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Let Your Life be Like the Sun…

Great quote from Dynamic Catholic Daily Food for Thought email yesterday worth pondering:

“Do not be let your life be like a shooting star, which lights up the sky for only a brief moment. Let your life be like the sun, which always burns brightly in the heavens, bringing light and warmth to all those on earth.”

How do we accomplish this? By becoming saints, living our faith authentically, passing it on to our children… What else? This makes me think of St. Therese who said she would spend her time on heaven praying for those on earth.

We are on the Wrong Road… C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis Mere Christianity quote on @ACatholicNewbieWritten by C.S. Lewis during World War II in the book “Mere Christianity,” which I am currently listening to via Audible (a great way to read even MORE books — see link for free trial), he says these words, which reverberate today, especially in light of the rulings on marriage and the unconscionable acts of Planned Parenthood:

“I think if you look at the present state of the world, it is pretty plain that humanity has been making some big mistakes. We are on the wrong road and if that is so, we must go back. Going back is the quickest way on.” — C.S. Lewis, “Mere Christianity”

The text comes from a portion of the book where he is discussing that if what we are doing is wrong, we must go back to when we were doing it right. Just like, if we were solving a math problem. It would be silly to continue working on a method that is not working. The sooner you admit you’re on the wrong path and start again, the faster you’ll come to the right solution.

He points out there is nothing progressive about being pig-headed and stubborn in wrong ways.

I highly recommend this book, which makes the case for Christianity through reason and logic. Just be prepared to take it in small bites that you can really ponder for a bit :).

In this life, all symphonies remain unfinished…A Review of “The Holy Longing”

Holy Longing ReviewI chose this book because the author, Fr. Ron Rolheiser, has captured my attention with his newspaper columns which show up periodically in my local diocese paper and from his bi-weekly emails. He is extremely intelligent in his approach to Catholicism, yet somehow also really cuts to the heart of the matter in a plainspoken way in just a few short words. Provided for free by the Blogging for Books program, I grabbed this one the instant I saw it to hear this author expound in more detail.

After reading the blog, if you’ d like a copy, post a comment sharing why & I’ll give away 2 copies to random winners after 10 people have commented.

The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality,” which was originally written 15 years ago and is now updated and re-released, attempts to explore the longing, the burning, the dissatisfaction many of us feel or have felt in our lives… that unquenched desire we eternally have burning inside. Basically, he reminds us that we were not meant for this world, so we will not be truly consummated and fully happy until we reach heaven. As he says beautifully, “…in this life, all symphonies remain unfinished.”

This affects all aspects of our lives and is important to keep in mind when we despair over some event or circumstance. It also helps to explain suffering. We WILL suffer here because we have not reached our full potential and we should accept that and offer that suffering as work to our Lord — or through the Blessed Virgin to our Lord — that His will be done.

Here are some circumstances where you might find yourself, and where if you can accept its incompletion, you can find the most peace here on earth:

  • A marriage that is past the honeymoon stage
  • A family member who has fallen away from the faith
  • An unfulfilled dream or career
  • The loss of a job
  • Sexual desire unquenched by your significant other

Holy LongingFather Rolheiser says the realization that all will not be completed in this life must be mourned and allowed to ascent to heaven just as Jesus did:

“Each of us must, at some point, go into the desert and bewail his or her virginity. It is when we fail to do this, and because we fail to do it, that we go often through life demanding, angry, bitter, disappointed and too prone to blame others and life itself for our frustrations. When we fail to mourn properly our incomplete lives then this incompleteness becomes a gnawing restlessness, a bitter center, that robs our lives of all delight… We are built for the infinite, Grand Canyons without a bottom. Because of that we will, this side of eternity, always be lonely, restless, incomplete, still a virgin–living in the torment of the insufficiency of everything attainable.”

While on first read, this sounds a bit depressing, I think that the realization that all will not be perfect in this life is far more beneficial than to go through life as, he says, bitter, disappointed and angry. I know far too many people like that. Instead, accepting that my dream to become a dancer one day or that my lifestyle is far from what I imagined it would be is OK and normal, gives me more peace than becoming a dancer or living in greater physical abundance would ultimately bring me.

For married couples, he addresses the loss of the honeymoon phase and how they need to accept each new phase of their relationship,letting the past incarnation go.

“To sustain anything in this life we must continually recognize that the first fervor, that special electricity we would die for, never lasts and that we must be open to receive a new spirit within the relationship,” he says. “The downside of this is that all honeymoons die, but the upside is that God is always giving us something richer, deeper life and fuller spirit.”

I highly recommend this book for those who enjoy philosophy and really digging into the depths of the theology of the Catholic church. As I just heard Teresa Tomeo say, “This is a thinking person’s religion.” I couldn’t agree more, and Fr. Rolheiser is one of its great thinkers of our age. Philosophy has always appealed to me, as does a good intellectual debate, and this book strikes that chord. It’s funny, I always thought religion was for the ignorant (I thought they were just blindly believing an ideology without questioning it), but how wrong I was. Catholicism is the ultimate for intellectuals. It is the true fulfillment of all knowledge by adding the element of faith.

To sum up this book, I love this quote: “The dream for perfect consummation, like the dream to become a superstar, must, at some point, be mourned and left to ascend. Otherwise…our daydreams will perennially rob us of the simple happiness of life.”

Blogging for Books provided this book to me for free in exchange for an honest review.

A Beautiful Catholic Perspective on Suffering from Elizabeth Leseur

Crucifix sufferingReprinted from The Secret Diary of Elizabeth Leseur:

“I believe that suffering was accorded by God to man with a great intention of love and mercy.

I believe that Jesus Christ has transformed and sanctified suffering and made it almost divine.

I believe that suffering is the great instrument of redemption and sanctification for the soul.

I believe that suffering is fruitful, as much as and sometimes more than our words and deeds, and that the hours of Christ’s Passion did more for us and were more powerful with the Father than even His years of preaching and earthly activity.

I believe that there is coursing through souls — those on earth, those in Purgatory, and those who have attained to true life — a great unending stream made up of the suffering, merits, and love of all these souls, and that our least sorrow, our faintest efforts can by divine action reach certain souls, whether near or far, and bring them light, peace, and holiness.

I believe that in eternity we shall find again the beloved ones who have known and loved the Cross, and that their sufferings and our own will be lost in the infinity of divine Love and the joy of final reunion.

I believe that God is love, and that suffering, in His hand, is the means used by His love to transform and save us.

I believe in the Communion of Saints, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.”