To Your Silence

Here I am Lord
I have brought the world and my day with me
What a motley crew arrayed before You
But not in vain.

We come with a clatter
My noise, our noise,
To the Silence.
The deafening roar
To the hallowed stillness.

Whisper in the chamber of our meeting
Where we tent with You,
Hope for the dying,
Faith to the listening,
Love to the willing.

Speak Up! – The Great Charter at 800 | Charles J. Chaput | First Things.

These remarks were delivered at Brigham Young University, January 23, as part of BYU’s on-going “Faith, Family and Society” lecture series.

"Henry Ford is often quoted as saying, “History is bunk.” That’s not quite accurate. What he actually told the Chicago Tribune in 1916 is this: “I wouldn’t give a nickel for all the history in the world. It means nothing to me. History is more or less bunk. It’s tradition. We don’t want tradition. We want to live in the present, and the only history that’s worth a tinker’s damn is the history we make today.”

It’s hard to imagine a better statement of the American spirit, or at least a certain strain in our national character. The Founders clearly understood the value of the past. Most were Christians. Nearly all were religious believers. They revered the memory of Roman law, architecture, and republican process. But they also very consciously intended to create a novus ordo seclorum—a “new order of the ages.”

And they succeeded. Tocqueville describes the difference between democracy and all the forms of political and social life that came before it as a gulf between “two distinct humanities.” Democratic man is very different from his ancestors—or so we’re led to believe. So it’s no surprise that Americans tend to be poor students of history. We enjoy nostalgia because it’s a kind of entertainment. But the real events of the real past come with annoying baggage. We can’t reinvent ourselves in the present if we’re dragging around a history of inconvenient duties and facts. The good news is that this is part of our genius. We innovate because we’re not crushed by the weight of our memories. The bad news is that it leads to forgetting things we need to remember. And amnesia is dangerous both for individuals and for nations."

Read more: via The Great Charter at 800 | Charles J. Chaput | First Things.

Saint Athanasius – We know the Father through creative and incarnate Wisdom

From the Discourses against the Arians by Saint Athanasius, bishop
We know the Father through creative and incarnate Wisdom

The only-begotten Son, the Wisdom of God, created the entire universe. Scripture says: You have made all things by your wisdom, and the earth is full of your creatures. Yet simply to be was not enough: God also wanted his creatures to be good. That is why he was pleased that his own wisdom should descend to their level and impress upon each of them singly and upon all of them together a certain resemblance to their Model. It would then be manifest that God’s creatures shared in his wisdom and that his works were worthy of him.

For as the word we speak is an image of the Word who is God’s Son, so also is the wisdom implanted in us an image of the Wisdom who is God’s Son. It gives us the ability to know and understand and so makes us capable of receiving him who is all-creative Wisdom, through whom we can come to know the Father. Whoever has the Son has the Father also, Scripture says, and Whoever receives me receives the One who sent me. And so, since this image of the Wisdom of God has been produced in us and in all creatures, the true and creative Wisdom rightly takes to himself what applies to his image and says: The Lord created me in his works.

But because the world was not wise enough to recognize God in his wisdom, as we have explained it, God determined to save those who believe by means of the “foolish” message that we preach. Not wishing to be known any longer, as in former times, through the mere image and shadow of his wisdom existing in creatures, he caused the true Wisdom himself to take flesh, to become man, and to suffer death on the cross so that all who believed in him might be saved by faith.

Yet this was the same Wisdom of God who had in the beginning revealed himself and his Father through himself by means of his image in creatures (which is why Wisdom to is said to be created). Later, as John declares, that Wisdom, who is also the Word, became flesh, and after destroying the power of death and saving our race, he revealed himself and his Father through himself with greater clarity. Grant, he prayed, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

So now the whole earth is filled with the knowledge of God, since it is one and the same thing to know the Father through the Son, and to know the Son who comes from the Father. The Father rejoices in his Son, and with the same joy the Son delights in the Father and says: I was his joy; every day I took delight in his presence.

Family synod: full text of Pope Francis’s homily at opening Mass | CatholicHerald.co.uk

Today the Prophet Isaiah and the Gospel employ the image of the Lord’s vineyard. The Lord’s vineyard is his “dream”, the plan which he nurtures with all his love, like a farmer who cares for his vineyard. Vines are plants which need much care!

God’s “dream” is his people. He planted it and nurtured it with patient and faithful love, so that it can become a holy people, a people which brings forth abundant fruits of justice.

But in both the ancient prophecy and in Jesus’s parable, God’s dream is thwarted. Isaiah says that the vine which he so loved and nurtured has yielded “wild grapes” (5:2,4); God “expected justice but saw bloodshed, righteousness, but only a cry of distress” (v7). In the Gospel, it is the farmers themselves who ruin the Lord’s plan: they fail to do their job but think only of their own interests.

