Monthly Archives: August 2012

As I explained in my last post, I was christened in a United Methodist church in upstate New York. When we moved to Scottsdale in the 1960s, we found a wonderful Wesleyan Methodist church by the name of Our Heritage. It was pastored by a man of some renown, the Reverend Robert C. Girard. Reverend Girard, unbeknownst to me as a child, was a Big Deal. He authored two very popular books, Brethren, Hang Loose, and Brethren, Hang Together. Brethren, Hang Loose became required reading in seminary courses, and was republished by Christianity Today in the same volume with works by Billy Graham and Francis Schaeffer. Reverend Girard was a nationally known figure. As I said, I understood none of this. I knew the man as “Pastor Bob,” and what I remember most about him was that his wife found out that she was going to have another baby (their daughter, Charity) when she went to the doctor thinking she was having a gallbladder attack, leading me to develop some rather peculiar notions on the subject of where babies come from… but, I digress.

I was on fire for the Lord as a pre-teen, and asked Pastor Bob to “re-baptize” me, fearing that my infant baptism had not been valid because it was not a “believer’s baptism.” He obliged, and to this day I can close my eyes and relive the feel of the water swooshing closed over my head as I was fully immersed in the baptismal tank, waiting for what seemed like an eternity until Pastor Bob saw fit to pull me back to the surface, and carefully climbing the steps out of the tank with my robes clinging to me like suckerfish. I remember riding the church bus with my youth group to a Billy Graham crusade. I remember Pastor Bob teaching the children’s choir to sing Silent Night for the Christmas pageant.

We moved to another part of town in the early 1970s and began attending the then modestly sized Scottsdale Bible Church. Gradually I forgot about Our Heritage as I forgot the other details of my childhood, probably not uttering Pastor Bob’s name again for another 15 years until a Methodist missionary in Taiwan discovered that I had attended a Wesleyan Methodist church in Scottsdale in the early 1970s. He inquired who the pastor was. “Robert Girard,” I told him. His mouth dropped open. “You sat under the teaching of Robert Girard?!” he exclaimed excitedly and rather loudly. That was when the adult “me” first realized that Pastor Bob had indeed been a Big Deal.

Imagine my surprise when, about 15 years after that, I tried to google my old church, Our Heritage. No hits. I was stumped – I had expected it to still be right there on Granite Reef Road, or perhaps in some new location, having expanded to mega-church proportions over the years as Scottsdale Bible had. Instead, it seemed to be… gone.

I found the explanation for the disappearance of Our Heritage when I found a used copy of a third book authored by Pastor Bob called When the Vision Has Vanished. In it he chronicles the events of 1978, when he and the deacons of the church felt led by the Holy Spirit to give the church building back to the denomination and split the thriving congregation into informal house-church groups, in imitation of the first Christians. Within months, Our Heritage had ceased to exist, as the former members drifted off into other churches, reduced, as Pastor Bob put it, to “a scattered flock.”

What had possessed him to try such an experiment?

From an Evangelical perspective, it’s not impossible to understand. Most Evangelical churches give at least lip service to their goal of becoming an “Acts Chapter 2” or “New Testament” church. The Church of Christ denomination actually claims to be the restoration of the New Testament church. This concept is the natural extension of the Reformers’ goal of returning the church to its former pristine state, an imaginary era which supposedly existed before Catholicism gilded the lily. Modern-day Evangelicals, however, not only want to divest the church of Catholic tendencies; they want to divest the church of the Reformers’ tendencies, in other words, no liturgy, no vestments, no formal prayers, no perceived “stuffiness.” After all, they reason, if the Holy Spirit is inspiring worship, it must be fresh, and spontaneous, and new. As every Evangelical KNOWS, there was no such thing as liturgy in the 1st-century church!

From an Evangelical viewpoint, what Pastor Bob tried to do when he established home churches was pretty radical, but not unthinkable. In his explanation of what went wrong with the home church experiment, he informs us that the pastoral team was relying on “the practical authority of Scripture to lead the church.” Based on this, he searched the Scriptures for “principles we could pull out,” and lists 11 of them, including the principle that the church is Christ’s people who are alive in Him, gathering around the Person of Jesus Christ their Head, dependent on the Holy Spirit. The reality of the royal priesthood of believers was central to his views on leadership. Believers are led by leaders chosen from among them, and meet for the purpose of maturing in Christ, which includes learning to love fellow believers in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Evangelism will occur as a natural outgrowth of all this.

