Evening reflection: Faith and good deeds

A short reflection today, as evening progresses. It’s the reading from tonight’s Vespers:

“How does it help, my brothers, when someone who has never done a single good act claims to have faith? Will that faith bring salvation? In the same way faith, if good deeds do not go with it, is quite dead. Show me this faith of yours without deeds, then! It is by my deeds that I will show you my faith.”

James 2: 14, 17, 18b

Faith by itself is nice and all, but if it doesn’t find expression, it’s actually a bit useless. We can all think of good deeds that can be done out of faith: from almsgiving to prayer. The last line from the above passage offers a very interesting thought: faith must be shown in deeds. Without a visible manifestation, you simply can’t go around saying you have faith. They’ll just be empty words.

So, we must live our faith, allow it to permeate every part of our being and our doing. That’ll keep our faith alive.

Art credit: An image of Abraham at the altar where he was to have sacrificed his son Isaac, from a prayer card by an unknown artist. Abraham’s prevented sacrifice of his son, was, of course, an action he could only submit because of his faith.

The return of the donation button – the whys and wherefores

In the bar on the left side of this blog, watchful readers will have spotted the return of the Paypal donation button. After some initial difficulties getting it to work properly, I decided to get it up and running again and ask my much-appreciated readers to consider a donation to keep this blog, and associated activities, up and running. For me, this blog is the main vehicle for my efforts to offer Catholic opinion and information from the Netherlands, surrounding countries and Rome to the wider world, be that near or far. Since nothing in this world, apart from the mercy of our Lord, comes for free, and considering the fact that some other bloggers, including some which I consider examples, do the same, I want to offer readers the chance to donate to the cause of good Catholic information about the Church in this part of Europe.

I am most certainly not asking for money, or charging people to read my stuff. No, that donation button is nothing more than a means for readers to show their appreciation if they so choose, be it for my scribblings or the purpose I have in keeping this blog running. You don’t have to donate, but you’re welcome to do so, any amount you choose.

What will happen with your donations? In the first place, it’ll be traded for time. Time to write, time to study, time to work in God’s vineyard in my own small way. If you want your donation to be spent on some specific thing, you can specify that in your payment.

I will also keep all who donate, and their intentions, in my prayers.

Lastly, if you want to donate something, but not necessarily to this blog, please consider Father Roderick’s Vastenaktie project for school children in Ethiopia. Click on the purple button to donate. To learn more, listen to his Inside Ethiopia podcasts, chronicling his recent trip to the African country, to find out the details.

PS: As the first donation has arrived, let me thank the kind and generous reader responsible. You are in my prayers.

‘Living with Christ’ – Cardinal Eijk’s pastoral letter on the Eucharist

A week after its publication date of Ash Wednesday, I finished my translation of Cardinal Eijk’s Pastoral Letter on the Eucharist. The letter was sent to all parishes in the Archdiocese of Utrecht, to foster “reflection and consideration, individually and communally, on the meaning of the Eucharist as source and summit of Christian life,” as auxiliary Bishop Hoogenboom writes in the accompanying letter of recommendation.

Whatever cause and reason for the letter, it is a very good letter for all Catholics, as it offers a thorough introduction to what the Eucharist is and how we relate to it, in all its myriad aspects. If you don’t have any reading for Lent, I suggest this pastoral letter. It’s a lengthy read, but offers plenty of good food for thought.

The Eucharist is source and summit of our lives as Christians. We owe it to ourselves and to the Lord to know what we are doing and what we are talking about, if we in any way take ourselves seriously as Catholics.