This is a post-Rome trip catch-up and catch-all.
Today I drove back to the Cupboard Under The Stairs from The City of Broad Shoulders. Immediately I set out on a series of tasks. Whereas, after living in Rome for many years, I had measure of satisfaction if I could get two “official” things done in a day, things having to do with either money or some entity related to government at any level, here, in the course of about three hours, I was able to
- vote early,
- get groceries,
- pick up mail at the P.O. Box,
- go to the bank,
- get a problem solved at car dealer,
- do something at the DMV.
Of all these errands, the fastest was, counter-intuitively, at the DMV counter.
As for the catch-all, please give your attention to the following.
My friend Sam Gregg has a great piece at Catholic World Report, the title of while knocks it out of the park from the top:
A Church drowning in sentimentalism
Above all, sentimentalism reveals itself in certain presentations of Jesus Christ. The Christ whose hard teachings shocked his own followers and who refused any concession to sin whenever he spoke of love somehow collapses into a pleasant liberal rabbi. This harmless Jesus never dares us to transform our lives by embracing the completeness of truth. Instead he recycles bromides like “everyone has their own truth,” “do whatever feels best,” “be true to yourself,” “embrace your story,” “who am I to judge,” etc. And never fear: this Jesus guarantees heaven, or whatever, for everyone. [“Walking together”. Jesus accompanies everyone in a process of listening, learning and discernment.”]
That isn’t, however, the Christ revealed in the Scriptures. As Joseph Ratzinger wrote in his 1991 book To Look on Christ:
A Jesus who agrees with everything and everyone, a Jesus without his holy wrath, without the harshness of truth and true love is not the real Jesus as the Scripture shows but a miserable caricature. A conception of “gospel” in which the seriousness of God’s wrath is absent has nothing to do with the biblical Gospel.
The word “seriousness” is important here. The sentimentalism infecting much of the Church is all about diminishing the gravity and clarity of Christian faith. That’s especially true regarding the salvation of souls. The God fully revealed in Christ is merciful but he’s also just and clear in his expectations of us because he takes us seriously. Woe to us if we don’t return the compliment.
As we emerge from the Synod (“walking together”), Gregg argues for effort to the Affectus per solam that afflicts the West in general and the Church in particular.
Moving toward the affective, however, I warmly recommend Fr. George Rutler’s marvelously purposeful meander with some musicians, Elgar in particular, as we approach the 2 November observance of All Souls. The essay is at Crisis. You might read that even before Gregg’s piece.
After reading Rutler, you are surely going to want to know more about Newman’s Dream of Gerontius and Elgar’s setting.