Sounds inspiring on paper, but as Pastor Bob tells it, in practice it was a mess. His flourishing congregation disintegrated, his ministerial credentials were pulled, and Our Heritage Wesleyan Methodist Church ceased to exist. Pastor Bob cited a “lack of commitment to unity” as a big factor in the collapse of the congregation. But what could have caused such a lack of commitment in an obviously on-fire-for-Jesus environment?

The problem here, I believe, is the same one that plagues Evangelicalism at large, the belief that Jesus established a Bible, and died to have a personal relationship with me. Artificially grafted onto this foundational belief is the recognition that Jesus also has a personal relationship with millions of others, and that these believers are truly our brothers and sisters, but with the underlying understanding that none of those siblings of ours should be allowed to get in between me and Jesus. In other words, for all the lip service, the Church is subtracted from the equation. In everyday Evangelical terms, it means dwindling participation in Sunday services as thousands of people ask themselves, “Why do I need to go to church if Jesus established a Bible, and died to have a personal relationship with me? I can read the Bible for myself on Sunday morning, and the Bible never prescribes a binding amount of involvement with those brothers and sisters of mine….” While Evangelicals do know that Christians are “the body of Christ,” this understanding is in a practical sense underdeveloped. The term “the body of Christ” is often abused, as when popular author Henry Blackaby teaches that the local church is “a body with Christ as the Head” (and Christ has how many bodies???). The Evangelical concept of the Body of Christ, as in “This is My Body,” is even shakier. This Body of Christ, the Holy Eucharist, is proclaimed by Catholics to be “the source and summit of the Christian life,” – “O sacrament of devotion! O sign of unity! O bond of charity!” in St. Augustine’s words. If one is seeking for the mysterious cause of a “lack of commitment to unity,” they need seek no further. The Real Presence is the cement holding the Church together. If one cannot understanding the literal meaning of the Eucharist as “the Body of Christ,” one will not be able to adequately grasp the ramifications of the Church as “the body of Christ.” For all the “fundamentals” that Pastor Bob pulled from Scripture, a fundamental misunderstanding of the body of Christ led to disaster.

“The demise of the church seems certain evidence that we missed some fundamental truths” confesses Pastor Bob poignantly. This could be the sad last confession of Evangelicalism. Pastor Bob was doing the best that an Evangelical knows how – he was relying on “the practical authority of Scripture to lead the church.” In doing so, he missed the authority of the Church. Missing the truth that Jesus established His Church (Mt. 16:17), that He built it on the foundation of the apostles (Mt. 16:19, Mt. 18:18, Lk. 10:16, 1 Jn 4:6), that the apostles passed on their God-given authority to the men they ordained (Acts 1:15-26, Acts 6:6, 2 Cor 10:6, 2 Thess 3:14, 2 Tim 1:6, 2 Tim 2:2, 2 Tim 4:1-2, Titus 2:15) and that this Church can count on Jesus’ irrevocable promise that the gates of hell will never prevail against His beloved (Mt 16:18) means missing the “authority” part of the equation. As St. Paul explained:

So Christ Himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip His people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Eph 4: 12-13

That is the Church, but that Church is not on the radar of Christians such as I once was. We KNEW the Catholic Church was a man-made religion, and so we made up all kinds of churches to take her place. Thus the one thing that could make possible all the fervent longings of an Evangelical’s heart is rejected out-of-hand, while all else conceivable is ventured in hopes of recreating what Jesus started and then allowed to fail. This Church that we sought was no farther than a few blocks down the street, and yet tragically light-years distant from our comprehension.

When exposed to authentic Catholic teaching, Evangelicals can and do convert. I am living proof of that. Evangelicals have a God-shaped vacuum in their hearts in the exact dimensions of the Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Why then did it take 45 years before I was ever exposed to authentic Catholic teaching? Why do committed Evangelicals have nothing but hearsay and rumors on which to base their concept of Catholicism? Why do good, good men like Pastor Bob end up writing books entitled When the Vision Has Vanished?

You tell me.

On the memorial of St. Joseph of Arimathea

Deo omnis gloria!

