I am a fan of the TV show Jeopardy, although I don’t see it as often as I used to. One of the categories that has stood the test of time is “Quotable Quotes.” It’s probably right up there with “Potent Potables.”
Whenever I come across a meaningful quote that speaks to me in my spiritual journey I write it down in my journal or put it in the Notes app on my phone. Allow me to share some of these quotes with you and I trust they will be an encouragement to you.
- Holiness is not the privilege of the few: it is the simply duty of each of us. — St. Teresa of Calcutta
- He who has himself as spiritual director has an idiot for a disciple. — St. John of the Cross
- Commitment is doing what you said you would do, after the feeling you said it in has passed. — St. Camillus
- Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them, every day begin the task anew. — St. Francis de Sales
- Cast yourself into the arms of God and be very sure that if He wants anything of you, He will fit you for the work and give you strength. — St. Philip Neri
- For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy. — St. Therese of Lisieux
- Friendship is the source of the greatest pleasures, and without friends even the most agreeable pursuits become tedious. — St. Thomas Aquinas
- Eternal God, eternal Trinity, you have made the blood of Christ so precious through his sharing in your divine nature. You are a mystery as deep as the sea; the more I search, the more I find, and the more I find the more I search for you. — St. Catherine of Siena
- While the world changes, the cross stands firm. — St. Bruno
- Our task is not one of producing persuasive propaganda; Christianity shows its greatness when it is hated by the world. — St. Ignatius of Antioch
- All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle. — St. Francis of Assisi
- Let us never forget that if we wish to die like the saints we must live like them. — St. Théodore Guérin
- All the way to heaven is heaven, because Jesus said, ‘I am the way’. — St. Catherine of Siena
It’s hard to stop, but I must. Another reason why I love the Catholic Church and her saints!
I made an interesting discovery this week and decided I would share it with you today. To give context there are several things that I need to point out.
- I spent almost 60 years of my life in Protestant evangelicalism.
- I entered the Roman Catholic Church a little over two years ago.
- The vast majority of my ecclesiastical life in Protestantism was not centered on daily and weekly liturgical readings. We were more free-style in our Bible reading in church.
- Since coming into the Catholic Church the lectionary dictates all Scripture read in public worship.
- During the last 10 to 15 years in evangelical circles there has been and continues to be a lot of conversation around several Scripture passages that speak to the issue of homosexuality.
- The recent Archbishop McCarrick scandal is revealing a likely connection between homosexuality and the abuses that took place in Catholic churches and seminaries.
- In light of this most recent sexual abuse scandal some laity and some Catholic media are making that connection, but there has not been any recognition from the Church hierarchy to that regard. In fact, one could say there has been a rather laissez faire view of homosexuality among average Catholics.
- The final point, and the discovery that I made this week: none of the passages that I referred to above in #5 are included in the lectionary readings that the Catholic and major Protestant denominations use. We’re talking about the Revised Common Lectionary for Protestants which in turn is based on the Ordo Lectionum Missae a three-year lectionary produced by the Roman Catholic Church following the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.
I found this very interesting when I compare my findings with the Catechism of the Catholic Church which states:
Chastity and homosexuality
2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity (Genesis 19:1-29; Romans 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:10; 1 Timothy 1:10), tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Persona humana 8). They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
Please hear me! This is not meant to be a “heavier burden of condemnation” to those who experience and struggle with same-sex attraction, but a call to our pastors and bishops to give us the “full counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) and help us toward “holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
The first two posts of this blog covered the first 57 years of my life in broad strokes. Early on I was intrigued with the idea of the unity of the body of Christ, His Church. Throughout the years I’ve had the opportunity to meet and know other Christians who did not come from my particular ecclesiastical pedigree. It was an enriching experience, but it also brought up a lot of questions. How could we read the same Bible and yet differ on some very significant doctrines of the faith? Did it matter? And if it didn’t, why did we tend to hold each other at arm’s length?
I count it a blessing that I grew up in a Christian home and that there is a heritage of faith on both sides of my family. My parents met at Frankfort Pilgrim College and High School in the early 1950s. At the age of six I distinctly remember praying at the altar of the Pilgrim Holiness Church in Clinton, Pennsylvania to invite Jesus into my heart. My desire to follow my Lord never abated even with the ups and downs of adolescence.
As a kid I had a visual image of the church as a train. In my mind those closest to the truth of Christ found themselves in the engine, where I knew I was with my family. Each succeeding car had churches that differed in greater degree to what I knew to be the pure truth of the gospel. What is amusing is that 40+ years later I shared this image with a friend who grew up in the Plymouth Brethren, a very distinct church from mine, and he too had the image of the train, and of course his church was in the engine!
A few mornings ago in my quiet time before the Lord I had a flashback of a song I learned when I was a child, no doubt the same song my friend sang in his childhood:
We’re going to a mansion on the Happy Day Express;
The letters on the engine are J-E-S-U-S;
The guard calls, “All for Heaven?” We gladly answer, “Yes!”
We’re going to a mansion on the Happy Day Express.
Somehow I took those words and imagined different levels of truth and closeness to Jesus. This image was challenged as I got to know other Christians from other traditions.
All that to say that two weeks ago yesterday Charlotte and I were received into the Roman Catholic Church at the parish of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Inwood, Manhattan, New York City. Now I find myself among those for whom I hadn’t made any room for as a child on the Happy Day Express.
How did I get here? Stay tuned!