In Jesus’s parable, he is addressing the chief priests and the elders of the people, in other words the “experts”, the managers. To them in a particular way God entrusted his “dream”, his people, for them to nurture, tend and protect from the animals of the field. This is the job of leaders: to nuture the vineyard with freedom, creativity and hard work.

But Jesus tells us that those farmers took over the vineyard. Out of greed and pride they want to do with it as they will, and so they prevent God from realizing his dream for the people he has chosen.

The temptation to greed is ever present. We encounter it also in the great prophecy of Ezekiel on the shepherds, which St Augustine commented upon in one his celebrated sermons which we have just reread in the Liturgy of the Hours. Greed for money and power. And to satisfy this greed, evil pastors lay intolerable burdens on the shoulders of others, which they themselves do not lift a finger to move.

We too, in the synod of bishops, are called to work for the Lord’s vineyard. Synod assemblies are not meant to discuss beautiful and clever ideas, or to see who is more intelligent… They are meant to better nuture and tend the Lord’s vineyard, to help realise his dream, his loving plan for his people. In this case the Lord is asking us to care for the family, which has been from the beginning an integral part of his loving plan for humanity.

We are all sinners and can also be tempted to “take over” the vineyard, because of that greed which is always present in us human beings. God’s dream always clashes with the hypocrisy of some of his servants. We can “thwart” God’s dream if we fail to let ourselves be guided by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit gives us that wisdom which surpasses knowledge, and enables us to work generously with authentic freedom and humble creativity.

My Synod brothers, to do a good job of nurturing and tending the vineyard, our hearts and our minds must be kept in Jesus Christ by “the peace of God which passes all understanding” (Phil 4:7). In this way our thoughts and plans will correspond to God’s dream: to form a holy people who are his own and produce the fruits of the kingdom of God.

via Family synod: full text of Pope Francis’s homily at opening Mass | CatholicHerald.co.uk.

Thought for the Day – Resolve!

You are not to spend what remains of your earthly life on human desires but on the will of God. (1 Peter 4:2)

The Fear of the Lord”

From a treatise on the psalms by Saint Hilary, bishop


The meaning of “the fear of the Lord”

Blessed are those who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways. Notice that when Scripture speaks of the fear of the Lord it does not leave the phrase in isolation, as if it were a complete summary of faith. No, many things are added to it, or are presupposed by it. From these we may learn its meaning and excellence. In the book of Proverbs Solomon tells us: If you cry out for wisdom and raise your voice for understanding, if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord. We see here the difficult journey we must undertake before we can arrive at the fear of the Lord.

We must begin by crying out for wisdom. We must hand over to our intellect the duty of making every decision. We must look for wisdom and search for it. Then we must understand the fear of the Lord.

“Fear” is not to be taken in the sense that common usage gives it. Fear in this ordinary sense is the trepidation our weak humanity feels when it is afraid of suffering something it does not want to happen. We are afraid, or made afraid, because of a guilty conscience, the rights of someone more powerful, an attack from one who is stronger, sickness, encountering a wild beast, suffering evil in any form. This kind of fear is not taught: it happens because we are weak. We do not have to learn what we should fear: objects of fear bring their own terror with them.

But of the fear of the Lord this is what is written: Come, my children, listen to me, I shall teach you the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord has then to be learned because it can be taught. It does not lie in terror, but in something that can be taught. It does not arise from the fearfulness of our nature; it has to be acquired by obedience to the commandments, by holiness of life and by knowledge of the truth.

For us the fear of God consists wholly in love, and perfect love of God brings our fear of him to its perfection. Our love for God is entrusted with its own responsibility: to observe his counsels, to obey his laws, to trust his promises. Let us hear what Scripture says: And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you except to fear the Lord your God and walk in his ways and love him and keep his commandments with your whole heart and your whole soul, so that it may be well for you?

The ways of the Lord are many, though he is himself the way. When he speaks of himself he calls himself the way and shows us the reason why he called himself the way: No one can come to the Father except through me.

We must ask for these many ways, we must travel along these many ways, to find the one that is good. That is, we shall find the one way of eternal life through the guidance of many teachers. These ways are found in the law, in the prophets, in the gospels, in the writings of the apostles, in the different good works by which we fulfill the commandments. Blessed are those who walk these ways in the fear of the Lord.

– See more at: http://divineoffice.org/#sthash.tNk2UOJN.dpuf

To Your Silence

Here I am Lord
I have brought the world and my day with me
What a motley crew arrayed before You
But not in vain.

We come with a clatter
My noise, our noise,
To the Silence.
The deafening roar
To the hallowed stillness.

Whisper in the chamber of our meeting
Where we tent with You,
Hope for the dying,
Faith to the listening,
Love to the willing.