Religion: June 2003 Archives



Psalms in Metre for Christian Worship will be added to the blogroll. Thanks to Bill at Summa Minutiae for the link. And Bill, Happy Father's Day to you too!

Mahony Resisted Abuse Inquiry, Panelist


Mahony Resisted Abuse Inquiry, Panelist Says
Keating added that "I think there are a number of bishops and I put Cardinal Mahony in that category who listen too much to his lawyer and not enough to his heart."
I don't know how long the LA Times keeps their links live, as they try to squeeze every peso out of the reading public.



Earlier this week, I posted about my husband's visceral reaction to a radio broadcast on Gnosticism. Over at Gaudete Semper is a more thoughtful post, by some one who actually heard the broadcast in question. This post, titled The Gospel of Thomas (you may have to scroll down), is a very insightful commentary, and includes a permalink to the audio archive of the show. Here is a sample:
Pagels sounds an interesting note toward the end of the interview. She suggested Thomas, with its appeals to individual discernment about the divine light emanating from inside us, may someday become part of the Christian tradition. I find that about as likely as the pope converting to Scientology. Nevertheless, Pagels is a provocative scholar, and I'm sure to give her book a look since argument is always good fun.
I will confess, I have yet to listen to the interview. If there were a transcript, I would probably read it, but I have much the same trouble just sitting down to listen that I do planning to watch TV or a movie. Radio is something that I do incidental to other stuff. If I wasn't stuck in a hospital call room 2 nights a week, I would probably have never learned to love EWTN.
PS: Here is the link to the audio archive.

Light and Darkness


Forgive me if I ramble a bit here, I am sort of thinking through my fingers, trying not to lose the fragments of ideas.
My husband was very upset by the Wednesday 6/4/03 episode of Fresh Air heard through NPR, upset enough that he paged me from his car to talk about it. Terry Gross was interviewing an author who was promoting Gnosticism and subtly misrepresenting church history. I haven't yet had a chance to listen to the interview. I intend to pull it out of the archives sometime in the next few days, and I may or may not have more to say about this specific issue. One thing that really upset him was her concept that the Gospel of John was nothing more than a polemic against the Gnostic 'gospel of thomas'. He also said something to me about Gnosticism and 'we are all part of the light'.
I'm on call tonight at the hospital. I was awakened for a patient, who is not in labor and was sent home, and now I am having trouble going back to sleep. I am slowly re-reading Kathleen Norris'es book The Cloister Walk, and her entries for January 10 and for Candlemas (February 2) resonated with the thoughts I have been having (since my husband's call) about Gnosticism, Christianity, and the New Age movement. (I guess I really do need to print out and read the recent encyclical on the topic - soon, soon).
Let me quote Norris - here speaking about St. Gregory of Nyssa.
What Gregory said of Moses, that he "entered the darkness and then saw God in it," that in God's sanctuary"he was taught by word what he had formerly learned in darkness," seemed to me to tell an essential truth about poetry, as well as religion. It confirmed a sense that I'd held as a child of the holy as dwelling in deep darkness, despite being told by my Sunday-school teachers that "God is Light."
The Nicene creed speaks of God who is creator of all things, visible and invisible. I always have thought the Gnostics unduly limited God by making Him purely light. He is pure light, but also pure dark. He is Alpha, and Omega, uncreated yet begotten, true God, true man, one with the Holy Spirit. In the bright light of noon, that casts no shadow, I have difficulty finding God. It is too harsh, too bright. I find comfort in the gentle enfolding dark, like the dark of the womb where light and brightness are diffused through the mother. I can feel the presence of God in the quiet stillness of the sanctuary, lit only by a few candles. The brilliance and light of Easter can only follow after the still quiet and darkness of Holy Friday and Holy Saturday.
I also keep in mind that Satan was called Lucifer, the light bearer. I wonder how many souls he has 'jack-lighted' into Hell with his uncanny beauty and attractiveness. I wonder how the New Age admonition to 'Follow the Light' - told to dying persons - actually pans out in terms of ultimate destination. I hope and pray that I can avoid becoming a 'deer in the headlights', paralyzed by the impact of an incomplete light that is not Lumen Christi.



God is so elusive. But why? I want to weep for sorrow and scream for frustration, but in moments of true candor, I know I will do neither. The tears won't come. Not real ones anyway. The only tears of which I am capable are those brought on by sappy movies and melancholy songs. I don't know how to manifest true pain. more (you may have to scroll to Reflection, hot links snafu).
Crystal - all I can say is that I have been there too. I can be on a retreat, or at a prayer meeting, or at Mass - and I can see that those around me are being moved not just spiritually but emotionally - and I am feeling nothing. My intellect and my will tell me that God is present, but I just can't feel Him. This, I think, is actually a truer pain that the bodily aches and pains. I have heard this referred to as 'dryness'. I don't know for sure if that is what it is - it seems like true dryness is a mark of great spirituality and holiness, and I know I'm not there myself.
Holiness, I have become convinced, is in the everyday stuff. It is in trying my best (which often isn't terribly good) to do what God wants me to do to help bring about His kingdom. I can't always feel the presence of God to love Him - even sometimes in the Eucharist I can't feel Him - but I can try to love those who God has put into my life. Sometimes that is even harder to do. My children are dear to me, but I can't always say or do the right things. My husband and I are truly one flesh in Christ, but I still manage to hurt him without even realizing it. I guess that I will just have to try to be holy in the small stuff. Ora et laborae. Offer up the things I despise (like kitty litter boxes) and the work I love (catching babies) and pray whenever I can.
Something that I have found helpful is to have physical reminders of prayer with me constantly. I wear a celtic cross around my neck - a gift from my husband. When my fingers brush against it I try to offer a prayer for him. In my pocket I keep a rosary next to my keys and my pager, and simply touching it reminds me to say a quick Hail Mary. When I turn on my computer, I offer a quick prayer for those I know on-line, especially those who have asked for specific prayers. It helps. Every little thing helps.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Religion category from June 2003.

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