Friday, December 30, 2011
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
And then one would ask: was God also a bystander? How could he let this happen? This is a tough one, but the answer can be as simple as this: it is his will that Herod, those soldiers, the parents of the victims and the other witnesses should have the freedom to act as they choose. They were, after all, made in his image and likeness, and so they had the power of their intellect as well as conscience, enough to know that murder was wrong. For God to deny Herod and the soldiers free will is to obliterate them as human beings. And since all human beings are capable of wrongdoing at various points in their lives, then the implications are not so limited as one might think.
The first reading from St. John's first letter tells us that we all sin from time to time. He also tells us that in God there is no darkness. How then do we achieve communion with him if there is darkness in us each time we sin? He will not obliterate us, but he will forgive our sins. He provided the sacrifice in his mercy and love: Jesus Christ, the lamb of God. Through him, our sins can be forgiven if we acknowledge them. Even Herod could have been forgiven. As for the holy innocents, they are not abandoned to their deaths, for there is eternal life in heaven, and these innocents cannot have committed sin at that age.
But today, a slaughter of innocent continues, as this reflection points out. What would drive fathers and mothers to abort their own child, or allow that of their grandchild, nephew, or niece? What would drive legislators to advocate for more abortions, locally and internationally, to the tune of over 40 million annually across the world? What would drive a doctor, sworn to provide healing and to do no harm, to perform the abortion despite knowing that the child is viable, or the very simple fact that even the embryo at day one is its own distinct being? What did bystanders do? What was going through their minds at what was occurring or about to occur?
Today is the feast of Holy Innocents. Let us pray for an end to the slaughter, not by legislation, not by obliterating our free will, but primarily the conversion of our hearts, through Jesus Christ, our sacrifice and advocate.
Friday, December 23, 2011
At the naming of John, Zechariah regained his speech. What's in a name? Isn't a name just a label, just another word? In our faith that revolves around the Word who is the Son of God, words are meaningful. And this name was given by God: .. your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. (Lk 1:13). When anointed by God, the name perhaps bears more than just a label. I think it carries with it a sending -- a mission. For John: And he will turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Eli'jah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared. (Lk 1:16-17)
I have a name given to me at baptism, when I was born again of water and Spirit: Christ. "Through Isaac shall your descendants be named." .. the children of the promise are reckoned as descendants. (Rom 9:7). I have a three-fold mission, too: priest, prophet and king. As prophet, I must also turn hearts to the Lord, to prepare a way for the Lord into the hearts of my family and all whom I may reach as the Lord gives opportunity.
And you, who were baptised into Christ, that also is your name, and behind it is the Christian mission. Take it up, and like John, the hand of the Lord will be with you.
Lord, make me know your ways.
Lord, teach me your paths.
Make me walk in your truth, and teach me:
for you are God my saviour.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
That the Blessed Mother speaks of God routing "the proud of heart" is probably key in this canticle, as such disposition seems unlikely to elicit piety, whereas this canticle precisely shows the humility of the Blessed Mother -- immediately after the praises that St Elizabeth lavishes upon "the mother of my Lord" who is "blessed among women". After the unthinkable grace of God "inclining the heavens to come down" and save us as one of our own, nothing else but humility and rejoicing is proper! As the Blessed Mother is our perfect model on the receiving end of God's salvation, our lives should be the Magnificat sung in our every act!
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
So let us believe in God's promises to us; it is all over his love letter to us, in Scripture (check out the first reading from the Song of Songs 2:8-14). Let us faithfully and joyfully say yes to our Father in heaven at every opportunity, and we will be blessed, brothers and sisters of our Lord, who can prompt faith and rejoicing to those whom we greet, too.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Christmas need not be about stress, according to some mommy wisdom that also makes it more meaningful.
Father Ryan Erlenbush explains how John the Baptist is and isn't Elijah. From my own reflections on today's readings, I must recommend considering how you who are baptized, while not being Elijah, are most certainly called to be a prophet.
