Video & Song: I heard the Voice of Jesus Say

Music and the Spiritual Life

I have found that music has a profound ability to remind me of truths and lift me out of a dark mood. Also, as I reflect on it, I realize that the Christian musical canon had a more formative impact on my development than I realized.

In school, I did chorus, and we learned plenty of medieval and Celtic music. Sometimes the lyrics were Christians, sometimes not.

In church, I began to recognize the melodies of many hymns because they were the same traditional ballads carried over from the old countries and brought to new life and reshaped by new communities with new lyrics.

It’s both a cultural phenomenon and purely beautiful. I credit my exposure to medieval music and chant as one of the primary reasons I never dismissed the Catholic Church as just archaic and weird. The beauty that rose from the tradition in music and art was already part of my own foundation.

One of my favorite songs I first learned as a celtic ballad and then relearned it as a hymn: “I heard the Voice of Jesus Say.” It’s one I sing to my kids at night

A formal choir version is in the video above. What do you think? Do you have favorite hymns, spiritual songs or others that just put you in the right place?

Advertisements

2 Posts on Pope Francis’s Amoris Laetitia

Pope FrancisThese reflections of mine originally appeared on the Truth and Charity Forum of HLI

Amoris Laetitia: Pope Francis’s The Joy of Love

It is indeed nuanced, full of Pope Francis’s back and forth style as he shows sympathy for difficult situations in between tackling erroneous viewpoints. Like Christ with the woman caught in adultery, Francis counsels concern and care for sinners rather than simple condemnation, while still holding onto the reality of sin. Anything so thoughtfully balanced is bound to confuse or unsettle some people in a culture accustomed to accusations and polarization….

“In such difficult situations of need, the Church must be particularly concerned to offer understanding, comfort and acceptance, rather than imposing straightaway a set of rules that only lead people to feel judged and abandoned by the very Mother called to show them God’s mercy. Rather than offering the healing power of grace and the light of the Gospel message, some would ‘indoctrinate’ that message, turning it into ‘dead stones to be hurled at others.’ (AL 49)”

While it is manifest that conception occurred illicitly, children conceived out of wedlock are not uncommon, and we do not know the situation of willingness of either of the two participants. What Pope Francis is saying is that little good is achieved by shunning such a woman. Her situation is trialsome enough. It is precisely such a person who needs a place of welcome, not a bunch of judgemental scowls.

Amoris Laetitia: Pope Francis’s The Joy of Love

Reading with the Heart of the Church: Contents of Amoris Laetitia

The much hyped question is that of Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried. And the answer isn’t the clear “yes,” that many media releases want it to be. This question is honestly a footnote to the wider discussion of family life, and a careful reading in continuity with Church teaching, reveals that there isn’t any change in canon law, or the Church’s codes for proper liturgical and sacramental observance. …

Canon Lawyer Edward Peters had this to say on his blog about those who “think that AL fn. 351 and its accompanying text authorize holy Communion for Catholics in irregular marriages.” He states that Francis never does this. The Pope does say that:

Catholics in irregular unions need the help of the sacraments (which of course they do), but he does not say ALL of the sacraments, and especially, not sacraments for which they are ineligible. He says that the confessional is not a ‘torture chamber’ (a trite remark but not an erroneous one). And he observes that the Eucharist is not a prize for the perfect (thank God), but a powerful spiritual medicine, which it is—unless it is taken unworthily or in violation of law, a caveat one may assume all Catholics, and certainly popes, know without having to say it.

Peters reads Amoris Laetitia in continuity with Catholic teaching, that all that is accepted about reception of the Eucharist still stands, which of course is the only reasonable way to read a papal document.

Reading with the Heart of the Church: Contents of Amoris Laetitia

Did you hear about Amoris Laetitia? Did it seem controversial to you? I have read some good thoughts on both sides.

Giving Up Control: My Reflection for uCatholic on March 9

This reflection appeared originally on uCatholic.com; I was honored to be asked to participate in the Lenten reflection series. This short piece draws on the readings of March 9 and the life of St. Maximilian Kolbe to explain how God is with us even in the “bare heights” or difficult times of life.

