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Devra Torres

Efficiency for What?

Sep. 5, 2013, at 1:50pm

Last week I mentioned how pleasantly surprised I was by Eugene Boylan’s book, Difficulties in Mental Prayer.  Much of his very helpful advice centered on avoiding artificial formality and stiffness with God. 

Another pitfall Boylan addresses is being needlessly systematic and methodical.  Prayer is not a procedure to be marched through with correct technique for maximum efficiency. 

It’s supposed to be something as simple and beautiful as the “elevation of the mind and heart to God.”  Yet we manage to turn it into a mindless or an obsessive and joyless reeling-off of particular words in a particular order a particular number of times.  Boylan elaborates:

For example, a visit to the

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Devra Torres

A “Personal” Lord and Savior?

Jan. 2, 2013, at 6:03pm

“Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior?”

What’s a personalist to make of this question?

It’s a familiar one to evangelicals—so familiar that you can easily gloss over what exactly it might mean.  It’s also a question to which, since becoming a Catholic, I’ve learned a couple of preliminary comebacks:

First, of course, nowhere in the Bible does Christ say “Go out to all the nations and instruct them to accept me as their personal Savior.”  It’s a relatively recent phrase, and its centrality to salvation—especially the way it displaces baptism—

is a modern invention.

Secondly, yes: the personal assent of the will, the free receptivity to the proffered gift, is

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