Saturday, July 31, 2010

In Spiritu et Veritate: In Spiritu et Veritate

In Spiritu et Veritate: In Spiritu et Veritate: "In Spiritu et Veritate is a ministry of the new (and old) evangelism at the service of Christ's command to enangelize and disciple. Evangel..."

That TONE


Bishop Zavala

Mark Pattison writes in CNS about the  bloggers' role in relationship with the church.  The bishops often are the publishers of diocesan newspapers, and other media outlets, and as such are concerned over the tone/behavior of some bloggers.

  The Webinar (Faithful Catholic Media: Continuing the Conversation) was held July 28 and sponsored by the Catholic Press Association.  Naturally, the bishops are concerned about the influence some bloggers (not I) have on the faithful.  The chairman of the Communications Committe, Bishop Gabino Zavala, LA, focused on 3 aspects that make blogging unique:

*   Catholic perspective to events
*   Respectful and civil (Not like the secular media)
*   Input for Church leaders

The one that was most disturbing was the second concern: "Christian respect".  Some bloggers attack church leadership, in a less than "civil and respectful" manner.  

You know what I think the problem is?  The problem is two-fold: the impersonal nature of the written word (blog/email/letter/newspaper...), and TONE.   Since I enjoy writing and sending out letters and emails as soon as a thought enters my head, I know very well the problems that can arise, from the written word.  I have people that hate me, distrust me, have not allowed me to join their whatever, and think I'm a kook, (and they never read my blog ;-/ ).  All because I wrote something that came from the fingers--certainly not my head, and more certainly, not my heart.  Some people won't give you a break.  And those "some" call themselves Christians.  Geeesh!  If only, these (too easily) offended people were there in front of me when I wrote, we could have discussed the issue.  If they could have seen my body language.  If we could have had a verbal "give and take." 


 And then some people don't get satire.

The second issue, TONE, can be a problem.  I remember when I was teaching, some parents complained to me about the TONE I used in reprimanding their child.  It was the way I said, "Stop it!", that bothered them.  Seriously.  They objected to my tone.  

I guess they wanted me to say in a kind and sweet voice, "I really wish you wouldn't exhibit that behavior."

You think I'm kidding?        Well, think again.    

Anyway, back to blogging.  Some bloggers (not I) have that TONE.  The bishops want them to be civil and respectful.  The media, and especially bloggers, should tell errant priests and bishops that "they really wish they wouldn't exhibit that behavior."

OK.  I'll dislodge my tongue from my cheek.

It is the TONE, that the bishops are concerned about.  The words some of us use are perceived as disrespectful and judgmental.  I know what they're saying.  It's the TONE that hurts them.  

We Catholic bloggers should be different from the secular bloggers.  Readers should know us by our love.  

John 13:35  By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for another.  

And I know the bloggers that have that TONE, will say that they do love, that's why they are calling attention to sins that should be corrected; but can readers perceive the love?  There is a need (Lord knows!) to point out sin, but the TONE has to show that you're Christian.  


Think before you write.  Pray before you think.














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Friday, July 30, 2010

Another Vatican Hypocrisy

Imagine the chutzpah!  The Vatican, which is accused of sexual immorality, has the nerve to tell its guests how to dress!  What host does that?   By what right does the Church have to dictate morality?

The Vatican has issued it's dress code for visitors.  An article addressing the norms gives the shocked reactions of some of the visitors.  I mean, really....

A man in shorts is speared by a guisarme.
A women in a halter top is pierced with a halberd.
An elderly couple wearing tank tops was threatened with the bardiche.
One innocent child was almost beheaded by a glaive.

....and the list goes on...

Well, isn't this what you would have expected from the headline "Vatican Accused of Hypocrisy over Short Skirts?"

I guess anything to sell newspaper, even hyperbolic misrepresentation.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mystery

I'm speaking of mystery meaning what is not known.  It is something that only a few understand, or know.  For example, an artist and his creation.  The artist is trying to convey something with his work.  We viewing it may understand some of it, but now all the artist's intention.  This is how "mystery" is meant, in the Christian sense.
     The word "mystery," itself, is from Greek.  It's meaning is, not something obscure, but a secret given only to a few.  Did you know that "mystery" occurs 28 times in the New Testament? The word is used chiefly by Paul, who knew Greek. Paul accepted this term (mystery) to indicate the fact that, his Gospel message had been revealed to him by the Christ. 