Turn Over The Controls And Become More Free

In the reading from Isaiah we hear of the incredible promises the Lord makes to the people of Israel, that “on every bare height shall their pastures be,” and His reassurance of His love, though they feel “forsaken.”

Like the people of Israel, so many times we feel forsaken in life, faced with situations beyond our control. I think of St. Maximilian Kolbe who traded himself for the freedom of a fellow Auschwitz prisoner who had a family. Left to starve with other prisoners, Kolbe did not despair, but ministered to them until the end. Though his worldly situation was objectively terrible, he praised God, sowed hope and inspired others to faith and joy. He did this by giving himself over to the will of God for him in that specific circumstance of his life, just as Jesus did during His ministry and ultimately, His crucifixion.

The Gospel tells us about Jesus, and the Son’s relationship to the Father, and how the Father has appointed the Son to carry out His work. Yet, Christ says “I cannot do anything on my own… because I do not seek my own will, but the will of the one who sent me.”

When we can’t control things, it is easy to feel alone or like a failure. But even Jesus did not perform acts from His own will; He turned His will over to God, His Father. That is what we are called to do. Paradoxically, in releasing this control, we do not find that we are eviscerated or dispersed, but that we are free and able to become our true and best selves.

When we can let go of frustration at our inabilities, we can accept God’s loving providence, like St. Maximilian Kolbe did. Even on that bare height of a Nazi work camp, he found a pasture of fellowship and love.

Turn Over The Controls And Become More Free

Question: Was there ever a time when you admitted that you weren’t in charge of something difficult? What happened as a result?

Two Reasons Cleaning is Not Below You

Are you a feminist? A modern woman (or man) who knows who you are, who takes yourself seriously, who works hard and expects a lot.

Do you think cleaning is below you? Does folding clothes, dusting, scrubbing a scummy dryer, vacuuming, wiping windows or otherwise performing manual labor in your home bother you?

It does for me sometimes.

But I am also a Christian and a believer in social justice and the truth of the Gospel that Jesus came for everyone, including the poorest of the poor.

And there is something very fishy about finding or believing oneself to be above any sort of manual labor (provided it isn’t inherently unethical…such as mafia hit man).

The truth of Christ is the truth about all men, and it was enshrined in the Declaration of Independence as this: we are “created equal.” This equality does not include all abilities, but includes our value and worth. In the Christian tradition, we say all people are created in the Image of God.

1) To believe that I shouldn’t have to clean my house or do my laundry is to believe that I am better than such activities, but I am not. It is often a subtle expression of a deeper classism, or the idea that I am not the type of person who has to do demeaning work like cleaning toilets. That’s for other (aka lower) people.

But while classism is real, even in America where we pretend it isn’t, classism is never true. That is, it does not describe the true reality. The reality is no group of people are better or worse than others, especially because of such things as race, income, or geographic location or education level. The reality is that we are all interconnected individuals who have gifts and hardships, who are trying to seek the good, regardless of how warped any person’s perception may have become. (The warped search for the good is what sin is).

Many people put air in their own tires; some people do it for a living. This type of technical maintenance is not irrelevant or inconsequential. On the contrary, it is the stuff of life itself; it provides the raw matter which philosophers philosophize about. And it takes care of us, of our family and friends.

To sweep a floor or cook a meal can be a great act of love, of care-taking, of gratitude for the kitchen and home that we have.

To believe ourselves above such work is to take our gifts for granted.

[Caveat: If we pay someone to help clean that house, that may not be bad provided we respect the gift they are providing us, that we pay fairly because we understand that their work is valuable and helps support him or her and their family, and if we acknowledge that we are not above such work even we do not do it ourselves.]

2) Mother Teresa said, “If you want world peace, go home and love your family.”

Johann Goethe said, “Let each man sweep in front of his own front door and the whole world will be clean.”

What these mean is that if we take care of our part, of our tiny slice of the world, of those around who are in need, the whole world would change. So often, we view actions as meaningless because they do not impact the entire global state of affairs. But the opposite is really true. If we do a tiny thing, but do it earnestly and truly, those are the actions that change the world. If we all did our part, all would be healed.

