I came by this via Busted Halo's radio show yesterday. "Flash mobs" have become all the rage - remember this? - or the latest AT&T commercial? Well, here's a beautiful example of the power of the Eucharist in the midst of the world - some stop and adore; others pass by. Listen to the reader; and remember that He is present in every tabernacle in every church throughout the world.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Sunday, June 26, 2011
"Dear Mr. Potter,
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.Term begins on September 1. We await your owl by no later than July 31.Yours sincerely,Minerva McGonagall,Deputy Headmistress"
Remember how it all began? As we prepare for the final installment (in the final movie) of the Harry Potter saga, so many of us are looking back over the years that this journey has spanned. Recall how young Harry - hardly aware of his special destiny - began receiving mysterious posts that his aunt and uncle continued to keep from him - how no matter where he was, the letters always found him, until he got the above letter on a tiny rocky islet. The wizarding world needed Harry Potter, and there was nothing that would stop that message.
You know, God is a lot like that. When He has a plan for us - and He has a plan for all of us - there is nothing that will stop His call. Sure, many place obstacles in front of it, but as Archbishop O'Brien tells youngsters, "If God wants you, He'll get you." It takes a listening heart, though. God continues to call - even through all our objections, distractions, and "other plans." God needs us, too, and that is why He calls. Our openness to that call leads to the beginning of a great adventure that is our vocation.
This is why the invitation is so important. Those who are hearing God's call might not fully recognize or understand it. When we offer the observation that a young person might make a good priest or nun, we are part of that grand adventure, where God speaks to young people - no matter where they are.
While Harry's adventure is about to end, ours - with God - is only beginning.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Last year, I posted an anecdote about our beloved Archbishop William D. Borders (who passed away last year). It had to do with his supposed claim to be bishop of the moon on a visit to Rome after the moonshot of 1969. The full story ran two years ago, and you can see it here.
I am still seeing traffic from this post, and now I see that it has generated continued debate over the canonicity of Borders' claim, on Fr. Z's site, of all places. Well, that's the fun of the blogosphere!
And to think it all started with one small step...
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
I caught the new "Green Lantern" film the other night. When I was a kid, I thought he was one of the coolest of the Superfriends - perhaps because he only popped up once in a while - or perhaps because he was a regular guy who just happened to have his heroism thrust upon him. You see, the story of Hal Jordan (aka the Green Lantern) goes like this (at least, as this movie tells it).
There is a race of immortal "wise guys," who created their own little world from which they watch over things. To do this, the universe is divided into 3,600 sectors, and each sector is protected by a guardian, known as a "Green Lantern." Their powers stem from a ring that they wear, which is charged by their lantern, which in turn receives its energy from a harnessed type of energy that they call "Will." That's not short for "William," but rather it refers to that capacity of intelligent beings to desire something and to bring it about through ones actions. Aristotle called this the ekousion, which itself is related to practical wisdom, or phronesis. At the root of ekousion is the word "ousia" which can be translated as "being" or "essence." So, "will" is something that is tied very closely with who we are.
Now, back to the movie... These guardians and the wise immortals are looking to stem the advance of another primal force in the universe: fear. The being who has harnessed this power is Paralax, and he moves through space, feeding on beings' fear, making his way back to the guardians' home planet to destroy them. The guardian who had once imprisoned Paralax is mortally wounded at the start of the film, and he immediately begins a search for a new bearer of his ring - a trip that takes him to earth.
Hal Jordan, a pilot, is "chosen" by the ring and thus becomes the new Green Lantern - the first human to become so. Much of the film is Hal becoming familiar with his new identity, which the ring's choice of him has imparted. He learns of the other guardians and of the danger that is posed to the universe by this Fear. However, he soon decides that he is not up to the challenge. He realizes that he is afraid, and this makes him "too human" for the task, which requires no sense of fear.
So what is the remedy for this fear? Do we face fear because we are not afraid at all? No. The answer to fear is courage. And where does courage come from? Courage comes from the Will - it is a desire to face fear and the choice to act in the face of what frightens us. No, this is not some anti-boogieman remedy; and it is not an excuse to do irresponsible and stupid things. Courage is more than that. It must arise from who we are - our very being or essence - our ousia. (See? I was getting back there!)
For the Christian, we know that this courage, while arising from our will, is a Gift of the Holy Spirit. We are constantly reminded to "be not afraid," and that this Spirit is our strength:
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, 'Abba, Father!' (Rom 8:15),
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control (2Tim 1:7).
It is the Holy Spirit, given by the Father, who allows us to face fear with the courage of the Son. We all have received of this Spirit, and it informs our Will to choose and act based on the Will of God. It is an energy that powers even the most ordinary of us. We can all be heroes.