Tag: faith

9 Comments

Be Bartimaeus.

El Greco, Christ Healing the Blind (1575)
Be Bartimaeus. The Gospel presents Bartimaeus to us to show us that this is what it looks like to follow Jesus. This is what we’re called to. So what can we learn from him? I would propose three things: (1) see your blindness; (2) beg boldly; and (3) make Jesus’ Way your way.

Continue reading: “Be Bartimaeus.”

5 Comments

The Repulsiveness of Christ

Colijn de Coter, Christ as the Man of Sorrows (1500)
When we've tried everything we can think of to lead someone to Christianity and it doesn't work, it's so easy to blame ourselves: to think that if we had done everything just so, or found just the right combination of words, everything would have clicked, and they would have accepted Jesus Christ. If we were only a little more compassionate, or a little smarter, or a little more persuasive in our speech. This reaction is discouraging, and what's more, it's often false. It gets three things wrong: grace, free will, and Jesus.

Continue reading: “The Repulsiveness of Christ”

13 Comments

Trial by Fire: Modernity’s Response to Miracles

Dieric Bouts the Elder, Ordeal by Fire (detail), 1460. In this scene, a woman proves her innocence by holding a red-hot iron without suffering injury.
We moderns think of trial by ordeal as proof positive of the irrational dogmatism of our religious ancestors' culture. The idea of determining someone's innocence or guilt by having them hold a red-hot iron seems, well, insane. But new evidence suggests that the process worked... and might provide documentary evidence of a huge number of miracles. That modern researchers refuse to even consider this possibility reveals a great deal more about the irrational dogmatism of our own irreligious culture.

Continue reading: “Trial by Fire: Modernity’s Response to Miracles”

6 Comments

The Untamed Virgin Queen

Caravaggio, Madonna and Child with St. Anne (1606)
The world has just learned that three more Assyrian Christians have been executed in a particularly barbaric way by ISIS… who’ve promised to continue this murderous campaign if the Christians of the Middle East don’t submit. Pope Francis has repeatedly tried to call our attention to the ongoing genocide of these Christians, and that’s exactly what it is: a systematic attempt to wipe Christians off of the map, permanently. All of this bloodshed is being perpetrated in the name of a radical and expansionist form of Islam. To be sure, this isn’t the only form of Islam practiced, but it is nothing new, either. From the very beginning, there have been groups, beginning with Muhammad himself, who sought to spread Islam by the sword.

Continue reading: “The Untamed Virgin Queen”

12 Comments

The First Step in Learning to Forgive

Bernardo Strozzi, Banquet at the House of Simon (1630)
Every day, when we pray the Our Father, we ask God to “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” If we refuse to forgive others, we’re asking God to hold us to our own unforgiving standard. This is a hard message, because it’s hard to forgive others when we’ve been hurt. Jesus recognizes it. When He introduces the Our Father, this is the only one part He feels the need to explain. But He doesn’t say “forgive, unless it’s hard.” He says, “if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15).

Continue reading: “The First Step in Learning to Forgive”

46 Comments

The Virgin Mary, Suffering, and the School of the Cross

Michelangelo, Pieta (1499)
We, the Church, we are the Body of Christ. We say that all the time, but do we really believe that? If we do, then we need to know two things: (1) that Mary is our Mother, and (2) that our sorrows have meaning, they have a purpose. Jesus didn't say, “take up your Cross and throw it away,” but “take up your cross and follow me.” He doesn't suffer and die so that we don't have to suffer. He suffered and died so our sufferings have meaning.

Continue reading: “The Virgin Mary, Suffering, and the School of the Cross”