Jesus said, “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40).

And he is God! So what we do to those around us is how we respond to God, which is about as big a deal as you could possibly get.

So then, to clean your own house, to do things that seem below you is to express in a small way a gratitude and a type of solidarity with all people who work. There is of course much more to living the Gospel than cleaning one’s house, but it is a small piece, and every piece counts.

So let me rehash this phrase yet again, “If you want social justice, go home and clean your house.”

 

My essay in America Magazine: A Gospel for the Middle Class?

My first printed article in a pretty big publication was this essay about poverty, having money and being Christian. It sprang from my own ponderings over Christ’s words in the Gospels about giving up material possessions and the conflict I felt with my own middle class life. The full article is available online here.

I’m still not sure I am doing it right, but we are trying. Here’s an excerpt:

“The Gospel is indeed a message of liberation from earthly suffering aimed at all people, especially those who suffer the most. This naturally comes as welcome news for men and women living with the hardships of poverty. In contrast, for those in the middle class this present life may be so good that they see little need to hope for something beyond what this world has to offer. A “good life” can easily become centered on accumulating more goods, which can distract from eternal realities.

“Still, Jesus’ message is for everyone, and everyone includes homeowners and wage earners. As St. John Paul II put it in his encyclical “Centesimus Annus”: “It is not wrong to want to live better; what is wrong is a style of life, which is presumed to be better when it is directed toward ‘having’ rather than ‘being’” (No. 36). To put it another way, having a full refrigerator and dresser is not itself problematic. What ails the Christian life is instead an avaricious desire that places ultimate value in possessions, status and acquiring. Ultimate value stems from God alone.

“Christ teaches us about the proper ordering of values later in the Sermon on the Mount. Directly following the exhortation “Do not worry,” Jesus says: “For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Mt 6:32-34). The key here is in that last sentence. God must come first in our lives, but he knows we need worldly goods, so he provides them as well. Regarding this passage, St. Augustine says in his “Commentary on the Sermon on the Mount” (2.16.53):

When he said that the one is to be sought first, Jesus clearly intimates that the other is to be sought later—not that it is to be sought at a later time but that it is to be sought as a thing of secondary importance.

“Jesus is not saying that we ought not to work to supply our human needs of food, clothing and shelter. That would be irresponsible if we have the means to provide for ourselves and others. What it means is that our efforts to meet our physical needs must be subordinated to our highest good, which, Christ tells us, is to seek God’s kingdom. When that is our primary motivation and ordering principle, everything else will fall into its rightful place.”

-Full article printed in America Magazine, Nov. 9, 2015

Available online here.

“Woman, what does your concern have to do with me?” The Reason Christ Is Not Being Rude to His Mother at the Wedding at Cana

I don’t often do biblical commentary posts, but this exchange from the Wedding at Cana had troubled me ever since I read it years and years ago. But this thought came to me recently about explaining it, and my husband said I should write it down, which is saying something. I offer an explanation and then a re-telling that might resonate more with modern listeners.

We all know the story of the Wedding at Cana; it is where Jesus does his first miracle; he famously turns water into wine. But there is a difficulty, on a surface reading, it really seems as though Our Lord is blowing off his mother. “Woman, what does your concern have to do with me?” he asks.

John 2:1-5 reads: On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. 3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Jesus response to Mary in this translation sounds like a rhetorical question to our American ears, as though he does not actually mean it. It can seem like Christ is assuming the answer in the question and saying instead: “Your concern has nothing to do with me; it isn’t time for me to reconcile the world yet.”

Such a reading is troubling. Our Lord seems snippish and disrespectful. However, from what we know of the Faith and the rest of the Gospels, there is no good reason to believe that Our Lord is being insincere or rude.

How, then, can we read it in a way that makes sense with the whole of the Faith, a way that is true to the person of Christ Jesus, which is how the Faithful are meant to read Scripture? We can read it instead with the understanding that he truly means each of the words he speaks. On such a reading, he is sincerely asking Mary to explain how her concern affects him; he sees that she is worried, and is sitting there, giving her the space to make a request of him. In short, he is presenting the opportunity for her to intercede because he loves her and sees that she is upset.

