Keep the Faith

Virtue, Law and American Greatness

The latest biography of Oscar Wilde fails to understand his spiritual journey – CatholicHerald.co.uk

by Francis Phillips

posted Monday, 15 Aug 2016

Wilde knew all too well the spiritual shame that can follow moral transgression

Modern biographers who lack religious faith themselves are likely to misunderstand their subject if he is searching for faith in his own life. This is very apparent in a biography I have just read: The Fall of the House of Wilde by Emer O’Sullivan.

O’Sullivan has tackled as her theme a family both blessed and cursed; in particular Oscar Wilde, who was more complex and more brilliant than most other men of his time. Inevitably, our own age views him differently from his contemporaries who were charmed, then scandalised, by his personality, his exploits, his notoriety and his downfall. A contemporary celebrity, Stephen Fry, calls this biography “an indispensable contribution to Wildean literature.” I wonder.

O’Sullivan is right to suggest that Wilde was drawn “to Roman ritual and the sensuous mysticism it fostered” but wrong to state that, following the influence of Nietzsche, and “having got over the search for consolation he had sought during his Oxford years, Oscar saw the death of God as a new beginning.”

A man who understood depravity so clearly in his art (The Picture of Dorian Gray in particular) and who had quipped, with more than a grain of seriousness, “The Catholic Church is for saints and sinners alone. For respectable people the Anglican Church will do”, was well acquainted with the spiritual shame that can follow moral transgression.

Writing of Dorian Gray, O’Sullivan sees it as a satiric work in which sin and conscience are depicted as “entirely imaginary and psychologically pernicious”. I read it as a dramatic parable of the fate awaiting a man who deliberately stifles his inner self, his conscience, and makes vice his idol.

Source: The latest biography of Oscar Wilde fails to understand his spiritual journey – CatholicHerald.co.uk

The Remnant Newspaper – Don’t Stop Believing (A Little Reminder from The Remnant)

Written by  Michael Matt

“Oft hope is born when all is forlorn.”   – J.R.R. Tolkien

T-O-R-T-U-R-E

(What Did Jesus Say to Jeremiah Denton in the “Hanoi Hilton”?)

In his 1956 article, I Found God in Soviet Russia, concentration camp survivor John Noble writes: “I have seen Christianity under the most terrible persecution it has suffered since the days of Nero, and I have seen abundant proof that faith in Christ, the Saviour, is still alive in Russia today in the very places where the Communists have tried hardest to stamp it out, the concentration camps. It is triumphant testimony I have to give… and I am convinced it was God’s will that I be a member of that persecuted Church for several years in order to testify that God is with it and is sustaining it.” Reminiscent of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s account of how he found God in the atheistic darkness of the Gulag—a place which he defines as a direct manifestation of man’s abandonment of God—this extraordinary testimony of one who lived through the worst kind of physical persecution should give us pause. For inasmuch as today’s faithful Catholics face perhaps more universal afflictions of the soul than our forefathers faced at any time in history, it is nevertheless true that we have much for which to be grateful and, for the moment, even the time and opportunity needed to fight for that which we hold most sacred and which everywhere today is under attack.

Read more here: The Remnant Newspaper – Don’t Stop Believing (A Little Reminder from The Remnant)

Divine Mercy Chaplet–EWTN

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Physics Explains the World but Faith Gives It Meaning |Blogs | NCRegister.com

07/05/2016 

Fritz von Uhde, “The Ascension of Christ” (1897)

 

I recently got a note from a young man who is a physics major at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. His name is Nathaniel Strandquist, a self-described “burgeoning Catholic physicist.” Mr. Strandquist wanted to thank me for writing about faith and science from a personal perspective, but I was struck by a simple declaration he made in his note.

“I find that the most attractive parts of the faith to me have very little to do with rationality, and almost everything to do with those intangibles such as love, forgiveness, and human nature.”

How do you like that? The intangibles are the most appealing for him. Perhaps you wonder if Mr. Strandquist is saying that faith requires us to be irrational. No, not at all. The point is that if a person is (to borrow his word) steeped in the scientific method, he gets ample doses of reason when he learns the language of modern physics.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/trasancos/physics-explains-the-world-but-faith-gives-it-meaning/#ixzz4E2nZ5toZ

via Physics Explains the World but Faith Gives It Meaning |Blogs | NCRegister.com

A look at Faith, Morals and Practice

Holy Hour

There is a symmetry that one might even call symbiosis which exits between Faith, Morals and Practice. It might be helpful should we take the time to look at these more closely.

Faith

Religion, starts with matters of Faith which are guarded and taught primarily as a basis or foundation of the underlying reason for submitting oneself to the yoke of religion. This Doctrine of Faith gives man a glimpse into the meaning of life and the end for which the human soul was made as well as the nature and perfection of God and the fallen and miserable state of the human soul. It describes and sets forth the reasons for our misery and the insurmountable chasm between the perfection which is God and the imperfection that is mankind. It delivers to the soul a message of how serious is our sinfulness: serious or grievous sin, smaller less serious sin and even imperfections of things that God would have us do better though they are not of themselves, to the letter of the law, sinful of themselves.

These doctrines help us orient ourselves toward the Light which is God, the Beauty inherent in God’s Love and His ultimate Goodness. It acts as a beacon to that which is immutable and never changing and orders our lives toward the All Good and the Everlasting. These are primarily the thinking and the road map of the Church, given for our edification, as passed down through the ages and which encompass the wisdom of the Saints and the Teachings of our Lord and the History of our Fall and of our Desired Salvation.

