Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday Snippets - A Catholic Carnival (13 July 2014)

Salvete omnes commilitiones Christi! Welcome to another “Sunday Snippets – A Catholic Carnival”.  Sunday Snippets is a weekly convocation of Catholic bloggers in which we share our posts from the past week.  The main site is at This That and the Other Thing [here], hosted by the ever gracious RAnn.

Without God's Grace, all our efforts are fruitless

      It was a slow week at Principium et Finis, where lingering commitments from the academic year and various other complications left less time for bloggery.  Nonetheless, we did manage to squeeze out a few things: something old, something new, something . . . well, a couple other things too.
     It seems to be the case that every week I disclaim any intentional “theme” for the week, and yet there seems to be one.  Why should this week be any exception?  The theme here is the same one expressed by St. Paul when he said:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

And:

. . .it is no longer I who live. But Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

It sounds simple enough to turn from self and conform ourselves to Christ, but putting it into practice is very difficult for most of us.  That’s what many of our Christian friends outside the Catholic (and Orthodox) orbit don’t understand: the purpose of all the “stuff”, sacraments, liturgical prayer, magisterial teaching, even Scripture itself, is that they are all material means to help us turn from our natural proclivity to make “man" (which is to say, ourselves) "the measure of all things”, and instead aim at living our lives according to God’s standard.  That was our common thread this past week.

Monday – The best Sacred Music brings us out of ourselves and our ordinary lives and lifts us up toward Heaven; this piece by the Pride of Venice, Antonio Vivaldi, is a sterling example: “Cum Sancto Spiritu From Gloria By Vivaldi” [here]

Wednesday -  Psalm 127 reminds us (and I, for one, need a lot of reminding) that all of our efforts are fruitless without God’s Grace: “Psalm 127: A Gift and Blessing From the Lord” [here]

Thursday – This week I started re-running my series on the Liturgy of the Hours as a prayer for laypeople. In private prayer we often find ourselves asking God to listen to our concerns; the LOH requires that we Listen to the voice of The Lord: “Sanctify Your Day: The Liturgy of the Hours (Throwback Thursday Edition)” [here]

Friday – While conscience is inside the heart and mind of each of us individually, its purpose is not to conform the Moral Law to our preferences (as many people would have us believe), but to conform our preferences to the Moral Law, as the Angelic Doctor explains with his usual clarity: “Does St. Thomas Give Assent To Dissent?” [here]


Finally, the question of the week was whether we had any stories about nuns.  I do not have any specific stories today, but I do have many memories from my time spent in several Catholic schools in the sixties and seventies.  I have always been bemused by the old stereotype of the mean, knuckle-cracking nun, because the nuns I knew, although not without human failings, were on the whole loving, nurturing women who worked hard to help the children under their care.  I recall them with nothing but fondness and gratitude.