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Discussion related to living as a Catholic in the single state of life. As long as a topic is being discussed from the perspective of a single Catholic then it will be on-topic.

Tobias and Sarah's story is from the Book of Tobit, and his journey is guided by Saint Raphael.
Learn More: Tobias & Sarah as led by Saint Raphael

Nov 3rd 2013 new
(quote) Kerry-1020795 said: I have Bl. Elizabeth's letters here on my desk. I wish I had time to reread them all, so as to give you a full and coherent answer. I pick a passage almost at random. This is from a letter Bl. Elizabeth wrote to a young Carmelite called Sister Germaine of the Trinity:

"I so love, when you lift the veil of your soul for me, to enter into that private sanctuary where you live completely alone with Him who wants you all for Himself and who creates a beloved solitude within you for Himself. Refresh Him there, my little Germaine, by resting in HIm; listen to all that is being sung in His Soul, in His Heart; it is Love, infinite Love that envelopes us and wants us to share even here below in all His beatitudes. The entire Trinity rests within us, this whole mystery that will be our vision in Heaven; let this be your cloister.....Mine too: I am "Elizabeth of the Trinity," that is, Elizabeth disappearing, losing herself, letting herself be invaded by the three; you can see that we are very close in Them, we are completely one, aren't we?"

In general, men are more egotistical than women. Men tend to cling to the things that make them peculiarly themselves. Women, on the other hand, intuitively understand the meaning of Mary's fiat: that it is in the act of self-abandonment to the Most High that Christ is conceived into this world. I think God gave women this capacity to lose themselves in another because He desired women to be mothers, When a woman is with child, there are no clear boundaries between self and other: the two are one. The walls which surround the ego are much more porous, because women must be open to being physically inhabited by another. It's this distinctively feminine capacity to dissolve the distinction between self and other, of bride and Divine Spouse, which made me think Bl. Elizabeth might belong in a profound theology of woman.
Hi Kerry,

Your quote and comment, I'm sure could launch conversations in a thousand directions. I hope you have had some follow up. I'd rather talk about life in the Trinity and beatitude truly begin here on earth. In terms of beatitude, I think a male counterpart of Blessed Elizabeth's youth, passion, and magnanimity is Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, a hero of mine.

I would agree that men, in general, struggle with egotism. However, to collapse any lengthy syllogisms, I could not help but recall Maureen O'Hara's fictional character in The Quiet Man. There are forms of pride (vanity, selfishness, etc.) and attachment to material things and maternal strings that men do not do not struggle with. Women perhaps are less aloof and more contextual. So, maybe letting go of one's identity based on career/work would be more difficult for men as it was for Peter and the apostles. St. Ignatius' preparation to leave the great mission of the Jesuit after 15 minutes of prayer comes to mind. I sense both genders struggle with clinging onto their favorite "Russian potato". I have been blessed with many great spiritual mothers and sisters. This is all anecdotal, but in a Bible Study I was in, there was general ageement among the mena and women, that whereas men might struggle with bragging (egotism) they struggle with gossip, in some ways a more pernicious vice.

It is so difficult to not speak in generalities at such a short length! Thank you for your overlooking any of my shortcomings in this area!
Nov 3rd 2013 new
(quote) Roystan-340472 said: Thanks, David, for the wealth of information in your response. I was using 'analysis' in the colloquial sense of looking into something. Intuition is very important, not the least in some instances for physical safety. But can't intuition be developed? If the saying is true that genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration, isn't intuition the 1% and 'analysis' the 99% that trains the intuition to be better than it might otherwise have been?

Aren't all great artists also great technicians? They've mastered the rules of their art and are now in a position to know how to bend or break them for greater effect. A question I've occasionally wondered about is whether one can truly call someone a great painter if they can't paint photorealistically. They might be able to compose something impressionistic or dadaesque or what-have-you but if they can't paint something to look as if it has been photographed, are they really painters? I believe both Picasso and Dali were excellent photorealists. Isn't the ability to 'analyse' the nuts and bolts of intuition?
Oh my!

Great points! I just think even falling back, understandably, on the word analysis as 'logos' in Theo-logos, even as a colloquial phrase,bespeaks which foot to begin to dance with first, the right or left. Either/or thinking or both/and thinking. Leaping with both faith and reason matters. Order matters. Catholics, many argue, start off with a spirit of affirmation, B/A. Both nature and grace, God and man, Heaven and earth, faith and works, personal and communal relationship with God, etc. Protestantism, according to Karl Adam, begins with a spirit of negation - a process of subtracting Pope, priests, Tradition, sacraments, works (properly understood), etc.

I have little choice in this format but jump to simplistic conclusions, but it seems negation + analysis = endless deconstructionism. Affirmation+Intuition = creative fruitfulness. Someone could write a book on "10 Ways to Kill the Intuitive Genius in your Kids" by just studying the effects of TV and the public school system. I think almost every child is born with one or more forms of genius, but it is killed by the 5th grade by folks who would not recognize bonifide genius if it hit them in the face. Whatever its scientific demonstrabilty, Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences has validity, but even it is being over-analyzed despite its pragmatic value.

