If lay Catholics accept…

Religious liberty as an ideal sounds lovely. But in the abstract, it has very little power. It has political force only to the degree that ordinary people believe and practice their faith — and refuse to tolerate anyone or anything interfering with their faith. The current White House has a clear track record of ignoring the traditional American understanding of religious freedom and interfering with the activity of religiously inspired organizations.

If lay Catholics accept that sort of government behavior without inflicting a political cost on the officials responsible for it, then they have no one to blame but themselves when they find that their liberties have gone thin.

~Archbishop Chaput, Religious Liberty Depends on Lay Faithful, Not Bishops, NCRegister.com

The culture of narcissism

Here, in a perfect snapshot, is the culture of narcissism. As Christopher Lasch explained, where once “advertising merely called attention to the product and extolled its advantages,” it now “manufactures a product of its own: the consumer.” One does not buy a product, you buy yourself.

~ R. J. Snell, American Agrarian On Sale Now – Front Porch Republic

Where the path of prayer leads

Those who seek God along the path of Franciscan prayer are to be transformed by the one they seek, the one they claim to love. Prayer centered on relationship with Christ, the Word of God incarnate, cannot help but change the life of the believer and the way one lives. Those who enter into Franciscan prayer, therefore, must be ready for change; they each must be willing to become “another Christ,” for this is where the path of prayer leads, to a new birth of Christ in the lives of the believers.

~ Ilia Delio, Franciscan Prayer

Digging channels in a waterless land

In his book Reflections on the Psalms, C.S. Lewis says that, “In commanding us to glorify him, God is inviting us to enjoy him.” He describes our efforts at praise while on earth in this way: When we carry out our “religious duties” we are like people digging channels in a waterless land, in order that when at last the water comes it may find them ready…. There are happy moments, even now, when a trickle creeps along the dry beds; and happy souls to whom this happens often.

~ Daria Sockey, The Everyday Catholic’s Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours

We preach

It seems to me most Christians “preach” one gospel and live another. We preach the Good Samaritan and ignore the poor. We preach the gospel of trust but lock our church doors. We preach the lilies of the field and allocate large amounts of our monthly paychecks to pension and insurance plans. We preach the gospel of peace but plot to destroy our enemies. We preach the gospel of forgiveness but build prisons. We preach the gospel of tolerance but are rigid and judgmental. We preach a gospel of unity but live in ghettos of separateness. We preach the gospel of simplicity but live in mansions. We preach the gospel of service but we want to be served. We preach the gospel of prayer but prefer to be entertained. We preach the gospel of love but easily succumb to hatred.

~ Gerry Straub, “Divisive Times”

Yet each time that they are given but one reason to doubt

Most people desperately desire to believe that they are part of a great mystery, that Creation is a work of grace and glory, not merely the result of random forces colliding. Yet each time that they are given but one reason to doubt, a worm in the apple of the heart makes them turn away from a thousand proofs of the miraculous, whereupon they have a drunkard’s thirst for cynicism, and they feed upon despair as a starving man upon a loaf of bread.

~ Dean Koontz, Odd Thomas