Monday, July 28, 2014

Touching His Robe: Reaching Past the Shame and Anger of Abuse

Touching His Robe by Leslie G. Nelson is a must-read for survivors of trauma, particularly the trauma of childhood sexual abuse. Let me first say that this sort of crime has occurred throughout history; it is not endemic to our own corrupt times as many think. I once read from an old manual for parents written by a priest in which the author enjoined mothers to have the greatest vigilance about whom they chose to care for their small children. The priest said that if they knew what he had heard in confessions they would never leave their children at all. The problem is that today, because of the easy availability of pornography on the internet, persons with such a weakness are probably more likely to transgress the laws of God and of nature than in the past, having built an almost incurable obsession. At any rate, we are speaking of a disease from which children must be protected. And, if having failed to protect them, we must be grateful for those like Mrs. Nelson who are able to articulate, through their love for Christ, both the their agony and their pilgrimage to wholeness.

In reading Touching His Robe what struck me the most is the recurring tendency in the victims to struggle with the overwhelming urge to commit suicide. More than anything else, this made me understand the damage done to their psyches as small children, when  not only their bodies but their souls were violated by a person whom they trusted. Part of the mystery of each person is the mystery of their sexuality, and when that mystery is violated, then there is no other mystery but that of death. This became clearer to me more than ever while reading the book.

While the subject is a bitter one, Mrs. Nelson infuses the book with hope which comes directly from her love for her Savior. Touching His Robe is full of the wisdom the author has gleaned from her own experience and from working with other victims. It comes from her life of prayer and her pondering of the Scriptures. There are many practical suggestions and resources offered for those suffering from the trauma perpetrated upon them when they were too young to process it. It shows the support which can come from the ecclesial community when a member of the Body of Christ is enduring torment. What is offered in Mrs. Nelson's book is the best of pastoral and psychological counseling, helpful in its brevity and frankness. Every parish library should have a copy of it. There are no words of praise lavish enough to express the admiration I feel for persons such as Mrs. Nelson who have the courage to speak out about their journey towards healing

(*NOTE: This book was sent to me by the author in exchange for my honest opinion.) Share

Mysticism and the Magisterium, Part I

From Fr. Angelo:
I begin this series on Mysticism and Magisterium with the notion of “thinking with the Church” because discernment is so basic to the spiritual life.   For a Catholic, every authentic spirit is characterized by its “ecclesiality,” which means that the Holy Spirit works in and through the Church and always leads to communion with the Church.
In recent years, the sacred magisterium has frequently recommended the sentire cum ecclesia in order to remind us that a true sense of faith implies “a profound agreement of spirit and heart with the Church” (Donum Veritatis  [DV] 35).   One’s personal faith must be the faith of the Church.   It is “never an isolated act” of an individual or even a group within the Church.   In fact, St. John Paul II told religious that by thinking with the Church they become “experts of communion,” and “architects” of God’s plan for unity within the Church (Vita Consecrata [VC] 46).   We are one with Christ because we are of one mind and heart through our communion with the Church.

This ecclesiality runs directly contrary to the modern religious spirit, which is the worship the autonomous personal conscience.   Most often today this radical autonomy takes the form of personal moral relativism, which is a private disregard for what the Church teaches, say, for example, in regard to its condemnation of contraception.   More serious, however, is public dissent from Church teaching, especially by well-known figures, whose scandal harms the unity of the Church in a profound way.

Unfortunately, it is not only the progressives who have adopted this individualistic spirit. Even in the name of Tradition, some today speak of a pre- and post-conciliar Church, thus creating a rupture between the past and the present.   In this way, they submit everything the magisterium has to say to a test that ultimately sets the Church against itself.

Finally, the autonomous personal conscience sometimes lays claim to a false discernment when it sets private revelation and presumed personal graces against the magisterium.   The desire for union with God sometimes leads individuals to attach themselves to extraordinary manifestations of the “spirit,” but in such a way that weakens their attachment to the Church.   Thus, Catholics continue to embrace New Age spirituality, or some dubious private revelation, or a personal insight even though they know that their conviction runs contrary to Church teaching or discipline.

