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…the mother of giants.

I’ve been wrestling with the challenges propositioned  by the virtue of Humility for some time now.  This journey of discovery has proved to be a rocky road with its fair share of pot-holes, hard knocks and falls which results in bruised feelings, denial and finally much introspection.

Today I attended a retreat day which was facilitated by Maryvale.  I ‘m busy working towards a certificate in Catechesis and part of the course demands that we students attend a retreat day. What bliss! To say that I’m happy to be working my way through this course would be an understatement. The course materials, course facilitators and amazing guest priests speakers stretch my thinking, and plant little seeds of knowledge that encourages my Faith to grow little by little and then grow some more. Today’s experience has been no exception to the rule. What never ceases to amaze me is the visiting priest:- his gifts are so unique, so well-developed and authentic that I cannot fail to be inspired by the depth and breadth of his knowledge and not least of all, his love for Christ.  Today I met a philosopher… I’ve always wanted to meet a philosopher!…who happens to edit the Catholic magazine, ‘Faith‘. Someone who debates and discusses faith and reason with the likes of Peter Atkins on one hand, and on the other cares for the spiritual well-being of the dying and the infirm  at two Catholic hospices in London. He is also someone who will spend his Saturday sharing his wisdom, experience and Faith to the likes of a mere mortal such as I!!!

The humility of these priests is tangible and exemplary. Many of these men have doctorates and have written thesis or have conquered many years of study and yet, I continue to be struck dumb by their ‘ordinariness’. Their focus is on the Lord and His work. That is their job. Their love. And I in turn love and respect them for their dedication in caring for a sinner such as I.

Today I was enticed to think more deeply about what it means to  ‘submitting intellect and will to God,’ to, ‘submit freely to the Word…amidst the gales and deluges this life on earth throws in our path’. And then I made the connection: to submit totally to God in everything , everything, is to understand the cornerstone  of the mother of the giant of all virtues-

H U M I L I T Y! If I can freely submit my intellect and will to the Word, to God, I’ll be journeying on a well-lit road that leads to love, and freedom from the trappings of the world we live in. How apt I thought, that I’ll celebrate the  feast of Christ the King tomorrow with a new understanding of this mega-virtue called humility.

Intellect without Will is dead. The Word needs to be put into action. Holiness involves the Intellect and Will. I seek holiness.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,even death on a cross.  Philippians 2: v3-5

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100 Catholic books to read during the Year of Faith.

I came across this list of books via Luke Coppen (editor of the Catholic Herald) on Twitter. Some excellent reading methinks.

1. The Bible (Revised Standard Version translation)                                                 
2. The Lord. Romano Guardini
3. To Know Christ Jesus. Frank Sheed
4. The Life of Christ. Fulton Sheen
5. Jesus of Nazareth. Joseph Ratzinger
6. The Four Cardinal Virtues. Josef Pieper
7. What Happens at Mass. Jeremy Driscoll
8. The Confessions. Augustine
9. Fire of Mercy, Heart of the Word. Erasmo Leiva Merikakis (2 Volumes)
10. Fundamentals of the Faith. Peter Kreeft
11. Mere Christianity. C.S. Lewis
12. The Screwtape Letters. C.S. Lewis
13. The Essential Pope Benedict. John Thornton and Susan Varenne, eds
14. The Theology of the Body. Pope John Paul II
15. The Fulfillment of All Desire. Ralph Martin
16. A Key to the Doctrine of the Eucharist. Abbot Vonier
17. I Believe in Love. D’Elbee
18. Heart of the World. Hans Urs von Balthasar
19. The Birth of the Church: John: Volume IV. Adrienne von Speyr
20. Crossing the Threshold of Hope. Pope John Paul II
21. Life on the Lordship of Christ. Raniero Cantalamessa
22. The Eucharist: Our Sanctification. Raniero Cantalamessa
23. On Being Catholic. Thomas Howard
24. By What Authority? Mark Shea
25. Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic. David Currie
26. Crossing the Tiber: Stephen Ray
27. The Handbook of Christian Apologetics. Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli.
28. The Lord of the Rings. J.R.R. Tolkien
29. The Cost of Discipleship. Dietrich Bonhoeffer
30. Where We Got the Bible. Henry Graham
31. Called to Communion. Joseph Ratzinger
32. The Spirit of the Liturgy. Joseph Ratzinger
33. The Seven Storey Mountain. Thomas Merton
34. The Dialogues. Catherine of Siena
35. The Lamb’s Supper. Scott Hahn
36. The Handmaid of the Lord. Adrienne von Speyr
37. The World’s First Love. Fulton Sheen
38. Love and Responsibility. Karol Wojtyla
39. The Splendor of Love. Walter Schu
40. Witness to Hope: George Weigel
41. The Feminist Question. Francis Martin
42. Healing the Original Wound. Benedict Groeschel
43. A Refutation of Moral Relativism. Peter Kreeft
44. In Search of Wisdom. Leon Kass45. The Problem of Pain. C.S. Lewis
46. The Great Divorce. C.S. Lewis
47. Making Sense Out of Suffering. Peter Kreeft
48. God Is Near Us. Joseph Ratzinger
49. Confession. Adrienne von Speyr
50. Parochial and Plain Sermons. John Henry Newman
51. Triumph. David Crocker III
52. The Evidential Power of Beauty. Thomas Dubay
53. The Lord’s Prayer. Romano Guardini
54. Saints for Sinners. Alban Goodier
55. Love’s Sacred Order. Erasmo Leiva Merikakis
56. The Four Loves. C.S. Lewis
57. The Weight of Glory. C.S. Lewis
58. Flannery O’Connor. Collected Works
59. The Return of the Prodigal Son. Henri Nouwen
60. The Ecumenical Jihad. Peter Kreeft
61. The Unseriousness of Human Affairs. Lames Schall
62. Evangelium Vitae. Pope John Paul II
63. Fides et Ratio. Pope John Paul II
64. Woman in the Church. Louis Bouyer, ed
65. Catholic Bio-Ethics and the Gift of Human life. William E. May
66. Marriage: The Bedrock on Which Civilization Is Built. William E. May
67. The Clash of Orthodoxies. Robert George
68. Letters to a Young Catholic. George Weigel
69. Death on a Friday Afternoon. Richard John Neuhaus
70. Why Humanae Vitae Was Right. Janet Smith, ed
71. 20thCentury Martyrs. Robert Royal
72. Testimony to Hope. Xavier Nguyen
73. The Divine Comedy. Dante (Sayers translation)
74. Arise From This Darkness. Benedict Groeschel
75. Orthodoxy. G.K. Chesterton
76. Thomas Aquinas. G.K. Chesterton
77. Saint Francis. G.K. Chesterton
78. Edmund Campion. Evelyn Waugh
79. Brideshead Revisited. Evelyn Waugh
80. A Simple Path. Mother Teresa
81. The Rise of Christianity. Rodney Stark
82. The Manuel of Prayer
83. Fire Within. Thomas Dubay
84. Architects of the Culture of Death. Donald Demarco and Benjamin Wiker
85. Transformation in Christ. Dietrich von Hildebrand
86. The Hidden Manna. James O’Connor
87. Introduction to the Devout Life. Francis DeSales
88. Perelandra. C.S. Lewis
89. The Chronicles of Narnia. C.S. Lewis
90. Back to Virtue. Peter Kreeft91. The Crisis of Islam. Bernard Lewis
91. What Went Wrong? Bernard Lewis
92. The Bible and the Quran. Jacques Jomier
93. What Difference Does Jesus Make? Frank Sheed