The word in a few passages refers to a symbol, allegory or parable, which conceals its meaning from those who look only at the literal sense, but is the medium of revelation to those who have been given the grace to understand. Its most common meaning is that of a divine truth once hidden, but now revealed in the Gospel. 

The Greek is, "musterion." A mystery, as in something into which one must be initiated, instructed, before it can be known, something of itself not obvious and above human insight. 


And the Christian references:


Generally. Mark 4:11. Luke 8:10. Matt. 13:11, Jesus said, "It is given unto you to know the mysteries = (hidden truths) of the kingdom of heaven," as in a deeper and more perfect manner than they were made known to others.

1 Cor. 14:2, "For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue (language) speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him, howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries."

Eph. 5:32, "This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church."

2 Thes. 2:7, "the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way," mysterious wickedness, as hidden, as yet unknown to Christians, opposed to, ver.8, "And then shall that Wicked be revealed."

Rev.1:20, "The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand --- are the angels (messengers) of the seven churches."

Rev.10:7, "in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished."

Rev. 17:5, "upon her forehead was a name written, mystery Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abomination of the earth," with ver.7, "the angel said, --- I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast." 


Eph.3:9, "to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God," and

Col.1:26, "even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints."

Eph. 6:19, "for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel."

Col. 2:2, "their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement (knowledge) of the mystery of God."

Col. 4:3 "pray that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ."

Eph. 3:4, "When ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ."

1 Tim.3:9, "Holding the mystery of the faith in pure conscience."

Rom.16:25, "the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began."

1 Cor.2:7, 4:1, "Let a man so account of us (consider us,) as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God."

1 Cor.13:2, "though I have the gift of prophecy and understanding all mysteries, --- so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing."

Eph.3:3, "How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words."

Col.1:27, "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory"

Rom.11:25, "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, --- that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in."

1 Cor.15:51, "behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed."

Eph.1:9, "Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself."

1 Tim. 3:16, "great is the mystery of godliness, God = (Jesus) was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit."



h/t to Brother Peter Totleben, O.P., and the Seek First Wisdom site.




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Guilty Priest Freed

A Catholic priest who pleaded guilty to rape and sodomy of a 13 year old girl in the 1970's, and was accused of six offenses, plea bargained to 42 days in a psychiatric hospital.  That's not the end of the story.

He heard rumors that he was going to be retried.  He fled the US.  He landed in Switzerland where he was placed under arrest.  It was house arrest until his trial for extradition.  The verdict was favorable towards him.  He will not be extradited back to the US.  He is safe.  He is free.

What do you think of that?

Well, think again, because I made a mistake.  I said Catholic Priest, but it should have been Film Director Roman Polanski.

h/t Father Tim and his Hermeneutic of Continuity

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Blogging, Again

The Voice of Russia web site, has an article about Patriarch Kirill telling his priests to blog.  Pope Benedict has harped on this theme also.  I guess there must be something to it, huh?  The Patriarch urges social networking and blogging as good vehicles to get their message across.


"Many priests and church hierarchs have their own blogs in the global network," he says. "It helps people seeking their paths in life. Jesus Christ taught His apostles to attract people by the word. High technology and the Internet should serve the same purpose."    

"The Church wants to make itself understood to most readers," he says. "This does not mean that church bloggers should use a primitive or false language. Unlike former Internet resources, social networks and blogs make it possible to talk and listen. Communication is crucial. A contemporary user wants two-way communication, so that they could ask questions and receive the answers, and could enter discussions with the others."  
    
The Vatican has been making an effective use of the Internet for years. According to expert Alexander Kuzin, expanding influence is common in church activity.   
"In January 2009 Pope Benedict XVI opened a blog at YouTube with short videos about what’s new in the Vatican. In winter the same year the pontiff struck a deal with the Google search engine. As a result, Google got access to the Holy See’s photos and texts. Vatican press secretary, Father Federico Lombardi, has described the deal as a new chapter in the history of the Vatican."

In the opinion of Alexander Kuzin, the Russian Orthodox Church will benefit a lot from borrowing this good practice from the Vatican.

From my reading of St. Dominic, I know this famous preacher would agree.  He would definitely be in the forefront of communication.  You've got to keep up with the times, to get your message across.  

