“It was fitting that Christ should be tempted.”

As someone drawn to Dominican spirituality, and as a Thomist, I read “Meditations for Lent” every spring. It is a perfect Lenten reflection and meditation book.

This past Sunday, we heard at Mass (in the N.O.) the desert temptation of Christ. On text64enTuesday, Aquinas’ meditation is entitled:

It was fitting that Christ should be tempted.

As Aquinas explains, Christ willed himself to be tempted. Giving the reason that he may better assist us against our own temptations. Just as the suffering of Christ (which Aquinas deals with in subsequent meditations) allows Him to better minister to us in our own suffering, the resistance of temptations does the same.

Aquinas quotes St. Gregory:

That our Redeemer, who had come to earth to be killed, should will to be tempted was not unworthy of him. It was indeed but just that he should overcome our temptations by his own, in the same way that he had come to overcome our death by his death.”

He further explains that another reason is to show that no man, should think himself safe and free from temptation. It is here I want to really direct our attention. It isn’t the temptation itself, something Christ proves we will all face, that is the sin – it is the succumbing and capitulation to the sin.

St. Thomas Aquinas  Ora Pro Nobis
St. Thomas Aquinas
Ora Pro Nobis

Aquinas doesn’t leave us unaided though, for he says that along with these instructions, Christ also showed us how to overcome the temptation.

Let us resist that which plagues our souls this Lent, and let us resist those temptations that will surely visit us in our deserts.

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Kobe Bryant and His Catholic Faith

Here is something interesting, that I never knew about. Kobe Bryant is Catholic, and turned to a priest in his hours of need.la_u_kobe_600x600

From a GQ story out today (Note: GQ isn’t known as the most morally sound site, so please be cautious if you visit for the whole article, I link only for attribution purposes):

Which brings us to the hinge-point in the career of Kobe Bryant: the week he checked into a Colorado hotel room, had sex with a woman who worked there, and was subsequently arrested on a sexual-assault charge. A year later, the charges were dropped and Bryant apologized. But the incident will (obviously) never go away. When Bryant dies, the accusation will probably appear in the second paragraph of his obituary. And he knows this.

“I started to consider the mortality of what I was doing,” he says. At the time, he was 24. “What’s important? What’s not important? What does it mean when everybody loves you, and then everybody hates your guts for something they think you did? So that’s when I decided that—if people were going to like me or not like me—it was going to be for who I actually was. To hell with all that plain vanilla shit, just to get endorsement deals. Those are superficial, anyway. I don’t enjoy doing them, anyway. I’ll just show people who I actually am…. The [loss of the] endorsements were really the least of my concerns. Was I afraid of going to jail? Yes. It was twenty-five to life, man. I was terrified. The one thing that really helped me during that process—I’m Catholic, I grew up Catholic, my kids are Catholic—was talking to a priest. It was actually kind of funny: He looks at me and says, ‘Did you do it?’ And I say, ‘Of course not.’ Then he asks, ‘Do you have a good lawyer?’ And I’m like, ‘Uh, yeah, he’s phenomenal.’ So then he just said, ‘Let it go. Move on. God’s not going to give you anything you can’t handle, and it’s in his hands now. This is something you can’t control. So let it go.’ And that was the turning point.”

Most people know right away who Kobe Bryant is without explanation. But for those of you who may not, the simplest way to explain him is to say that he was once called “the next Michael Jordan,” and that quickly turned into “could he be better than Jordan?” He is the all time leading scorer for the Los Angeles Lakers. He won 3 NBA championships in his first years in the league, is a perennial All-Star, a 3-time Gold Medalist, Slam Dunk Champion, NBA MVP, Scoring leader… the list goes on.kobe_bryant_quote_typography_by_nathanhankinson-d5x7afc (1)

But, since 2003 what most of his bio’s mention, almost immediately, is a 2003 sexual assault charge. Over the course of the next year as the legal battle waged, his image and name were decimated in the media. His rise from High School star, to heir apparent in the NBA, to his icy cool demeanor, all compounded with this crime resulted in huge fall from the top.

The charges were eventually dropped by prosecutors after the accuser refused to testify. Bryant admitted that he had an adulterous encounter, but denied the rape allegations. Yet, he did apologize publicly:

Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did. After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.

I am not here to exonerate or even apologize for Bryant, his actions, or his days since. This is simply to say, that there has always been something about this story that made me wonder how he got through it, how he had some of his best years AFTER the fact. Many sports stars will enter a storm, come out ok on the immediate other side, but languish soon after. Kobe more or less did the opposite, but for some teammate and injury problems.

