Saturday, February 28, 2015

Sunday Snippets - A Catholic Carnival (2nd Sunday of Lent 2015)

    Welcome once more to Sunday Snippets - A Catholic Carnival (a carnival may not send very Lent-like, but it is a Sunday in Lent). Anyway, Sunday Snippets is a weekly gathering of Catholic bloggers who share their posts for the week, with each other and with you.  The main gathering is here, at This That and the Other Thing, home of our patroness RAnn.
St. Augustine of Hippo, Bishop & Doctor of the Church
     Before I get to the posts, a bit of left-over business from my Friday post, “Moses, Pharaoh, & Why We Preach The Gospel” (link below). in which I touched on a few of the limitations we run into in arguing for the Faith (and why we should nonetheless continue to do so). There is, of course, much more to say on this topic than I cover in my little blog post.  For instance,  I often hear Catholic apologists say that it is enough to convince people that the Catholic Faith is a “reasonable” faith; it is not necessarily their job to “close the sale.”  This may at first seem like aiming too low: aren’t we trying to save souls? Don’t we want people to embrace the fullness of the faith?  Of course, but to be successful we need to take into account what the Faith teaches us about the nature of humanity, about what it means to be both body and soul, made in the image and likeness of God.  Human reason is finite and fallible, so it needs to be guided by faith.  That’s why St. Augustine, in a commentary on John’s Gospel, says: “Therefore do not seek to understand in order to believe, but believe that you may understand; since, 'except you believe, you shall not understand.'”
     This, unfortunately, is the sort of quote that those who do not share the faith can easily misunderstand, or even attempt to use against Christian belief.  It can appear that Augustine is rejecting reason, but that is not the case; rather, he is recognizing that our imperfect human reason is subject to our wayward desires, and that “to perceive . . . more accurately, we need the Lord Himself for expounder.”  The “belief” to which he refers does not simply mean accepting a set of propositions, but entrusting ourselves to God; after all, he says, “even the devils believed him, but they did not believe in Him.” After embracing God, the source of all Truth, our reason can proceed on a firm foundation.  True Faith, therefore, involves first the heart, and then the head. A mistaken belief that the faith is unreasonable can be an obstacle to embracing belief so we must, as St. Peter tells us, “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope within you” (1 Peter 3:15); but human reason on its own will bring nobody to conversion.

Sunday – “The Pope Is Catholic Yet Again”  Pope Francis seems to frown on breeding "like rabbits" and it's all some people can talk about, but when he says that remaining childless is a "selfish choice" . . . well, where did everyone go?

Monday – “Pergolesi: Miserere mei Deus” I've posted Allegri's "Miserere" several times, but other composers have done wonderful things with this most penitential of Psalms: here's one . . . 

Tuesday – “Josquin Des Prez: Miserere mei Deus” . . .and here's another beautiful musical setting for Psalm 51

Wednesday – “Abortion Myth # 3” Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said that everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts - case in point, the canard that "women suffer no psychological consequences from abortion"

Thursday – “Can The Good Be The Enemy Of The Perfect?” Some people argue that we should avoid contentious issues and just stick to the Gospel; this is my response

       And – Does He ReallyExpect Us To Be Perfect?” Tell the truth, now: don't you feel just a little inadequate to the task when you read: "Be perfect, as your Father in Heaven is Perfect" (Matthew 5:48) ?

Friday – “Moses, Pharaoh, & Why We Preach The Gospel”  Moses was a poor speaker, but God chose him as his spokesman anyway - what's up with that?