Monday, April 14, 2008

Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia.

If you are not already reading them, I would really recommend the book series Conversations with God. These books give short (2-3 pages) reflections on the mass readings and related themes for each day of the liturgical year, with quotes from church fathers and great Catholic thinkers and lots of real life advice. As a busy mom, this is a great way to get some spiritual reading in most days even when time is very short, and since things are nicely digested I seem to get alot out of it even when I am tired. You might think of these as great homilies, and you don't have to keep your kids from squirming!

Anyway, yesterdays reflection on Good Shepherd Sunday was a timely reminder that we should be praying for and offering loyalty and love to our pope, who is the Vicar of Christ. One thing that struck me in particular is that God has given authority to the current pope, so it would be incorrect to be longing for the previous one or hoping for the next one.

I recall that Peggy Noonan, the Catholic editorialist, was very fond of John Paul II (she was not alone in this, of course), but I think she has been, in the past, too nostalgic for the personality of his pontificate. In this week's WSJ, however, Peggy does a nice job of outlining her increasing respect and affection for Pope Benedict.

Here is a quote that I love from a Ratzinger homily:

"Being an 'Adult' means having a faith which does not follow the waves of today's fashions or the latest novelties. A faith which is deeply rooted in friendship with Christ is adult and mature."

I, personally, have had a great fondness for this Pope ever since I listened to a dramatized version of parts of a very long interview which Cardinal Ratzinger gave to an agnostic journalist, I beleive one who had fallen away from the Church. I heard it on retreat and do not know the exact source, if anyone is familiar please point us to it in the comments.


jawats said...

Dear Ms. Mary Alice,

The journalist, I belive, is Peter Seewald. Oneof the books in which he interviewed then-Cardinal Ratzinger is called "Salt of the Earth - The Church at the End of the Millennium." - Ignatius Press - 1997. (English translation).

Your comments reminded me of something G.K. Chesterton said, as to why he became a Catholic - "It is the only thing that frees a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age."


Katherine said...

One of the things I love about Benedict XVI is that he says where he stands and he remains faithful to where he stands. So many people nowadays lack fidelity to anything except themselves. All the politicians making promises and conditions and you know most if not all of it won't happen. But he is a man of his word and that is priceless.

JesusThroughMary said...

That must be the one, because "Salt of the Earth" is the only one of the three Ratzinger interview books whose author was not a practicing Catholic. Peter Seewald actually credits that interview ("Salt of the Earth") with restoring his faith. After that interview, he returned to the Church, and subsequently did another book-length interview, which was published by Ignatius in 2002 as "God and the World".

I, of course, own both and have read neither.

AWOL Mommy said...

Hate to be helpless, and to bug a mother of five, but can we get more details on the Conversations with God series please? Like author or publisher? I keep getting some new agey books when I Amazon it, and I am sure that is not what you mean.


Right Said Red said...

I second AWOL mommy's request. I have been using Magnificat, but haven't been thrilled with it lately, as I find the meditations don't necessary correspond with the particular mass readings. Please send along a helpful link MaryAlice.

Mary Alice said...

The books "In Conversation with God" are by Francis Fernandez and are published by Scepter. The full set is expensive, but I would recommend starting with one book to see what you think. I began reading them a few years ago at Advent, and I think that Advent/Lent/Easter are all great times to add a bit of spiritual reading if it is not part of your norm.

AWOL Mommy said...

DO WE OWE SOMEONE AN APOLOGY FOR ATTENDING PRINCETON? This is probably a topic for another post, but see this op-ed piece in today's _NY Times_ for an interesting take on the history of Catholic education in this country.

Mary Alice, thanks for linking us all into Scepter, it looks like a great resource.

Mary Alice said...

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I think that the author is a bit unfair when he rights that parents are trading a Catholic education for a name on a diploma. I don't think that any of us chose Princeton because of the name. I looked at several schools and felt that Princeton was the best fit for me. At every school I visited I also checked out the Catholic chaplaincy.

Also, the builders are split here -- half of us were not Catholics when starting at Princeton.

I have taken my child out of parochial school because it was not a good fit for him or for our family, and I don't feel any guilt about it. I support the idea of Catholic education, but I don't think that I have an obligation to sacrifice my child's best interests to the ideal of a Catholic school.

I have some friends who are LDS and I know that for them a decision to attend another school over BYU is not taken lightly. This is for two reasons, the first being that BYU is very inexpensive, the second being the social concerns about meeting people, dating, etc, outside of a strong church community.

I have to pack for Richmond so I will leave this to all of you to discuss, I can't wait to check in later this weekend!