I like your appeal to artistic greatness requiring virtuosity. Even the art of loving and living, if it is not "photorealistic"...it is somehow "sloppy agape". Warm fuzzy "Abstract and impressionistic Christianity". The "Spiritual/Jesus (intuitive) but not religious" (consistently faithful and accountably moral) crowd suffers from this delusion. St. James would write, "Show me your intuition and I will show you my analysis! Intuition without analysis is dead." Again, it is both/and. Analysis without intuition is blind. And, as the saying goes, "in the land of blind people, the one eyed man is king."

Nov 3rd 2013 new
(quote) David-174079 said: Hi Kimberly,

A seriously holy and brilliant Catholic professor from Yale who teaches at ASU, who started the the Phoenix Institute at ND (pursuing the heroic ideal in literature) and who is behind the creation of a flourishing nationally ranked classic education charter school system based in Phoenix, Great Hearts, recommended it to me along with 6 other books. I've yet to move on to the other six, because Leisure was life transforming. If anyone feels the angst, shallowness and hollowness of the "bourgeois" work-a-day world, this book is the answer and points to the cure.

Thank you, for sharing your joy. If I ever start a book club, this might be at the top of the list, along with the Closing of the American Mind by Alan Bloom.


What were the other six books, if you don't mind my asking?
Nov 3rd 2013 new
(quote) Kerry-1020795 said: When a woman is with child, there are no clear boundaries between self and other: the two are one. The walls which surround the ego are much more porous, because women must be open to being physically inhabited by another. It's this distinctively feminine capacity to dissolve the distinction between self and other, of bride and Divine Spouse, which made me think Bl. Elizabeth might belong in a profound theology of woman.
Hi Kerry,

The quote by Blessed Eleizabeth you offer, I thank you for also. There is much to ponder by exemplars in our faith. But I must address a caution to you, particularly since we are talking about theology. I draw your attention to your words above. The statement that you make is very dangerous. Well, I would go further, it simply cannot hold water. A child is distinct from the mother. The two are not one; beginning at conception. There is no singularity ("oneness") there just like there was no singularity between Mary and her Son. Arguing otherwise or trying to develop a romantic metaphor around that premise you suggest goes against what we know scientifically, not just theologically. There may be unity between mother and child, but not "oneness". If your suggestion be true, we could be deifying Mary, which Catholics do not do, we cannot do and we must not do; it is not true.

Likewise, if there were this "oneness" as you imply and make so many matters so gray; clouded; confusing; just for example, between a child and a mother, then the woman could claim the "right" to abortion. Now, I surmise that you are not thinking in these terms at all, but we must exhaust meaning when seeking the fullness in "theological" meaning. I don't mean to be argumentative, but think about what I caution against. By this I mean, the woman, and all others could argue that the woman has all the say and the child is in agreement with the choice and the decision of the woman, IF the two were as one. This just isn't so. I implore you to give up on this analogy, this metaphor; it does not hold up to facts.

Thanks for your consideration.
Nov 3rd 2013 new
(quote) David-174079 said: If I ever start a book club, this might be at the top of the list, along with the Closing of the American Mind by Alan Bloom.


Hi David,

Allan Bloom is an interesting intellectual cat. I read the book you recommend. Not enthused by it, although full of very thought provoking ideas that resonated well with many. His life was also interesting too. As you may know, he was Jewish, very bright, academically advanced, an active homosexual who died of AIDS.*** When I try to put his life in context, it makes it more clear for me where he sought his inspiration. I suggest there is not much value there for theological discussion/contemplation. It's more philosophical; and I personally found it lacking because it does not have the proper reference point (God). His god is a different god than my God.

*** Ferguson, Andrew (April 9, 2012), "The Book That Drove Them Crazy", The Weekly Standard, retrieved May 19, 2013.
Nov 3rd 2013 new
(quote) David-174079 said: Oh my!

Great points!..... even as a colloquial phrase,bespeaks which foot to begin to dance with first, the right or left. Either/or thinking or both/and thinking. Leaping with both faith and reason matters. Order matters. Catholics, many argue, start off with a spirit of affirmation, .....  personal and communal relationship with God, etc. ........

I have little choice in this format but jump to simplistic conclusions, but it seems negation + analysis = endless deconstructionism. Affirmation+Intuition = creative fruitfulness. 
.......... Even the art of loving and living, .......

