend by helping with the transportation costs,” he explained.
In a 2009 resolution, the Ontario Knights threw their full support behind the March, pledging to subsidize local and high school bus trips throughout Ontario. They resolved further to make it a priority in February each year “to press councils throughout Ontario to partner with their area parishes on this issue.”
“We must spill over into the streets of Ottawa with not 8,000 but 80,000,” the resolution stated.
Joseph Salini, the Ontario State Council’s Pro-Life Director, told LifeSiteNews that the great importance the Knights give to the March is illustrated by the fact that Supreme Knight Carl Anderson and Deputy Supreme Knight Dennis Savoie have attended several times. He also noted that they have gone into Ottawa schools to promote the March.“If everyone had the enthusiasm and the high energy level of Archbishop Prendergast, we’d pack the Hill,” said Jim Hughes, national President of Campaign Life Coalition, which organizes the yearly event.
Politicians will do anything for a vote, that isn't news. However when our politicos attend events at institutions that openly preach hate then we have really crossed the point of no return.
Before there was a House vote to potentially begin to end funding of Planned Parenthood, as there was Friday; before there was a 22-year-old girl named Lila Rose leading private investigations exposing Planned Parenthood as a safe haven for pimps of underage girls; before there was a Philadelphia prosecutor exposing a “house of horrors” too long protected by abortion politics, there was Phill Kline, a law-enforcement official doing his job.Today Kline remains the only prosecutor in the United States to have brought charges against Planned Parenthood. And for this, Planned Parenthood and its allies are determined to see him pay. As if he hasn’t already: Even when he wins it is portrayed as a defeat.
When the rate of bird kills was measured, kilowatt hour by kilowatt hour, windmills were 445 times deadlier than the oilsands. (…)
Sunday, February 20, 2011
In his early life, he spent his money on womanizing! Sounds like a terrible legacy, but check out this poem and see how God really does give beauty for ashes. The Anchoress also has posted a YouTube video of someone singing this poem:
Batter my heart, three-person’d God ; for you
As yet but knock ; breathe, shine, and seek to mend ;
That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp’d town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth’d unto your enemy ;
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.
— John Donne
I was recently delighted by the sting operation performed against Planned Parenthood by Live Action, whose members posed as a pimp and a prostitute, intending to test the organization's willingness to enable the exploitation of underaged girls and expose its cynical disregard of the human dignity of women. None of this should surprise those of us who know the organization's history. I wrote a bit about this in my light-hearted moral manual (it makes a great gift for Lent!) The Bad Catholic's Guide to the Seven Deadly Sins, citing Planned Parenthood founder "Margaret Sanger's scathingly racist statements, and her program of eugenics -- which directly influenced Hitler, and led to laws in a dozen or so American states forcibly sterilizing or even castrating thousands of the 'unfit' who flunked primitive I.Q. tests." Of course, as I note in the book, Sanger's racism is rather beside the point: "Attacking an organization that kills tens of thousands of children every year because it might, just might, be a little racist is simply a joke. And in very poor taste -- like denouncing Hitler for destroying German typography."
What's worse is that Planned Parenthood's founding racism was mostly tactical:
Sanger had campaigned for sexual license for years before she discovered the handy "wedge" issue of Anglo anxiety over immigration and differential birth rates. A savvy political activist, she trumped up a minor panic over "dysgenic" births and "hereditary" criminality in order to break down the social taboo against even discussing birth control which prevailed among most Protestants before the Anglican Council of Lambeth broke the dam, and offered the first tentative approval of contraception in the history of Christendom. As Blessed Are the Barren shows in exhausting detail, Sanger used the tribal fear of displacement on the part of Protestant elites to undermine their theological position -- which they'd inherited from Luther and Calvin, and Augustine long before them. Odd as it sounds today, Sanger used racism to make birth control respectable.
And Sanger abandoned the race issue pretty readily, too. As the Nazi crimes against humanity were exposed after World War II, Sanger dropped her Klan hood like last year's hat, and donned the white coat of a futurist; she "discovered" that the reason why birth control was so urgently important was not the swelling ranks of dusky Sicilians and blacks, but rather the "population explosion." Without missing a beat, her organization shifted its rhetoric, and provoked another panic -- one which ironically enough, has helped contracept the white race to the brink of extinction. Experts like Paul Erhlich appeared on Johnny Carson predicting mass famines throughout the 1970s, and the collapse of civilization. Their warnings never came true -- but what did it matter? The "meme" had taken root, and pushed forward Planned Parenthood's agenda; indeed, it was the Rockefeller Commission's infamous report on population that helped sway Justice Blackmun to change his position on abortion, and write the decision in Roe v. Wade.
