Quote of the Year: Please Vote!

[As the world prepares to say “Good-bye!” to another calendar year, top ten lists abound.  Here are three of my favorite quotes about the Church that appeared on Hearts on Fire during 2011.   Please take time to vote on which is your favorite. For every individual who posts a  COMMENT  below about one of these quotations in particular or this blog in GENERAL by 11:59 pm on December, 2011,  I will make a $2.00 donation to Princeton Sacred Heart World Youth Day 2013. Last month a similar campaign led to forty plus comments and a donation of $100 to Bluefield Sacred Heart Food Pantry.  For each new SUBSCRIBER to this BLOG in the same time frame, I will donate $5.00. At any rate, please vote on the poll question.]

Maybe
the greatest threat
to the church is
not heresy,
not dissent,
not secularism,
not even moral relativism,
but this sanitized,
feel-good, boutique,
therapeutic spirituality that
makes no demands,
calls for no sacrifice,
asks for no conversion,
entails no battle against sin,
but only soothes and affirms.
–Archbishop Timothy Dolan,
Archdiocese of New York

Christ has no body now, but yours.
No hands, no feet on earth, but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which
Christ looks compassion into the world.
Yours are the feet with which Christ walks to do good.
Yours are the hands with which Christ blesses the world.
— Saint Teresa of Avila

If
all the sleeping folks will wake up, and
all the lukewarm folks will fire up, and
all the disgruntled folks will sweeten up, and
all the discouraged folks will cheer up, and
all the depressed folks will look up, and
all the estranged folks will make up, and
all the gossiping folks will shut up, and
all the dry bones will shake up, and
all the true soldiers will stand up, and
all the church members will pray up, and
if the Savior of all will be lifted up . . .
then we can have the greatest renewal
this world has ever known.
-– Richard Cardinal Cushing

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About Paul Wharton

I am a cradle Catholic, a native West Virginian, and a priest since April 24, 1982. Spiritual Direction has made a tremendous difference in my life and I encourage people to try it out. My motto is "Progress not perfection." I am grateful that God has done for me what I could not do for myself.
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14 Responses to Quote of the Year: Please Vote!

  1. I hope that Archbishop Dolan and Cardinal Cushing did not overlook the reality that, oftentimes, soothing and affirmation are the first steps. In essence, that is what Teresa’s words are saying to us. Maybe the church needs to listen more to her soft, soothing voice. Gentle affirmation is a more real path to conversion.

  2. Matt Smith says:

    It’s hard to soothe and affirm sin and selfishness. What I see often in modern spirituality is really a pop psychology that strives to say “you’re OK” when really what Christ says to us is “be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect”. If I look at myself and I’m comfortable with where I am, who I am, and what I’m doing with myself, then I’ve been fooled- until I have been completely transformed in Christ and become perfect, I should not feel OK.

    Does God love each of his creations? Is every person unique and unrepeatable, with derived worth from the Creator? Absolutely. You can affirm that. But the very next step should be a realization of what we’re called to be and how to get there. Our greatest saints wrestled with their sinfulness in ways that many today would call unhealthy- but they have accomplished what should be our goal. They finished the race because they never got comfortable with the spot they were on.

    Saint Teresa’s words aren’t the kind of therapeutic affirmation that Archbishop Dolan is talking about. If anything, St. Teresa is calling each believer to a hard path- to walk in the feet of Christ. If anyone reads those words and finds in them an affirmation of their current way of life, they’re either deceived or already a saint. Are mine the hands with which Christ blesses the world? If not, why not? How am I failing in this Christian mission, and what can I do, with God’s grace, to be who he needs me to be?

    So I have to disagree fully that St. Teresa is saying, in essence, that ” soothing and affirmation are the first steps”. Instead she is calling each of us to the same level of perfection as Christ. In the subtext is this- whatever is within you that is not Christlike must go. You must be prepared for a radical transformation of self, willing to lose anything that Christ decides you do not need- you must become a new man and become Christ to the world. Unless you’re Christ, there’s no soothing and affirmation in that statement.

    There’s another side, and one where I might find myself agreeing with you if this is, in fact, what you mean. St. Teresa is bringing up the goal. Saying what we should be. Pointing to the heights at which we can soar because of the love of Christ. There is affirmation in that- it’s as if she was saying, “see! You were made for great things! You were made, special by God, to be God to the world! You are to be the icon of Christ, as he is the icon of the Father!” Recognizing those lofty plans, seeing what God intends for us- that can be soothing for a moment. The love he has for us is incredible.

    But that should always be followed with the realization that we are so far from what he intends for us that we’re immediately called to work. If that’s what you mean, then I can agree that “soothing and affirmation” might be a first step, but only when immediately followed with the realization of what it is we’re expected to do and become in Christ.

  3. CAROLYN GIPSON says:

    I run into this attitude a lot in reference to archbishop Dolan’s remarks. Most of my family who are really good ,kind, sympathetic people still don’t see the need to attend churh services to share in the worship of our God.

  4. Pretty hard to choose between these.

  5. Linda Trill says:

    remembering what Fr Bill Anderson said in his mission talk. “We are God with skin”. Really stuck in my mind. Therefore St Theresa of Avilla’s quote sums it up for me!!

  6. Barbara Lilly says:

    I was torn between St. Teresa and Cardinal Cushing, after reading again I had to go with my first choice of CardinalCushing.

  7. Gabriel Rieger says:

    I was torn between St. Teresa and the Archbishop. I think that all of us need to reflect on the Archbishop’s words, but St. Teresa touches, for me, at the core of the Catholic faith.

  8. lewis says:

    My vote is cast for Archbishop Timothy Dolan.

  9. Natt says:

    I really agree with Archbishop Timothy Dolan.

  10. Bobbie Showalter says:

    What powerful words spoken by Richard Cardinal Cushing…..thank you Father Paul for giving me such food for thought….Bobbie

  11. Susie says:

    St. Teresa of Avila – what a beautiful message and challenge to us all!

  12. Denise says:

    The feel good theology that Archbishop Timothy Dolan spoke of has permeated our culture. It is the gospel of prosperity that Joel Osteen and other popular preachers preach about, and it is leading the multitudes to destruction. I had many conversations with Morgan, and others about his “great” message. Just last week a young person asked me to burn some Joyce Meyer teachings for her because she liked how they make her feel. She is a teen and I have not had the opportunity to discuss why I won’t be downloading and burning her teachings for her which I feel will indoctrinate her with the feel good gospel. The comforting message makes one feel great, and God does want to comfort us when we need comforting, but that is not the whole message. If we use our body, eyes, hands, and feet as St. Teresa of Avilla said, it will make great demands on us, calls us to sacrifice, and will lead us to conversion. These are not pleasant, soothing feelings, The Gospel of Jesus Christ calls us to action, and when we follow it, we will wake up, fire up, sweeten up, cheer up, look up, make up, shut up, shake up, stand up, and pray up, we are sacrificing and growing in faith and love, and the Savior of all will be lifted up ,,,,

  13. Paul Wharton says:

    I don’t think anyone could wrong by picking a Cardinal and a soon-to-be Cardinal sometime in the new year. It’s hard to argue with either of them. Still, St. Teresa takes a more positive approach.

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