Tough love analysis on being Catholic…

October 25, 2013


August 9, 2013

Dr. Peter Kreeft on the Authority of the Catholic Church.

Fishing in the nude…

June 14, 2013

The Apostles had been fishing all night and had caught nothing when suddenly, Christ, who is standing on the shoreline (although they do not recognise Him) encourages them to throw their nets over once more… and they catch so much that they have to call other boats to come and help them…

Considering that the Israelites were not known to be sea people, this already suggests that St Peter was rougher, tougher and braver than most…

It is while fishing that St Peter first met Christ, and it is while fishing that St Peter again meets Christ after His Resurrection.

A beautiful reflection on reunions and renewals…. and why St Peter’s decision to put on clothes before jumping in the water and swimming to Christ is such a powerful spiritual statement that goes all the way back to Genesis…—3nd-Sunday-of-Easter—The-Structure-.aspx

Psalm 130 – The “De Profundis” Prayer…

June 14, 2013


Psalm 130 – A Song of Ascents

Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice!
Let Your ears be attentive
To the voice of my supplications.
If You, Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.

I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait,
And in His Word do I hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than the watchmen for the morning;
Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord;
For with the Lord there is loving kindness,
And with Him is abundant redemption.
And He will redeem Israel
From all his iniquities.

(New American Standard Version translation)

For a truly magnificent reflection on this Psalm, drawing parallels to the Calming of the Storm Gospel passage –—12th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time—-The–.aspx.

A truly gifted speaker …

June 14, 2013

Fulton Sheen is that old school catechist instructor who speaks with a rare combination of stern authority, expert knowledge and yet a wonderful sense of humour. His story is great fun to read – who would have thought a bishop on late night tv, speaking without notes, could end up with a 10million strong viewing audience? His acceptance speech, upon winning an Emmy, is a bit of a classic – “I feel it’s time to pay tribute to my four writers; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.” This is a link to some of his audio covering basic Catholic catechism… what inspires me is it’s very human accessibility… it feels like everyone can relate to what he is saying …

A friendly face?

June 13, 2013

As Christ stood before Annas and Caiaphus to be interrogated by the a Chief Priests and elders, He was mocked, beaten and insulted before being sent to the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. Pilate then has Him scouraged and presented to the public before sentencing him to death in a legal process manipulated to produce this outcome (this article   provides a solid overview of the legalities involved with the Trial of Jesus Christ under applicable Roman and Jewish law at the time:

What worries me a little though is this: as Christ stood alone before the power of the political and religious authorities at the time, on His own, in the middle of the night, did He see a single friendly face? The Apostles are not there, the Holy Women who stood at the foot of the Cross with the disciple John wouldn’t have been allowed to attend – so during this whole process, as He stood alone before all these powerful authorities – was He totally alone?

Tough stuff for thinking … II

June 12, 2013

A truly superb analysis and exploration of “Why we should pray” from theologian and media expert Fr Robert Barron. In this presentation, he explores four areas of prayer: (1) Adoration, (2) Petition, (3) Intercession and (4) Contemplation. Best practical overview of why we should pray I’ve heard in ages…

Tough stuff for thinking…

June 11, 2013

Extract from the Catholic Catechism… tricky stuff….

“Facing temptations in prayer

[2732] The most common yet most hidden temptation is our lack of faith. It expresses itself less by declared incredulity than by our actual preferences. When we begin to pray, a thousand labors or cares thought to be urgent vie for priority; once again, it is the moment of truth for the heart: what is its real love? Sometimes we turn to the Lord as a last resort, but do we really believe he is? Sometimes we enlist the Lord as an ally, but our heart remains presumptuous. In each case, our lack of faith reveals that we do not yet share in the disposition of a humble heart: “Apart from me, you can do nothing.”

[2733] Another temptation, to which presumption opens the gate, is acedia. The spiritual writers understand by this a form of depression due to lax ascetical practice, decreasing vigilance, carelessness of heart. “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” The greater the height, the harder the fall. Painful as discouragement is, it is the reverse of presumption. The humble are not surprised by their distress; it leads them to trust more, to hold fast in constancy.”

Filial Trust

[2734] Filial trust is tested – it proves itself – in tribulation.22 The principal difficulty concerns the prayer of petition, for oneself or for others in intercession. Some even stop praying because they think their petition is not heard. Here two questions should be asked: Why do we think our petition has not been heard? How is our prayer heard, how is it “efficacious”?

Why do we complain of not being heard?

[2735] In the first place, we ought to be astonished by this fact: when we praise God or give him thanks for his benefits in general, we are not particularly concerned whether or not our prayer is acceptable to him. On the other hand, we demand to see the results of our petitions. What is the image of God that motivates our prayer: an instrument to be used? or the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ?

[2736] Are we convinced that “we do not know how to pray as we ought”?23 Are we asking God for “what is good for us”? Our Father knows what we need before we ask him,24 but he awaits our petition because the dignity of his children lies in their freedom. We must pray, then, with his Spirit of freedom, to be able truly to know what he wants.25

[2738] “… Christian prayer is cooperation with His providence, His plan of love for men.”

[2739] “… Transformation of the praying heart is the first response to our petition.”

“God wills that our desire should be exercised in prayer, that we may be able to receive what he is prepared to give.(St Augustine)”

A good pruning…

June 11, 2013

It’s been said that “God plays rough with those He loves” – from which one can only really assume that if you are experiencing hardship, pain and suffering, then the Heavenly Gardener must be giving you a really good pruning.

Why do we, as humans, prune something? So that it will flower, strengthen and grow. But it can be such a painful process! Well, at least we know that the Heavenly Gardener asks nothing of us that He has not already suffered Himself – and it is comforting to the soul to know we are truly led by example.

However, we also know that growth via pruning is a painful, tough, bastard of a process and that humour, coffee and the occasional sanity check is the only way to push forward – trusting and hoping in God; that our Heavenly Father has done this before and knows how it works … and that He has intimate knowledge of our sufferings but will push us on. This grace filled support however, seems also to come with the expectation that we can make it through because even if we stumble or fall, He’s already waiting to catch us if uniting ourselves to Him is what we truly seek.

How easy it might be to throw our hands up in the air and walk away – it’s been done throughout history and is demonstrated repeatedly in the  Gospels. But when we walk away from God, He automatically becomes “smaller” as we leave Him behind. How then, can we follow what John the Baptist urged us – that “He must increase and I must decrease?” So really, the only option is to draw closer to Him. But this means embracing what hurts, accepting whatever stings and offering it up as penance, redemptive suffering, thanksgiving – take your pick.

But to stand still is not an option; the walk away would be foolhardy and to go grudgingly forward it just downright disrespectful and ungrateful. So I think we must go forward with as much love and willing consent to God’s Holy Will as possible – asking the Holy Spirit to change our hearts, lift our spirit and give us the strength to walk the Way of the Cross, which ultimately, is an unmerited gift we are offered by none other than Christ Himself.

“Do not be afraid”

June 11, 2013

“Do not be afraid to go out on the streets and into public places like the first apostles who preached Christ and the Good News of salvation in the squares of cities towns and villages. This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel. It is time to preach it from the rooftops.”

John Paul II – (World Youth Day 1993)