Tuesday, January 14, 2014

IN PRAISE OF THE OLD-LADY DEVOTIONS OF PRAYER, THE SACRAMENTS AND CHARITY



"At no other time during my slice of history was I was aware of people’s hunger for prayer as in the 60’s. And even though in that hunger many came altogether dependent on artificially induced states that ended in a kind of spiritual obesity, nevertheless the hunger was there. In a single decade, people from every religious scene and every facet of faith were able to pray together and seriously look into each other’s eyes with some hope of unity and peace. It was a time of profound spiritual and emotional sincerity and a time of even more profound spiritual danger and peril.

Those of us who took the Christian tradition seriously eventually came back to a discipline of prayer which is rooted in the Judaeo-Christian scriptures and from which our own Catholic sacramental relationship with God flows. Firmly planted on that ground of Faith again we quite naturally found ourselves taking a new look at those old devotions that have flowered in our endearing Catholic garden of faith. Suddenly novenas and beads, vigil lights and statues and icons made all the sense in the world because now we could see it was about more than “little ole ladies” and private devotions. This childlike side of our Catholic tradition opens up a dimension of prayer that few of us remembered though it is at the very center of all Christian prayer, namely that “…prayer is born when the mystery of God and the mystery of man meet.” [quoting Catherine Doherty, Soul of my Soul]."

--Fr. Pat McNulty, I Live Now, Not I


"Whichever he adopts, your main task will be the same. Let him begin by treating the Patriotism or the Pacifism as part of his religion. Then let him, under the influence of partisan spirit, come to regard it as the mot important part. Then quietly and gradually nurse him on to the stage at which the religion becomes merely part of the 'cause' in which Christianity is valued chiefly because of the excellent arguments it can produce in favour of the British war-effort or of Pacifism. The attitude which you want to guard against is that in which temporal affairs are treated primarily as material for obedience. Once you have made the World an end, and faith a means, you have almost won your man, and it makes very little difference what kind of worldly end he is pursuing. Provided that meetings pamphlets, policies, movements, causes, and crusades, matter more to him than prayers and sacraments and charity, he is ours--the more 'religious' (on those terms) the more securely ours. I could show you a pretty cageful down here."

Your affectionate uncle
SCREWTAPE

--C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
[Screwtape is a minion of Satan, instructing his nephew Wormwood in the ways of converting humans over to the dark side].

I am FLEEING to the desert today and plan to be in Joshua Tree
for a week. Lord God, the beauty!

3 comments:

  1. Beautiful quotes! Just what I needed to read today.

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  2. My son and I were just talking about how the Republican Party somehow branded itself the Christian party. This label sticks even though many of its beliefs are not in line with Christian goals. I must share the C.S. Lewis quote with my son, how it speaks to this very issue. The Democrats and other third parties should not be confused as more Christian or more giving. We must remember that we are the Church, we unite beyond mere political issues, we are "the salt" that must make Christ known, no matter what party tries to claim us as there own.

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  3. Believe me, George, I very much need to take those quotes to heart myself. As soon as I make, say, paficism, my creed--and not Christ--something goes wrong...always, we are called deeper. Always, I must decrease, and He must increase...Thanks to you and Caroline.

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