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Speaking to a group of theologians in Chicago recently, Cardinal Francis George offered this critique: "Liberal Catholicism is inadequate in fostering the joyful self-surrender called for in Christian marriage, in consecrated life, in the ordained priesthood, even in discipleship itself. . . . A sociological theory that defines the central value as autonomy is only with great difficulty able to hear a doctrinal or Gospel call to surrender."
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Some years ago I attended a symposium on religious experience. A variety of speakers made presentations on how they tried to experience God. One woman, a professor of religious studies, shared how she spent nearly three hours each day meditating, using a strict method for centring prayer. She went on to say that, during those periods of prayer, she sometimes felt God's presence intensely.
In his recent novel, Anil's Ghost, Michael Ondaatje creates a character named Ananda. Ananda's wife had been brutally murdered in the civil war in Sri Lanka and Ananda is trying to save himself from insanity and suicide in the face of this. His refuge? His tonic? Art, creativity, building something.
"I am done with great things and big plans, great institutions and big success. I am for those tiny, invisible loving human forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, which, if given time, will rend the hardest monument of pride."