Such a reading would mesh well with what we know about Christ’s divine and human knowledge. Continue reading

Two Reasons Christ’s Two Wills Matter, According to Benedict XVI

Jesus of Nazareth, from Ignatius Press

I have been slowly slogging through the Jesus of Nazareth series by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, but published during his pontificate as Pope Benedict XVI. I say “slow,” not because it is bad, but because it is so dense and thoughtful that each sentence must be read, contemplated and integrated with one’s existing understanding of the subject in order to make any headway at all.

That being said, it is most rewarding to do so because Ratzinger goes through the entire Gospel narrative of Christ’s life, piece by piece, and explains connections with the Old Testament, related doctrines and explicates a great deal of theology along the way. If the Catechism is an introduction to the Church’s core teachings, moral philosophy and sacraments, the Jesus of Nazareth series is an introduction to the same but from the starting point of the Gospels, and therefore serves to connect it all in an intrinsically Christ-centered way. His work is truly a gift to the Church and any seekers.

Reading through the Holy Week volume, I encountered this passage regarding Christ’s Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, where He aligns His will with the Father’s in order to face the cross and His death. Ratzingers takes up the doctrine of the hypostatic union (that Jesus Christ is one Person (divine) with two natures (divine and human)) and shows its essential relevance for the Christian faith. In Jesus:

…there is only one “personal will”, which draws the “natural will” into itself. And this is possible without annihilating the specifically human element, because the human will, as created by God, is ordered to the divine will. In becoming attuned to the divine will, its experiences its fulfillment, not its annihilation. Maximus [the Confessor] says in this regard that the human will, by virtue of creation, tends towards synergy (working together) with the divine will, but that through sin, opposition takes the place of synergy: man, whose will attains fulfillment through becoming attuned to God’s will, now has the sense that his freedom is compromised by God’s will. He regards consenting to God’s will, not as his opportunity to become fully himself, but as a threat to his freedom against which he rebels.

The drama of the Mount of Olives lies in the fact that Jesus draws man’s natural will away from opposition and back toward synergy, and in doing so, he restores man’s greatness. In Jesus’s natural human will, the sum total of human nature’s resistance to God is, as it were, present within Jesus himself. The obstinacy of us all, the whole of our opposition to God is present, and in his struggle, Jesus elevates our recalcitrant nature to become its real self.

1) Here, plainly, is the importance of Jesus and the doctrine about his two natures. Only by being fully human, can he share in our fallenness and so help us. Only by being divine, can he offer it all to God the Father in a satisfactory way that atones for Original Sin. Thus the doctrine of the hypostatic union becomes meaningful and not a mere abstract formulation.

2) And more concretely, for the Christian life, our human wills work the same way as Christ’s. We think that by follow God, we lose freedom, but the opposite is true. By following God, we are most truly ourselves and truly free. It’s like a person walking down a road; he may think the signs and road indicators inhibit his freedom, but really he is thwarted if he ignores them and wanders into the desert. By following the signs and indicators, he arrives at his destination more quickly and safely with more time to do what he came for there.

Does theology sometimes seem overly abstract? Have you read any of this? If not, does it sound appealing? It’s hard to approach sharing the whole of the Christian Faith; does this help?

Faith Objections 3: How I Came to Trust the Bible

Why should I trust the Bible given all its translations, its ancient age, and its occasional difficulties in harsh figures or unintelligible cultural differences?

You should trust the Bible if you make a sincere effort to understand its contents and it finds a meaningful place in your conception of truth and goodness; God does not force anyone to believe. Here is the account of how I came to trust the Bible.

I was raised in a Christmas and Easter Protestant family. We had a Bible; I didn’t think it was weird, but I never read it. My mom read us a children’s translation at night when I was young but it didn’t constitute serious reading through my teenage years. Yet when the Gideons were out distributing tiny orange-covered copies of the New Testament on my way home from school, I took one. I even read some of it, mostly from Matthew’s Gospel, which was the first book in this edition as it contained only the New Testament.

bibleThe writing style of the biblical writers is different from emotionally expressive and highly explanatory modern writing, and I found the person of Jesus to be a harsh and intimidating one. I read such passages as, “And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell” (Matt. 5:30) and was bewildered and a bit nervous.

