CS Lewis: Holiness isn’t Dull, it’s Irresistible

If Christianity feels like a chore to you, dig deeper. Once it clicks, it’s like the Wizard of Oz; life goes from black & white to color. Every person, art, and (upright) activity you love…you love more deeply. Beauty is found in places you never expected. As Saint John Paul II stated: “life with Christ is a wonderful adventure”.

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If you don’t believe seeking holiness is joyful, exciting, and irresistible, keep digging, keep reading, keep praying, and seek out beautiful liturgies to surround your reception of the Eucharist.

Catholic doctrine and discipline may be walls’ but they are the walls of a playground.

-GK Chesterton

The importance of sound Biblical interpretation

Many Christians in the West are burdened with the unfortunate stereotype that all Christians assume the theory of evolution is wrong because it is incompatible with the Bible. Thanks to the relativistic nature of sola scriptura in protestantism–especially in America–and a media eager to make them the face of Christianity, those unaware of authentic Christianity (read: Catholicism) assume that all Christians read the Bible as a literal text. The media loves painting the picture that to be Christian means to read the book of Genesis as a scientific textbook.

The extremely misguided minority of Christians who burden us all with this damaging reputation would we well suited to learn about the contributions of the Church–priests especially–to the natural sciences such as the Big Bang and modern genetics. These Christians, along with every breathing person, would gain much from reading authors such as C.S. Lewis on the topic of the various literary styles and genres of different books in the Bible. Catholics need also be aware of the various papal statements going all the way back to Pope Pius XII on the matter.

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Fr. Georges Lemaître – The astrophysicist credited with the Big Bang theory
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Fr. Gregor Mendel – Also known as the “Father of modern genetics”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This brings us to a passage I read today in an article discussing the importance of sound interpretation and the need for :

Unlike Protestants, Catholicism has Tradition (the Magisterium) to fall back on. Tradition informs us there are four senses of Scriptural comprehension that are used simultaneously: literal, spiritual (or anagogical), moral (or allegorical), and a meaning associated with human society (tropological). Thus, “Jerusalem,” when mentioned in the Bible, simultaneously is read to mean: a literal geographic city in the Middle East; heaven, since Jerusalem is the city of God (anagogic); an “upright” life (allegoric); and political rule, since Jerusalem was the capital of Israel (tropologic). Catholics, then, do not read Genesis literally, in the sense that the universe was created in six days or that Adam and Eve even existed. Instead, a Catholic reading of Genesis means that the universe (including time) was indeed created by God, but the Genesis recording of creation does not literally walk us through that process but is meant to be symbolic of it. Similarly, Adam and Eve are meant to symbolize humanity’s downfall, not that a “literal” Adam and Eve existed.

The sciences uncover how our ordered material world works…faith uncovers the meaning behind it. Until our protestant brethren cast aside their relativistic version of Christianity, we will continue to have this problem. Pray for them.

“Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth.”

“Consequently, methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are.”
-CCC 159

A Great Message from the 14th Sunday After Pentecost (1962MR)

Those attending the Extraordinary Form today will have heard the propers for the 14th Sunday after Pentecost. A point I have been discussing and praying over often lately surfaced within the readings, specifically the Communion proper, Matthew 6:23.

Seek ye first the Kingdom of God: and all things shall be added unto you, saith the Lord.

It is a point that CS Lewis sums up succinctly in the pictured quote below:

The message is simple but of paramount importance for the person who desires both an ordered life on earth–filled with as much joy and free from as much despair as possible–for themselves and their family and a spot in heaven. If one’s actions are healthily oriented towards heaven, they will likely also be rewarded with worldly benefits. But if one orients their actions according to worldly enjoyments, they will, ultimately, end up with nothing.

Father John Zuhlsdorf expands well on this point, in the context of today’s other propers:

There is nothing wrong with material, created things or wealth until we seek them for themselves. Only God must be seated on the throne of our heart. It is hard to make material gains and we toil for them. But we can easily perform small acts that are meritorious for heaven. These acts accrue. Small incremental acts help us to greater acts, especially in regard to mortifications and performance of corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Working in small increments is a good way to proceed in the spiritual life. This is how we conquer vices and build virtues. And the spiritual merits we gain accrue exponentially when we are in the state of grace. […] Even the smallest acts we perform, if we do them prayerfully for love of God, uniting them to Him and His will for us, are meritorious. Examine your consciences in regard to created things, which includes people. No created thing, which includes people, can be on the throne of your heart. That’s God’s. When our loves are ordered, we can love people and use material things properly and in ways that are meritorious.