Thursday, December 08, 2011
The Incarnation was a singular atomic event at the conception of Jesus in Mary's womb, and likewise, that preparation to receive the incarnated Jesus was a singular atomic event of the Immaculate Conception of Mary who was preserved from original sin at the moment of her conception in the womb of her mother, Anne. On the other hand, the conception of Jesus in us is a gradual, unfolding event. We are first born again at baptism as a new creation, but Jesus is not incarnated in us completely. Rather, as we cooperate with God's grace, our flesh is transformed gradually into Christ's body. The more we think, speak and act as the Holy Spirit moves us, the more completely Christ is incarnated in us, culminating in the resurrection of the dead.
I sure hope this makes sense. Anyone?
Saturday, December 03, 2011
So here I stand corrected, in prayer and spiritual reading. It does not excuse me from preaching the Good News at every opportunity that God presents me with. And so I continue to pray and to study, first to my family, and then to others. Perhaps my parish next, and then my workplace (prudently; it's a highly secularized institution and culture now). But lest I forget St. Francis who taught "Let all the brothers, however, preach by their deeds." But not by deed only, I think: "and they, going out, preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word by the signs that accompanied it." (Mk 16:15-20). What signs? There are the obviously miraculous ones, e.g., "cast out devils .. gift of tongues; pick up snakes .. be unharmed should they drink deadly poison; lay their hands on the sick who will recover." But there are also the changed lives, turned around and over to God, incredibly filled with peace and joy previously unknown.
If only my family would notice. :-P
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Saturday, November 26, 2011
|‘Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened with debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life, and that day will be sprung on you suddenly, like a trap. For it will come down on every living man on the face of the earth. Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to stand with confidence before the Son of Man.’|
So, what are you waiting for? Pray!
Monday, November 21, 2011
I'm really stewing because of pride, aren't I? Am I supposed to be perfect now? It happens; move on. I am replaying it over and over in my mind, and the scene is growing, not abating, and I'm not resolving anything. I really should have taken them aside to talk this out just among us -- that way, we reduce the tension.One stunning thought surfaced, too:
This wallowing in shame and self-loathing is no longer who I am. That has already been put to death by Christ. By feeding these deadweights, I am reviving what amounts to an undead, a zombie. Now why would I want to do that?At that point, I smiled (really!), and I prayed in earnest: thank you, Jesus! So I nailed that event to the cross where it belongs, took up my dignity (not pride), and realized that I was indeed being silly. Pride, self-loathing and defeatism were knocking, and I don't have to let them in. I think I understood something new about faith, then. It needed some mental steps, what separates conviction from taking something for granted. I believe that Christ has already won, that I was already buried and raised with him in baptism. I believe that the Holy Spirit has been poured out upon me. I am not a slave of sin any longer, and I am alive.
Time to act like it.
|What, then, is prayer? It is a cry of love directed to God our Father, with the will to imitate Jesus our brother.|
Saturday, November 19, 2011
|2558 "Great is the mystery of the faith!" The Church professes this mystery in the Apostles' Creed (Part One) and celebrates it in the sacramental liturgy (Part Two), so that the life of the faithful may be conformed to Christ in the Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father (Part Three). This mystery, then, requires that the faithful believe in it, that they celebrate it, and that they live from it in a vital and personal relationship with the living and true God. This relationship is prayer. -- from the Catechism of the Catholic Church|
Sunday, November 13, 2011
When the master finds his two servants having made some profit, he declares "Well done, good and faithful servant; you have shown you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master’s happiness."
The reward is not retirement. It is, instead, greater responsibility.