Anyone who knows my religious background knows that over a span of 45 years I attended churches of many different denominations. I was christened as an infant in the United Methodist church (I have cousins who are United Methodist clergy) in upstate New York. When we moved to Scottsdale in the early 1960s, my family started attending a Wesleyan Methodist church pastored by Robert Girard, author of Brethren, Hang Loose and Brethren, Hang Together.When my family moved to another part of town in the early 1970s, we began attending the nondenominational Scottsdale Bible Church (before it went mega). My mother then became a charismatic, and off she and I went to various small charismatic assemblies (including a Frances Hunter meeting where folks were healed of that dread malady of one-leg-longer-than-the-otherism). When I went to college in Flagstaff, I attended my friend’s Lutheran church, where I was exposed to Ash Wednesday (with actual ashes on the forehead!) and Lent. After college I moved to West Germany (this was the 1980s), and then on to Taiwan where I taught at a nondenominational Christian college founded by Quakers. The church I attended in Taiwan had four pastors who took turns preaching: a Lutheran missionary, a Baptist missionary, and two Presbyterian missionaries. I married a Baptist, and when we moved back to the States I became a member of Thomas Road. The interesting thing is that I never viewed this varied experience of Protestant theology as “denomination-hopping.” I wasn’t angry. I hadn’t had a disagreement with the pastor of my former denomination and found some new teaching that I thought was more “Biblical.” I hadn’t really thought at all.

My view of the Protestant denominations was that they were all different facets of the beautiful gem of Christianity. I never lay awake at night worrying about denominationalism, just as, I’m sure, most slaveholders had no problems sleeping at night – it simply never occurred to them to question the ethics of keeping human beings enslaved. Most folks never do question the status quo. Denominationalism was of course my status quo – I had never lived in a world without it, and I never thought of it as a good or a bad thing. It just was. Of course there are hundreds of different denominations. Different people have different opinions. So what?

Not that I would have attended any church at all. I self-described as a conservative, Bible-believing Christian. I wanted nothing to do with those durn liberals who tried to explain away the miracle of the loaves and fishes as an outburst of generosity and the Resurrection of Christ as a flight of fancy. No, I only attended churches where the people really believed.

But, believed what? Looking at the list of denominations I was associated with, you can see that I attended churches that baptized babies and viewed Holy Communion as a sacrament as well as churches that baptized only adults and viewed the Lord’s supper as an ordinance. (In fact, my Wesleyan Methodist pastor actually considered my infant baptism in a Methodist church to be invalid and rebaptized me at around age 12. Go figure. And when I wanted to join Thomas Road, the deacon who interviewed me wanted to rebaptize me AGAIN, just in case my Wesleyan Methodist baptism had been for “regeneration.” Fortunately, we were able to dissuade him from that.) Some of the churches I attended taught me that I had to experience the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” and speak in tongues, and other churches derided that notion as holy-rollerism. Over the years some of my pastors preached that I could lose my salvation, and others preached that I could not.

And I saw nothing wrong with this mass confusion, because like any member of a badly dysfunctional clan, I had an excuse for what was going on right on the tip of my tongue. Had you asked me, I would have told you that in this life Christians, being sinners saved by grace, will never agree completely with one another on issues of doctrine. All Protestant denominations do, however, agree on The Essentials.

Right…. The Essentials, like salvation. After all, “what must I do to be saved” is the most fundamental question of all. If I don’t learn the correct answer to that question, my eternal soul is in jeopardy. So, of course, all Protestant denominations hold identical beliefs when it comes to salvation, because salvation is ESSENTIAL.

Let’s imagine that I am an unbeliever whom the Holy Spirit has convicted of her sins. I rush into the nearest church and fortuitously find an ecumenical gathering of a Baptist pastor, a Lutheran pastor, a Methodist pastor, a Pentecostal pastor and an officer in the Salvation Army (which is a Protestant denomination). Startled when this wild-eyed woman bursts through the door, the assembled clergy nevertheless react graciously as I blurt out my concerns….

Me: What must I do to be saved????

Baptist pastor John: You’ve come to the right place, ma’am. Let me lead you through the Four Spiritual Laws. First, God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.

Me: I believe that! I don’t want to die and be separated from Him!

Pastor John: Good! You’re on the right track. Second, you must recognize that you are a sinner in need of forgiveness.

Me: Oh, I know! I know!