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Father Murphy

Did you hear about Father Murphy?

He's the pastor from hell, that is perceived to be nasty, many perceive to be not very pastoral.You know; is mean to old ladies, pushes the altar servers around, makes fun of the pious, and steals from the poor box.

Well, he was run over by a truck.

When he appeared at the pearly gates, St. Peter asked him if he was the infamous Nazi Pastor.  Naturally, he denied it, and named a few good deeds he had done.  St. Peter has a soft spot for priests, and wanted to give Father Murphy a chance.  So he told Father that he'd check with the Boss.

St. Peter came back and said that God said, "No way.  Father Murphy has to take the elevator down."

"But...but...but", Father Murphy protested.  "Remind the Boss that the morning I died, I put a couple of bucks in the poor box."

St. Peter hopefully carried the message to God.

A few minutes later, St. Peter returned and said, "God said, take your couple of bucks, and go to hell."

h/t  Father Chris O'Connor

Blogging as a Vocation



I prefer to think of it as a cyber ministry.

Seriously.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Catechism for Kids Game

Here's a new video game for kids. It's not out yet, but watch for it.

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Season Five Sign Up

The last ARISE program, Season 5, is open to anyone, even if you never participated before.
You are welcome. Faith sharing groups will begin the week of Oct. 3rd. You may sign up
on-line, http://www.stmarysfranklin.org/arise_registration.php, or on Sign Up Sunday, Sept.18-19.

ARISE Together in Christ
We're looking ahead to the fall
To begin Season 5 for us all
Get ready to sign on the dotted line
For we hope that you'll answer the call.




                                                                                                   

Friday, July 23, 2010

Forgiveness

"...I feel that if I choose not to forgive him that I let him take up space in my head that I could be and should be using for far greater things.’’  Inspired, wise words spoken by a teenager, who was raped.  The girl was a 14 year old girl volunteering in a hospital, for a summer.   She was raped in the stairwell, in that hospital.  See Link.


This girl will move on.  Her life is better and she has a future.  As Bishop Tutu said, "There is No Future without Forgiveness."  It isn't easy, but for the mental, emotional, and spiritual health of a victim, it's a necessity.


I pray for everyone involved in this crime.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Statue of Our Lady of Fatima

You know that beautiful statue of Our Lady of Fatima with an over sized golden crown.  That's not authentic.  There was no golden humongous jeweled filled crown.  Our Lady was dressed very simply.

Sister Lucy said  "that there were only two garments visible, a simple tunic and a long veil or mantle. The tunic had no collar and no cuffs. Nor was there a cincture or a sash around the waist, although the tunic was drawn in at the waist. The sleeves were not wide, and the mantle and the tunic were a wave of light. When Tom (the sculptor, Fr. Tom McGlynn, O.P.) asked her how one distinguished between the mantle and the tunic, she said,"There were two waves of light, one on top of the other." When Tom asked her if there was a line of gold on the mantle, she explained "It was like a ray of sunlight all around the mantle." She further explained that this ray around the mantle was like a thin thread. The mantle ... was a thing all made of light and very light, but it fell straight down. The clothing was all white. The cord was a more intense and yellow light....The light of Our Lady was white and the star was yellow."

The story of the Father Thomas McGlynn, O.P. making the statue is in an out of print book, Vision of Fatima, by Thomas McGlynn, O.P., Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1948.  It tells the story of Father McGlynn visiting with Sister Lucy and sculpting the statue under her direction.  I remember that one time, Sister became annoyed at the number of times she had to explain, so with her fingers, she took the top of the clay veil and pulled and flattened it.  That's a big "NO, NO!" to a sculptor.  But what could Father do?  He left her finger print on the veil.  That's the picture with Sister and the statue.

I use to own this book, but I lent it to a friar friend and he died.  I have no idea where the book is now.  I hope it's in the nursing home's library, and not in somebody's yard sale.  This book is where I learned that McGlynn's statue is the authentic apparition.  The one that travels around is much fancier.  That's the traveling Pilgrim Statue.  McGlynn's statue is the white marble statue in the niche above the entrance to the Basilica. I usually can pick it out because there's no crown and Mary's heart is outside her clothing surrounded by thorns.