Thereby, doctrine is a source for our Faith, our Hope and our Love which becomes the necessary virtues to be gained in this life. Without them, we are left to make the best of our fallen lives in a fallen world in which we have no hope of ever changing before we finally succumb to the inevitability of death in our transitory passage through this world.

So it becomes incumbent on the soul that wishes to escape this goldfish bowl of an existence to gaze through the distorted glass and dream of an existence far more fulfilling than the natural state into which it was born. In fact, it is a means by which we are told, should we do well, leads precisely to the fulfillment of that dream to a life that neither ends nor suffers the natural ills that accompany this transient life which we truly deserve.

Faith lets us know that God is so perfect that, like a goldfish in a bowl, if He were to remove you from this state and take you as you are into His realm, we would die; for the air is much too pure for the gills to endure and the Love is too concentrated for our hearts and minds to bare.

So pointing the soul to live its life for a higher purpose and to develop habits and capacities to love in a way that totally transforms us into children of God seems to be the end for which we were created and the ultimate vocation of each and every soul that God has made. How do we then begin?

First we come to the realization of Who this God is and form a desire or zeal for Him and learn about His Love for us and His plan for our lives; and we love Him for the love of us. Then we are pointed toward a journey intent of eliminating those things within our lives which separate us from our God and try, one by one, to eliminate their hold on us. We begin to feed ourselves on the things of God and on God Himself; He provides all. We become knowingly dependent on His good pleasure to do with us as He will and that our every breath and even our creation is a product of His good will and His love. And since His good will is that we live with Him forever we should do all that is in our power, using the gifts that only He can and will supply us, to attain to that end. It is a vocation that requires all along our way, the proof of our avowed love of Him and our assurance that there is nothing that we would not do to please Him in order to reach the end for which He has made for us.

Morals

Morality is a an outgrowth of love of God. It has as its end the purpose to bring the soul into a more intimate love of God and conversely to discourage the soul from harming its relationship with God. It has as its secondary purpose the education of the soul to its fallen state and its inordinate desire and love of creatures.Thereby, moral teaching creates habits that let us live our lives truthfully, in full knowledge of who we are and Who God is. For God is He who is and I am he who is not, so that we will find that of ourselves we are nothing, or even less than nothing because nothingness does not have the capacity to offend God, though we have only the capacity to sin if left to ourselves.

Therefore all the good that we will must be supplied by Him who is even supplying the willing itself. Therefore the outcome of morality, when used as intended, is to enlighten the soul as to what it really is and to thereby establish a soul in humility; which is seeing the truth about itself. Therefore, the denial of self and the acceptance of Divine Providence is taught us by our practice of the principles found in moral teaching. It sets our feet firmly on the way to dying to self and becoming other Christ’s in this world. So morality is not only avoiding that which is intrinsically bad for us, it is a teacher of our most inner fallen nature. It is a window into our soul.

Morality is a constant reminder that we have not the ability to resist sin and to endure hardships unless we rely on the strength and the love of God for all things.

Practice

Though Faith and Morals are considered Teachings of the Catholic Church which (we have been taught) are infallibly guarded from error by the Holy Ghost, practice is not. That is not to say that practice is of little consequence to the soul who looks to the Church for guidance in this world. For practice should flow from our Teachings and thereby be a reflection to every Catholic soul and perhaps to a lesser extent, to the rest of the world about what we truly believe: our liturgy, our music, our prayers, our alms giving, our care of the poor, our care of the sick and all other aspects of Christian living which come from this body of practices though informed, as it were, from Faith and Morals.

It is not, thereby, unusual that practices are at times confused with our faith or morals and that much of what is discussed at length between differing faiths is often a critique of this realm.

Practices change, as the world has changed to reflect both the intellect and learning of a world that is more literate than it once was (though that might easily be contested). It has also changed due to a shift, largely in developed countries, who have become soft (if I might use that word) in regards to suffering, or self-denial. For today, every small act of discipline, abstinence or self denial is seen as inordinate and far too demanding. We have become obsessed with our own comfort and our own sense of worth and our own sense that we are deserving of something. We have lost the visceral reaction that we might once have had by looking upon a realistic crucifix of the only truly innocent victim of our sins. So if mis-accused of some wrong deed we want the Doctrines to change or the practices to change. If we are inconvenienced, we do not bear the cross with joy but we squirm and complain and demand relief. I wonder if is were so for the not-so-modern Christians of yore. Their yoke was hard already, just eking out a living. And to sacrifice for the good of their souls seemed, perhaps, not that much different from their day to day existence.

I think the Church takes such things into consideration, though for some of us it seems to be a bit too comfortable and conciliatory. Perhaps they are trying to take these weaker souls and wean them off their mother’s breasts and encourage them to take their first steps into the supernatural realm of spiritual warfare and to awaken within them an interior life which they have not yet discovered. It remains to be seen if this strategy will work or fail. For the teachings of the saints are still with us: we only need make ourselves understand what it takes to lay hold of the Pearl of Great Price and then utilize what is already there for the taking.

ZENIT – A Moral Case for a Free Economy

ROME, NOV. 29, 2012 (Zenit.org).- At a time when the global economic crisis is causing experts to revisit notions of economic infrastructures, Defending the Free Market: The Moral Case for a Free Economy, by Father Robert Sirico, makes the case that a free market economy is capable of meeting society’s material needs while promoting justice and morality to flourish.

The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, of which Father Sirico is co-founder, is an initiative dedicated to the study of free market economics informed by religious faith and objective moral truths.

Following a meeting with journalists at the Acton Institute’s Rome office to introduce his book, Father Sirico spoke with ZENIT about the aim of the book, Defending the Free Market, and how the free market economic model can be positively understood from a Catholic point of view.

Read more . . .