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Showing posts from August, 2012

Sacrament of Reconciliation: Chore or Ritual?

I need to go to Reconciliation; to be restored to a state of grace, first and foremost, but also frequently, to be strengthened by its Sacramental Grace. But I need time in prayer asking guidance of disposition, for Confession is a sacrament that I have trouble with. Not in general: it is one of the most theologically beautiful of God's gifts to us--perhaps the most tangible sign of God's loving hand as Father of the Prodigal Son, who must chastise and teach His children to grow in virtue but also celebrate their return to his arms. No, my trouble with the Sacrament stems from a block internal, and in part external, that keeps me from experiencing Confession as sacrament and rite, but as a chore.

St Hippolytus, Oremus!

Today is the feast of St. Hippolytus of Rome (on the Western Calendar), who has the dubious distinction of being the first Anti-Pope, but so beloved by both factions was the man that he was quickly raised to the altars after his death as a martyr of the faith. He is not celebrated on the contemporary Roman calendar,* which is a shame, for not only would it be hard to contest the holiness of a man who represented the division of the Church, yet was celebrated as a saint, Saint Hippolytus is attributed with writing what has become probably the most commonly used Eucharistic canon, Eucharistic Prayer II.

The Habit of Perfection by Gerard Manley Hopkins

A poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins for Friday's fasting ("The can must be so sweet, the crust / So fresh that comes in fasts divine!") and a necessary reminder that God's grace is ever present, but the acceptance of that grace, and the life worthy of its gift, is a matter of discipline, habit, the repetition of small sacrifices for the love of God, a thousand, daily, tiny steps toward heaven ...


The Habit of Perfection

Elected Silence, sing to me
And beat upon my whorlèd ear,
Pipe me to pastures still and be
The music that I care to hear.
...

The Religious Perspective of Eternity in Art

I'm currently reading The Discovery of Heaven by Harry Mulisch, a wonderfully broad and rambling novel. In it, one of the principal characters, Max, is teasing a former art history student and what follows is an interesting exposition on perspective and eternity in medieval art ...
"Perhaps we should see everything in perspective." [said Max.]
"What perspective?"
"Eternity."
This time she seemed to understand him even better than he had intended. She turned onto her stomach and said didactically:
"Eternity and perspective are incompatible. Shall I tell you something, Dutch Max? Perspective was discovered int he fifteenth century. Up till then God had always fitted very naturally into the space of the painting, a Madonna and child for example, but that space itself was unnatural. He simply sat on a throne in the blue sky, above the Madonna, with some circles and stars around him; or on the left you had St. Dionysius wearing an elegant mitre in a …