Here is a picture of Father Thomas McGlynn, O.P., next to his statue.  






And here is the authentic statue, made according to Sister Lucy's directions, in front of the Basilica.


O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all
souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Your mercy.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Did the Trinity Exist Before Creation?

Do you want to know how impossible it is to answer that particular question?  Read Ecclesiastes 3:11, which states that God "...has put eternity into man's mind, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end."  IOW, there's no way any human being can know what God has done.
    Additionally, since God is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, and there's no way we mere humans can ever comprehend him, then what he has created is beyond our human ability to comprehend.  Revelation 1:8, 21:6, and 22:13.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Comparing God with Ourselves

I'm reading Summa Theologica, again.  I'm still in Part 1 and will probably be there for the rest of my life.  I'm particularly focusing on what AQ says about the Trinity.  (Yes, I'm still working on that Formation Module.)  I got a little sidetracked (And you thought web surfing was bad.)  and got involved in reading about the relationship between God and ourselves.  And you know what?  We ain't so hot.


God                                                       Humans
Free                                              All kinds of hang ups
Complete                                      Still growing and learning
Omnipotent                                   Have various degrees of helplessness
Omnipresent                                  Live moment to moment
Omniscent                                     Dumb, Dumber, Dumbest
Infinite                                           Finite
Lives in perfect love                       Only occasionally

That’s enough.  The list is depressing/awesome/amazing/fearsome/ and in the least, impressive.  The only thing I can add is that I’m omnivorous, and God’s not. ;-)

Well, I come to the same conclusion as AQ, thinking about God tells me more about me, than about God.  But I am a “chip off the old block,” or “an apple off the same tree.”  God must love us very much to even bother with us, never mind send His Son to save us.   



Friday, July 16, 2010

God in Prison

Another inmate committed suicide in a Mass Correctional Institution.  And this one was in a maximum security facility--inmates are watched 24/7.  This one was also in the treatment facility.  "Suicides in Massachusetts state prisons are occurring at a rate more than four times the national average this year, prompting advocates and inmates’ relatives to call for an urgent response from state officials — and spurring the Patrick administration yesterday to hire a suicide prevention specialist." Link to Boston.com

Listening to the night bell.
I hear some cry and think the end--
this place so cold, and damp, my cell.
A wretch cast into so deep a well--
no love, no hope, no family, no friend.
My lips to heaven plea to send
help of any kind for one who fell
so far down into the jaws of hell.
They call it prayer and I feel it mend
my fear, my loneliness, guilt driven.
Is it true I can be forgiven?
There is a God of mercy and love.
He feels my fear and hears my plea
and responds with absolution and
mercy undreamed of.  He calms my
trembling heart with hope.

Justitia, www.lulu.com, 2006, page 28.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Blessing


My first grandchild!  May I introduce you to Baby Lucy.  She arrived this morning, July 14, 2010, weighing in at 7 lbs. 12 oz, 21 inches long.  She has so much hair you can part it.  Daddy quipped, "Instead of bringing a bonnet, we should have brought a hair scrungie."  

All is well.  My daughter, the Mommy is well, but tired.  The baby is eating and disposing very heartily.  She is thriving.  

Deo Gratias.

It is very humbling to be a part of God's plan.  I helped create the Mom, who continued the process.  God is great.  Just to look upon a new born, new life, proof of love, is meditative.  Does God love us this much?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Where does "Trinity" Come From?

The term, “Trinity” was used by St. Theophilius of Antioch, in the year A.D. 180.  He wrote in his epistle to Autolycus, a pagan critic of the Catholic Church, that God, His word, and wisdom are a trinity (Greek:triados).
Some year later,  Tertullian, (A.D. 160—circa 250) a Latin theologian, coined the Latin term for trinity (trinitas), in his work “On Modesty.”  He wrote about the trinity of the One Divinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  In addition, he explained more specifically that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were of “One in essence—not one in Person.”  (Ante-Nicene Fathers 3.621; circa 213 A.D.)
The early church writers drew upon many biblical references to God’s unity and transcendence as well as old testament episodes, known as “Theophanies”—mysterious appearances of one or more persons of the Trinity.[i] 
Examples of theophanies and mysterious appearances, and sometimes implicit references to the three persons in the Trinity are Genesis 1:26, (where God speaks of Himself in the plural form), Genesis 3:22, 11:27, Psalms 2:7, 109: 1-3; Isaiah 7:14 (Emmanuel is the name prophesied for the miraculously-conceived child of a virgin.  It means “God is with us”): Isaiah 9:6, 11:2, and 8:22-31, Wisdom 7: 22-28, 8: 3-8, Ezkiel 11:5, 36:27, Joel 2:28, and Malachi 3:1.



