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Mother Teresa On Humility

Ways to Become Humble

Mother Teresa’s example proves all three of Fr. Johnson’s points.  While she was head of the Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa kept a list of ways to cultivate humility for the sisters in her care.

  1. Speak as little as possible about yourself.
  2. Keep busy with your own affairs and not those of others.
  3. Avoid curiosity (she is referring to wanting to know things that should not concern you.)
  4. Do not interfere in the affairs of others.
  5.  Accept small irritations with good humor.
  6.  Do not dwell on the faults of others.
  7. Accept censures even if unmerited.
  8. Give in to the will of others.
  9. Accept insults and injuries.
  10. Accept contempt, being forgotten and disregarded.
  11. Be courteous and delicate even when provoked by someone.
  12. Do not seek to be admired and loved.
  13. Do not protect yourself behind your own dignity.
  14. Give in, in discussions, even when you are right.
  15. Choose always the more difficult task.

—from the blog post Mother Teresa’s 15 Tips to Help You Become More Humble by Patti Armstrong


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On Suffering in Two Music Videos

—from the online article Considering nullity and Francis in a Katy Perry World by Edward Mulholland

This Sunday I will give the opening talk at an academic camp for high schoolers, called “Cathedral,” at Benedictine College. My opening talk presents two videos made around the same year in California: “Firework” by Katy Perry and “Light up the Sky” by a Christian band named The Afters. Both videos use firework imagery, and a series of vignettes about people in difficult situations (illness, family issues, self-esteem issues, employment problems). Some of the situations are almost identical. The main point I want to get across to these high school students is that, though both of these songs and videos are the fruit of the same time, place and industry, they are not the fruit of the same culture. They answer the “big questions” in a diametrically opposed way.

Katy Perry’s solution is to tap into the inner power of the individual, and, by some mysterious power, all problems will be solved by self-assertion (where one’s bustier apparently bursts into flames). The other video, where the sufferers must obey a mysterious message that proceeds from outside themselves, shows that your problems do not go away by personal volition alone (you’re still terminally ill, you’re still fired) but your perspective changes completely when you are consoled by the presence of God who is close to you in your suffering.

My point to the young people is that they are called, in a Katy Perry world, to carry on the culture of the builders of the great cathedrals. And my challenge to them is this: How will your living of the Faith make a mark on this world?


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If God himself has to suffer…

My pal Dave has an entirely different approach to the whole suffering thing. For him, the question is not “Why does God allow me to suffer?” Rather, it’s “If God himself has to suffer, what makes me think I’m so special as to get a pass? We are, after all, talking about the worship of a crucified God who warned us that those who would walk in his footsteps must likewise carry a cross.” Dave thinks that’s going to involve Christ’s followers in a spot of bother now and then.

That sort of thinking, though it probably accounts for why Dave will never be a pastor, is well-grounded in his work as an historian of 20th Century Eastern Europe and has stood me in good stead in my own times of suffering. The option has never been “Shall we suffer?” The option has always and only ever been “Shall our suffering be a doorway to heaven—or not?”

I suspect that many—indeed most—people who think they disbelieve in God are really just angry at him. It’s hard to believe he loves you when you are suffering great pain or loss. […] Attempting to get rid of him by an act of anti-faith will not make the hurting stop: It will merely make it meaningless. With him, the suffering can do more than mean something: it becomes the prelude to our glorious resurrection in the Victor over death.

—from the blog post “Why Me?” Why Not Me? by Mark Shea at The National Catholic Register

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Why the Resurrection of Our Bodies?

Once we reach the real end of the elongated ‘end times’ in which we are presently living the Church teaches that there will be a general resurrection of all bodies. Here’s the question: why?


There are two big answers to this question.

The first overall answer lies the rich theology of restoration that is centered on Christ. This teaching, rooted in Scripture and articulated by Church Fathers like Irenaeus and St. Augustine, holds that Christ, in reversing the curse of original sin and redeeming a fallen world, restored all things to their original goodness. This is based on such New Testament texts as 1 Corinthians 15:20-28 and Ephesians 1:8-10:

In all wisdom and insight, He has made known to us the mystery of His will in accord with his favor that He set forth in Him as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.

In the recreated new heavens and new earth, of which we read in Revelation, it would be most weird indeed if the pinnacle of creation—the human being—in which the lower material and the higher spiritual realms were united in one, was not fully resurrected. To be half of what we once were, disembodied spirits flitting about would indeed seem odd. The resurrection of the body affirms its original goodness. It’s not a matter of heavenly necessity, but it is most fitting for the plan of redemption.

—from the on-line article The Resurrection: Why Do We Get Our Bodies Back? by Stephen Beale

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Noting the Final Corporal Work of Mercy

I’m fond of noting the final corporal work of mercy, to bury the dead. It shows the high regard Christians have for the body, which isn’t a husk to be shucked away, but the flesh our Savior took on and sanctified, and which will be raised again.


“I look forward to the resurrection of the body,” declares the final sentence of the Nicene Creed, “and the life of the world to come.” Dust returns to dust, but what is sown in corruption arises in incorruption, and the corn of wheat that enters the earth in mortality bears the fruit of immortality…. We wait. To the faithful heart, every pulse brings us closer to our ultimate gain. Yes, death is a fearful thing, and we need not be ashamed of the fear. But we are not alone. There, at our side, is Jesus.

—from the book Real Music: A Guide to the Timeless Hymns of the Church (book and CD) by Anthony Esolen, Ch. 11: Consolation

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Pope Francis, Population Control, Consumerism and Climate Change

Pope Francis in Laudato Si

“To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues,” the pope wrote. “It is an attempt to legitimize the present model of distribution, where a minority believes that it has the right to consume in a way which can never be universalized, since the planet could not even contain the waste products of such consumption.”


The pope is right that many of those calling for population control want to place the focus on something other than the fact that their privileged lifestyle is made possible by the consumerist economy responsible for climate change.

Such economies, in fact, are strongly tied to lower population rates. As cultures get more and more addicted to wealth creation and efficiency, this concern crowds out procreation of children.

The most dramatic contributors to climate change, it turns out, are cultures with dramatically falling population rates.

Indeed, we just discovered that the United States now has the lowest fertility rate in the history of the country. But during this time where our population rate declined we also learned that our carbon emissions rates rose.

The relationship between a falling population rate and climate emissions, perhaps somewhat paradoxically, is the opposite of what Rieder and many other academics imagine it to be. Furthermore, human attempts at population control (one of several prescient warnings offered by Pope Paul VI in Humane Vitae) have something less than a stellar historical record.

—from the online article Pope Francis said it: Climate change is not a population crisis

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Devotions and Supernaturalism vs. Superstition

Supernaturalism, on the other hand, is God’s grace coming to us through the natural world. In superstition we try to impose our will. In Supernaturalism we try to conform to God’s will. In superstition we do something to get our way. In supernaturalism God does something to change us to his way. This is why when we do bring our prayer requests to God we always include the prayers, “According to your will.”


The devotions of the Church are given to us to provide the words and ways for our love of God to be expressed. They provide a method and system for our contrition, our submission to the Divine Will and a way to draw closer to Christ. They must be accompanied by true conversion of heart, genuine contrition, true devotion and an unwavering trust in God, in whom we live and move and have our Being.

—from the online article Exorcism, Superstition and the Supernatural by Fr. Dwight Longenecker