I'd be delighted if the recent expose of the squalid cynicism that underlies the day-to-day operations of Planned Parenthood helps Republican lawmakers defund this diabolical organization -- though I'm really not terribly hopeful. Too many liberal women with checkbooks remember how Planned Parenthood clinics helped them abort their way through law school, while too many racist right-wingers secretly hope that the organization's efforts will help keep the welfare rolls under control. I'll never forget the night I spent out with a group of so-called cultural conservatives, who confessed to me that they wanted to keep abortion legal in order to reduce the numbers, influence, and expense of the "underclass." Ever the tactful Irish Croatian from blue-collar Queens, I demanded of my hosts: "If you really believe that, why don't you just napalm the ghettos?" To which another, equally Ivy-educated (but post-Christian) right-winger said icily, "Because that wouldn't be as politically expedient." A chill ran down my spine, and I knew that I was in the presence of my enemies. (read the whole thing).
Readers of the Gospels do the very same thing when they meet the Pharisees, who could put up strong arguments for a literalism and legalism about the Sabbath and against Jesus’ apparent disregard for it. I think we should have the same reaction to the critics of Live Action. These people are of course far, far better people than either Euthyphro or most of the Pharisees. (But remember Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, and Gamaliel!). But they are wrong, and wrong not just logically but “you gotta be kidding”ly.
Most of my students, however confused their abstract philosophical and ideological principles may be, are ordinary people of normally sane and fairly healthy consciences (except, of course if it has anything even remotely to do with sex). When they are confronted by a moral legalist like Kant who holds that all lying is morally wrong, they instinctively sense that he is wrong, though they cannot explain why—just as most students, when confronted by St. Anselm’s ‘ontological argument,’ instinctively know it is wrong somehow, though they cannot refute it logically. Similarly, most (though not all) pro-lifers instinctively side with Live Action even if they cannot answer the arguments of its critics. (Is it an accident that its critics are more Kantian than Aristotelian?)
Similarly, when we discuss Kant and the issue of lying, most of my students, even the moral absolutists, are quite certain that the Dutchmen were not wrong to deliberately deceive the Nazis about the locations of the Jews they had promised to hide. They do not know whether this is an example of lying or not. But they know that if it is, than lying is not always wrong, and if lying is always wrong, then this is not lying. Because they know, without any ifs or ands or buts, that such Dutch deception is good, not evil. If anyone is more certain of his philosophical principles than he is that this deception is good, I say he is not functioning as a human being but as a computer, an angel, a Gnostic, or a Kantian. He is a Laputan, like Swift’s absent-minded professors who live on an island in the sky in Gulliver’s Travels, and who make eye contact with abstractions but not with human beings.
But can’t we solve the problem of the Dutchmen and the Nazis by saying that all lying is wrong but the Dutchmen don’t have to lie to save the Jews because they could deceive the Nazis without lying by a clever verbal ploy? No, because effective deception by clever verbal ploys cannot usually be done by ordinary people, especially by clumsy Dutchmen. I know; I’m one of them. Our moral obligations depend on abilities that are common, not abilities that are rare
Besides, the Nazis are not fools. They would suspect clever prevarications and sniff out duplicitous ploys. They could be reliably deceived and deterred from searching every inch of the house only by an answer like “Jews? Those rats? None of them in my house, I hope. Please come in, and if you find any, please give them rat poison. I hate those vermin as much as you do.”
You promised the Jews to hide them from their murderers. To keep that promise, you have to deceive the Nazis. Physical hiding and verbal hiding are two sides of the same coin, whether you call it lying, or deception, or whatever you call it. What it is, is much more obvious than what it is to be called. It’s a good thing to do. If you don’t know that, you’re morally stupid, and moral stupidity comes in two opposite forms: relativism and legalism. Relativism sees no principles, only people; legalism sees no people, only principles.
The closest analogy I can think of to Live Action’s expose of Planned Parenthood is spying. If Live Action is wrong, then so is all spying, including spying out the Nazis’ atomic bomb projects and saving the world from a nuclear holocaust.
Is it still like this in Catholic Schools? I think I've read something similar from Kathy Shaidle at Five Feet of Fury about her Catholic education in Hamilton.
For the last 30 years, the union-controlled public school system in this country has indoctrinated children with PC-meekness…and in particular, it has emasculated men. The Left did this deliberately, to control Americans, and to make them afraid to ever speak out.
