Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Faith and Love

The Muslim Demographics video that was shown recently to the Synod of Bishops has really got me annoyed. I have embedded it at the end of this post for reference.

Whilst the video was shown to create some debate,it is to me deeply disturbing that something so lacking in intellectual rigour and so deeply sensationalist is being shown in all seriousness to a synod of Bishops. We ought not to look for things that make us fearful, indeed we ought to not be afraid; that is the essence of our Faith. The question we should be asking is, why is the Catholic population declining in the West and what can we do about it?

May I suggest that this is actually a far deeper matter at the root of our Faith than a discussion about the use of Contraception and the issue of abortion. To me the issue is as old as the Fall. The growing understanding of the inter-relationship between Man and Woman in our life of Grace and ability to communicate with the Divine, was rudely interrupted by the serpent. Pride took over our beings and the sexes have been unable to see each other clearly since then. Man blames Woman, Woman desires stuff but gets confused over what she actually is desiring, there is fear, there is agression, there is confusion, there is passion, there are beautiful, powerful, passionate, loving relationships between members of the same sex and there IS still in all of this the genuine, transforming, sanctifying Love between a Man and a Woman.

 Christ suffered for us to redeem us. It is only through His love that we can transform our own and make this genuine love more solid and lasting.  And until we actually put Christ back into the centre of our relationships with each other, that genuine love will not exist such that marriage will be fruitful as God intends it to be.  Anyone can make babies, love isn't needed to make lots of babies.  A lack of holiness can still produce very large and loveless families, just as much as it can produce an average 1.9 children per marriage and a catastrophic demographic.

We really ought to be concentrating on our Faith and how it makes men and women more what they ought to be for each other.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

20th Sunday After Pentecost

Ahhh, beautiful day, beautiful Collect.

This is it using the Farnborough Diurnal translation:

Grant unto Thy faithful people pardon and peace, we beseech Thee, merciful Lord, that they may be both cleansed from all their sins and serve Thee with a quiet mind. Through our Lord.
 And in the Latin:

Largire, quaesumus, Domine, fidelibus tuis indulgentiam placatus et pacem: ut pariter ab omnibus mundentur offensis, et secura tibi mente deserviant.  Per Dominum nostrum.

There can be no greater blessing than having a quiet mind with which to serve God. And right now, of all times, I really do not deserve this greatest of gifts...

Monday, 8 October 2012

Catholic Courtin'

please note the post script dated 2014

Fr Zhulsdorf has posted a quote from Pope Benedict's recent sermon to open the Synod of Bishops, the sentence that caught my eye was:

Marriage is linked to faith, but not in a general way. Marriage, as a union of faithful and indissoluble love, is based upon the grace that comes from the triune God, who in Christ loved us with a faithful love, even to the Cross.

My regular reader will know that this is a subject close to my heart and that I will talk for hours about the profound, earth shattering reality of this sacramental bond.

Now, imperceptibly, I may be courting again, someone I've known for some time and someone who laid out our ground rules nearly a year ago: the "rule" being the primacy of Christ.  This has led to some rather bizarre behaviour (according to the ways of the world). We rarely see each other apart from sitting next to each other at Mass, we don't have each other's telephone numbers, we've never been near each other's houses, we send the odd e-mail and don't expect replies.  Some relationship, you may say. Yet, as I have mentioned before, this cuts deep, very deep.

The thing is, if Christ is the centre of our relationships, then nothing else matters.  In heaven we are all married to the Lamb, so the ultimate goal is the sanctification of the other person and their getting to heaven and not some earthly relationship and marriage.

As far as I am aware nobody has written a manual on Catholic courtship other than to say, be chaste.  What we are discovering is that, whatever is happening to us, it is happening through Christ.  Our joy in each other's company is not simply the joy of two creatures who intellectually click with each other and find each other good fun, but a faith enhancing experience that leads to a closer relationship to God.

I have found myself uncommonly coy.  And I will add that coyness is not teasing or fear of commitment.  I simply desire to reach this person with my better part, and this needs gentleness, reserve, patience and prayer. Our better part IS the part of ourselves that we can only reach through our relationship with Christ through the sacraments and the Church.  It is the person we were meant to be, but O felix culpa! that we are aware of our need for Christ in order to reach this part of ourselves.

So this is why I say, I may be courting.  I have certainly found someone who is willing to engage in a profound relationship with Christ in which I play a part.  I'd marry him tomorrow, if he asked, but that isn't right either.  God showed Adam so much and always let Adam make up his own mind.  If, through the sacraments and our love of God, we have some small grain of our pre-lapsarian infused knowledge, then man will know his mate and know her with his better part.  Post fall, a woman is filled with desire for her husband, but that desire can be transformed into something wholly unselfish and life enhancing.  Why desire anything less, even if this means that a relationship as measured by earthly standards may be a long way off, or may even never happen at all.


ps (2014): this one didn't happen, though we both grew in the trying, in the giving of unconditional love even when things went wrong and in failing to find each other.  It is fine, there is a full stop at the end of this, we cannot now be together.  For me, there will be another ......