Catholic commentary on culture, media, and politics.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Questions cheerfully answered

Com box maven Shawne asks about the issue of finding the Blessed Mother on a Lays chip, or the window of a Hilton during the off season, and how it all relates to my faith.

Answer: not a whit.

I think all of 'em -- no exception -- are BS. Some people seem to crave "signs" and extraordinary, quasi-mystical messages to bolster their faith. If some souls somehow benefit from thinking Mary has deemed a Frito Lay worthy to emboss her own image, then great.

As a Catholic, I already have The Best: God's word in Scripture, in sacred Tradition. I have Jesus in the Eucharist; I have the riches of the sacramental life; and I have really cool books on card magic.

I'm set.


Anonymous Shawne said...

Patrick, thank you so much for addressing my question in your personal/public forum.

This deeper inner innate relationship with God, prior to reading the bible or being forced to attend a church of any kind… this faith in God I have on a 100% faith based relationship – to believe that God created the earth and the heavens and everything within it and all that is holly. To believe in right and wrong and good and evil… if I am to believe in any of this, and I do, then here is what I believe…

I believe in present day miracles small and large, because I believe in God. I believe that seeing the Virgin Mary in a highway underpass water drippage is a present day miracle.

In my heart from the time I can remember I knew right from wrong, good from evil… this is God in my heart, in my life. My parents never went to church and never sent us as kids to church, but I’ve always felt God’s presence within me. In times of strife as a young adult I’ve often had dreams of being swaddled in a blanket and being rocked by God. For a person who has never been lead into faith this has left me as confused as much as comforted.

How I deal with that, what I believe, based not on teachings of any sort – but on what is in my heart is that God very much exists. God did create the earth and everything upon it. And, from time to time without intention, his goodness, his self, his hollyness – seeps out. Those who are open to seeing that beauty, those who need to see that sign and those who care to even notice can behold the glory of God. Which can be as normal as the beauty of a newborn baby or a flower, or the act of the casting of a shadow on a window that appears in the form of Mother Mary during spring break. Those are the people who see and believe in this miracle. If you are not one of them the least you can do is smile and nod and not discount their faith.

8:31 PM

Blogger Patrick said...

Well, I'm stuck. If I say one more word, I'll be called cruel, like an ogre who'll stomp on a kitten just for meowing. If I say nothing, I won't have been honest.

You asked for my view on Virgin Mary images in Frito Lay's, highway underpasses, etc. I gave it. I don't believe any of them. But I never discounted anyone's "faith."

If someone wants to buy into those things, and it doesn't do harm, who am I to point fingers? The Church asks us to use the one gift God gave us that He did't automatically "help" by His grace, and that is our mind. With SO MANY graces given to us -- the word of God, the witness of the saints, the consoling presence of the Holy Spirit, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the beauty and truth of the sacraments (especailly the Eucharist, which is Jesus Himself)

Once one experiences these things -- and once you discover the full meaning of miracle - everything else sort of fades into Whateverland.

BTW I think your experiences of God are completely legitimate. St. Paul says in Rom 1 that God makes His presence known in our consciences and in the order we see in nature -- even before we know about Jesus or the Church etc etc.

If you'll excuse me, an image of the Prince of Darkness on a carpet stain is now threatening me. I, and Folex Cleaner, must go deal with him

10:13 AM

Anonymous Shawne said...

The humility in your honest response, in my humble opinion, is yet another sign of God and his goodness. As I mentioned, my faith is in my heart. From the moment I met you I knew your faith to be true, you are an honest servant of God, and I value your religious opinion. I didn’t mean to accuse you of crushing kittens or the like by not agreeing with my views on this matter.

Frankly it is an outrageous claim with zero merit and my urge to dismiss it is as strong as yours. Then there is part of me who thinks about my core beliefs in God and what that means when it comes to the price of a double latte at Starbucks and I have to wonder what must others have said to Noah when he was building the Arch, or to Jesus when he said he was the son of God, etc etc etc… time is not relevant when it comes to faith. What would we do today if Osama Bin Laden were able to part the Red Sea in order to evade capture from US troops?? (((I am NOT pro Osama Bin Laden! Just used as an example)))

If you believe in the miracles in the bible, then you believe in miracles. If you have faith in God, then you have faith. Is my only point. I’m not saying they (sightings of the Virgin Mary in a Frito, etc.) are miracles or are a test of your faith, to be clear.

I love your response. Thank you for that.

4:01 PM


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