Thursday, November 21, 2013


"Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus,
Who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross."

--Phil. 2:5-8

From a reader:

"One thing I struggle with is how there are whole countries in the Middle East that once had thriving Christian populations, sometimes majority populations, and now they are extinct. I can understand how there are physical and moral evils in the world but I have trouble understanding how populations can become extinct simply for their Christianity, and I feel an ache not even primarily for the individuals themselves -- because at least they'll be in Heaven. But I can't help but thinking of all the children of those Christians who are now either Muslim (due to parents' changing faiths in accommodation) or not at all (because the parents resisted and were killed).

I want to believe Heaven will be populated not just with people who have been conceived, but even those who weren't conceived due to the violence to potential parents. Violence will seem to have won a sort of victory if some souls were never created on account of it."

I once heard Fr. Ron Rolheiser observe, "The mark of a follower of Christ is never where we stand on a particular issue. The mark of a follower of Christ is that we love the enemy and forgive the murderer."


  1. It's good reading you but it's really nice to click on your pics. Cool, indeed!

  2. This is a great post. If one can achieve this, which is something I've been attempting, it brings great peace. I'm in the midst of a theology MA, and everyone in my courses have their thoughts and opinions and whatever. As a class we can all argue about biblical interpretation or the Catechism until we're blue in the face, but what matters isn't what I think versus what someone else thinks, etc. In the end we just need to do everything we can to empty ourselves and through that help someone else. That is the only way to find Christ, to find peace, and to truly make a difference. It seems like such a simple concept, but I think in that regard appearances lie.

  3. What you say sounds impossible, which is one mark of how true it is.

    I know that all my opinions are worth exactly nothing, but probably my most difficult struggle is accepting that and letting go of how angry the opinions of others in the church can make me. And this gets all complicated by thinking: well, look at how angry and opinionated some of the saints could be! Or so it appears. Gah. I suppose the truth is that I will never, ever reason it all out, and I can only look to silence, and surrender to this self-emptying of which you speak, but it's the hardest thing ever. Self-justification is so much easier.

  4. Yes, and if we choose silence there are always people ready to jeer and accuse of a lack of conviction: "I have the courage to speak my beliefs," etc. So there are not cut-and-dried rules and the process of discernment is ongoing...

  5. Self-emptying should be so simple but it is the hardest thing to do. However, it is only by been completely empty of ourselves that we can be filled with God.

  6. "In every period of transition the two opposing currents are very violent. To escape from them, one must be prepared to be judged unfavorably by both. So one must learn to be alone. The Christian life, for its part, does not escape this rule. Our Lord Jesus Christ is so often all alone on His Cross."
    —Dom Lou Tseng-Tsiang

  7. This quote reminds me of the discussion. Maybe it's through self emptying that we find those "deepest truths," or the guts to do what we know is right outside the influence of our own ego? While I don't agree with many of Father Daniel Berrigan's policies, I very much admire him for living what he knew to be right.

    In this way I think it relates to the Dom Lou Tseng-Tsiang quote Heather posted, "So one must learn to be alone."

    "I know that the prophetic vision is not popular today in some spiritual circles. But our task is not to be popular or to be seen as having an impact, but to speak the deepest truths that we know. We need to live our lives in accord with the deepest truths we know, even if doing so does not produce immediate results in the world.”
    -Father Daniel Berrigan


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