Today’s Question: Why is Jesus such a controversial figure?


Today’s question:
Why is Jesus such a controversial figure?

Answer: Jesus challenges our established concepts of self, calling us to do things that are profoundly and eternally significant; challenging our innate sense of pride, while at the same time, affirming who we are, in the best possible way, out of a sense of selfless, inestimable, divine love and care.

Our typical response to such an overture is to first, reject it, out of hand, as if the offer is too good to be true. But later, after due reflection, we begin to see the error of our ways and rather than being appropriately humiliated and grateful, we choose instead, to lash out at Jesus, blaming him for our mistakes and failures, only to further validate the reality of our prideful, needy, broken self.

“How dare he do such a thing!?! Who does he think I am?”

From there, everything just gets worse and worse, unless and until (hopefully, finally, by the grace of God) we choose to totally surrender, becoming a new creation in Jesus Christ; co-heir with him, to all the awesome promises of God.

Asked and answered today on Yahoo! Answers.

Following Pope Francis’ advice, I drove my “humble car” to Mass, yesterday.

minivan

Driving a “humble” car has its’ drawbacks

by Doug Lawrence

It’s a 1997 mini van with slightly more than 200,000 miles on the speedo and it stalled about eight blocks from church, right in the middle of the street. I checked all the usual stuff under the hood, to no avail. Now I was not only one big “sweat ball” – but also a “grease monkey” – and I would probably be late for Mass – if I got there, at all.

Looking up, I could barely make out the distant steeple of the church. Invoking the Holy Name of Jesus, I began to coast downhill – backwards – attempting to find a good place to pull over.

Things in the mirror are indeed closer than they appear.  I missed the first turn by “t-h-a-t   m-u-c-h”!

Now I was stuck against the curb and the entire street was blocked. A “Good Samaritan” helped me push it out and straighten things up. (It’s nice to be able to occasionally live the Gospel!)

Coasting downhill and backwards for another block or so, I managed to successfully turn on to a cross-street. Then I coasted downhill – going forward this time – until I could safely pull over and park.

I gave all the things under the hood another once-over;  lightly rapping on the battery terminals with the end of a flashlight,  jiggling all the fuses, wires and relays, making sure I had gas. Then I tried once again to start. No joy!

Already late for Mass – I was sure Jesus would understand, since I was just following Pope Francis’ suggestion – and I was indeed feeling “humbler” by the minute!

Then there was the small matter of the pulled ligament in my foot – which was already hurting from pushing the car. A brisk (now ten block) walk would be fun, and I could “offer it up” for the poor souls in Purgatory. Even “humbler” still!

Firing up my cell phone (a cheap, “humble” non-smart phone) I called my son, asking him to drive over after Mass – bringing along a spare battery, a good flashlight and all appropriate tools – including my most “humble” sledge hammer.

I walked in just as the Gospel was being proclaimed. A quick stop at the bathroom got rid of most of the grease, but I was still a big “sweat ball” and there was nothing much I could do about that. Sorry, Jesus!

I stood in the back until I cooled off and dried out a bit. Only then did I take a seat. Now I know why they call them “pews”.

I’m proud to say that, thanks to Pope Francis, I feel I’m getting really good at being “humble”.  I’m just not yet sure how this makes evangelizing any easier, or more effective.

Maybe we can compare notes some time.

Why Francis may turn out to be a great Pope.

PopeFI

The Devil has absolutely no defense against abject, radical humility.

Link

New Pope shocks the people … by being Christ-like.

Before an astounding crowd of some 300,000 in and around St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis today delivered his first Angelus as pontiff, urging the faithful to be merciful and forgiving.

Hours earlier, the humility and spontaneity of the 76-year-old Argentine was on display when he greeted onlookers near the edge of Vatican City.

As the pope was entering a mass in St. Anna Parish, he decided to stop and greet a crowd of people awaiting his arrival. Walking up to the crowd, Francis shook hands, held a baby, and even motioned for two priests he recognized in the crowd to bypass the barricades and approach him.

It was the latest sign of the informality of the new pontiff.

Link

Book Review: The Privilege of Being a Woman by Alice von Hildebrand

In the arguments for the privilege of being a woman Dr. von Hildebrand claims that “in order to understand the greatness of a women’s mission, we must open our minds and hearts to the message of the supernatural.” In other words, we must understand the role of Mary’s humility and the Incarnation. With Mary’s humble assent to be the Mother of God, she rose above all. Clearly, this flies in the face of today’s culture and its infatuation with feminism. And while she emphasizes a variety of evidence supporting all of women’s privileges, she is careful to point out that in a woman’s weaknesses there is risk of using her “sensitivity, receptiveness and beauty” to fall into sins of “emotionalism, illusions and self-centeredness.”