Pastor John: We’re half-way there! Number three: Only through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the Cross can you be saved!

Me: Amen! I believe that!

Pastor John: And finally, you have to receive Jesus as your personal Savior. If you’ll pray with me now, I’ll lead you in the Sinner’s Prayer and you’ll be saved!

Lutheran minister Bill (clears his throat): AND you’ll need to be baptized, my dear.

Pastor John (bristles slightly): What my colleague means, ma’am, is that of course you WILL be baptized in obedience to our Lord’s command. Matthew 28:19 – “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Just as long as you understand that baptism doesn’t save you….

Reverend Bill (sitting up very straight): Actually,my dear, the Bible tells us in I Peter 3:21: “And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you….” You will NEED to be baptized.

Pentecostal pastor Janice: I wouldn’t worry too much about that, honey, but you WILL need to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues. After all, Scripture says quite plainly: “And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” – Romans 8:9. If you don’t speak in tongues, you don’t have the Spirit of Christ and you can’t be sure of your salvation!

(Reverend Bill and Pastor John stare dourly at Janice)

Me (squeaking) : I was christened as an infant….

Methodist minister Bev: Oh, well, you’re all set then.

(Reverend Bill and Pastor John, speaking simultaneously)

Reverend Bill: Yes, you’re fine.

Pastor John: No, you’re not!

(They glower at each other)

Salvation Army Captain Sam : Forget all that! We in the Salvation Army don’t baptize at all. Baptism is a holdover from the Roman Catholics.

Me (staring at this collection of clergy, and speaking very slowly): Perhaps I wasn’t being clear. Let me repeat my original question:
What must I do to be saved???

As I said, when I was a Protestant, I only attended churches where the people really believed. WHAT we believed, however, was all over the spiritual map, and for some reason that didn’t bother us….

On the Feast of St. Augustine

Deo omnis gloria

“I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church teaches, believes and proclaims to be revealed by God” – this is what many converts, former mavericks finally on the path home, recite as they saddle up for that wild ride known as Catholicism. And we mean it – we truly do believe and profess all the teachings of the Church… inasmuch as we have heard and comprehended those teachings. But we usually aren’t entirely aware of the burrs of Protestant thought that cling to our understanding, as much a part of our lives as the language we speak and the thoughts that pop unexpectedly into our minds. We sometimes lumber along with these undiscovered burrs for years before we recognize them for what they are.

A good example of this was an experience I had after I had already gone through RCIA (the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) and been reconciled to the Church. My kids and I were at Mass one Sunday morning when Father Jim, midway through his homily, said something about obeying the Ten Commandments. My eyes flew open and my jaw dropped. “We have to obey the Ten Commandments????”

I know what you’re thinking – what kind of a doofus can be a Christian for 45 years and not figure out that we’re supposed to obey the Ten Commandments! My confusion was due to the fact that as a Protestant I had been attending churches that preached justification by faith ALONE and once-saved, always saved. Those churches taught that, according to the book of Romans, we as Christians don’t have to obey the Old Testament law because we are saved by faith ALONE. So stuff like the Ten Commandments is just not for us Christians (they would then go on to say that of course we good Christians would all end up obeying the Ten Commandments inadvertently out of sheer love for God, BUT WE DIDN’T HAVE TO. They put so much emphasis on the DON’T HAVE TO part that that, I’m afraid, is what sticks with the average believer.) It was a real news flash when Father matter-of-factly commented that obeying the Ten Commandments was something that, yes, we were supposed to be doing.

Now, mind you, this was AFTER I’d gone through RCIA. You would think that a topic like this would be considered kind of important, something along the lines of “What must I do to be saved?” and therefore something we might talk about in RCIA. Not necessarily. My RCIA was run by cradle Catholics who could not possibly have known what doctrinal deviations a former Protestant might have been exposed to. They just took it for granted that, this being the 21st century, everybody must have gotten the millennia-old memo that they were supposed to obey the Ten Commandments. I mean, really, why did God even bother issuing them??

It took me a long time to iron out the kinks in my theology, and after nearly 10 years as a Catholic I still check obsessively whenever I approach a new Catholic subject to make sure that I’m aware of orthodox Catholic teaching on that subject – I don’t trust myself because I can’t know what I don’t know! (This is one reason I believe that converts should not expect to be granted positions of theological influence in the Church immediately upon conversion.)