Sunday, July 11, 2010

Gifts

My son-in-law celebrated his birthday today.  He was happy with his gifts.  But it set me to wondering.  Gifts are suppose to be pleasurable for the giver as well as the receiver.  Luckily, today fell into that category.

But I remember one time when my friends and I use to swap Christmas gifts.  We'd put a limit on our gifts--no more than $ 10.  To me that meant giving junk.  But they insisted; so I went along with it.  Otherwise you'd be considered a Scrooge.   I turned out to be worse than a Scrooge.  I was complaining about this to another friend and she listened politely.  When I was finished she handed me a gift and said, "Well, here's another piece of junk."

Ouch.

I did learn that lesson.  I learned to keep my mouth shut and just be happy.  I try to look at it as giving pleasure to someone.  But really.  I'm trying to simplify my life.  I don't need anything.  But I'll accept the giver's gifts graciously because I learned that the giver is trying to please me.  And it's not all about me.  The giver wants acknowledgement of their generosity and thoughtfulness.  I do appreciate that; I really do.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

So, I Love You

I just saw the most touching scene at Mass, tonight.  A few rows up from me was a family.  After Communion, while we were waiting for everyone to finish, a little girl, too young to receive was leaning against her Daddy.

We were singing, We Have Been Told.   When we came to the words,  "As the Father has loved me," the Daddy looked down at his daughter and sang to her, "So, I have loved you."

Indeed.  He does.

Fool Proof Plan

My Spiritual Director and I have thought of a way to beat the system.  We're talking about getting into heaven.

Yup.  It's fool proof because it's so quick.  I wonder why others haven't thought of it, before.  Maybe they have but can't tell us, anymore. What am I talking about?  Well, my S.D. will kill me right after confession.

See?  Fool proof!

You see, we always begin spiritual direction with confession.  That's just the way it is.  It is what it is!  So one day, unbeknown to me, he'll shoot me.  There--I'm golden.

Then his spiritual director will do him the favor.....ad infinitum.

What do you think?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Insidiousness

In case your wondering what happened to my posting Catholics Come Home, I deleted it.  I  linked to the Catholics Come Home site and was talking about how great it was.  It would be a great follow up to the program, Arise Together in Christ, that my parish has undertaken.

The trouble was that I couldn't embed the video on the Catholics Come Home page.  So I went to You Tube, and searched for Catholic Come Home videos.  The problem was, the one I chose, which I thought was the one that had Tom Peterson introducing Catholic Come Home, was an anti-Catholic video.

I can't see CCH giving authorization to this guy, to use for his purposes. When I listened to his talk, Bill is up front saying he's an ex-Catholic.  I thought that was perfect.  He's going to explain how he came home.  Only, he doesn't.  He claims that the Catholic Church is spiritually abusing its people.  I couldn't believe my ears.  This was Catholic Come Home, wasn't it.

No it wasn't. It's Bill's screed on the Holy Roman Catholic Church.  Bill's interpretation of scripture is curious.        Strange theology.  His conclusion of course is that Catholics are wrong and he's right.

Good luck, with that Bill.

But using Catholic Come Home's logo is against copy right rules, isn't it?  Sorry if I upset anyone.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Thomas Richard Heath O.P.


                                        Thomas Richard Heath O.P.
                                           By T.K. Kraft, O.P.
                                Published by  Province of St. Joseph,
                                                    2010, 156 pp.
         
