St. Therese of Lisieux

St. Therese of Lisieux otherwise known as “Little Flower” was a wonderful image of Christian piety.

As a young girl Therese had an incredibly soft heart.  Any inner wall she built to contain her wild emotions crumpled immediately before the tiniest comment.  In fact even if Therese imagined that someone was criticizing her or didn’t appreciate her, she burst into tears. Then she would cry because she had cried!

This soft heart though fond great favor with the Lord.

As Therese began to grow up she wondered how she could be like the great Saints discussed in the Church.  With her soft heart and small demeanor she knew she must become a nun!

In the convent Therese took it upon herself to sacrifice, no matter how small it would seem. She smiled at the sisters she didn’t like. She ate everything she was given without complaining — so that she was often given the worst leftovers. One time she was accused of breaking a vase when she was not at fault. Instead of arguing she sank to her knees and begged forgiveness. These little sacrifices cost her more than bigger ones, for these went unrecognized by others. No one told her how wonderful she was for these little secret humiliations and good deeds.

Since most of Therese’s sisters were also nuns at the convent many began to believe the convent would be taken over by the family.  It was at this point that the prioress asked for the ultimate sacrifice from poor Therese.  The prioress asked Therese to forever remain a novice, in order to allay the fears of the others that the three sisters would push everyone else around. This meant she would never be a fully professed nun, that she would always have to ask permission for everything she did.

It was in these actions that Therese began to discover her way of being with God.  In reading the holy scripture “Whosoever is a little one, come to me.” Therese found her calling:  She would stay little and become less and less so Jesus could be more and more.

“Charity gave me the key to my vocation. I understood that the Church had a Heart and that this Heart was burning with love. I understood that Love comprised all vocations, that Love was everything, that it embraced all times and places…in a word, that it was eternal! Then in the excess of my delirious joy, I cried out: O Jesus, my Love…my vocation, at last I have found it…My vocation is Love!”

St. Therese never wrote any great theological treatises in fact much of what we know of her spiritual life is from her journal which became “The Story of a Soul”.  Yet Therese discovered a great truth.  One is not suppose to be like others.  One is suppose to find their unique identity with God.  In finding oneself one can discover the ethos of their own life, much how little Therese found her “Little way” to God.

Search and be brave in finding your true self with God.  Then find your special way in which to shine forth not only with your light but with almighty Gods.

You will do amazing things and will be happier than ever knowing who exactly you are and knowing you are absolutely amazing.

 

 

Thanks to Catholic Online for the information and the inspiration for this write-up 🙂

http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=105

 

Truth

“We do not need to be saved from God. We need to be saved from our sins, from the hate, greed, prejudice, and violence that have roots in every human heart and found collective expression through the religious and political powers that killed Jesus.”

– Chuck Queen (Baptist Minister in Frankfort, Kentucky, United States.  Author of the blog “A Fresh Perspective”)

Although there are some aspects of Chuck Queen’s theology that I disagree with or subjects I think he treats to lightly I respect the man a great deal.  He is able to eloquently draw a readers attention to important mistakes in Christian Intellectual History.

As prominent psychologists may speak of a collective consciousness maybe we as Christian thinkers should speak about a “Collective Christian Consciousness”.  The reality of being a human is that we sometimes function on a meta-premise level.

Somewhere along the line the general North American & European meta-view of God became one of terrifying and judgmental.  It is true that scripture gives witness to a God of frightening power and incredible vengeance yet this is within a greater context.

We as Christians need to address this issue and replace the meta-view of God with the God who preached the Sermon on the Mount, the God who said he was the same as the starving, the stranger, the poor, the sick, and the prisoner.  Only when we as people associate the word “God” with “Love” have we succeeded.  The kind of love that when you think about it you smile and feel less burdened and dreary.  The kind of love that makes you weak at the knees.  The kind of love that reminds you what life is all about.  The kind of love that inspires you.  The kind of love that makes you really smile.  The kind of love that makes you love back.

God does not want human suffering and when we think of him as such and create a world system around that we end up in the same world that we have now.  One in which violence and prejudice run rampant.  One in which power and dominion are wide spread.  It is not the world of Jesus who lived a life of life of humility, prophetic courage, compassion, nonviolence, and self-giving for the good of others. Jesus died the way he lived and his death drew attention to a meta-background that attempts at any turn to snuff out the light.

Priesthood (Catholic Church)

The 21st century has been a rough one for the Catholic Church, Priests, and Christianity as a whole.

I think it’s time we recognize Priests and Pastors for the wonderful work they do.

