Saturday, September 29, 2007

An Instrument of God

I am reading the new book of the letters of Mother Teresa. It is a God send, God did so much through her, and she realized that she was but His little instrument.

This affirmed something I've been praying about, how we are able to be "instruments of God".

It is first, necessary, to think about what an instrument is. An instrument (not in the musical sense only, but in any sense), is something that is used to reach a certain goal. For the sake of simplicity, I think the pencil is the best example.

In a certain sense, we are all called to be pencils in the hand of God. Sinfulness makes us pencils that are too big for God to use in His precious hand. God works with the smallest instruments for we wonder "how has He done such great things with such a small instrument". We wonder about such things all the time! We wonder at how computers are able to do so much with such tiny parts. The same is true with God. How is it that He is able to do so much with such small things?! It shows the greatness and awesomeness of His love.

So, we are called to be pencils in the hands of God. How is it, then, that we become smaller so that we can fit in His precious hands? Well, we must be shortened and scraped of all unnecessary excesses. If we have a love of self, then our pencil must thin out, all excess exterior must be stripped away. If our desire for other things is too extensive, then we must be sharpened so as to become as short as possible for God to work with us. We must become tiny instruments in His hands.

Now, God can do great work with such small pencils. He can draw a beautiful canvas of works done by His grace and love through us. We must become small to fit into His precious hands, though, in order for this to work. The smaller our pencil is, the more control He will have over us. We are able to be more attuned with His will when the excesses of pride and desires for things of the world are removed. Only then do we fit in His precious hands, tiny, insignificant, virtually nothing compared to the greatness of God. And yet, though almost nothing, it is only then that we become everything, for we become enveloped by His love shown to us by our being open to His will, which is His hands, guiding the pencil each step of the way.

But we must become small and insignificant, for it is only then that the beauty of God can be shown to the world. It is only in nothingness that we become Christ to others and are able to preach with our lives the love of God.


The Simplicity of Christ

I have been reflecting on many things as of late and one thing that has really touched my life profoundly is what John Paul II says is necessary to "fully realize what it means to be human".

To be human is to imitate Christ who "is the image of the invisible God". Christ reveals the Father to us, He reveals to us Who God is. Now, if the Letter of John says that "God is Love", then we have to ask ourselves where Christ shows us that God is Love in His life. There are, of course, many places, but the greatest place is on the Cross. God reveals His love to us through Christ's death on the Cross.

This is all good and dandy and easy to assent to intellectually. But how do we assent to it with our hearts? There is a joy in making an "intellectual assent" and this is a necessary step, but it is all pointless unless it causes us to desire to make the assent of our will, to say "I will live this truth in my life".

So, what is the truth that Christ reveals to us? That we are to love. And how do we love? By "dying on the Cross", by emptying ourselves for the sake of God. We say "no" to things of the world, not because they are bad, they are good! But God is better. We must make room in our souls for God, and that means taking out all the clutter that is in there. How do we take out the clutter? We take it out by dying to self.

This is a principle that is Biblical and consistent with the Tradition of the Church. Death to self is the means through which we become truly human. By emptying ourselves, we have more of our self to give to others and to give to God, and we thus also have a great glass to fill with the love of God.

I am convinced that this is essential for all Christians and especially for all Catholics to hear. Christ loves us and desires to be with us, He is giving Himself completely to us. We must, however, respond with love. The spear that pierced the side of Christ is symbolic of the wound we cause in Christ's Sacred Heart every time we deny Him and His will in our life. It is that wound that is the narrow gate to Heaven, and the only way to get there is by embracing the Cross Christ gives us so that we may serve God in all we do and so that we may come to receive more and more the love He wishes to show us.

This truly is the fullness of the Gospel "To love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your mind, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself". This is the fulfillment of the Law and Prophets, and Christ shows us this fulfillment by His death on the Cross. There is no resurrection without the Cross, and there is no Heaven without death to self.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Sense of the Faithful

Just a quick note for the evening. I find that a lot of people talk about the Sense of the Faithful and how that is sufficient for a Catholic Doctrine to hold. I used to be one who fell into using such a term in my day to day speech about the Church.

However, reading a book on Dogmas of the Church by Dr. Ludwig Ott, I am noticing that "Sense of the Faithful" is not the correct terminology, but it is rather a "Sense of the Communis". In the realm of the community in this sense, in order to be one who contributes their opinion to the sense of the Communis they must be in communion with the Church and all she teaches. Thus, only those who are fully orthodox and love Christ are able to properly contribute to the sense of the communis.

This is interesting because the sense of the faithful does not carry the same weight in terminology. When we say sense of the faithful, it ends up being all those who think they believe and thus have the right to contribute their opinion to the Church and Her teachings. If this is the case, then we fall into the danger of the Church becoming Democratic, that the majority of the faithful (according to their own definition of what it means to be a "faithful") have the weight of opinion on the life and teachings of the Church.

This is, of course, a false understanding of the reality of the Church. The Church is a communion of love between those who hold and proclaim all She teaches. This is a great mystery. So, it is the sense of the communis that has all the weight when it comes to the definition of the truths of faith, and not the sense of the faithful.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Eucharistic Culture

I have to apologize for the lack of updating. I'm extremely busy and so God and work come before blogging. However, tonight, for example, I have a few free minutes and so am going to put a quick idea across.

This past weekend we were honoured with the presence of Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Archbishop of Quebec City and Primate of Canada. He had many things to say, including a bit about the conclave (don't worry, he did not break the seal, he just mentioned his state at the time, the awesomeness of the experience and so forth).

He made one interesting note. He said that Canada's only hope of becoming a great culture again is that it become a Eucharistic Culture. I found this to be provocative and bold statement (in a good way). Essentially, if Canada wants to be "Canada", it must rediscover its Christian heritage, to inform herself of it, and live the values and truth that she was built on, most notably in the affirmation that God is real.

I know he truly hopes for the Eucharistic Congress to be the catalyst behind a cultural renewal in our country. He really did understand that the source of change of society is to first effect the culture.

Now, the question comes of how we actually build that Eucharistic Culture. It is not easy considering we live in such a morally deprived society nowadays. However, it is possible.

I have said it again and again, but the first thing we need is Saints, holy men and women who live the life of God totally and without reserve. We need to truly encounter the reality and truth of Christ. This happens, again, first and foremost in the Eucharist, where He is truly present to us.

I found the statement that "Canada needs to become Eucharistic" very fascinating. It had never occurred to me before. This makes sense, and yet at the same time it is a very mysterious phrase, one that will be need a good deal of prayer and meditation.


Ice Surface Melting!!

I love the National Post. Always gives reasonable! discussion of issues instead of being overrun with emotionalism and irrationality (*cough cough* Globe and Mail *cough cough*).