          For the past few years, I’ve always heard references regarding “Father Tom’s Kids.”  I vaguely understood that this term referred to the students in our Kenyan Vicariate, that were looking for sponsors.  But I never knew who Father Tom was.  Consequently, I was happy to hear that a book had been written about Father Tom.
           Thomas Richard Heath O.P. is an excellent little book.  It is beautiful.  I know you can’t judge a book by its cover, but this cover definitely attracts you.  It is a full page, colored picture of a relaxing Father Tom.  The pictures inside the book are numerous and artfully arranged, too.  They are “eye candy.”
          Luckily, Father Tom was a prolific writer.  He kept journals, correspondence, wrote books, articles, and poems.  There were plenty of materials, for the author, Father Kraft, to draw from.  Fr. Kraft covers Father Tom’s life from childhood to his death.  The account is quite personal as we see the world thru Father Tom’s lenses.  As we readers progress through the pages of this book, we find ourselves automatically “liking” Father Tom.  How could you not?  He was inspirational, peaceful, amicable, generous…Read this one impression:  page 113.

          He was a very unique person of enormous love, generosity,
          kind, joyful, compassionate, faithful to his religious commit-
          ment, and a strong-willed mind…He was a very sincere
          and honest person is his words and action, that you
          could never cheat him...  Sr. Marcella Auma, FSA

       What a good testimony!  Thomas Richard Heath O.P. is an easy read and a story everyone will appreciate, especially those in the Province of Saint Joseph, and its Vicariate.  Now, we are able to understand our Kenyan connection, who Father Tom’s Kids are, and who exactly this man, this priest, this Dominican friar was.

To purchase this book  send $ 20 to:                                              
Province of St. Joseph                        
141 E. Sixty-fifth Street                       
New York, NY 10021-6618                 
Make check out to: Dominican Foundation                        
On Memo Line=Heath Book                

Monday, July 5, 2010

In Defense of SPOOKS

My friend has a particular dislike, of what she disdainly refers to as SPOOKS.  (Spiritual, Pious, Observance Of the King)  IOW, people that practice devotions.  She says that the Mass is enough.  She also prays the Liturgy of the Hours, daily, and does a lot of meditation.  Praiseworthy, to be sure, but others love other devotions.

I'm specifically referring to people in prayer groups, Divine Mercy, First Saturdays, Rosary groups, Eucharistic Adoration, etc.  Actually, she's thinking of those types of devotions.  People that wear crosses larger than the Pope's, "scare her," she says.  These spiritual, pious, observance of the King types, make her uneasy.

Why?  I think because she's just not that type.  Notice, her preference for devotions: LOH, meditation--all done alone.  Whereas most of the others are in a group setting.  These pious people, that she makes fun of, are the very people who are praying for her, and the parish.  Their prayers, and sacrifices are what sustain the Church.  Actually, they are united in their little communities with obvious love, and with courage to face up to those who denigrate them and their little groups.  Some may seem eccentric.  What of it?  One would have to be different to face up to the challenge of being counter cultural in today's world.  These SPOOKS are faithful, traditional, holy, and may seem out of step with the current thought, but are the very backbone of all parishes.  Remember the types of people Jesus called to be his first disciples.

Dissing the prayer group types is unworthy of any Catholic.  These small devotions are a consistent and powerful ministry to those involved.  They are humble people who probably find no stimulation in theological disputations.  They express their faith in ways they can relate to, in specific environments, that enhance their spiritual journeys.  Their pious expressions are not at odds with Sacred Liturgy.  Rather, their devotions promote the faith of the people.  The devotions predispose the people to the celebration of the Eucharist.

The SPOOKS should be regarded as a treasure in any parish.  They offer their time, sacrifices, and prayers, for the people, the parish, the diocese, the Church, and the world.  Their devotions are testimonies of faith.  Devotions generate interior attitudes, i.e., patience, awareness of the Cross in everyday life, detachment, and piety.

My friend may criticize the repetitive nature of their prayer life.  That may not be her cup of tea, but even "repetition" is helpful.  Private contemplation and humility are important, but communal prayer, like a litany are important, also.  Does anyone ever get tired of hearing "I love you?"

Litanies, Chaplets, Rosary, rote prayers are a form of "I love you."  These ritual like prayers are a form of love. They offer an ordered procedure of worship.  They specifically express devotion.  These type of prayers develop a social discipline, and a way of worship when done in a group.  And don't forget the indulgence these people can attain satisfaction from.

Besides what harm do they do?  None.  Whatsoever!  These people, these SPOOKS bother you?  Get over it.  You are benefiting from their prayers.

