instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Friday, July 31, 2020

On an unrelated note

I am always surprised when people don’t care whether something they say is true. Often enough, it doesn’t even seem to occur to people to ask themselves whether  something they say is true, as though the fact they find a  thought in their head establishes its truth. Though I suppose being oblivious to the question is better, in some ways, than being indifferent.

As a people myself, I may well do what I criticize here. If and when I do, I’d like to think it’s only because I’m oblivious.


Sunday, July 26, 2020

What price the Kingdom?

I noticed this morning the man who found buried treasure happened to have just enough wealth to buy the field, and the merchant happened to have just enough wealth to buy the pearl.

That’s the thing about “all that you have.” It sounds like a lot— but it’s not more than you have. Even if all you have is two mites.


Free gifts!

“On the part of the things proposed to faith for belief, two things are requisite on our part: first that they be penetrated or grasped by the intellect, and this belongs to the gift of understanding. Secondly, it is necessary that man should judge these things aright, that he should esteem that he ought to adhere to these things, and to withdraw from their opposites: and this judgment, with regard to Divine things belong to the gift of wisdom, but with regard to created things, belongs to the gift of knowledge, and as to its application to individual actions, belongs to the gift of counsel.”

— ST II-II, 8, vi


Monday, July 13, 2020

The Christian Two-Step

I think I almost figured something out today.

As St. Paul teaches:

If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him. As to his death, he died to sin once and for all; as to his life, he lives for God. Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as being dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus.

"Dead to sin and living for God." Stealing from Bl. Columba Marmion, this is the linchpin of my lesson on Baptism when I've taught that session in RCIA. To become a Christian has two essential dimensions: Die to sin. Live for God.

I got that part. Death/Life. Descent/Ascent. Exitus/Reditus. Into the Jordan/Up from the Jordan. The movement of the Christian, imitating the movement of Christ.

And I am not unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death.

But I'm still working on the dying part.

Being dead to sin is easy. Being dead is no effort at all. It's becoming dead that stings. And the death-to-sin of the Christian isn't an easy, peacefully in the night kind of death. It's a crucifixion. The old man doesn't go quietly, he kicks and screams and pleads and hangs on longer than most executioners are willing to wait.

St. Paul says we must think of ourselves as dead to sin, but of course that's not enough. We must really be dead to sin, and you don't get to be dead to sin just by thinking it, or saying it. You have to actually do it. As St. Paul goes on to say:

Therefore, sin must not reign over your mortal bodies so that you obey their desires.

You overthrow sin by dying to sin. You do that by taking up your cross every day and following your Master.

"Die to sin" is Christian ascesis. "Live for God" is Christian apotheosis. It's the daily, the constant movement of the Christian; one step, then the other, along the road to Golgotha and eternal life.