Ahhhh this is too fun! David, I have a concept, borrowed from the catholic philosophers, Bob and Mary Joyce, that you and others may delight in also. It is "active receptivity"....
meaning obviously more than simply the typical giving and receiving paradigms of masculinity and femininity. It definitely gives pause to the considerations on the fullness of feminine receptivity on many levels. Just a fun tidbit to play with---actually, to pray with. biggrin biggrin biggrin
Nov 9th 2013 new
Hi John,

I had a professor at an orthodox Catholic institution conduct a class experiment that forever changed my approach to truth and wisdom. He placed a half dozen unfamiliar quotes out of context on the table of famous thinkers, but did not cite the author. He asked us to pick the quotes we agreed with. The students and I choose quotes by the likes of Nietzsche, Freud, and Marx while disagreeing with quotes from church authorities or thinkers, like JPII and G.K. Chesterton. I find the background information on Allan Bloom to be helpful with discerning the limits of Classical education and fallen reason apart from Divine Revelation. I even extend a clear primacy, a kind of " veto power" in the hands of the Magisterium, Saints, and Doctors of the Church with proven sanctity. Nonetheless, Allan Bloom's work served a valuable service of rescuing me and many from the public university clutches of the "Dictatorship of Relativism", the leitmotif of Pope Benedict XVI's pontificate. The absoluteness and objectivity of truth and goodness is something I am enthusiastic about, because these, along with the one and the beautiful lead to the Glory of our Truine God.
Nov 9th 2013 new
Hi Kimberly,

I like 'active receptivity' because it expresses the ideal balance of Martha and Mary, contemplatives in action, and finding the 'still point', the Golden Mean in the 4 temperaments.

I like finding new ways to communicate old notions, because it might alert a few that what is being discussed is not obvious, is not truly understood, much less practiced, by the vast majority of people. There, of course, are many dimensions to active receptivity, including psychological and biological. But, I am most interested in the ascetical and mystical life. Contemplative prayer, according to the Carmelite doctors of the Church, is ordered to go through two dark nights of the senses and soul, to the level of pure infused receptivity to The Holy Trinity - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I am only in second grade in a class of kindergartners in our 'Martha' American contemporary society. Few are aware of the nine classical grades of prayer, much less have advanced beyond vocal or mental prayer. In other words, most people are enjoying a 15 minute Griswald family tour on the top of the Grand Canyon (a quick daily rosary, at best) but have little clue about the bottomless depths that God has in store for those heroic souls who desire to plumb the full richness of receptivity. theheart
Nov 9th 2013 new
Hi John,

Of course, it is always difficult to locate conversations pastorally because few persons these days wake up to reading the Doctors of the Church, especially St. Thomas who someone suggested oriented his opus around the transcendental, the 'true', whereas St. Augustine emphasized the transcendental the 'good'. It is just my wishful thinking, but I always viewed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, as two historically world class intellectuals elevated to the papacy, the charism of unity, as working cooperatively on the unum, the 'one'; with Hans Urs von Balthasar recovering the 'beautiful'. So, what I am saying is that Allan Bloom's book was one of a few rescue branches I received drowning in vocationally driven American education quicksand unschooled in metaphysics, ontology, logic, aesthetics, epistemology, etc. (the curriculum used to prepare priests for Theological studies). So, while Bloom's book is hardly the only way out of the Relativistic Plato's Cave and it might help others who are lost find their way into the Light.

When one considers the danger of this 'dictatorship of relativism', the messenger, whether a recovered playboy named Augustine, a former murderer named Saul, an ex tax collector named Levi or a pagan Roman Centurion is not the issue at hand. Truth is. I found your research interesting. However, few people have time to research the entire morality, much less the sex lives, of the authors so as to wholesale dismiss their work on such criteria. Might I suggest that there would be few books on library shelves, including many of the books of the Bible? Heck! The first to go would be the Psalms and Proverbs! Honestly, I'm uncertain if the forums on CM would even have contributors, my sinful self included, based on a background check that required the authors to have immaculate moral lives.
Nov 9th 2013 new

Sigh David~ Profound and thought provoking:


"Perichoresis"

What a phenomenal word "Perichoresis , as to oneness of this indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The relationship of the Triune God is intensified by the relationship of perichoresis. This indwelling expresses and realizes fellowship between the Father and the Son.

It is intimacy!

Jesus compares the oneness of this indwelling to the oneness of the fellowship of his church from this indwelling.

"That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us" John 17:21.

Together, they breathe forth the Holy Spirit.

In John 15:26, Jesus says, But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me.

Yes I agree that if and when one develops the self discipline to follow, reconcile oneself daily and maintain a clear and clean vessel for the Holy Spirit to dwell and be guided from within; yes grace brings harmony, joy, and mercy to the world.

Being in alignment daily with the directions of God's will naturally engages service, selflessness- thinking of self less and more of others, brings Gods kingdom (Come Thy Will be Done) and plan to fruitarian. Unifying your will, conforming your will, surrendering your will to God's will is wisdom available to all yet accepted by few. The classic "Say what?" situation when you hear God's direction and will says You mean to say?" For me it is a daily discipline that I have been following for 6 years now. Yes immeasurable joy, a purpose is given to me for each day, new paths are discovered and I am being used to give service to others. (Especially for Sick children right now that I Home Hospital.) What a blessing and Joy that is!

If, as is properly understood, the Father is he who kisses, the Son he who is kissed, then it cannot be wrong to see in the kiss of the Holy Spirit, for he is the imperturbable peace of the Father and the Son, their unshakable bond, their undivided love, their indivisible unity. St. Bernard of Clairvaux, in Sermon 8, Sermons on the Song of Songs

Linda angel


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