This is the sixth in a series of seven articles about vice (the habit of doing wrong) and virtue (the habit of doing good).
The Vice of Lust: disordered desire for sexual pleasure
“Lust is a poor, weak, whimpering, whispering thing compared with that richness and energy of desire which will arise when lust has been killed.” – C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce
According to St. John Paul II, the opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is use. To love is to give. To use is to take. Lust is sexual desire apart from God’s love that selfishly seeks out one’s own pleasure at the expense of another – essentially, to use someone for our own gratification.
One day as Jesus was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem, and the power of the Lord was with him for healing. And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed; they were trying to bring him in and set him in his presence. But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles into the middle in front of Jesus. When he saw their faith, he said, “As for you, your sins are forgiven.” Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who but God alone can forgive sins?”
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply, “What are you thinking in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” He stood up immediately before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went home, glorifying God. Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God. And, struck with awe, they said, “We have seen incredible things today.”
My first experience with food allergies came at the age of 5. Having what once was called “afternoon Kindergarten,” my daily routine then had unfortunately become fairly predictable. I would get up around 10, get cleaned up, have lunch, vomit uncontrollably, and then head off to school. My father, an overly pragmatic parent, decided that his son’s “school anxiety” just needed a good football-coach-like speech on self-discipline, courage and overcoming adversity. Being the Dad-pleaser I was, the next day I woke up, got cleaned up and ate lunch. And held down my nausea until I got to school. While standing in-line at the classroom door for attendance, I lost the battle and vomited all over the hallway in front of my classmates. Continue reading “A Story of a Patient and the Eucharist”
I recently came across an article on ChurchPop entitled: “The American Church Is on Fire and Has Been for Decades: A Priest Writes What He Really Thinks.” To read the article click HERE. The author recounts the devastation and crisis in the Church in these United States and challenges the reader to not abandon the Church in its greatest hour of need. There was nothing particularly new in the article. Nothing earth shattering, nor a particularly new tone. What stood out to me was its posting on the website it was on. Only a few years ago, articles like these appeared on fringe websites that were dismissed by most Catholics as alarmist and radical. Now the themes appear on/in the National Catholic Register, EWTN and even ChurchPop—a website more known for cute Catholic memes and anecdotal articles for college students. The theme of the article, and it’s appropriately title, remind me of the Gospel of Mark.
We can have a real problem with forgiveness when we take on too many roles. In fact we can unknowingly subtract God from the equation when it comes to forgiveness. Fr. Gallagher, who is an amazing spiritual director, brought this up in a Discerning Hearts podcast. It really grabbed my attention when he said often our concept of forgiveness is not even Christian! I quickly recognized I have this tendency when dealing with my own faults, and it comes down to who is the accused, who is the accuser, and who is the judge. Continue reading “The Accused, The Accuser, and The Judge”
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, published in 1994, is John Berendt’s first non-fiction work. It became a New York Times Best-Seller for 216 weeks following its debut. It remains the longest-standing New York Times Best-Seller. In 1997, Warner Bros and Clint Eastwood brought the book to the big screen. One of the central characters in the story is the cemetery (the garden. This is where the hour for Spirits is separated by midnight. The first half of which is for Good and latter half is followed with time for evil. The battle between the two, wrapped around a famous murder investigation in Savannah, GA is played out large and small within the relationships of all of the characters within the story.
This past week Pennsylvania Attorney General, Josh Shapiro, released detailed findings on a 2-year Grand Jury Investigation into child sex abuse by Catholic Priests in six Pennsylvania Dioceses. The report brings to light the horrific and shameful actions of trusted members of our faith who represent a commitment to a consecrated religious life in Christ. People who represent the leadership of the Church we call the Body of Christ. People who, through their own actions, have damned their own souls and turned the souls of countless others away from the Temple of the Holy Spirit in the confusion, anger and discontentment they have brought to the laity at large. Continue reading “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”