Archive for the ‘Theological issues’ Category

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 …


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)”