Highlights of 2010 in the Diocese of Arlington

In June 2010, three men were ordained to the priesthood.

The inaugural year of Encourage and Teach (which launched during Holy Week) was a busy one. We’ve been excited to share with you posts from Bishop Paul Loverde and other contributors, to comment on current events and to discuss hot-button issues.

Here are ten posts that ranked as some of the most-read of 2010. I’d like to share them with you again at the beginning of 2011, as I think they provide a glimpse into the important events and discussions of the past year:

Events in our Diocesan Church:

Current Events:

Are you a frog in boiling water?

Hot-Button Issues:

Thanks for reading and commenting this year! Don’t forget that you can subscribe to our posts and share them with family and friends.

3 thoughts on “Highlights of 2010 in the Diocese of Arlington

  1. Just what is the Human Free Will anyhow? We often hear the phrases; “will power”,” free will”, “culpability”, “deliberation” and the like. We hear ascetics, clergymen, alleged psychics, and fitness buffs talk about mind over matter. We are familiar with the phrase “act of will” which seems to imply a distinction between such actions and the faculty of free will itself.

    Some spiritual anthropologists will assert that the human Free Will is the most noble and highest of the faculties the human soul which includes the following chief faculties: intellect, will, heart, and memory.

    However, intellect, the sensitive and emotional life, and memory are often degraded with old age, brain injury, various mental disorders, substance abuse, intoxication and the like.

    But somehow, in some manner, the Human Free Will seems to hang on even if dormant under the above debilitating conditions.

    Sacred Scripture asserts that our state after we die is dependent on our free choices made here in this life. It seems that whether we go to Heaven, Purgatory then Heaven, Hell, and Limbo (A conjectural place of natural perfection and perfect natural happiness), our free acts of will have thus determined our state immediately or soon after our passing.

    It seems that some souls are so obstinate in their hatred for others and of human life in general that they would rather spend eternity in Hell then to go to Heaven. It is even conceivable that some souls in Hell would prefer to stay in Hell and not go to Heaven even if they were given a second chance by GOD to be brought out of Hell to Heaven.

    Clearly, the human Free Will is capable of immutably binding choices and actions even in cases where the ordinary supernatural life of the human soul undergoes corruption by a definitive choice to go to or remain in Hell after Earthly life. The natural life of the human soul is in all cases immortal even for souls that go to Hell or to Limbo if Limbo exists.

    This power of human Free Will in a sense seems transcend the life of supernatural grace and in the power of our Free Wills. We are not constrained by GOD to do HIS WILL and can even perform actions that are contrary to GOD’s will. We may even be able to perform GOOD actions that are not constrained by GOD. This power of free will is an awesome responsibility and each of our free acts, especially publicly scrutinizable actions have eternal repercussions for the entire future of human civilization.

    In our Free Wills, we can in a real sense transcend causal determinism. This ability is far more profound than any dubious psychic powers such as telekinesis or clairvoyance, which if they exist, are just another mode of psychomotor skills such as moving a muscle and using one’s sensitivity to look with another form of eye.

    We modern humans have lost a sense of the reality of the latent power within our Free Wills and the natural miracle that each human free act is. It is by the act of the human will that we choose to co-operate with GOD or choose against GOD. Without human Free Acts, the notion of moral culpability becomes meaningless. Now we cannot merit salvation by our own free acts alone, however, it takes human free acts to cooperate with GOD in morally binding and judgeable manners.

    The human free will is radically free whether or not we are in the state of grace or in the state of mortal sin. You don’t believe me. Then how else can our spiritual and immortal souls be judged by our morally binding free acts. It seems that some ascetics so strongly argue that GOD’s Will will be done that they have lost a sense of their own freedom and as a result, sometimes feel as though persons who are habitual sinners cannot become Saints and thus avoid association with such persons.

    Some theologians have stated that the Human Will is as if a nature all to itself. With such a profound attribute, should not all of we humans think before we act such as when we are tempted by instinctual revulsion to utter an unkind remark under our breath toward a homeless beggar, a person that seems peculiar in an irksome manner, or a young man or women who habitually dresses in a bazaar manner seemingly with an attitude. The measure of our sanctity is a measure of how kindly we treat such persons especially when we are driven by instinctual first impressions to feel that we are psychologically, spiritually, or intellectually superior to these persons.