  •  Good Priests truly live the mystery of life.  The larger and more religious sense of mystery is of something that cannot be solved by human reason or even perceived by human senses. This is our first understanding of who God is—a Being infinite, eternal, and essentially unknowable by limited mortal minds. We can ponder religious mysteries but never come to the end of them. So we meditate on how God becomes a human being, how a virgin can be a mother, how a crucified man rises from the dead, or how one day, the last will be first.
  •   Good Priests care for the poor and needy.  Across the globe: homeless shelters, hospices, soup kitchens, battered women’s shelters, AIDS treatment centers, literacy programs, day-care centers, hospitals, and schools are sponsored and staffed by the Catholic Church and its Priests.
  • Good Priests are unique.  The Mystical Body of Christ has the diversity of Creation within it.  It needs to be remembered that Priests are each unique men that have been called to bring their special identity into the fold as ministers.  They live out their vocation with dignity and integrity and are all united in the breath of our Lord which is love and communion.
  • Lastly, Priests participate in Christ’s priesthood.  They are the stewards of the Eucharist, They hear confessions and provide counselling, and they are the witnesses and minsters for the most special times in ones life (Marriage, Baptism, First Communion, Maybe even graduation) 🙂

What this world needs is to stop looking at the worst and living in the mud and to lift itself into the light of the promised world to come.  Truth be told Priests play a very special part in that and it’s important we get back to viewing them as ministers of that most special commission.

 

Thank you!

Thank you so much for the 100+ likes!  I am excited to see how fast this blog is growing 🙂

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God is Love

God is love: Varieties of love in Christian tradition by Benjamin Myers.

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” 
—Elizabeth Barrett Browning

The belief that “God is love” is at the heart of the Christian tradition. But when different Christian teachers talk about God’s love, they can have quite different things in mind. Without any claim to comprehensiveness, here’s a sketch of 12 types of love in the Christian tradition:

1. Pedagogical love: God loves us the way a wise educator loves his pupils (Clement of Alexandria, Origen) – our love for God is like an insatiable love of learning.

2. Maternal love: God loves us with the self-giving tenderness of a mother for her children (Augustine, Julian of Norwich) – our love for God is like a child’s affectionate dependence on the mother.

3. Paternal love: God loves us with the strong supervisory care of a father for his children (Tertullian, Calvin) – our love for God is like the reverential admiration and trust of a child with his father.

4. Courteous love: God loves us with courtly courtesy (George Herbert) – our love of God is like a sweet, mutually attentive conversation between host and guest.

5. Married love: God loves us with the courteous familiarity of a spouse (Julian of Norwich) – our love for God is like the free and intimate conversation between spouses (note that this is not a sexualised picture of marriage; it’s more Jane Austen than D. H. Lawrence).

6. Celibate love: God loves us infinitely, but with a certain restraint (Methodius, Macrina) – our love for God is like a chaste and never-consummated yearning.

7. Erotic love: God loves us with the warmth and eagerness of a lover (Pseudo-Dionysius) – our love for God is like an ecstasy that takes us out beyond ourselves into unspeakable union with another.

8. Aesthetic love: God loves us because we reflect something of God’s own infinite beauty (Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine) – our love for God is a bigger version of the love we feel whenever we see a beautiful thing.

9. Purifying love: God loves us in the manner of an artist who creates an artwork and then patiently removes the imperfections (Gregory of Nyssa, Isaac of Nineveh) – we might experience God’s love as a fire of torment (i.e. as hell), but it’s all for our good.

10. Authoritative love: God loves us the way a wise and charismatic ruler loves the people (Tertullian, Athanasius) – we love God with something like the intense loyalty and admiration that the Macedonian soldiers felt towards Alexander the Great.

11. Brotherly love: God loves us as an older brother loves his siblings (Desert Fathers & Mothers) – our love for God is free, familiar, and confident.

12. Friendly love: God’s love is a firm and loyal commitment to friendship for its own sake (Karl Barth) – our love for God is like reciprocating the loyalty of a friend.

Note: I don’t mean that these are entirely separate things. They’re differences in emphasis, not mutually incompatible ideas. The names beside each type are merely representative. You could put a name like Origen or Augustine beside nearly every type of love on the list, which is probably saying something about Origen and Augustine.

Questions: What have I left out? Which of these types of love predominate in current theology?

**A comment on the original post gave this suggestion and it is quite wonderful:  Suffering Love: God loves us as a fellow-sufferer (Bonhoeffer, Moltmann), and our love for God is a participation in Christ’s sufferings in and for the world.**