Wednesday, April 20, 2005

ah, to be in love in springtime!

Just added Fructus Ventris to my blog list, after having my heart tugged at by a post (see the link a little further on) from someone who says she is "treading the Tiber." It took me back in time some eight or ten years ago, when Andrew & Cathi Riddle, along with Tom Stapleford, came into the Church. The RCIA was splendiferous that year -- and Andrew, Cathi and Tom, knowing so much more about Catholic thought than most of the RCIA team, kept Fr. Wiggins and Pamela et al on their toes. Now Andrew and Cathi are teaching natural family planning for the Couple to Couple League, and Tom is at Notre Dame being brilliant. They were enthusiastic evangelical Christians - now they are ecstatic Catholics. Which by the way, someone commented on once upon a time. When Protestants become Catholic, they retain fond ties and affections with the churches they left behind. When Catholics become Protestant, they are usually angry at the Catholic Church and often become virulantly anti-Catholic.

Thinking of the enthusiasm of converts and "reverts" reminds me of my first visit to Franciscan University of Steubenville with Bill, where we saw hundreds of twenty-somethings singing and clapping with such wild enthusiasm at Mass under the big tent during the Defending the Faith summer conference. It was my first experience of intellectual charismatic Catholics. That night I went to the San Damiano grotto and church on the university grounds, and saw college-age students in prayer before the exposed Blessed Sacrament. It made me cry to see such faith in kids so young, thinking back to my college days when I was definitely not spending my Friday night that way.

I love to see that infectious joy. It contrasts so starkly with the hesitancy of people who want the Church to take its cue from the times. They are so busy trying to cut, reshape, and alter the wedding dress that they never get the thrill of letting the Bride do what brides do best - glow with love.

Read it here. Happy people saying come on in, the water's fine, let the feasting begin.

Truth. I wish I could learn to talk about truth the way Kate does, and Chesterton. It's not that the Church thinks it has the monopoly on truth, that's a misperception both its critics and some of its fans seem to make. As Vatican II and the Catechism makes clear, the Holy Spirit is present wherever truth is found, and truth is found everywhere. But the fullness of truth -- that's something different than a monopoly on truth. Christ himself did not have a monopoly on truth when he hung out with the disciples and fed the crowds and taught up a storm. The Torah and the prophets oozed truth. But Christ did have the fullness of truth, because of his particular mission. Like the Blues Brothers, Jesus was on a mission from God. Or is it the other way around? And because God willed it to be so, Christ was able to pass that fullness of truth on in the living community of faith, one generation building on the previous generation, saints and prophets and mystics and ordinary folk moving from grace to grace, blessing to blessing, because the house on which they stood was built of rock, not sand.

"You are Peter," Jesus said to one of the weakest and most impulsive of his apostles. "Yes, you are no longer Simon, from now on you are Peter [petra... a pun on petros, rock], "And upon this rock I will build my church. And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. "

The gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Take that, Lucifer. Go bear your dark light in other realms than these.

Time for bed. G'night, all.

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