Currently, I am in a personally strange situation where I am dating a guy who is meek and mousy like this and it boggles my mind constantly. I love Justin, and I think he is one of the nicest people I have ever met, but he is TERRIFIED of standing up to bullies. Last week, when he was driving his car, an unmarked police vehicle ran a stop sign at an intersection and almost hit him. Not knowing it was a police car, Justin yelled out the window at the driver to watch what he was doing (which shocks me, because even almost being hit by another car I’m stunned Justin yelled at anyone). The cop turned on his hidden lights, pulled Justin over, and then intimidated Justin with his authority. Essentially, the cop pulled a “I know where you live, so you better not say anything about this” on Justin. Though Justin knew the cop was wrong, and felt that the officer abused his authority, and the whole episode was creepy like the movie where Samuel L. Jackson is a cop who terrorizes his neighbors, Justin didn’t want to do anything about it. Justin asked me what I would do, and I told him I would report that cop to the Mayor’s office, the independent police commission here in Chicago, and the local Alderman. Then, I would have written a big story about it on HillBuzz and would have asked everyone I knew coast to coast to help find out who that cop was to shame him and the police department here in Chicago into answering why he behaved the way he did. Justin is too scared to do that, because he thinks the cop will find him and retaliate. I told Justin that if the cop did that, he would be fired, and the police department and City of Chicago would have one Hell of a lawsuit on their hands. Honestly, this has kept Justin up at night, though I have not pushed him to do anything about it because I know it’s not his nature to stand up for himself…and I realize the way I handle things is not typical (unfortunately). Justin is so scared of bullies coming back at him if he speaks out against them that he can’t fathom writing so much as a letter of complaint to the city against an unmarked police car that was clearly in the wrong. This mousiness is engrained in him, and it had to come from somewhere. I think it came from the public education system, which Justin attended, because it does not sound like Justin’s parents are like this (and, in fact, his parents get on Justin’s case for being so wimpy themselves).
I went to Catholic school and I don’t take garbage from anyone. The nuns taught me that. I spent 13 years in classrooms with gruesome depictions of all the saints on the walls: people with their eyes gouged out, nailed to crosses, set afire, and pulled to pieces because they refused to bow and scrape before anyone or renounce what they believed in because they were bullied.
So, I just don’t understand Justin’s terror at the thought of calling bullies out for the bad things they do, because I have never in my life walked away from a fight, and have never been too scared to speak what needed to be said.
Next, from Jim Hoft, we have a story that [in addition to the silly "Assault on Women" ad from Moveon.org that I alluded to in this post] shows our fiscally deluded President using amazingly similar language to describe what's going on in Wisconsin:“Some of what I’ve heard coming out of Wisconsin, where you’re just making it harder for public employees to collectively bargain generally, seems like more of an assault on unions,” President Obama told TMJ4 in Milwaukee.
An "assault on women" and an "assault on unions"?? Don't we deserve better from the President of the United States and his party (who have apparently skipped town and state in order to avoid having to vote on the Wisconsin issue). This is pathetic.
Where are the grown-ups in the Democratic party?
In Egypt they demonstrated and hoped for freedom; they are more likely to get sharia and the Muslim Brotherhood. In Madison they are angrily demonstrating for entitlements, more government, more debt for the State and its citizens.
In both cases, freedom and individual liberty are the issues at stake. Can this nation--or any nation--long endure the combination of religious and/or secular thuggery and desire for power over others that masquerades sometimes as the outraged and aggressive victimhood mentality of the entitlement crowds?
Both of these events describe how the politically deluded intend to bend reality to their whim.
And Citizen Cain---too bad he wasn't the first black president.
You can also peruse Tahrir Square in Cairo, where as many as a million Egyptians turned out for the triumphant — dare we say Khomeini-esque — return to the homeland of Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi. He is the sharia compass of the Muslim Brotherhood and, for that matter, millions of Muslims the world over.
As John Rosenthal has been reporting at Pajamas, the anti-Mubarak protesters whom the mainstream media and the Obama administration paint as the vanguard of “democracy,” continue to display visceral contempt for Israel and Jews. “Hence,” Mr. Rosenthal observes, “the numerous portraits of Mubarak with a Star of David scrawled on his face or forehead,” and claims that the deposed Egyptian president was an Israeli “agent” or “spy” against Egypt. It’s shocking, I know, that no one in the legacy media seems particularly interested in these facts and images, but Rosenthal provides them.
