Saturday, February 24, 2007

Gloria Dei, homo vivens!

The well known words of St. Irenaeus of Lyons, "The Glory of God is the living man!", or more to the point, "The Glory of God is man, fully alive!" Being truly and really human, really alive.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is one of the most powerful encounters a human being can have, and it is so that it is intricately linked with a Eucharistic faith. Yet, it is one of the most undervalued sacraments. Why? I suspect it's because of our pride, and a general loss of the sense of what sin is. But why are we so afraid of repentance? Given that we have a God who loves us so much, a God who has sacrificed everything for us, how is it so hard for us to look at ourselves, admit we're not at all perfect, and accept God's invitation to take away from us everything that keeps us from encountering and living with Him. Yet we prefer to walk with an obscured image of this great love, and we grow so used to needlessly carrying around this big bag of rocks we accumulate over time, out of some misguided sense of control and comfort, I suppose; and here God comes to us, asking us, pleading with us really, to give these darkest parts of our soul to Him, with the promise - the promise - of transformation, of grace. Reconciliation is the only place where we can stand before God, swallow our pride and confess, "I am guilty!", and embrace complete forgiveness.

Through more frequent confession, I am much more aware of my predominant faults -- those faults that I struggle with daily, that aren't overcome overnight. We all have them. And so I plead with all of you -- make this special season of Lent a true time of repentance and growth. If you haven't been to confession in years, why not swallow your pride and go? It will change your life. This is what makes the life as a Christian so radical. And God eagerly desires to make us fully alive through an encounter with all of the sacraments He has given us.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Devon Claire Flannery: Get a clue!

Last year, I meant to blog about this brain-dead article in the UCSB Daily Nexus newspaper, written last May by managing editor Devon Claire Flannery. It was written after a pro-life group called Justice for All came to the UCSB campus and displayed several photos of aborted children. First, let me say that this particularly strategy tends to work some times and fail other times primarily because it appeals more to shock value, which I am not sure actually changes as many minds as it ought to. Flannery's response to the demonstration, however, is completely asinine.

Fortunately, JivinJehoshaphat responds to Flannery's wild assertions much better than I could have. Read his response.

Just to highlight some things... Flannery asserts in her article that the pro-life group had a right to free speech, yet she ends the article by saying:
Well, I don't want to hear it. Get your medieval, ignorant and sexist posters, opinions and scare tactics out of my school, out of my country and away from my body.
She also asserts that the photos had been "photo-shopped" while offering no evidence to support it. Of course, they are difficult to look at, but one cannot pretend they don't exist. My favorite take-down in JivinJehoshaphat's response is when Flannery asserts this:
However, the demonstrators shouldn't hide behind their "Justice for All" and "free counseling for women" signs next to their photos of mutilated fetuses - which were probably mutilated because the abortion was performed illegally in a country where abortion has been outlawed by people like those present on campus today - and try to call it free speech.
JivinJehoshaphat responds:
One wonders if Flannery has any clue what she is talking about if she actually thinks that the fetuses are mutilated because the abortion was probably illegally. Does she not recognize that the goal of abortion (whether legal or illegal) is to destroy the fetus? How would an illegal abortion create a more mutilated fetus than a legal one?
Flannery goes on to assert the same old tired rhetoric about "sexist males". What would Susan B. Anthony or Elizabeth Cady Stanton say to that? I may be a male, but I can assure you that the feminism Flannery screams about is not the feminism these early American women fought for. Thank God the tide is finally turning toward authentic feminism and respect for all human life.


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