The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

“I invite you to become saints…”

“When I invite you to become saints, I am asking you not to be content with second best. I am asking you not to pursue one limited goal and ignore all the others. Having money makes it possible to be generous and to do good in the world, but on its own, it is not enough to make us happy. Being highly skilled in some activity or profession is good, but it will not satisfy us unless we aim for something greater still. It might make us famous, but it will not make us happy. Happiness is something we all want, but one of the great tragedies in this world is that so many people never find it, because they look for it in the wrong places. The key to it is very simple – true happiness is to be found in God. We need to have the courage to place our deepest hopes in God alone, not in money, in a career, in worldly success, or in our relationships with others, but in God. Only he can satisfy the deepest needs of our hearts.”


— Pope Benedict, cited here. Read it all.
And savor those gorgeous tapestries from Los Angeles.

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posted November 1, 2010 at 7:53 am

And this philosophy is what led him to participate in, not blow the whistle on, the ongoing and massive effort to protect child-molesting priests in many if not all areas where the Church had sufficient influence? Just wondering.

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posted November 1, 2010 at 8:57 am

We may well find happiness in the faith, but there is no guarantee that God necessarily wants us to be happy.
Maybe God can fill the deepest needs of our hearts, but that in itself does not guarantee we will be happy. It may make it much more likely but is not a guarantee.
I see nothing in Scripture, or theology that states or implies “Do this, or accept that, or believe such and you will be happy!”
Maybe our souls will be set free, but that is still no guarantee of happiness.
Not trying to be negative, but if we relate happiness to the faith we are exposing ourselves to occasional disappointments.

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posted November 1, 2010 at 9:23 am

by Pope John Paul II
We need saints without veil or cassock.
We need saints who wear jeans and sneakers.
We need saints who go to the movies, listen to music and hang out with friends.
We need saints who put God in first place, but who let go of their power.
We need saints who have time everyday to pray and who know how to date in purity and chastity, or who consecrate their chastity.
We need modern saints, Saints of the 21st century with a spirituality that is part of our time.
We need saints committed to the poor and the necessary social changes.
We need saints who live in the world and who are sanctified in the world, who are not afraid to live in the world.
We need saints who drink Coke and eat hot dogs, who wear jeans, who are Internet-savvy, who listen to CDs.
We need saints who passionately love the Eucharist and who are not ashamed to drink a soda or eat pizza on weekends with friends.
We need saints who like movies, the theater, music, dance, sports.
We need saints who are social, open, normal, friendly, happy and who are good companions.
We need saints who are in the world and know how to taste the pure and nice things of the world but who aren’t of the world.
(Translated from the Portuguese language by Joseph W. Cunningham)(Attributed to Pope John Paul II)

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posted November 1, 2010 at 11:57 am

Goodguy I can relate well to what you wrote. Having lived both a life for the world and now a life of deep faith, I agree it’s not a superficial happiness that comes with faith, but a very deep inner peace, the kind that enables us to endure our greatest trials, and most of all, give us hope, eternal hope.
I’m sure it’s the reason we see so many Hollywood/fame suicides as opposed to suicides by people of deep faith. It’s the depair that comes from thinking that after obtaining all that the world tells us will make us happy, doesn’t.
I suspect that’s what Pope Benedict is referring to, as the superficial worldy kind, unlike the kind that comes with faith, never lasts.
St. Augustine put it best I think: “Our hearts were made for thee Oh Lord and will not rest until they rest with thee.”
From my own experience, I can honestly say that while I certainly don’t walk around in a “blissful cloud”, I never lack hope, or the knowing that Jesus is with me every step of the way. Despite how bad things get in my life, I really do always have a “joyful and peacful heart”, which has nothing do to with “always liking my situation.”

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posted November 1, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Klaire, the reason we “see” so many “Hollywood/fame” suicides is because the people involved are famous.
Most suicides are those of people who aren’t in the least famous.
Also, many suicides are the result of untreated clinical depression and have nothing to do with materialism or substance abuse.
No one can be “sure” of why anyone else commits suicide, although, in situations where there are documented mental health issues, one can deduce the cause, and in situation where the individual leaves a note, we can deduce the cause.
To make a blanket statement that you’re sure the suicides of those involved in the entertainment industry is because they’ve not found happiness in the things of this world is just wrong.
You seem to be very sure of the state of so many other people’s minds, hearts and souls, Klaire. Are you prepared to take responsibility for your certainty and your words come Judgment Day?

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posted November 1, 2010 at 1:24 pm

That piece by Joe attributed to JPII sounds suspiciously too much like good ol’ American “aw shucks” “am just like you” “down to earth” Will Rogers type of stuff.

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posted November 1, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Beautiful quote…thanks Deacon Greg! Happy All Saint’s Day!