Enter Sheikh Qaradawi. The 84-year-old cleric has previously called for the destruction of Israel, endorsed suicide bombing even by women, and expressed a longing to die fighting in the jihad against the Zionist entity. As Robert Spencer recounted at FPM Wednesday in a neat summary of Qaradawi’s views, the sheikh explained in a 2009 sermon that “throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by Hitler.” Yes, according to Qaradawi, it was Allah who decided to sic Hitler on the Jews. The sheikh further implored Allah to “take this oppressive, Jewish, Zionist band of people. Oh Allah, do not spare a single one of them. Oh Allah, count their numbers and kill them, down to the very last one.”
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Friday, February 18, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Johnson: The only way to communicate with pro-choice friends, family or colleagues is in a peaceful, prayerful and loving way. If you have read my book, the people who had a condemning presence outside of Planned Parenthood only drove me and my colleagues there to "protect" these women even more.
It was always the presence and the words from the peaceful, prayerful and loving people on the opposite side of the fence and abortion issue as me that made me think and even made me really enjoy them.
I knew they wanted the same thing that I did; they desperately wanted to help these women (even though I thought they were going about helping them in the wrong way). Despite my pro-choice mindset, these people stood out to me and their actions and words stuck with me, all the way to the day I left Planned Parenthood.
The most influential thing a pro-lifer can do is love, pray and have a peaceful presence at the clinics; one of the major reasons that I left Planned Parenthood and am actively standing up for life today is because of these attributes of certain pro-lifers that never gave up on me.
My words to every pro-lifer would be "Don't give up!" and present yourself in such a way that the Planned Parenthood workers/pro-choice advocates will be drawn to you and won't forget you, because that's what will change hearts.
O HOW lovely are thy dwellings, / thou LORD of hosts!
2 My soul hath a desire and longing to enter into the courts of the LORD: / my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God.
3 Yea, the sparrow hath found her an house, and the swallow a nest where she may lay her young: / even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God.
4 Blessed are they that dwell in thy house; / they will be alway praising thee.
5 Blessed are the men whose strength is in thee, / in whose heart are the pilgrim ways;
6 Who going through the Vale of Misery use it for a well; / yea, the early rain covereth it with blessings.
7 They go from strength to strength, / and unto the God of gods appeareth every one of them in Sion.
8 O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer: / hearken, O God of Jacob.
9 Behold, O God, our shield, / and look upon the face of thine anointed.
10 For one day in thy courts / is better than a thousand.
11 I had rather be a door-keeper in the house of my God, / than to dwell in the tents of ungodliness.
12 For the LORD God is a light and defence; the LORD will give grace and glory; / and no good thing shall he withhold from them that lead a godly life.
13 O LORD God of hosts, / blessed is the man that putteth his trust in thee.
I love this Psalm, and it speaks to me so much on this gloomy February day.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Regis College and Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation
Word of God: Light of Love - A Symposium on "Verbum Domini”
Toronto, February 14, 2011 – Regis College and Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation will co-sponsor Word of God: Light of Love - A Symposium on "Verbum Domini," the Post Synodal Exhortation on the Word of God on Thursday March 31 and Friday April 1, 2011. The symposium, which is offered at no cost, will be conducted at Regis College, the Jesuit School of Theology in the University of Toronto.
The symposium explores Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Exhortation, Verbum Domini, the results of the October 2008 General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome, which was dedicated to “The Word of God in the Life and the Mission of the Church.” The exhortation is the most important document on the bible in 45 years.
Leading church figures and theologians will address Verbum Domini as both a scholarly work and a popular teaching instrument. Presenters will include Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, the Most Reverend Terrence Prendergast, SJ, Archbishop of Ottawa, the Most Reverend Ronald Fabbro, CSB, Bishop of London and Mr. Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus. The Most Reverend Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto will lead a closing “Lectio Divina” for the participants. Theologians from Regis College, the Faculty of Theology of the University of St. Michael’s College, Saint Augustine’s Seminary and Wycliffe College will participate in panels and lead workshops. Several volumes of the Heritage Edition of the St. John’s Bible will be exhibited throughout the symposium.
A complete schedule and registration form is available at RegisCollege.ca/VerbumDomini
Father Raymond Gravel's lawsuit could shut down website
By Deborah Gyapong
OTTAWA (CCN)--Father Raymond Gravel, a Quebec Catholic priest who served as a Bloc Quebecois MP from 2006-8, is suing LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) for defamation.
“We’ve been online since 1997, but this could indeed shut us down,” said LSN editor John-Henry Westen.
