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Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Ed Peters

I don't get it. I've been positive about New Ager stuff for a long time. Positive they're kooky. So why hasn't it worked yet? Aren't you guys positive too?

Carl Olson

It's pistols vs. crystals. Something is sure to break soon.

I have no idea what I mean by that, but perhaps I can ask the Big O some day.

Deacon Harold

There's a good overview of "The Secret" here:

Incidentally, I'm preaching on this topic on Palm Sunday. An excerpt from my homily:

Our salvation is not a secret! Salvation comes from one Source, the One True God: the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the God of Peter, James and John; the God of Muslims, Jews and Atheists. He is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ! He is the God of Isaiah, who foretold His coming and who tells us that the Savior gave his back to those who beat him, his cheeks to those who plucked his beard, and his face to buffets and spitting. He is the God of Saint Paul who tells us that His name is above every other name and that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend in heaven, on earth and in Hell, and that every tongue proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord. He is the God of Luke the Evangelist, who says that the greatest is not the one who vibrates at the right frequency, but the one who serves: the one who makes a gift of himself, who breaks himself open and pours himself out in love just as Jesus did on the Cross.

Cristina A. Montes

Once, while I was browsing in a bookstore, a title in the psychology section caught my eye: "The Power of Negative Thinking". Leafing through its pages, I learned that the author, a psychologist, got intrigued that while we're always told to think positive, a lot of successful people she knows are actually pessimists. After some inquiries, she theorizes that for some people, what she calls "defensive pessimism" -- anticipating the worst things that can happen so that one could be prepared for them -- is actually a more effective way of coping with stress than knock-eyed optimism.


This wishing-makes-it-so thinking is as potentially damaging as the blab-it-and-grab-it gospel: what if they don't get what they want? Then you have a broken person who thinks their faith/wishing isn't strong enough. It turns faith into a work.

The motivation behind magic practices is an unhealthy desire to control events and other people. The alternative is praying, asking but adding the condition that "if it is Your will," and trusting the divine providence. Plus, God gave us brains and expects us to use them. If we want something, then we can think and act with prudence to make it happen.

I can't help myself...I hang out at bookstores and watch those teenage/college age women in the occult section, and they're shopping for spells and special knowledge. Do you believe in Jesus Christ? Do you love and follow him? Then why are you practicing idolatry? What problem in your life has you this desperate? Let's talk about it. I'll buy you a cup of coffee and we'll talk. (I'm a counselor. I can't help it.)

Christians are getting very indifferent about idolatry. The local Christian college has horoscopes in their college newspaper.

Two maxims are the answer:
Pray as if everything depends on God, work as if everything depends on you.
Pray, hope and don't worry!


I have a theory about Wisdom: You never really own it until you can freely give it away, and if you charge for it you are not wise, but cunning!


Deacon Harold, sounds like it's going to be an excellent homily. I wish I could be there!


Cristina, good point. I'll side with this "pessimist" every time:


Many years ago, you made a prophetic statement about the Church of the future: 'The Church,' you said at that time, 'will become small, and will to a great
extent have to start over again. But after a time of testing, an internalized and simplified Church will radiate great power and influence; for the population of an entirely planned and controlled world are going to be inexpressibly lonely...and they will then
discover the little community of believers as something quite new - as a hope that is there for them, as the answer they have secretly always been asking for.' It looks as though you are going to be right about this. But how are things going to develop in Europe?

Ratzinger/Benedict XVI:

First of all: Is the Church really going to get smaller? When I said that, I was reproached from all sides for pessimism. And nowadays nothing seems less tolerated than what people call pessimism - and
which is often in fact just realism. Meanwhile, most people admit that at the present stage of things in Europe the number of baptized Christians is simply dwindling. In a city like Magdeburg, only 8 percent of the people are still Christians - and mark you, that's all kinds of Christians, put together. Such statistical findings show the existence of trends that are indisputable. In that sense, the extent to which church and society are seen as synonymous in some cultural areas, with us in Germany, for instance, will diminish. We simply have to face up to this.


What does that mean?


The traditional Church can be very lovely, but this is not something necessary. The Church of the first three centuries was a small church and nevertheless was not a sectarian community. On the contrary, she was not partitioned off; rather, she saw herself as responsible for the poor, for the sick, for everyone. All those who sought a faith in one God, who sought a promise, found their place in her.

The synagogue, Judaism in the Roman Empire, had surrounded itself with this circle of 'God-fearers,' who were affiliated with it and thereby achieved a great opening up. The catechumenate of the early Church was very similar. Here people who didn't feel able to identify with Christianity completely could, as it were, attach themselves to the Church, so as to see whether they would take the step of joining her.
This consciousness of not being a closed club, but of always being open to everyone and everything, is an inseparable part of the Church. And it is precisely with the shrinking of Christian congregations we
are experiencing that we shall have to consider looking for openness along the lines of such types of affiliation, of being able to associate oneself.

...We will have to accept losses, but we will always remain an open Church. The Church can never be a closed and self-sufficient group. We will have to be missionaries, above all in the sense that we keep
before the eyes of society those values that ought to form its conscience, values that are the basis of its political existence and of a truly human community.

In that sense, the struggle for what the traditional Church used to be - and what she will continue to be in certain countries and will yet become in others - will certainly go on. The Church will have to intervene in the law-making process and to keep before people's eyes the great and unchanging human elements that go to build up the society of men. For if law no longer has any common moral basis, then it is no longer valid as law.

-God and the World

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