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posted November 1, 2010 at 3:04 pm

” i invite you to become saints…. ” ?
according to roman tradition a saint is : ” one who has exhibited unsurpassed devotion to CHRIST “.
paul uses the word ” saint ” some 60x in his epistles, with the majority of times in reference to ordinary christians !
in philippians 1:1 paul > ” TO ALL THE SAINTS IN CHRIST JESUS ”
” IN CHRIST ” identifies a christians identity !
a true believer in CHRIST is a saint !!
even in corrupt CORINTH there were ” saints ” in the Corinthian Church.!!
2 cor 1 : 1

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posted November 1, 2010 at 3:50 pm

Your name short of authentic mental illness and perhaps self-euthanasia in some cases, I still stand by my claim that most suicides are a reasult of despair; despair that would be far more unlikely if the person had deep faith, especially faith strong enough to unite all sufferings, emotional or physical, to the sufferings of Jesus Christ. Nothing any of us ever suffer can be greater than the sufferings of Christ, which is one of the reasons the crucifix is so important to Catholics. Likewise, it’s the promise of the ressurection that sustains hope.
I used Hollywood as an example because they are famous and the many suicides are known. I agree that suicides are everywhere, sadly especially among our teens. I personally can’t think of one person I knew, famous or non-famous, of deep faith who committed suicide.
I’m suspect it can happen, but it wouldn’t be common, as people of faith not only know that God is with them in the suffering, but that he never gives more than the grace to bear.
That’s what I was trying to convey re: the “peaceful heart.” I know from my own trials that it can be a “blizzard” around me, but deep within, I know all is well, and that I will endure. I also am always aware that my suffering have meaning and purpose.
All said, according to St. Maria Faustina, God’s mercy is so great that he reaches out to everyone, mentally ill, non-believers, as well as believers, in fact everyone, before our last and final breath, including those who commit suicide. Consequently, we all have the opportunity to become saints, even at our last breath, and even if we have to purify in purgatory until the end of the world.

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posted November 1, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Klaire, OF COURSE suicide is the result of despair. Duh. But what leads to that despair is not always known to the people left behind.
Sometimes the sense of despair is brought about by clinical depression or other mental illnesses. Sometimes despair is brought on by complete rejection by family and society — including Catholics and other Christians — the recent rash of suicides among gay teens, for example.
To insist that “deep faith” (by whose definition? and faith in what?) is the antidote to suicide is irresponsible and selfish.
You don’t know. Period. Your anecdotal experiences regarding your friends of deep faith (by your personal definition) mean nothing. Plenty of atheists don’t commit suicide, either — does that mean atheism is the antidote to despair/suicide?
The overwhelming majority of people in the world, regardless of race, creed, color, socioeconomic category, etc., DON’T commit suicide — and that means what exactly regarding the people who do?

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posted November 1, 2010 at 5:32 pm

YN I just explained to you, deep faith IN Jesus CHRIST, based on Divine Revelation; ours to take or leave. It’s what Catholicism is, the pure teachings of Jesus Christ, no watering down, including the cross.
My point is that the power of the cross keeps many, self included, from despair.
I wasn’t debating why people don’t commnit suicide, only why many do, despair and no hope, which isn’t very likely for faithful Catholics. If you call that selfish, best take the issue up with Jesus, asit was he who showed us the way, and it certainly involved a cross.
That said, the cross is not very “politically correct or popular”, even among many who call themselves Christians.
And FYI, there are no more suicides among “gay teens” as there are straight teens. The MSM only seems to report the gay teen suicides, and appeares to have bamboozled people like you. It’s called “agenda”, coinciding BTW, with Obama’s “Don’t ask don’t tell.” If you haven’t figured out by now that the media plays the trump cards to match the agendas, be it embryonic stem cells, gays, or any other emotional issues, than you probally also haven’t figured out that most people in this country react to “feelings”, far more than facts.

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A Pismo Klamm

posted November 1, 2010 at 10:50 pm

The Holy Father is absolutely right . We desperately need an injection of true reality in our 21st century lives, a reality that only comes from Christ in us, as St Paul says,”the hope of glory”

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posted November 2, 2010 at 11:08 am

Klaire — you’re doing your usual back-pedaling now that you’ve been called out on one of your specious statements — you intimated that the reason why people commit suicide is because they don’t have a deep faith in the Catholic version of God.
That’s ridiculous. Catholics commit suicide, too, and what you’re implying is that their faith wasn’t deep enough otherwise they wouldn’t have committed suicide, or that non-Catholics faith wasn’t good enough, or “right” enough, otherwise they wouldn’t have committed suicide.
You have no way of substantiating ANY of your statements. None. Zero. They are merely your highly-biased opinions. You have an agenda and your opinions reflect your agenda, completely disregarding the dignity and humanity of not only those who’ve committed suicide, but their family members and friends as well.
That you also include the mentally ill in your highly offensive opinion that, had their faith been deep enough by YOUR standards, they wouldn’t have committed suicide is appalling. Just appalling.
You are one cold woman, Klaire. Cold and unloving, lacking in compassion, and completely devoid of any sense of the humanity of anyone who doesn’t think and believe exactly like you.

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Lois Bond

posted July 25, 2013 at 8:54 pm

This is an on going realisation and practice throughout a lifetime however long or short it may be. From our cradle to our grave.
Born by love
Living in love
Returning to God in eternal love.

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