A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Things have been bad, but God makes new

Remember not the events of the past,
the things of long ago consider not;
see, I am doing something new!
Now it springs forth,
do you not perceive it?
In the desert I make a way...

(from today's first reading Isaiah 43:18-19, 21-22, 24b-25)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Do everything for the glory of God

Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do,
do everything for the glory of God.

Avoid giving offense,
whether to the Jews or Greeks
or the church of God,
just as I try to please everyone in every way,
not seeking my own benefit
but that of the many,
that they may be saved.

Be imitators of me,
as I am of Christ.

(Today's Epistle by Saint Paul the Apostle - 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1)

Sunday, February 05, 2012

The pursuit of happiness





These situations afflict many in these days of financial and economic disaster.

And in these days and in these situations, many among us may find deep and painful resonance in the words of Job in today’s first reading (Job 7:1-4, 6-7):

Is not man's life on earth a drudgery?

Are not his days those of hirelings?

He is a slave who longs for the shade,
a hireling who waits for his wages.

So I have been assigned months of misery,
and troubled nights have been allotted to me.

If in bed I say,
"When shall I arise?"
then the night drags on;
I am filled with restlessness until the dawn.

My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle;
they come to an end without hope.

Remember that my life is like the wind;
I shall not see happiness again.

What is the answer to this darkness and doom?

What hope do we have in this deep, dark night?

We hear it in today’s Gospel (Mark 1:29-39).

We see it in the dark hours of the night, in a place heavily afflicted.

We see it as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ brings healing of body and freedom of spirit to overwhelming masses of people:

When it was evening, after sunset,
they brought to him all who were ill
or possessed by demons.
The whole town was gathered at the door.
He cured many who were sick with various diseases,
and he drove out many demons...

And our Lord did not stop there or then.

He told them,
"Let us go on to the nearby villages
that I may preach there also.
For this purpose have I come."

The Lord Jesus Christ comes.

He comes to our dark nights; he comes in our times of trouble.

Our Lord Jesus comes, as he did for all those people, as he did for Peter’s mother-in-law:

He pursues us. He grasps our hand. He helps us up.

And we too will serve.

And thus by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, happiness will come again and forever.

(adapted from a previous post)


When it was evening, after sunset,
they brought to him all who were ill
or possessed by demons.
The whole town was gathered at the door.
He cured many who were sick with various diseases,
and he drove out many demons,
not permitting them to speak because they knew him.
Rising very early before dawn,
he left and went off to a deserted place,
where he prayed.
Mark 1:32-35

This scene from today's Gospel (Mark 1:29-39) was echoed in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Return of the King - the third volume of The Lord of the Rings:

"At the doors of the Houses many were already gathered to see Aragorn, and they followed after him; and when at last he had supped, men came and prayed that he would heal their kinsmen or their friends whose lives were in peril through hurt or wound, or who lay under the Black Shadow. And Aragorn arose and went out, and... laboured far into the night. And word went through the City: ' The King is come again indeed....'

"And when he could labour no more, he cast his cloak about him, and slipped out of the City, and went to his tent just ere dawn and slept for a little."
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King, p. 147.

The identification of a kingly figure as a healer is set up by Tolkien earlier in the chapter.

"'"The hands of the king are the hands of a healer." And so the rightful king could ever be known.'"
Ibid, p.136

This likewise echoes another Gospel scene:

"John (the Baptist) summoned two of his disciples
and sent them to the Lord to ask,
'Are you the one who is to come,

or should we look for another?'

"....And (Jesus) said to them in reply,

'Go and tell John what you have seen and heard:
the blind regain their sight, the lame walk,
lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear..."
Luke 7:18a-19,22a

The Lord of the Rings is not an allegory (a genre Tolkien "cordially" disliked), but Tolkien encouraged readers to explore the "applicability" of what he wrote. He also once described The Lord of the Rings as a "Catholic" work.

Thus readers have seen Christ-like qualities not only in Aragorn (as above), but also in Frodo (the suffering one upon whom the salvation of the world depends) and Gandalf (resurrection).

(Many such nuances, unfortunately, were lost in the recent Lord of the Rings films.)

The most important echoes of this Gospel, however, are not literary echoes in famous books - no matter how wonderful the books may be.

The most important echoes of this Gospel, in which the Lord labors long and hard to bring healing, should be found in our own lives: by our laboring long and hard to bring true healing by the grace of Christ.

Then will the rightful faith be known.

(from a previous post)