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Romans 8:28 and Faith and Hope and Understanding

The blocked quotes below are from the book How to Be Holy by Peter Kreeft.

As Leon Bloy often said, “Life, in the end, has only one tragedy: not to have been a saint.”

—Ch. 1: Ten Reasons to Read This Book

Romans 8: 28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

…understanding how Romans 8:28 can be possible—is not necessary for us. De Caussade says: “Holiness is produced in us by the will of God and our acceptance of it. It is not produced by intellectual speculation about it. If we are thirsty we must have a drink and not worry about books which explain what thirst is” (p. 25)…. Faith, in every other area of life, comes first, before understanding. How insane to think that it should not come first when it comes to understanding the ways of the infinitely wise God!

—Ch. 8: Faith and Reason: Can We Believe It if We Don’t Understand It?

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It is crucial to know that this is God’s love in disguise; that this suffering means not that you are less loved by God, or judged to be less worthy, but more. Those who do not suffer should worry that they are being judged by God to be unworthy of this gift or incapable of rightly using it….

To say that sufferings and troubles are a blessing in disguise is not, of course, to say that we should go out looking for trouble. Like death, suffering will come; as with death, we should not hasten it; and as with death, we should use it rightly and heroically.

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Romans 8:28 is hope, not optimism. Optimism is a feeling: hope is a certainty. Optimism is a feeling and a prediction about the future; hope is a choice about the present presence of the God who makes suffering a present, a gift.

Jesus did not say, in the Beatitudes, that we should be happy when we are poor or persecuted or hungry. He said we are blessed. Blessedness includes suffering because suffering is a blessing. Suffering is a blessing because it is God’s gift, and all God’s gifts are our blessings.

How can suffering be our blessing? It’s very simple: Suffering is blessed because it brings us closer to Him.

—Ch. 24: Suffering

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Faith, Politics, and the Model You Want

From the blog post Dorothy Day: The model you want by David Mills

Peter [Wolfgang] equally politely explained that “It is the heterodoxy and bad catechesis that I was calling out, not politics that differ from my own on matters on which there can be a legitimate plurality of opinion.” Then he said the striking thing: “Give me a Catholic who is as radical as Dorothy Day but has her fidelity to the Church and I’m totally cool with it, even if I might disagree.”

You have to spend a lot of your day reading Christian culture-warring to know how unusual that is. For Peter, the shared faith is everything. Politics — yeah, okay, whatever.

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This reminds him of something Bishop Robert Barron said, which he quotes. In seminary people would ask, “Are you a liturgy guy or a social-justice guy?” Barron answers by invoking Dorothy Day.

“She was radically devoted to social change, care for the poor and an end to violence,” he says. “Yet she was converted to a very pious Catholicism rooted in the Eucharist, the Mass, the Rosary, Benediction, retreats and an intense interiority. She brought these two [strands] together in her life, and one fed the other; one returned to the other. That is the model you want.”

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Unhealthy Attachment

—from the blog post Christians, it’s simple: if that TV show won’t bring you closer to God—don’t watch it by Matt Walsh

But many Christians pretend not to believe or understand this simple concept. When St. Paul said, “Whatever you do, do it for the glory of God,” we imagine that he meant, but forgot, to include a disclaimer: Whatever you do (*except for the thing you spend the majority of your free time doing, and that influences human behavior to such an extent that companies spend billions of dollars advertising through it*), do it for the glory of God. Quite a boneheaded oversight on the Great Apostle’s part. Or else a boneheaded interpretation on our part.

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Predictably, I was accused of being “self-righteous” for so much as hinting that some television shows are counterproductive. Some people fretted that if we try to make moral choices in our TV watching, we may discover that none of our favorite shows are appropriate. What are we supposed to do? Watch no TV at all? How can we endure such a life? My God, my God, why hast thou abandoned us!

Now, to be clear: I did not say, nor do I believe, that we must give up TV completely. But I want to pause here and reflect on this mentality. In Scripture, Christ tells us to give up everything for Him. And there have been scores of Christian martyrs throughout history, and still today, who have done just that. Yet we have judged it unrealistic to give up a TV show?

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This, brothers and sisters, is an unhealthy attachment.

RECOMMENDED READING:

Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

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God’s Overarching Plan of Salvation History in 14 Books of the Bible

The “big picture plan” of God’s loving plan for men is Salvation History. Within the Bible’s library of 73 books, God reveals His overarching plan of Salvation History in 14 narrative books (Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges, 1&2 Samuel, 1&2 Kings, Ezra, Nehemiah, 1 Maccabees, Luke, Acts). Knowing the storyline of Salvation History helps men enter more deeply into the faith.

—from Jeff Cavins in a video shown at a local Catholic Watchmen event

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He Withholds No Good Things From Us (3 Songs)

Enough (by Sara Groves from the album, Floodplain)

Late nights, long hours
Questions are drawn like a thin red line
No comfort left over
No safe harbor in sight

Really we don’t need much
Just strength to believe
There’s honey in the rock,
There’s more than we see
In these patches of joy
These stretches of sorrow
There’s enough for today
There will be enough tomorrow

Upstairs a child is sleeping
What a light in our strain and stress
We pray without speaking
Lord help us wait in kindness

 

Open My Hands (by Sara Groves from the album, Invisible Empires)

I believe in a blessing I don’t understand
I’ve seen rain fall on wicked and the just
Rain is no measure of his faithfulness
He withholds no good thing from us
No good thing from us, no good thing from us

I believe in a peace that flows deeper than pain
That broken find healing in love
Pain is no measure of his faithfulness
He withholds no good thing from us
No good thing from us, no good thing from us

I will open my hands, will open my heart
I will open my hands, will open my heart
I am nodding my head an emphatic yes
To all that You have for me

I believe in a fountain that will never dry
Though I’ve thirsted and didn’t have enough
Thirst is no measure of his faithfulness
He withholds no good thing from us
No good thing from us, no good thing from us

 

Different Kinds of Happy (by Sara Groves from the album, Fireflies and Songs)

Go on and ask me anything
What do you need to know
I’m not holding on to anything
I’m not willing to let go of
To be free, to be free

I’ve got to ask you something
But please don’t be afraid
There’s a promise here that’s heavier
Than your answer might weigh
Baby it’s me, it’s me

It’s a sweet, sweet thing
Standing here with you and nothing to hide
Light shining down to our very insides
Sharing our secrets, bearing our souls,
Helping each other come clean

Secrets and cyphers
There’s no good way to hide
There’s redemption in confession
And freedom in the light
I’m not afraid, I’m not afraid

Better than our promises
Is the day we got to keep them
I wish those two could see us now
They never would believe how
There are different kinds of happy
Different kinds of happy

It’s a sweet, sweet thing
Standing here with you and nothing to hide
Light shining down to our very insides
Loving each other, knowing each other,
Helping each other,
Sharing our secrets, bearing our souls,
Helping each other come clean

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3 Quotes About Sacrifice and Love

I came across all three quotes below in the Opening the Word study program for the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A on Formed.

“Direct your thoughts to… bearing the crosses, little or great, that you will find there. Believe me, this is the most important and least understood point to the spiritual life.”

—St. Francis de Sales
(I couldn’t find the original source of this quote.)

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“Sacrifice is always the raw material God uses to convert man to love.”

—Fr. Brian Bransfield, from The Human Person: According to John Paul II

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“Man… finds himself only by making a sincere gift of himself to others.”

Gaudium et Spes (24)

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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