Another one of these pesky burrs would be the Protestant tendency to want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I think almost all former Protestants bring this attitude with them when they become Catholic – I know I did. It can be a shock when you’re sitting in Mass and the choir starts singing “Amazing Grace.” What??? Is this a Catholic church or a Protestant church??? If I wanted to sing Protestant hymns, I would have stayed Baptist!!!

This ties into yet another burr issue. When I was in the process of becoming Catholic, I started to get angry. After doing some serious reading, I realized that so much of what Protestants teach and repeat about Catholicism is flat-out false. There are two obvious reasons for this. One is ignorance. After all, every Protestant trusts his pastor – if you begin to feel that you can’t, you leave that pastor’s church and find one pastored by someone you can trust. So when your pastor tells you from the pulpit that Catholics believe that they must work their way to heaven – well, of course it must be true. What Protestants don’t realize is that their pastor picked up that theological turd from people he trusted, people like his seminary professors, who themselves picked it up from people they trusted, and so on. Nobody’s deliberately falsifying anything , but nobody’s doing any fact-finding, either. The other explanation for stinkbombs like the “Catholics are working their way to Heaven” fallacy is, unfortunately, ill will and sometimes outright deceit. And that made me angry. When I first became Catholic I loved (still do) to read Catholic apologetics. My only complaint was that so many of the former Protestant/now Catholic apologists were so darn irenic. Sheesh, guys, don’t you know there’s a war on? The anti-Catholic apologists are a bunch of fire-breathing dragons!!! Instead of countering them with Catholic fire-breathing dragons, we have soppy olive-branchers who preface all their apologetic efforts with assurances of how much they love their former Protestant churches and how much they learned there, praising all the great things those churches have done and will do. That really rubbed me the wrong way. Protestants are wrong, you could hear me muttering. Case closed! No further comments allowed! Let’s just show ’em where they’re wrong so they can convert!

Fortunately, over the years I have figured out that my aggressively anti-Protestant attitude was very… Protestant! After all, it’s Protestants who, in many cases, refuse to believe that Catholics could even possibly be Christians. It’s Protestants who “re-baptize” Catholics when they convert to one of the Protestant denominations. It’s Protestants who very often think they need to stay as far away as possible from anything or anyone not affiliated with their denomination because their pristine doctrine might become contaminated by exposure to heresy. It’s Protestants who have a reputation for shooting their wounded, because when those wounded folks go “astray,” they become an embarrassment and a supposed threat to the faithful.

This is not a Catholic perspective on faith.

Catholics sing “Amazing Grace” because there isn’t anything in that hymn that contradicts Catholic theology. Of course it was written by an Anglican evangelical, and of course his church’s theology differs from ours in key respects, but the sentiments expressed in that particular hymn are orthodox and encouraging to Christians trying to fight the good fight. After all, the Catholic answer to “sola fide” was a resounding “SOLA GRATIA!” We don’t throw Amazing Grace out just because a Protestant wrote it. Taking things on a case-by-case basis, we say “This hymn is good – we’ll use it. The Protestant doctrine of ‘faith alone’ is bad – we’ll avoid it.” As St. Justin Martyr, an apologist himself, put it: “Whatever all men have uttered aright is the property of us Christians.”

Protestants are correct about wanting to keep our pristine doctrine uncontaminated by heresy – the Church is committed to doing that. I think, though, that because the Church is an authoritative source of truth, Catholics can be a little less hypersensitive. Lacking an authoritative source of truth (each Protestant’s interpretation of Holy Scripture can hardly be depended upon as an authoritative source of truth!), Protestants feel very insecure when exposed to denominations which teach differently, leading in many cases to a bad allergic reaction. But this is not Christ-like or even sensible. Steve Ray, in his phenomenal Crossing the Tiber, writes a lot about the insistence on an “either/or” attitude in Evangelical Protestantism that messes up a lot of their theology. The Catholic attitude is more of a “both/and.” Anything that is good, even if it was written or designed by a Protestant, is praiseworthy from a Catholic perspective. We don’t reject it out of hand “because it comes from those contaminated Evangelicals!” It was hard for me to drop my Protestant, hypersensitive, “but this isn’t Catholic!” attitude and do what the Church does: sift through everything and keep what is good – with charity.

