Category Archives: The Faith

Miracles (again)

“‘And I dare say the first time you saw a man raised from the dead you might think so too.’ He giggled unconvincingly behind the smiling mask. ‘Oh, it’s funny, isn’t it? It isn’t a case of miracles not happening—it’s just a case of people calling them something else. Can’t you see the doctors round the dead man? He isn’t breathing any more, his pulse has stopped, his heart’s not beating: he’s dead. The somebody gives him back his life, and they all—what’s the expression?—reserve their opinion. They won’t say it’s a miracle, because that’s a word they don’t like. Then it happens again and again perhaps—because God’s about on earth—and they say: these aren’t miracles, it is simply that we have enlarged our conception of what life is. Now we know you can be alive without pulse, breath, heart-beats. And they invent a new word to describe that state of life, and they say science has disproved a miracle.’ He giggled again. ‘You can’t get round them.’” — Graham Greene The Power and the Glory

Courtesy of William M. Briggs – Statistician to the Stars

The Enlightenment contra Grace

“The Enlightenment is always wrong, because its ultimate goal is to expose. Grace, by contrast, is founded on truth, because it covers a multitude of sins. What God once and for all does not wish to know should never become the object of human knowledge and investigation.” — Hans Urs von Balthasar

Once again, courtesy of David Warren

Beware!

“Beware of manufacturing a God of your own, a God who is all mercy, but not just—a God who is all love, but not holy—a God who has a Heaven for everybody, but Hell for none—a God who can allow good and bad to be side by side in time, but will make no distinction between good and bad in eternity. Such a god is an idol of your own, as true an idol as was ever moulded out of brass or clay. The hands of your own fancy and sentimentality have made him. He is not the God of the Bible, and besides the God of the Bible there is no god at all.” — The Right Reverand John C. Ryles, Bishop of Liverpool (1880-1900)

The Head Comes Loose…

One character I think of — having known a long time — provides an especially poignant example. Long ago I suspected there was something wrong with him. He was “on my side,” but I could never trust him. And this because, he always thought ahead. “He has more brains than he can handle,” I once said of him. A very full head and a rather empty chest. He had no spiritual anchor, no faith beneath his clouds. His principles were mere thoughts: fluff passing over. Even his religious views were “solidly pragmatic,” i.e. easily revised. He could not understand even his own body, because he was all brain. His views were in a constant state of “evolution”: becoming ever more titched.

The head comes loose, when the heart is not screwed in.

Again from David Warren’s Essays in Idleness.

Septuagesima

“It will be one of the confusions of the damned to see that they are condemned by their own reason, by which they claimed to condemn the Christian religion.” — Pascal, Pensée #562.

“A new species of philosopher is appearing; I venture to baptize these philosophers with a name not without danger in it. As I divine them, as they let themselves be divined—for it pertains to their nature to want to remain a riddle in some respects—these philosophers of the future, in many respects, might rightly, but perhaps also wrongly, be described as attempters. This name itself is in the end only an attempt, and, if you will, a temptation.” — Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, #42.

Seen at The Catholic World Report linked from David Warren’s Essays in Idleness.

On Discipline

David Warren’s “Essays in Idleness” blog is usually at least amusing or interesting, and not uncommonly thought provoking. I don’t know him personally, but I have the feeling that he’d be somewhat uncomfortable being described as “profound”, so I won’t do so. Today, he’s at least worth quoting:

“A lot of time has been wasted by busybodied fools arguing that someone other than Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare; that someone other than Homer wrote Homer. (“Another poet of that generation who happened to have the same name.”) The time would be better spent reading such authors. The same is true, generally, of the Church Fathers: better to read them in their breadth, and not with a view to pursuing small vexatious points — inevitably to factional ends.”

Do yourself a favor and read the entire article here

Moral Authority

When I heard that Pope Francis had visited the Little Sisters of the Poor last night, I heard Martin Luther King’s voice saying his words from Birmingham Jail: “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

He deserves his propers for doing that.

Miracles

Emmet Fox challenges “believers” to accept that miracles are a necessary part of the gospel story, and likewise challenges “skeptics” to consider that they are a natural part of a universe that science doesn’t fully comprehend.

Miracles

Now, one must extend every sympathy to the special pleadings of a man enthralled by the beauty and mystery of the Gospels, but who, in the absence of the Spiritual Key, seems to find his common sense and all the scientific knowledge of mankind flouted by much that these Gospels contain. But this simply will not do. If the miracles did not happen, the rest of the Gospel story loses all real significance. Continue reading

Despair as Pride

Despair is the absolute extreme of self-love.

Despair is the ultimate development of a pride so great and so stiff-necked that it selects the absolute misery of damnation rather than accept happiness from the hands of God and thereby acknowledge that [God] is above us. — Thomas Merton (1961)