Father Gravel, who is incardinated in the Diocese of Joliette, is seeking $300,000 for the attack on his reputation and consequent pain and suffering, and another $200,000 in punitive damages for what he calls a voluntary, intentional and malicious attack.
“I am against abortion but LifeSiteNews.com says always I am for abortion,” Father Gravel said. “The LifeSiteNews presents me, a priest, as pro-abortion.
Father Gravel added he does not think the best method to combat abortion is through the Criminal Law, but through education, and teaching young people to be responsible about sexuality.
“I am not pro-abortion,” he said. “I am against abortion.” He noted that he did research on countries where abortion is forbidden and said some 70,000 women died of illegal abortions. “It is horrible.”
“We must work with women, not against women,” he said.
Monday, February 14, 2011
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Years ago, our Sunday school and any adults who wanted to go along, would go to the Brophy farm south of Ottawa for a sleigh ride. Over the years, Charlie Brophy and his wife, decided to bring in a few other horse teams (they own the black horses) and make it into a fundraiser for L'Arche. This was my first time going and did I ever have a good time!
Alas, many of our Sunday school children could not make it this year as they had a prior commitment. We had hot dogs, a choice of hot chocolate, coffee or tea, Lindt chocolate and a chance to toast marshmallows.
Then a new tradition started last year, a trip to the Jack Pine Trail, where the birds are so tame they will land on your hand or head. It was so good to get away from the computer and out into the woods.
Friday, February 11, 2011
From Oswald Chambers. Yes, this whole process towards the development of an Ordinariate is like a roller coaster and has its gut-wrenching dives at times. We all hope we can come to the end of this and we will all be safely and joyfully inside Ordinariates where our Anglican patrimony can flourish. But in the meantime, as someone reminded me in an email, the devil is busy trying to sow confusion, division, pessimism and fear about the whole project. So here are some words that have really helped me find joy in my step and brought peace to my spirit. My bolds.
Our natural inclination is to be so precise—trying always to forecast accurately what will happen next—that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing. We think that we must reach some predetermined goal, but that is not the nature of the spiritual life. The nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty. Consequently, we do not put down roots. Our common sense says, “Well, what if I were in that circumstance?” We cannot presume to see ourselves in any circumstance in which we have never been.
Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life—gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises. When we become simply a promoter or a defender of a particular belief, something within us dies. That is not believing God—it is only believing our belief about Him. Jesus said, “. . . unless you . . . become as little children . . .” (Matthew 18:3). The spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next. If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled. But when we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy. Jesus said, “. . . believe also in Me” (John 14:1), not, “Believe certain things about Me”. Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in—but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful to Him.
When you really see Jesus, I defy you to doubt Him. If you see Him when He says, “Let not your heart be troubled . . .” (John 14:27), I defy you to worry. It is virtually impossible to doubt when He is there. Every time you are in personal contact with Jesus, His words are real to you. “My peace I give to you . . .” (John 14:27)— a peace which brings an unconstrained confidence and covers you completely, from the top of your head to the soles of your feet. “. . . your life is hidden with Christ in God,” and the peace of Jesus Christ that cannot be disturbed has been imparted to you.
and if you are having trouble seeing Jesus right now, I pray that this one, one of my favorites, will help you:
"Come unto Me." Matthew 11:28
Is it not humiliating to be told that we must come to Jesus! Think of the things we will not come to Jesus Christ about. If you want to know how real you are, test yourself by these words - "Come unto Me." In every degree in which you are not real, you will dispute rather than come, you will quibble rather than come, you will go through sorrow rather than come, you will do anything rather than come the last lap of unutterable foolishness - "Just as I am." As long as you have the tiniest bit of spiritual impertinence, it will always reveal itself in the fact that you are expecting God to tell you to do a big thing, and all He is telling you to do is to "come."
"Come unto Me." When you hear those words you will know that something must happen in you before you can come. The Holy Spirit will show you what you have to do, anything at all that will put the axe at the root of the thing which is preventing you from getting through. You will never get further until you are willing to do that one thing. The Holy Spirit will locate the one impregnable thing in you, but He cannot budge it unless you are willing to let Him.
How often have you come to God with your requests and gone away with the feeling - Oh, well, I have done it this time! And yet you go away with nothing, whilst all the time God has stood with outstretched hands not only to take you, but for you to take Him. Think of the invincible, unconquerable, unwearying patience of Jesus - "Come unto Me."
Too bad he was not an Anglican! I would love to count Oswald Chambers as part of Anglican patrimony!