In school, I also learned a few scraps about the Middles Ages and the copying of manuscripts, including of the scriptural texts. I learned about the printing press and the various translations the Bible went through and how Martin Luther translated it into German so that the common people could read for themselves instead of being told the great book’s contents. Somehow or other, I drew the conclusion that the text must be so muddled so as to be unreliable. Who could know what words the original authors actually wrote or what they intended the reader to take from them?

Well, when I started trying to take the Bible seriously and not simply write it off, I learned that I had some misunderstandings about the text.

Read the whole article where it appeared originally on the Truth and Charity Forum. http://www.truthandcharityforum.org/why-should-i-trust-the-bible-objection-series-3/

The World Is Not Enough II: Jesus’ Alternative of Selfless Gift

In contrast to the external view of happiness in the previous post, the opposite view of happiness offered by Jesus Christ and the Christian Faith is totally different. It’s about self-giving and service in whatever the circumstances of one’s life. It sounds absurd to a worldly way of thinking. But it endures, and it is a path open to all men and women. Jesus’s way of happiness is counter-intuitive because it does not find its fulfillment in this world. Though, this is what makes it successful. As we have seen, the world’s path to happiness inevitably fails, so an other-worldly path must be the solution.

Pope Francis instructs us in the opposing view of happiness in describing how Jesus resists worldly success. He says,

  • We think of Jesus in His Passion. His Prophet says: ‘As a sheep going to the slaughter.’ He does not cry out, not at all: humility. Humility and meekness. These are the weapons that the prince and spirit of this world does not tolerate, for his proposals are proposals for worldly power, proposals of vanity, proposals for ill-gotten riches. –Pope Francis

Jesus is not tempted by the worldly model of external happiness, which includes those offerings from “the prince of this world,” ie “power, vanity and riches”. Instead, he goes through his trials and torments for the sake of something higher, His Father, God and His vocation in the world and the purpose of His Incarnation. In short, He gives Himself.

Our Lord lives his life in service to the highest reality: God’s eternal goodness; and He teaches us how to live according to this same model in the Beatitudes. These seemingly contradictory statements sum up Jesus’s description of true happiness, which I will call beatific happiness. The Beatitudes take their name from the Latin “beatus” which means “happy” or “blessed.” In standard English translations, the word comes through as “blessed.” But it’s important to remember that it could also be rendered, “happy.”

Most of us are generally familiar with the Beatitudes from Matthew 5’s Sermon on the Mount. Here they are:

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
  • Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
  • Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
  • Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
  • Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.

These tell us to be “poor in spirit,” to “mourn,” to be “meek” and “pure in heart.” These are not the virtues of ambitious rat-racers who are willing to step on others to get ahead (of course, not all career seekers use their colleagues as stepping stones.)

Yet the Beatitudes are not virtues for the weak. They are virtues that look forward to another world. They transform us to look past the hassles and annoyances of everyday life to a goodness beyond the present.

For instance, meekness is about bridling one’s strength to use it for God’s purposes.[1] The poor in spirit realize their reliance on God and are grateful for all that they receive. The pure of heart have a single-minded focus on God and therefore see His presence and His providence in all things. My (brief) discussion of a few of the Beatitudes is borrowed from Thomas Smith’s excellent series made available for free online for the Year of Faith from Ascension Press. Check it out to go deeper.

The Beatitudes put the things of the world in right order because they understand the world as temporary. When worldly triumphs and trials are temporary, they don’t define us. Thus, by accepting the beatific path to happiness offered by Jesus Christ, we escape the rat race’s treadmill with its milestones and trophies that claim to offer happiness. We escape by offering the world to others in giving instead of trying to grab it for ourselves.

In short, the beatific model of happiness offered by Jesus is a happiness about giving and being, being oriented to God and what truly matters. It is not a happiness that is characterized by having.

