Monday, June 28, 2010
Here's the thing, though. My time isn't really "my" time -- I've already pledged it to my employer. Maybe feeding the hungry is objectively more important than the particular task I've been assigned, but I owe to my employer that I obey him and that I give him the time I promised to give him. If he sends me on an assignment, I have to do that assignment (unless it's specifically immoral). So no, I really, actually don't have time to take someone out to lunch because the time isn't mine anymore.
Same with money. I owe it to my parents to finish college, and I actually do need to buy my textbooks. Maybe feeding the hungry is more important than memorizing declension patterns, but that isn't my decision to make. It isn't "my" time that I spend studying, and it isn't "my" money I'm spending on books. I owe it to my parents to buy my books, and therefore the money isn't mine to give away.
I think the best thing to do is to know where these people can get help, and smile and point it out to them. "Sorry, ma'am, I can't actually give you any money, but if you go to [street] and [street], the people there can help you" or "Sir, I can't give you any money, but here's the phone number of [whatever mission]. Give them a call; they should be able to help you."
A man holding his hat out is still a man and we ought to treat him as such. But we should also recognize (with humility) that we are human and limited in what we can do. I can't solve all the world's problems; I can't solve all this man's problems. But I can point him to people who can help.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
What if you were the reason a person refused to come back to Christ? What if your self-righteous, judgmental, dogmatic, theologically correct attitude repelled a soul from accepting Church teaching, from reconciling with the Church, from faith itself? What if they were just on the edge of conversion and one of your contemptuous sneers, caustic remarks, or hostile snubs drove them away? That is one aspect of what Jesus is talking about when he warned against "scandalizing one of these little ones".
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Friday, June 4, 2010
for the Conversion of a Sinner
O Mary, Mother of Perpetual Help, thou knowest so well the great value of an immortal soul. Thou knowest what it means, that every soul has been redeemed by the Blood of thy Divine Son. Thou wilt not then despise my prayer if I ask from thee the conversion of a sinner, nay, a great sinner, who is rapidly hurrying on toward eternal ruin. Thou, O good and merciful Mother, knowest well his irregular life. Remember that thou art the Refuge of Sinners; remember that God has given thee power to bring about the conversion of even the most wretched sinners. All that has been done for his soul has been unsuccessful; if thou wilt not come to his assistance, he will go from bad to worse. Obtain for him the effectual grace that he may be moved and brought back to God and to his duties. Send him, if necessary, temporal calamities and trials, that he may enter into himself and put an end to his sinful course. Thou, O most merciful Mother, hast converted so many sinners through thine intercession, at the prayer to thee of their friends. Be then also moved by my prayer, and bring this unhappy soul to true conversion of heart.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Now a Catholic is he who has plucked up courage to face the incredible and inconceivable idea that something else may be wiser than he is.
This life is far too much trouble, far too strange, to arrive at the end of it and then be asked what you make of it and have to answer, 'Scientific Humanism.' That won't do. A poor show. Life is a mystery, love is a delight. Therefore, I take it as axiomatic that one should settle for nothing less than the infinite mystery and the infinite delight; i.e., God. In fact, I demand it. I refuse to settle for anything less. I don't see why anyone should settle for less than Jacob, who actually grabbed aholt of God and wouldn't let go until God identified himself and blessed him.
When you visualized a man or woman carefully, you could always begin to feel pity -- that was a quality God's image carried with it. When you saw the lines at the corners of the eyes, the shape of the mouth, how the hair grew, it was impossible to hate. Hate was just a failure of imagination.
The reason why even the normal human being should be half a hermit is that it is the only way in which his mind can have a half-holiday. It is the only way to get any fun even out of the facts of life; yes, even if the facts are games and dances and operas. It bears most resemblance to the unpacking of luggage. It has been said that we live on a railway station; many of us live in a luggage van; or wander about the world with luggage that we never unpack at all. For the best things that happen to us are those we get out of what has already happened… Now when people merely plunge from crush to crush, and from crowd to crowd, they never discover the positive joy of life.------------GKC quotations are from his late essay collection The Well and the Shallows ("My Six Conversions and "The Case for Hermits," respectively). Percy's bit appears in a mock interview of himself at the end of his essay collection Signposts in a Strange Land. Greene's sentences come from his novel The Power and the Glory. I apologize for the weird alignment here; I'm having trouble with the program.