Thursday, May 26, 2005

Finding God in the basement

Godspy: Interview with Matthew Lickona, author of Swimming with Scapulars I do still consider myself to be on a break from blogging, but that doesn't mean I can't post now and again. Here is a bit of an interview with one of the so called New Faithful. Lickona is a thirty year old dad, and a writer for an alternative paper, whose book is called Swimming with Scapulars, True Confessions of a Young Catholic. Yes, there's some debate about whether the "New Faithful" Catholic revival is real or not, and whether there are hard numbers that confirm the trend. What do you think? I don't know if there are hard numbers to confirm the trend. It seems to me like it could be a self-fulfilling prophecy. If enough stories run about how people are returning to Eucharistic Adoration, people might start to pay more attention, they might ask what it's about, and they might find the answer appealing. I've used the image of poking around in the Church's dusty basement, picking things up, examining them, and wondering why they're down there. Why did Eucharistic Adoration go away? It's time with Jesus Incarnate. What was wrong with mortification of the flesh through fasting? It's all over Scripture, and still held up by the Church as one of the three pillars—together with prayer and almsgiving—of the spiritual life. Why did the sacrament of Confession go out of style? I don't think you have to be obsessed with guilt to love the sacrament. You just have to acknowledge the reality of sin, something any Christian should be comfortable doing, since sin is the reason for the Incarnation and the Resurrection. Where there's sin, there's guilt, and hallelujah whaddya know, confession removes that stain from your soul. Personally, if I were not a member of the New Faithful—if by that you mean a person interested in connecting with tradition and conforming to the truths proclaimed by the Church—I can't see why I would be a Catholic. If I didn't think the Church had the power to teach authoritatively in matters of faith and morals, if I didn't think those teachings were ordered to my spiritual well being and, ultimately, my salvation, I don't know why I would stay. But as it is, I think that the Catholic Church has the best grasp of the fullness of truth, so I'm all in, even if some of the teachings prove difficult to understand or obey. And perhaps most importantly, the Church has the Eucharist. ... That reminds me—you talk in the book about your difficulties with the idea, or the emotion, of "joy." It's a difficult concept—is it an emotion? Certainly, I'm gratified by consolation as much as anybody might be. It's why the Eucharist is at the heart of my faith. It's the engine, and the anchor, because I do get my greatest moments of spiritual consolation from it. But consolation is not what I hang my hat on. The faith permeates and colors my whole understanding of the world. It's a lot of things—it's a moral code, an intellectual framework, it gives life meaning. Those things are enough, I think.

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