Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Giving thanks in all circumstances

The following reflection comes from Jennifer Hubbard, a contributing writer for The Magnificat

I tilt my chin to the sky, allowing the sun’s warmth to reach the depths of my soul grateful for God’s light. I cherish the sounds and absorb the beauty that surrounds me grateful for God’s creation. There was a time when I thought this was the ultimate expression of gratitude, and thankfulness came easily. I could not understand how one could sing praises of gratitude when life choked and weighed heavy on one’s shoulders. And then the unthinkable happened, and all I could do was sit in the pew and absorb the words. Only then, when my world was crushed, did I really listen to the words I had prayed my whole life. When I truly heard the words, everything changed.

I bow my head as the priest says, “Giving you thanks, he broke the bread and gave it to his disciples.” The magnitude of what is happening convicts me Jesus is preparing to be beaten and bruised and nailed to a cross, and still he gives thanks. In his giving thanks Jesus shows me why it is truly “our duty and our salvation”. In this moment I see it is not about for what I give thanks, but in all circumstances give thanks (1 Thes 5:18).

In everything give thanks, confident in his faithfulness and love, desiring only that his will be done. In everything give thanks, walking with certainty that the messy, scary, and lonely will serve his purpose. In everything give thanks, acting with assurance that he will make beauty from the ashes. When I am deflated, exhausted, and frail, I reach for his hand and I am carried. When I stray he redirects me. It is in these moments that I am left with a deep sense of gratitude, and sing his praises that my suffering is not in vain. I bow deeply in thanksgiving and confidence that the cross I bear makes way for his will to be done.

- Jennifer Hubbard, who resides in Newtown, CT, writes this reflection entitled: Thanksgiving Day. The younger of her two children, Catherine Violet, was a victim of the Sandy River Elementary School shooting in December 2012.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

René Girard tribute from Gil Bailie

Link here to read my friend, Gil Bailie's tribute to René Girard in it's entirety. 

I have simply pulled out a couple rich comments from the tribute.

"Beginning with discoveries and insights gained from the careful reading of first literature and then anthropology, Girard turned to the scriptures, only to find there an anthropological perspicacity that completely distinguished this tradition, and in light of which the continuity between the Old and New Testaments came more clearly into focus. Girard saw the mounting chorus of anti-sacrificial admonitions issued by the prophets and the sympathy for the victim found in the psalms and wisdom literature as evidence of the Bible’s religious and moral movement toward the culminating, history-altering revelation of the Cross. Those who might regard Girard’s work as the reduction of the mystery of Christian redemption to a moral repudiation of an odious example of human sinfulness are mistaken. Not only has Girard shown how profoundly and unavoidably humans are implicated in the sacrificial paradigm, but his discovery of these things was accompanied by the deepening of his Catholic faith, sacramental participation, and personal piety – indicative of both his humility and of the gravity of the anthropological conclusions to which his researches led him."

"René understood that the unavoidably mimetic feature of our makeup makes us in some way spiritually permeable to each other and therefore in some way spiritually responsible for one another. Humble and self-effacing though he was, he conducted himself as a spiritual aristocrat. It is difficult to estimate, wrote Blessed John Henry Newman, “the moral power which a single individual, trained to practice what he teaches, may acquire in his own circle, in the course of years.” It was my privilege to be among those who not only to appreciated the importance of his intellectual contribution but who felt the subtle power of his spiritual integrity and the warmth and wisdom that emanated from it."

Thursday, November 5, 2015

René Girard shares his view on Peter's denial

From friend, Erik Buys' blog, Mimetic Margins:

René Girard explains how this realization in forgiveness, that people are more like 'sinners' than they would acknowledge, is at the core of the conversion experience of Peter, Paul and the other disciples of Jesus. What enables Peter, Paul and others to become “saints” thus precisely and paradoxically is their realization that they are not “saints” (i.e. that they are far from ever being “perfect”). This truly spiritual experience, which enables people to face reality, is also the experience that guided René Girard himself throughout his life. René Girard gets to the essence of what a conversion to Christ should be all about in his explanation of the denial of Peter. (click to watch):