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Worth Quoting

For whatever reason, I find Orthodox authors resonate with me much more than Roman Catholic authors--I'm a Roman convert from Evangelical Protestantism.  Perhaps it's their reliance on stories of saints past, like the following.  Nonna Verna Harrison recounts this story of a young monk (from the desert, probably Egypt) asking an older, wiser one for guidance:
A brother asked a hermit, "Tell me something good that I may do it and live by it."  The hermit said, "God alone knows what is good.  But I have heard that one of the hermits asked the great Nesteros, who was a friend of Anthony, [Anthony the Great, foremost monk of the Egyptian desert--SFM] 'What good work shall I do?' and he replied, 'Surely all works please God equally?  Scripture says, Abraham was hospitable and God was with him; Elijah loved quiet and God was with him; David was humble and God was with him.' So whatever you find you are drawn to in following God's will, do it and let your heart be at peace."

                --From God's Many-Splendored Image: Theological Anthropology for Christian Formation 



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Worth Quoting

"Therefore whoever is not illuminated by such great splendors in created things is blind. Anyone who is not awakened by such great outcries is deaf. Anyone who is not led from such great effects to give praise to God is mute. Anyone who does not turn to the First Principle as a result of such signs is a fool.Therefore open your eyes, alert your spiritual ears, unlock your lips and apply your heart, so that in all the creatures you may see, hear, praise, love and adore, magnify and honor God, lest the entire world rise up against you." -- St. Bonaventure, Itinerarium mentis in Deum

Minority Report

I attended mass/liturgy at an ethnic church yesterday--St. Rafka--in the next town over from me. I had previously attended a Sunday evening liturgy with my family, but this time I was alone.

The first time we went it was rather sparsely attended as their festival was occurring in the parking lot, so most parishioners were, I imagine, at the festival. Not to mention that Sunday evening services are only attended by those most serious about their faith. The liturgy was in English, though a few prayers were in Syriac (a dialect of Aramaic--the language Jesus spoke).

Did I mention this was a Maronite-rite Catholic church? The Maronite rite is one of many in the Catholic church--known most famously for the Roman rite--that's what everyone thinks of when they hear or think of Catholic church. Anyway, this is a primarily Lebanese rite.

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"Eternal life will be a shared experience of awe, in which each creature, resplendently transfigured, will take its rightful place." --Pope Francis, Laudato Si
     Wonder and awe abound in the natural world for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.

     Perhaps we are caught short by a vibrant purple emanating from the petals of a wild lupine. We might stare wide-eyed at the lazy circles of a turkey vulture soaring on thermal air currents. Even the most agoraphobic city-dweller can find something beautiful about a landscape even if it's simply the warm and varied red, yellow, and orange of a sunset glowing on a building.

     "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof" asserts the Psalmist. If that verse is true, why don't we live like it? Why are we flabbergasted trying to come up with the names of the many plants and animals we pass by everyday?

     All people respond to beauty in some way or another--even those who have willingly or unwi…