Preaching the Gospel

“First, it needs to be said that in preaching the Gospel a fitting sense of proportion has to be maintained. This would be seen in the frequency with which certain themes are brought up and in the emphasis given to them in preaching. For example, if in the course of the liturgical year a parish priest speaks about temperance ten times but only mentions charity or justice two or three times, an imbalance results, and precisely those virtues which ought to be most present in preaching and catechesis are overlooked. The same thing happens when we speak more about law than about grace, more about the Church than about Christ, more about the Pope than about God’s word.

“Just as the organic unity existing among the virtues means that no one of them can be excluded from the Christian ideal, so no truth may be denied. The integrity of the Gospel message must not be deformed. What is more, each truth is better understood when related to the harmonious totality of the Christian message; in this context all of the truths are important and illumine one another. When preaching is faithful to the Gospel, the centrality of certain truths is evident and it becomes clear that Christian morality is not a form of stoicism, or self-denial, or merely a practical philosophy or a catalogue of sins and faults. Before all else, the Gospel invites us to respond to the God of love who saves us, to see God in others and to go forth from ourselves to seek the good of others. Under no circumstance can this invitation be obscured! All of the virtues are at the service of this response of love. If this invitation does not radiate forcefully and attractively, the edifice of the Church’s moral teaching risks becoming a house of cards, and this is our greatest risk. It would mean that it is not the Gospel which is being preached, but certain doctrinal or moral points based on specific ideological options. The message will run the risk of losing its freshness and will cease to have ‘the fragrance of the Gospel’.”

— Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium (38-39)

The New Evagelization

pope-francis

 “[W]e cannot forget that evangelization is first and foremost about preaching the Gospel to those who do not know Jesus Christ or who have always rejected him. Many of these are quietly seeking God, led by a yearning to see his face, even in countries of ancient Christian tradition. All of them have a right to receive the Gospel. Christians have the duty to proclaim the Gospel without excluding anyone. Instead of seeming to impose new obligations, they should appear as people who wish to share their joy, who point to a horizon of beauty and who invite others to a delicious banquet. It is not by proselytizing that the Church grows, but by attraction.'” — Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium (14)

The Pelagian Drinking Song

Hilaire Belloc

Hilaire Belloc

Pelagius lived at Kardanoel
And taught a doctrine there
How, whether you went to heaven or to hell
It was your own affair.
It had nothing to do with the Church, my boy,
But was your own affair.

No, he didn’t believe
In Adam and Eve
He put no faith therein!
His doubts began
With the Fall of Man
And he laughed at Original Sin.
With my row-ti-tow
Ti-oodly-ow
He laughed at original sin.

Then came the bishop of old Auxerre
Germanus was his name
He tore great handfuls out of his hair
And he called Pelagius shame.
And with his stout Episcopal staff
So thoroughly whacked and banged
The heretics all, both short and tall —
They rather had been hanged.

Oh he whacked them hard, and he banged them long
Upon each and all occasions
Till they bellowed in chorus, loud and strong
Their orthodox persuasions.
With my row-ti-tow
Ti-oodly-ow
Their orthodox persuasions.

Now the faith is old and the Devil bold
Exceedingly bold indeed.
And the masses of doubt that are floating about
Would smother a mortal creed.
But we that sit in a sturdy youth
And still can drink strong ale
Let us put it away to infallible truth
That always shall prevail.

And thank the Lord
For the temporal sword
And howling heretics too.
And all good things
Our Christendom brings
But especially barley brew!
With my row-ti-tow
Ti-oodly-ow
Especially barley brew!

— Hilaire Belloc

The Good Shepherd

“The Good Shepherd” by Frederick James Shields

“Where the design for a window is ordered and paid for by the purchaser of the window, it is of course impossible to secure a duplicate; but where a picture that is already common property is reproduced, the work may be several times repeated.

“Thus “The Good Shepherd,” a very satisfactory figure of the Christ taken from the well-known painting by Frederick J. Shields, has been reproduced in glass three times, and now adorns as many churches in different parts of the country. It is too beautiful a conception to be rendered any less pleasing by this repetition. In all cases the patterns and other needed guides are preserved, so that, should the occasion arise, a picture-window once executed may be readily duplicated.”

— from the 1889 Popular Science Monthly article by C. C. Hanford Henderson entitled “History of a Picture Window”

Reflection on the Reading of Morning Prayer, November 2, 2013

all-souls-cemetaryREADING: If we believe that Jesus died and rose, God will bring forth with him from the dead those also who have fallen asleep believing in him. – 1 Thessalonians 4:14

Before Christians were called Christians, they were called Followers of The Way.

We know that Christ is The Way – not one possible way, not one good way among many – The Way… The Way, The Truth, and The Light.

We follow The Way.

We know that Christ died and rose from the dead, and in so doing He led the way. One day, we will follow Him into death; through firm faith in and love of God, we will follow Him all the way from life into death and into life eternal. We believe in Christ because He is The Way; He alone has the words of everlasting life.