At least, we can all agree on the Mass.  Nothing beats the Sacred Liturgy.  That's the best.  And I contend that the devotions the SPOOKS are dedicated to, enhance their experience of the Eucharist.  Their prayers are directed to the Sacred Liturgy.  Devotional piety offers a way to dialogue with God, through Christ in the Mass.  The celebration of the Liturgy does not exhaust the Church's worship.  Devotions are the fruits of the Holy Spirit.  And as such, worthy to be used by these SPOOKS, who are the humble, and so docile to Magisterium.

May God bless them.

* Reference: Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, Dec. 2001 -- Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Jesus Set Us Free

I thought it quite apropos that July 4th fell on a Sunday, this year.  What better way to celebrate freedom, than worshiping the One who set us free. The month of July is dedicated to the Most Precious Blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Jesus shed his blood to free us from sin.  This is the freedom that gives us peace.  Peace being the correct order of life, what's important, orientating the world towards God.


Also at Mass this morning, we recalled our brave soldiers who shed their blood for us, fighting for a different kind of freedom.  A freedom from oppressors, and fighting to keep that freedom.  We celebrate with parades and fireworks to proclaim our Independence.


Both types of freedom were hard fought.  Both types of freedom involve sacrifice.  Both types of freedom are celebrated on this day, Sunday, July 4, 2010.



Saturday, July 3, 2010

You Can't Make This Stuff Up.

      The Trinity has a great impact on Catholics.  We begin our prayers with “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”  Non-believers may ask, “I thought you believers believed in one God?” “We do.”
    Of course, this line of thought leads to an explanation of the Trinity.  No explanation can do justice to the magnificent reality of God being three unique Persons, and at the same time One Person.  One can try to explain the Trinity by referencing the Bible, but the word, Trinity, as such, is not mentioned in the Bible.  The term “Holy Trinity,” has been used for many centuries by Christians to embody the  concept of Trinity, which is presented as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  
      Many have tried to explain the concept of the Trinity.  Sometimes they help to understand, but they all have their limitations.  I have encountered “1x1x1=1”.  The Trinity is like ice to water to vapor, but they are all H2O.  Also there is, the egg is a shell, whites, and the yolk, but one egg.  Of course, there’s St. Patrick’s famous shamrock, made up of three leaves, but one clover.  There’s even the novel, The Shack by William P. Young.  The author has the Trinity as:  Father a black middle aged female, Son a young  Arab, and the Holy Spirit as some sort of electric current.
      All these explanations fall short.  The Trinity is a mystery.  One argument that has some merit includes a view of other religions that don’t have the Trinity.   Some of these religions seem to cater to man’s desires.  They fulfill man’s wishes.  For example, the Muslims picture heaven as being inhabited by young beautiful virgins.  Obviously, a paradise created for man.  The Hindu reincarnation may be an expression of man’s desire to live forever.  One can see that these expressions are fulfillments of man made dreams.  Then where did the idea of the Trinity come from?  What man could have ever conceived of such an idea?  

Divine inspiration can not be ruled out.

Believe It!

Father Gabriel has a nice voice.  I'm not talking about his melodious singing voice, either.  His normal, regular voice is smoothing, kind, and oh, so gentle.  He's what I picture as the quintessence of what a monk should be (Fr. AQ, excepted since he's my Spiritual Director).   Anyway, the way he read the Gospel this morning traveled that long road from my head to my heart.  John 20: 24-29.


Have you come to believe because you have seen me?  Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.


Of course, I knew that.  I did.  Didn't I?  Then why did it suddenly make me smile and be proud.  He's talking about me.  I haven't seen Christ, yet I believe--most of the time.  Today, I do.

My thoughts were confirmed by Pope St. Gregory the Great's Homily ( Hom. 26, 7-9: PL 76, 1201-1202).
Do you really believe that it was by chance that this chosen disciple (Thomas) was absent, then came and heard, heard and doubted, doubted and touched, touched and believed?  It was not by chance but in God's providence.  In a marvelous way God's mercy arranged that the disbelieving disciple, in touching the wounds of his master's body, should heal our wounds of disbelief.  The disbelief of Thomas has done more for our faith that the faith of the other disciples.


Thomas was God's instrument.  Deo Gratias.   We believe.  That's the hard part.    ....er.....not really.  Faith also needs good works.  We need to put our faith into actions.  A spiritual way of saying "Put your money where your mouth is."  The true believer practices what he believes.

Lord, grant the gift of faith to those who cannot believe without proof.