Fr. Daniel Lord, SJ Deserves more Attention from Modern Man - Modern man is haunted by a hollowness.
He has placed his faith in science, in its promise to explain everything about the systems that man encounters - psychological, biological, sociological, astronomical, etc. But even as man uses, and misuses, the many products produced by these scientific discoveries - from Apple I-Pads to morning after abortifacient.
People report an emotional and intellectual disconnect from their deeper self. "Why am I here? " "What overarching purpose should direct my life?" "Who created these many beautiful systems that man is figuring out?"
Fortunately, Fr Daniel Lord has produced a wonderful array of books and articles that give people the answers to these eternal questions.
He believed that pure capitalism was just as bad as pure socialism. He had things to say about subsidiarity - which is the philosophical doctrine that favors poliyical systems that keep power close to the family as opposed to being centered far from the family.
Fr. Lord was particularly concerned over modern media's tendency to appeal to people’s prurient interest including displays of sexually explicit material. He was a force that encourage to movie industry to voluntary censure its output in this area.
He wrote against atheists saying they were illogical and denied obvious truths. He also talked about the joys of going to confession and knowing that one's sins were forgiven.
.Probably his most interesting essay was the one he wrote about cancer after he was diagnosed with the disease. In this essay he says he is glad God has chosen that he will die a slow death, rather than a sudden death such as a massive heart attach or bad auto accident. In this essay he explains that it is good to have time to wrap up some loose ends, say things to certain people that need to said, etc. But most of all, such a diagnoses gives a person time to focus on God, receive the sacraments of Confession and Extreme Unction, and prepare to meet God in the afterlife. .................... (prepared by Hugh Murray on 10/27/2011)
Suicide of a Super Church - Pat Buchanan has recently written a book on the suicide of the US which he entitled Suicide of a Super Power . This book focuses on internal decay within the American culture. A spirit of giving and self-sacrifice for the good of others has been replaced with selfishness. A traditional culture, which formerly proclaimed that there is right behavior which should be encouraged and bad behavior which must be condemned, has been replaced by an "I'm ok - your ok" culture that permits nearly any behavior.
But the title of this essay is Suicide of a Super Church not Suicide of a Superpower. The Church, of course, is the Roman Catholic Church which formerly proclaims that the consecrated Host presented to the faithful at communion is actually the Body of Christ, the second person of the Trinity. However, the Church allows the Host to be dispersed to the faithful while they are standing, mostly by placing the Host in the communicant’s hand. If Church leaders truly believed the host is the Body of Christ, they would insist that the faithful receive the host while kneeling with a golden patten underneath their chins to catch any wayward crumbs that might fall.
Additionally, the Church has de-emphasized the importance of proper preparation for the reception of the Host. For instance, how often does a priest say to the congregation “if you haven't been to confession in the last year you might want to hold off on going to communion until after you get to confession. You may not have serious sin on your soul. I’m sure many of you don’t. However, checking in with a priest in confession is a good idea because of the graces and good advice dispensed along with forgiveness of your sins, be they serious or not so serious.”
Furthermore, the Catholic Church has been experiencing difficulty interesting young people in the consecrated life. Catholic youth might be more inclined toward the life of a nun or priest, if they thought the laity they were going to serve was deeply devote to the Faith, particularly the central belief in the Real Presence at Mass. Youngsters form an unconscious impression of the laity’s level devotion at age 7 or 10 as they watch the faithful behave at Mass. Kneeling to receive Communion forms one sort of impression. Shuffling up with outstretched arm and hand forms a different impression.
Perhaps the lack of faith exhibited by today's Catholics might be directly or indirectly attributable to the changes implemented by Church leaders over the last 40 years including a de-emphasis on the outward respect properly due both the sacrament of Confession and the Consecrated Host.
Will the Catholic Church actually die? Of course not; it is operating under the protection of the Holy Spirit until the end times. However, it could suffer sever reversals and these reversals could be triggered by the well intentioned missteps of Church leaders. ................ (prepared by Hugh Murray on 11/27/2011)
Be Informed and Open about Your Religious Belief - A person operating in the world
encounters all sorts of people -strangers, clerks, acquaintances, co-workers, distant cousins,
etc. These people are sometimes encountered only once or just occasionally or daily. The
trick in dealing with various levels of encounters is to have appropriate comments or
behaviors at the ready to send a message.
If a stranger lets you into a line ahead of
them, when he sees you are in a hurry, you might say “Thanks ... you’re a God send”. It says
you are grateful but you are also saying that you believe in God and that he is doing what God
likes. It is a little thing but it puts God in the picture.
If a clerk greets you in a store
with “Hello, how are you?” you can respond by saying “I’m getting there but I’m not sure if
its heaven or hell?” This lets the clerk know you operate your life with regard to whether an
act or statements moves you one way or the other with regard to the afterlife. The clerk might
let the opening drop and just ask “Can I help you?” or the clerk might respond with their own
comment about ultimate things. Later in the shopping experience with this clerk your opening
exchange might be augmented in a different comment. For instance, looking at a piece of
clothing by Yves St Laurent would provide a chance to remark about St Yves a patron saint
of lawyers who worked as a lawyer representing poor people in Northern France. Such
comments need to be handled in a natural, non-pushy way. The more religious knowledge you
possess the easier it is to work something in naturally and with some relevance.
With co-workers at lunch or over coffee try to have an array of interesting religious facts at
the ready. When people talk about new stuff in there lives or some new fact they have come
upon, you offer a new fact about some aspect of religion. If one person says “the world is
getting warmer by one degree on average every ten years.” you might respond that the
“That’s interesting about one degree every ten years. The demographers say the Islamic
religion is moving one degree of latitude further south across Africa every ten years as
Christians and pagans gradually convert to Islam”. Now there are two subjects on the table
for the coffee group to pick up on global warming or the rise of Islam. A good way to get an
interesting religious fact or two everyday is to listen to the daily sermon from the television
Mass said on EWTN every night at 11 PM Central time .Because these Masses are televised
nationwide the priests make a real effort to produce rich interesting homilies.
When speaking to a close friend or relative that has grown lax in their attachment to religious
faith or has fallen to serious repetitive sin, try to use humor or a personal story , particularly
something that is self-deprecating, to bring religion into the conversation. You might say
something like “I’m terrible I eat and drink too much sometimes on the weekends but I’m
lucky to live down the block from church where Fr. Jack is always willing to hear my
confession and get me headed in the right direction again.” You haven’t mentioned the other
person’s sinful situation or lax practice, but you have reminded him that reformation and
renewal is always an option.
This kind of regular mentioning of religion is very
important from two perspectives:
a) society is helped and all benefit if religious
comment and discussion is considered just as appropriate as discussing the weather or the
score of last night’s big game. Everyone has to be inculcated into the habit of speaking about
God easily and frequently Rev John Neuhaus wrote a book entitled The Naked Public
Square in which he bemoaned the lack of well informed speech about morals and
religion in America’s public discourse.
b) of equal importance, is the
personal protection from temptation to sin such behavior gives. Someone who might need an
accomplice for some nefarious act would think twice about trying to recruit a person that
regularly mentions God or religion. Think of the fellow employee who has devised a way to
defraud the employer but needs someone in the other department to accidently allow certain
expense voucher through without being checked. Alternatively, consider the co-worker who
is in a difficult marriage and is seeking someone for an extra marital tryst. Such a co-worker
is unlikely to attempt to seduce a person who regularly references religion in conversation.
(prepared by Hugh Murray on 11/29/2011)
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This page hopes to bring a common
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Hugh V. Murray, who can be reached at email@example.com