Dr. von Hildebrand’s thesis? Women must be wrapped in the humility of the Incarnation to be effectively female. Women cannot be men – no matter how hard they try! The understanding of woman’s place in creation and God’s work is crucial in disproving the credo of feminism. St. Teresa of Avila writes that “more women than men receive extraordinary graces, that they are more receptive to God’s voice and particularly capable of heroic donation when their heart is purified.” Is virginity important? Indeed it is. And maternity raises women above men in their ability to nourish and maintain a soul and body within herself. Our Blessed Mother nourished the body of Christ with great humility and followed him to the cross – her gift given freely.

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Since 1873, by the approval of Pope Pius IX, the month of June has officially been consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

During this month, the Church desires that all Christians (and indeed, all people throughout the world) find refuge in the Heart of the Savior. We pray: “Jesus, meek and humble of heart, Make our hearts like unto thine!”

What, we ask, does the Heart of Jesus teach us about our own hearts? How is the Sacred Heart a model and exemplar for the heart of every Christian?
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“Thanks” is really the same word as “grace” and “gift” which in Latin, is rendered gratia.


True gratitude is a grace, or gift from God which proceeds from a humble and transformed heart. In such a case we do not render thanks merely because it is polite or expected, but because it naturally flows from a profound experience of gratitude. This is the Gospel, not a moralism, but a truth of a transformed heart.

Thus, an anointing to seek from God is a powerful transformation of our intellect and heart wherein we become deeply aware of the remarkable gift that everything we have really is. As this awareness deepens so does our gratitude and joy at the “magnificent munificence” of our God.

Everything, literally everything, is a gift from God.

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Liberalism: the passionate embrace of Christianity, except without the embarrassing God part.

I really want to believe President Obama, but his recent claim that he’s not a secret Muslim, but “a Christian by choice,” is rather hard to digest. Listen to this testimony:

“I came to my Christian faith later in life and it was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead. Being my brothers’ and sisters’ keeper, treating others as they would treat me, and I think also understanding that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility we all have to have as human beings, that we’re sinful and we’re flawed and we make mistakes and we achieve salvation through the grace of God.”

Sin, grace, humility—if he truly believes in all this, there is some hope for this most radical of regimes. I don’t mean that Obama is a closet evangelical just waiting to be outed.

The important thing about this testimonial (if true), is that I’d finally be able to peg Obama’s real motivations. He’d be a rather typical example, straight from the 19th Century, of a Christian liberal who stopped believing in the essential dogmas of Christianity but still clung to a heavily modified form of its social doctrines.

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8 Tips for Catholic Men

I don’t often write specifically for a male audience, but I believe our gender has some particular and unique challenges to staying on the right path.

I hope to offer some useful insight which will help you, me and other Catholic men be more aware of these self-created challenges and take the necessary steps to overcome them.

Let me start by listing a few general observations about men which may be uncomfortable to read and acknowledge:

We often struggle with humility and let our pride and egos get in the way.

We like to be in control.

We can be stubborn and inflexible to change.

Our identities are often wrapped up in our careers.

We struggle to ask others (especially the Lord) for help.

We are often inclined to action when reflection and discernment are more appropriate.

We are usually uncomfortable with open displays of emotion (ours and others).

We may be overly concerned about the opinions of others (What will our buddies think?)

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Countercultural Christianity: The Litany of Humility

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,

Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved…
From the desire of being extolled …
From the desire of being honored …
From the desire of being praised …
From the desire of being preferred to others…
From the desire of being consulted …
From the desire of being approved …
From the fear of being humiliated …
From the fear of being despised…
From the fear of suffering rebukes …
From the fear of being calumniated …
From the fear of being forgotten …
From the fear of being ridiculed …
From the fear of being wronged …
From the fear of being suspected …

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I …
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease …
That others may be chosen and I set aside …
That others may be praised and I unnoticed …
That others may be preferred to me in everything…
That others may become holier than I,
provided that I may become as holy as I should…

Amen.

Prayer attributed to Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930),
Secretary of State for Pope Saint Pius X

Thanks to Msgr. Charles Pope

“Knowing”

The existence of God is a profound matter, and never something that should be treated perfunctorily. That “I believe God exists” and that “I know Him” are among the deepest things that a Christian can say, and are a confession of the grace of God. We have been given something that is consonant with purity of heart, and should thus confess it extreme humility.

More importantly, we should approach these profound mysteries with careful devotion and awe.

That there are those in our modern world who spurn God’s existence as absurd is tragic. But it should not be a cause for us to treat them as though they were idiots. More foolish are those who too easily assert God’s existence without the proper awe and humility that such a statement properly requires.

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