The Folly of the Cross

The foundation of Christian discipleship rests on the Cross, which is also to say that it rests essentially on a paradox: that through death, we find life.  On Good Friday, we are invited to meditate more deeply on this Mystery of the Cross.  The Cross is an Exodus – a moving out from ourselves and the World – toward God and Neighbor.  It is, fundamentally, a Becoming.  As such, it always passes through Gethsemane, through a dark night of suffering and anguish.  The World, like Satan, recognizes what is opposed to it, even if it doesn’t understand its enemy.  Thus it fights tooth and claw to keep us from the passage.

St. Paul knew how subversive the Gospel of the Cross was to the World: “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God . . . For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles.”  (1 Cor. 18:25)  Today, just as it was 2000 years ago, the Cross contradicts the culture and confounds the prideful.  Now, as then, the World extols pleasure, avarice, domination and individual autonomy over all things.  But the Way of the Cross calls us to crucify our Idols of worldly comfort and pleasure.  It calls us to imitate Christ in complete, self-sacrificial love.

With Pilate’s words, Ecce Homo!, “Here is the Man!”, (gesturing towards the bleeding, mocked Christ, his flesh peeled and torn) we find our new ontological center – our very Being transformed in Christ.  The Old Man is dead, the New Man, in Christ, is the Suffering Servant, the one who loves until he dies.  That is what every Christian must become.  One who loves unto death – a death that brings new life.  On Good Friday, may we all pray with Jesus in the Garden, and look to our Heavenly Father for strength and hope, so that we may bear our crosses in joy and love.  Stabat Mater dolorosa, Juxta crucem lacrymosa, Dum pendent Filius.

Invincible Ignorance is for God to Judge

So apparently Pope Francis said that even atheists are redeemed by the blood of Christ.  Headlines in the secular press announced “Pope Francis says even Atheists can go to Heaven!”  Amazing.  Every day brings more confirmation that the secular media maintains a startling level of ignorance about basic Catholic doctrine. Pope Francis, in his remarks,Continue Reading

Gosnell and Facing Reality

Devoutly religious folks, especially Christians, who are pro-life are often derided by pro-abortion antagonists as being out of touch with reality and living in a world of fantasy and wishful-thinking.  They are condescendingly accused of being unreasonable, irrational and opposed to science.  They are dismissed as backward, superstitious and even dangerous (against women and “women’sContinue Reading

J.R.R. Tolkien and the Catholic Imagination

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was a genius.  The Lord of the Rings is a masterpiece of Catholic literature, and in fact was a big factor in my conversion to Catholicism.  The books are rich in the “sacramental imagination” – seeing the extraordinary behind the ordinary.  In its deep and complex history and its high symbolism,Continue Reading

Debunking the “Jesus Myth” Myth

There is a niche group of religion debunkers that have gained popularity in recent years by promulgating the theory that Jesus Christ was a myth.  Not that his resurrection from the dead was a myth, but that Jesus the man was a myth, cobbled together from pre-existing stories about various Egyptian gods.  According to thisContinue Reading

Irrational Atheism

What if atheism was irrational?  What if, based on all the evidence available, it just didn’t make good, logical sense?  Since atheists tend to harbor a certain intellectual conceit, we might imagine that they would reconsider their opinion on the matter, right?  Riiiiight. (Did you catch the sarcasm in that?) Let’s just look at theContinue Reading

Newtown and Our Terrifying Free Will

The horrifying murder of twenty children at Newtown should confirm one thing for us, at least:  we are not simply products of our “selfish genes”.  Selfish genes don’t go on rampages, murdering little boys and girls.  Selfish genes don’t cooly walk into classrooms searching out random targets for destruction.  Selfish genes, we are told, areContinue Reading

Why Didn’t God Intervene in the Election?

A great many people, disappointed and distressed about the re-election of Barack Obama, have wondered how God could allow the most pro-abortion president in history to be re-elected, particularly when millions of faithful Christians were praying that he would be defeated?  Furthermore, this wasn’t just a President who only supported abortion, but one who alsoContinue Reading

Steve Jobs in Hell?

With the launch of the new iPhone 5 just weeks before the first anniversary of Steve Jobs death, an odd thought occurred to me the other day.  Where is Steve Jobs now?  In Heaven, enjoying the beatific vision of God, purifying himself in purgatory, or eternally separated from God in Hell?  Let me begin thisContinue Reading

Jesus, the Canaanite Woman, and Us: A few reflections on Matthew 15:21-28

I have always found something disturbing about Matthew 15:21-28.  This passage tells the story of the Canaanite woman that begs the Lord to heal her daughter who is possessed by a demon. “And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon.  And behold, a Canaanite woman from that regionContinue Reading