Essential Catholic Reference Books:

1. The Catechism of the Catholic Church
2. The Documents of Vatican II
3. The Faith of the Early Fathers. William Jurgens, ed (3 Volumes)
4. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church
5. Butler’s Lives of the Saints (4 Volumes)
6. United States Catholic Catechism for Adults
7. The Encyclicals of Pope John Paul II

 

Prayer walk

On Thursday evening I met Deacon John at church for my first experience of a Prayer Walk. It was the last day of a two-week Ecumenical prayer effort.

Each church in the area was given a designated route to walk,  so that by the end of the two-week period the whole of our suburb will have been covered in prayer. Before we started walking, Deacon John shared prayer themes that can be prayed as we walk up and down the roads passing houses. This would include any pedestrians that we may come across. I thought this was a great idea. How many times have I been in need of prayer,and just maybe I was prayed for by a passing Prayer Walker?

The advice at the top of the list suggested, ‘Attempt to keep every prayer pertinent to the specific community you pass through. As you do, you will find prayers naturally progress to the nation and the world.’  We then read:-

1 Timothy 2:1-10  From the Bible Gateway

English Standard Version (ESV)

Pray for All People

2 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,  for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man[a] Christ Jesus,  who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.  For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle ( I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10  but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.

Footnotes:
  1. 1 Timothy 2:5men and man render the same Greek word that is translated people in verses 1 and 4

These are three categories of prayer I chose to prayer on the walk:

  1. Concerning Christ: Proclaim Him afresh to be the one mediator and the ransom for all. Name Him Lord of the neighbourhood and of the lives you see.
  2. Concerning Truth: Declare openly the bedrock reality that there is one God. Celebrate the faithful revelation of His Truth to all peoples through ordinary people. Pray that the eyes of minds would cease to be blinded by Satan so that they could come to a knowledge of the Truth.
  3. Concerning the Blessing of God: Thanksgivings are to be made on behalf of all people. Give God the explicit thanks that He deserves for the goodness He constantly bestows on the homes you pass by.
As we came to the end of a block we would stop to say the Our Father or a Hail Mary or a Glory Be.

The Lord’s Prayer

I enjoyed passing houses and wondering who may be inside. Looking at the gardens I made up an image of who the gardener may be, this depended on the type of flowers in the garden as well as and the state of the garden. It got me thinking about the importance of prayer in general and how I struggle to keep up with all who do need prayer. (I’ve begun to stick with the Holy Father’s prayer intention for the month as well as the parish list that is shared at the beginning of each month, and then I make a list of those closest me who need intercession. This is pretty comprehensive). Every time I walk down the street now, I will say a little prayer for one person who passes me by, or perhaps I’ll say a general prayer for pedestrians before I set off?

Yes, I will be part of the Prayer Walk again next year. It was a special time of prayer that unites all Christian churches in Christ, connecting myself and other Christians who live in close proximity with a golden thread called Prayer.