    Many of us in the Washington D.C. metro area have become obsessed with our appearance or the health and strength of our bodies to the extent that we at times border on living the “Cult of the Body”. There is so much talk of looking professional in the work place and looking sexy and being sexy among our casual acquaintances that we obsess over every detail of our bodies. Perhaps putting more effort in management and maintenance of the faculty and actions of our free will instead would lead us to sanctity much more readily.

    These are radical times and radical times call for all willing to step up to the plate to act in radically charitable manners even toward those who we are naturally repulsed by especially those who are least among us. Some the greatest will be among the least, and the least will be greatest.

    Let us pay fastidious attention to our wills guided by our conscience re-enforced by Sacramental Absolution in the Confessional so that we do not become the proverbial frog in the warming pot of water. To not do so, might not lead us to Hell, but will most likely at the very least, lengthen our stay in Purgatory.

    Besides, doing a kind deed for one of the above least among us may well make him or her a friend of ours for all eternity. This new friend will be exceedingly beautiful to behold in Heaven most assuredly as what is sown in dishonor will arise incorruptible and in glory.

    GOD BLESS;

    Jim

  2. Now, no intention is being made to belittle the sucessfull in my post above as many of enourmously high profile persons have done great good. Among these, are Einstien, Newton, Pope John Paul II, Lincoln, Helen Keller, and the list of those who did great things and who will be rewarded accordingly at the Final Ressurection is far too numerous to be recorded here.

    Some of the readership of Encourage And Teach might think that I am some sort of harsh tempered communist type of anti-American. Nothing could be further from the truth . My inner-self image (of myself) even to the level of the emotional aspects of the sense of kinesthesia or sense of body and face is often deeply moved by a strong feeling of nurturance and empathy for those who are viewed as the dregs of society. I feel the same sense of non-judgemental nurturance toward those who are powerful or at the top of the social-economic latter; ironically even more so when such persons display anger or pride in their behavior.

    As a large middle age man and a physicist, I am mindful that a true measure of authentic masculinity is not about putting others down, being dominant, ruthless competition, or defending onself or standing up for one’s rights in an overly zealous manner, but is most authentically expressed in nurturing love for every person, especially those who are broken in heart, mind, and spirit.

    The new Catechism Of The Catholic Church states the interdependance of all GOD’s creatures. To state that a homeless man begging for money is not our problem, or to gloat over the execution another person on death row as getting his just due, or to ignore a family member or sibling suffering from a serious mental disorder, are behaviors that I can honestly state are one’s that the GOOD LORD will never see me do.

    We need to evolve spiritually, socially, and emotionally, into a people that recognizes our interdependence and realize that we are our brother’s keeper. How do we evolve as such? We can best do such by not surpressing our inner sentiments and convictions that the poor homeless man begging for money at a local grocery store is our brother in Christ. Doing a kind deed for the poor beggar might result in us forming a close eternal bond with his gaurdian angel and if nothing else, we should let the thought of having a deep friendship with a non-human spiritual person be a motivator for all of us to treat the least among us with love and respect! As a former UFO- Space Alien phenomenon buff, I used to yearn for contact somehow with any such space aliens. I have never seen a UFO nor have I ever had a telepathic experience, but I will say that we can be absolutely sure that created persons naturally superior to any bodily extraterrestials and ultraterrestrials exist, and these are the numerous, perhaps utterly infinite numbers of angels from the nine choirs we know about from Sacred Scripture.

    Each homeless beggar, severely mentally ill person, death row inmate, and baby about to be aborted has his or her very own gaurdian angel. You know the love that a young elementary school aged girl has for her new pet kitten. Well the nurturing love that each one of our gaurdian angels has for us, is perhaps in some way, infinitely more intense, even perhaps at the level of angelic emotions, and I am convinced that angels have feelings which can be seriously hurt by our actions. Let us treat the least among us as their gaurdian angels would have us do.

    GOD BLESS!

    Jim

  3. beautiful explanation of the ways Catholics are to love. I am close to my guardian angel and never thought about how he could be hurt by our actions. It is another good reason to love your guardian angel, and to see how much they love us. I think you are right. It makes sense to me. My angel helps me all of the time and makes it known to me that he is helping me.

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