So, nowadays I try with the help of God the Holy Spirit to emulate those darn irenic Catholic apologists. For, by the grace of God, it has dawned on me that the world doesn’t need more “fire-breathing dragons.” What it needs are more knights doing battle against those dragons, their hearts bowed in prayer, and their feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.

On the Feast of St. Monica

Deo omnis gloria

“So come, my soul, come and let us go to God by self-abandonment. Let us acknowledge that we are incapable of becoming holy by our own efforts, and put our trust in God, who would not have taken away our ability to walk unless He was to carry us in His arms…. Our trust and our faith will deepen the darker it grows; and as we pass great gorges and jagged peaks and across vast deserts, and become terrified by persecution, famine and drought and visions of hell and purgatory, we have only to glance at You to feel safe amidst the greatest peril. We shall forget the roads and what they are like, forget ourselves and abandon ourselves entirely to the wisdom, the goodness and the power of our Guide, and remember only to love You and avoid the slightest sin and fulfill all our obligations. This, my Beloved, is all Your children have to do. You take charge of everything else.”
Jean-Pierre de Caussade, Abandonment to Divine Providence

These words, written over 250 years ago, are especially meaningful to those of us who have left behind a lifetime of Protestantism, forced by our unexpected encounter with Christ Jesus in, of all places, the Church that He established, to ask of ourselves some difficult questions, such as “Where am I?” “What am I?” and even “Who am I?” We have left behind our familiar places and our familiar ways, learning new words and thinking new thoughts, in other words, learning to be Catholics. Throughout this process the Holy Spirit whispers to us, urging us to “forget the roads and what they are like,” and to follow Him as He leads us away from what for us is the beaten path, abandoning ourselves to the wisdom of our great Guide, who has taken charge of this expedition into the Unknown which goes by the name of Faith.

photo courtesy of

God forbid that I should write anything original on these pages. As a Catholic of nearly 10 years, I stand in an unbroken line of Catholics down through 20 centuries, Catholics of every race and nation, of every time and place, all saying the same thing. In this holy conformity lies our safety, a safety especially prized by this former Protestant seeking refuge from the swiftly eroding sand upon which so many 21st-century spiritual houses have been built. The exhortation of St. Vincent of Lerins cries out to us from 15 centuries ago:

“I cannot sufficiently be astonished that such is the insanity of some men, such the impiety of their blinded understanding, such, finally, their lust after error, that they will not be content with the rule of faith delivered once and for all from antiquity, but must daily seek after something new, and even newer still, and are always longing to add something to religion, or to change it, or to subtract from it!”

“…if some new contagion attempts to poison, no longer a small part of the Church, but the whole Church at once, then [the Catholic’s] great concern will be to attach himself to antiquity which can no longer be led astray by any lying novelty.”

Twentieth-century Catholic convert G.K. Chesterton expressed the folly of “daily seeking something new” very well:

“I am the man who with utmost daring discovered what had been discovered before. I tried to be some ten minutes in advance of the truth. And I found that I was eighteen hundred years behind it.”

And so I forswear any new approach to the presentation of the Faith, clinging instead to the arguments of my spiritual ancestors. At this method of sharing the Good News, the Catholic Church excels. We see St. Thomas More (16th century) and St. Francis de Sales (17th century) arguing against foundational tenets of Protestantism in words amazingly similar to those of 21st-century Catholic apologists, and at the same time hearkening back to passages in St. Augustine’s arguments against heretics of the 5th century. No wonder St. Francis was moved to write:

So many great personages have written in our age, that their posterity have scarcely anything more to say, but have only to consider, learn, imitate, admire. I will therefore say nothing new, and would not wish to do so. All is ancient, and there is almost nothing of mine beyond the needle and thread: the rest I have only had to unpick and sew again in my own way, with this warning of Vincent of Lerins: ‘Teach, however, what thou hast learnt; that whilst thou sayest things in a new way, thou sayest not new things.’ St. Francis de Sales, The Catholic Controversy

I have only to consider, learn, imitate and admire on this blog. This is my “patchwork quilt” of apologies for the Catholic faith, stitched together with great love, in hopes that it can somehow be of service to Him Who called me, all undeserving, to participate fully in the life of His Church.

On the memorial of St. Joseph Calasanz

Deo omnis gloria