But all that said, more than a decade later he mentions his faith, specifically his CATHOLIC faith. He could have referenced God, and leave out the Church, especially knowing how it is viewed in professional sports and the media world. But he didn’t…

I am not here to re-try, or litigate his case. I am here simply to say that it is impressive, only in-and-of-itself, that Bryant trumpets his Catholic faith as what he leaned on during his darkest days.

True Love. – A New Catholic Video

There is a lot of talk about what Love is, and what it isn’t, these days. With all the hub-bub over certain movies, Valentine’s Day, and the cultural discussions of late it seemed fitting to turn the world upside down a little, and reclaim what is truly ours, as followers of God, – LOVE.

Because, God is love  – and therefore love is ours, not the world’s.

I hope you enjoy it, please feel free to share it, and I pray that it helps a few people who are afraid to love, waiting for love, or looking for love.

What are you waiting for? He is waiting for you.

 

“You will be hated by all because of MY name”

The Pope’s comments on the France terrorist attacks, are well — interesting. I am sure lots  will be said about it, but someone asked my thoughts.

I have many, but this is what I feel comfortable posting:

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“You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.” -Matthew 10:22

 

Vandalism at Holy Family Cathedral in Anchorage

Long time, no blog – but unfortuantely I come bearing bad news.

Holy Family Cathedral in Anchorage, Alaska was pretty badly vanalized the other day. I frequented the Cathedral whenever we went up, and it is overseen by the AMAZING Dominican priests.

altarvandI will try and update as more information comes out, but for now you can check some of the O.P.’s facebook pages:

He took a video walk-through of the vandalism. While some may say that this isn’t a big deal, or turn this and make it into an opportunity to speak to what the Church or the Cathedral could/should do differently – that distracts from the fact that someone had intent in their heart to do this. It wasn’t the first time something happened either. This is an ongoing problem, and the worst part is this is a church/parish that does more than almost any other parish I have ever seen to give back to the community.

Please keep them in your prayers.

Where is God in all of this? – Robin Williams, RIP

While many are listing their favorite movie, their theological arguments about the state of his soul, my one thought goes to a line in a much misunderstood movie of his:

What Dreams May Come“: A story about a man who dies (Williams) and goes to Heaven, but risks eternal damnation by going into Hell to rescue his wife after she commits suicide in the wake of his death.

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Chris Nielsen (Williams’ Character): Where is God in all of this?

Albert (Cuba Gooding Jr.): Oh, He’s up there. Somewhere… shouting down that He loves us. Wondering why we can’t hear Him. You think?

Enter the Triduum

Meister_des_Hausbuches_003I was going to write a post about “Feet Washing” and then I realized why I haven’t blogged in a while and what I do want to write about if I start up again.

So in that direction, I will instead wish you all a Blessed Triduum and Happy Easter!

Embrace not what divides us and separates us from Christ but instead draw near and embrace the Crucifix of Mercy and Salvation as Jesus did when he washed the feet of the Apostles. (See what I did there?)

 

 

 

Help if you can…

These types of tragedies are part of the world, one to which we do not belong but must spend our time, and so the suffering is real and excruciating at times.lewis

Dear friends,

Many of you know Sean and Becca Lewis from UD, CUA and WCC. I’m sad to tell you that two of their daughters, Emma and Olivia, passed away today.

Emma and Olivia were in a car wreck with Becca. Becca has no serious injuries. Sean and their middle daughter, Vivian, were not in the car. For the official statement from Wyoming Catholic College, please see their FB page:

https://www.facebook.com/WyomingCatholicCollege

I’m writing to ask you to donate to a fund for Sean and Becca. They are surrounded by your love and prayers, which will carry them far. This money will allow them to worry less about finances in the coming months. As you may know, funeral expenses alone can be $10,000-$15,000. I’m setting our goal high so we can also give them the gift of some time and resources to grieve. Please share this with anyone who may want to donate.

With love, Maureen and Nick Benes

It is our Christian duty to show love and ease the suffering of others.

Please help through Prayer, Fasting, or Alms.

For the last of these please visit: The Sean and Becca Lewis Fund

A guide to FASTING & ABSTINENCE from ‘St. Peter’s List Blog’

O’ happy fault, let us enter LENT with open hearts and penitent lips.

For some helpful explanations and reminders about FASTING and ABSTINENCE check out St. Peter’s List Blog:

Lent

The Idiot’s Guide to Fasting and Abstinence: 5 Things to Know

Ukraine Revolution?

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I have not had a chance to write about it yet, but have been following closely the situation in the Ukraine.

As we awake this morning there are reports that the President, Viktor Yanukovych, has resigned or will shortly be resigning.

Yulia Tymoshenko, the face of the Orange Revolution in 2005, has been freed from jail after an overwhelming vote in Parliament.

Once the dust settles a bit I plan to write a more in depth post about this. Until then I may just update this post.