The discernment of spirits is so important today because there are many voices competing for our attention, and it is all so easy to assume that that what we hear, or even what we think and say comes from God.   We need to be careful, especially when we are tempted to think differently than the Church—to disregard or disparage her doctrine or choose a path that sets us at odds with the sacred magisterium. (Read more.)
 Via Terry Nelson. Share

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Faithful

From Tiny-Librarian:
“Louis-Auguste, please understand one thing. I will never agree to leaving you. If I die, it will be at your feet, the children in my arms. My place is at your side; to escape without you would be cowardice and only playing into the hands of our enemies. Whatever storms assail us, we will face them together.”
Trianon - Elena Maria Vidal

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Tolkien on Modernity, Part I

From Mary Victrix:
I would suggest that the meaning of “Death and Immortality” is related to the theme of contempt for the Machine in a fundamental way, and I speculate that this will come out more fully in the recording. Men use the Machine to control death, to quicken it upon their enemies and to delay it for themselves. Both temptations are in the Ring: power and lengthened life. Elves use Magic not to lengthen their own lives but to preserve the earth against their quasi-immortality. So men unnaturally attempt to lengthen their lives in order to cling to the world, and elves unnaturally attempt to lengthen the life of the world so they can longer enjoy it. This was Galadriel’s temptation to take the Ring. It would empower her to save Lothlorien and prevent her from having to leave Middle Earth. (Read more.)
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Saturday, July 26, 2014

La Siesta

La Siesta
By Joaquin Sorolla.

La siesta en el jardin
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Fertility Is Not a Disease

Young women explain why they choose not to use birth control. To quote:
As Catholics, we should know and understand that any form of contraception, even for “medical purposes” between a sexually active couple is never permitted. (http://www.catholic.com/tracts/birth-control.) Ironically, most all of these “pro birth control” articles have been written in response the Supreme Court ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, and most of them address birth control that was never included in the ruling to begin with. Several of us have decided to write a response to these articles, sharing some of the health risks associated with the use of birth control as well as other reasons we opt not to use it. We do not use birth control……
“Because I don’t need anything to control me, I can control myself.”
“Because I like my water without other people’s estrogen in it.”
“Because it perpetuates the objectification of women as worthless sexual objects, constantly at the disposal of men in our commodity driven culture.” (Read more.)
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Blaming the Mother

A husband defends his wife and their untidy home. To quote:
I stopped looking at the dirty dishes, assuming that they were evidence of Mel sitting around all day. Instead, I got up myself and started washing the dishes. I realized that this was not her mess, but our mess, and I started pitching in more.
I stopped worrying about the house, and started paying attention to the development of our children. I started to pay attention to how happy they were, and the kind of relationship they shared with their mother, and I noticed that we have a messy house, and really happy, bright kids.
I’m not saying that if you have a clean house, you are doing something wrong. But what I am saying is that I don’t judge my wife for teaching my son how to swim, rather than vacuuming the living room. I don’t judge her for potty training my daughter rather than clearing the table. And I don’t think you should look down on stay-at-home moms with a messy house, because chances are, they are using that time wisely. (Read more.)
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Friday, July 25, 2014

Pilgrimage

Julianne Douglas reviews a new medieval novel. To quote:
For centuries, Christian pilgrims have plied the roads of Europe towards the magnificent cathedral of Saint James the Greater in Compostela, Spain. Streams of nameless pilgrims walked the Way of St. James to plead their intentions, exonerate their guilt, and render homage to the saint at his Spanish resting place. Lucy Pick, a professor of medieval religious thought and practice, has imagined the plight of one such pilgrim, Gebirga of Flanders, in her historical novel PILGRIMAGE (Cuidono Press, July 2014). A fresh and thoughtful read, PILGRIMAGE explores betrayal, friendship, healing, and redemption in a setting hitherto ignored yet vastly important to the fabric of medieval life.

Blindness descends on young Gebirga, the only child of Bertulf and Godeleva of Gistel, after she witnesses an altercation between her parents which results in her mother’s death. Her father establishes a convent in memory of his saintly wife and departs on crusade, leaving Gebirga in the care of his brother at the castle. Raised by her nurse to be independent despite her infirmity, Gebirga learns to navigate her environs with help of her dog and becomes a competent châtelaine. When her father unexpectedly returns to Gistel with a new bride, Gebirga expects to be relegated to the convent. However, a trip to Bruges occasions an unforeseen encounter with Katerinen, sister of the Count of Flanders, and the beginning of a new life for Gebirga as the headstrong girl’s attendant. The political schemes of the great require Katerinen and Gebirga to travel to Spain in the guise of simple pilgrims. The final two thirds of the book trace the details of the women’s journey to Compostela as members of a motley group searching for healing and forgiveness and finding friendship, love, and purpose along the way. (Read more.)
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