Citing Gaudium et Spes, John Paul II’s encyclical Centissimus Annus sums up the different types of happiness very simply:

  • It is not wrong to want to live better; what is wrong is a style of life which is presumed to be better when it is directed towards “having” rather than “being”, and which wants to have more, not in order to be more but in order to spend life in enjoyment as an end in itself. (para. 36)

With beatific happiness, Jesus directs us to release “having” and gaining and contesting for ourselves and our reputation. He warns against the idea of happiness as enjoyment for its own sake. As we have seen, this state of perfect enjoyment simply never arrives.

Beatific happiness constructs a life centered on being a certain way: good and on giving goodness. On being good and directing oneself towards the good at whatever cost. And God is that good. We mourn for the evil in the world and for our sins, and there is rejoicing in Heaven for this repentance. We practice meekness to be open to God’s purposes, and the earth shall go to these saints. We are to be poor in spirit, depending on God, and because of this, all things can be recognized as gifts. When all things are gifts, we can give them away with even more joy.

In cultivating openness to God, to others and to love itself, beatific happiness cultivates a way of being that doesn’t focus on the self or on individual achievement and enjoyment. Instead, it seeks to pull us out of ourselves and focus our gifts on service, on God, on our neighbors. We are to be peacemakers and to hunger and thirst for righteousness. These are outside of ourselves. True happiness comes from loving and serving, not selfish gain. (Though as JP II pointed out, there is nothing wrong with wanting a better life, but the things of this world are not ends in themselves). We find ourselves in the gift-of-self to another. John Paul II clarified this for us, but he just explained Jesus’s teaching for our generation.

Beatific happiness can rejoice in the success and joy of others without jealousy precisely because it is other centered. Beatific happiness can rejoice even in severe and desperate circumstances because it knows the individuals role in God’s plan and praises God’s sovereignty.

“The Beatitudes respond to the natural desire for happiness. This desire is of divine origin: God has placed it in the human heart in order to draw man to the One who alone can fulfill it.” (CCC 1718)

We are truly made for God because we were made by him. There is a really natural desire for something more, something true, good and beautiful that only God really satisfies. This to me, is one of the most convincing aspects of the Faith. I know that I have always felt that there had to be something more than this world. C.S. Lewis felt it too, and I’m pretty sure most people do.

And it’s wildly ironic that only by looking to God, for the fulfillment of another world, are we able to live well in this world. We can live well in this world because we don’t have to be overly concerned about ourselves and about securing our piece of the precious pie. This enables us to look to others.

And the beatific model of happiness is truly open to everyone. People in dire situations can still serve others. I think of St. Maximillian Kolbe who traded his life for a Polish soldier’s and was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp. Though he has less than weeks to live and eventually starved to death, he ministered to the other prisoners, and after he died, he became a saint. I don’t have to describe the misery of his holding and circumstances, but he found a way to radiate the peace of God even still. This is true happiness. It is joy in loving service that the world cannot take away, no matter what.

Pope Francis extols this true joy of the Christian that goes beyond fun or enjoyment.

“A Christian is a man and a woman of joy. Jesus teaches us this…What is this joy? Is it having fun? No: it is not the same….Having fun is good. But joy is more, it is something else. It is something that does not come from short term economic reasons, from momentary reasons: it is something deeper. It is a gift. Fun, if we want to have fun all the time, in the end becomes shallow…Joy is another thing. Joy is a gift from God. It fills us from within.” –Pope Francis

[Note: I’m not saying that all Christians perfectly embody the Beatitudes; would that we did, but of course, we are imperfect sinners just as anyone else. Secondly, many non-Christians do follow an internal model of happiness that is based on “being” rather than “having.” This is a wonderful thing. Some of Jesus’s teaching clarifies truths about human nature, such as true happiness, that others sometimes discover on their own. I think we might find that we have a lot in common with these people. Of course, there are other revealed teachings such as the Trinity and the Atonement that make Christianity unique.]

Just like at Christmas, there is more joy in giving than in receiving.


[1] An excellent series of short videos on the Beatitudes by Thomas Smith is available for free online from Ascension Press. http://thecatholicyearoffaith.com/living-the-beatitudes-session-eight/