This is additional comfort to those who keenly feel the weight of their responsibilities, apart from what is implicit in the parable itself (emphasis mine): "To one, he gave five talents, to another two, to a third one; each in proportion to his ability. What comfort? That our Father will not lay upon you a burden that you are incapable of bearing, first because He knows us more intimately than we know ourselves, and second because His grace is always sufficient, even and moreso when we feel weak.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Sunday, November 06, 2011
Wisdom is bright, and does not grow dim.|
By those who love her she is readily seen,
and found by those who look for her.
Quick to anticipate those who desire her, she makes herself known to them.
Watch for her early and you will have no trouble;
you will find her sitting at your gates.
Even to think about her is understanding fully grown;
be on the alert for her and anxiety will quickly leave you.
She herself walks about looking for those who are worthy of her
and graciously shows herself to them as they go,
in every thought of theirs coming to meet them.
Friday, October 28, 2011
Friday, October 21, 2011
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
“Wouldn’t it be dreadful if some day in our own world, at home, men started going wild inside, like the animals here, and still looked like men, so that you’d never know which were which?”I know a lot of Chinese folks, and I wouldn't presume to paint them with a broad brush. But the folks who caused or allowed the horrible injuries to this particular toddler -- how could they have allowed or done this?
Friday, October 07, 2011
Monday, October 03, 2011
|The 'we' is the whole community of believers, today and in all times and places. And so I always say: within the community of believers, yes, there is as it were the voice of the valid majority, but there can never be a majority against the apostles or against the saints: that would be a false majority. We are Church: let us be Church, let us be Church precisely by opening ourselves and stepping outside ourselves and being Church with others.|
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
For example, I recently received a correspondence outlining certain strong suggestions to the Australian bishop's conference. One of these is to make bishops more accountable to the priests and laity of the diocese. While this is laudable in many respects, the tone of suspicion and power struggle suggests a discordant thought. The lines of authority in the Church, reasonably described in the New Testament and further clarified and foreshadowed in the Old Testament, paint the figure of a hierarchy. This structure, however, is not founded upon the backs of the laity, as if evoking the assembly "of the people, by the people and for the people." It is founded upon the cornerstone, Jesus Christ, on which were laid the foundation of the apostles, starting with Peter the Rock, and who did not leave us orphans, but established apostolic succession with the office of bishops. Taking these suggestions of flattening the structure (if that is what it is) to its ludicrous conclusion, we end up with a strange notion of making Christ, our High Priest and King, accountable to the ministerial priests who exist through his priestly ministry, and the laity who share the common priesthood, kingship and prophetic office through His.
What will we do about it?
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
There is both consistency and inconsistency in this judge's decision. She reveals a consistently diminutive view of what human life is worth, unborn or not, but she also reveals the moral equivalence of abortion and infanticide. However, she is inconsistent in her role as judge, applying her interpretation of society's opinion, rather than the laws of the land.
Thursday, September 01, 2011
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Set aside for now the fact that so-called reproductive health services, products and education will be made available in one form or another to *individuals* from Grade 5 and up, not couples. Here's a thought experiment.
Let's say that there were two bills proposed, one supporting NFP, one supporting artificial contraception. Considering each method separately, whether to use it or not, an important factor is that the government endorses it, and will subsidze it. That is how members of the public will see it as they weigh the methods separately.
And here's is another indication: neither the president (even as a senator) nor the bill's proponents, seem to have ever lifted a finger to advance the use of NFP, despite the fact that *it does not require legislation to do so*. Nor does it need the purchase of products, pharmaceutical or otherwise, that are restricted by law. The bill's proponent has been pushing his RH/RP bill for three years. If he and other government officials in his camp truly had the welfare of families in mind, and if they were neutral regarding artificial vs natural methods, they should have aggressively pursued the inexpensive NFP option long ago, without needing legislation.
Why haven't they?
Monday, August 22, 2011
The truth is we don’t have to be offered this power of keeping the gate. We already have that power to open or close the kingdom of God to ourselves and to each other. We already have the keys to let ourselves in or to shut one another out of the kingdom or presence of God dwelling within us. We already have that power to open our hearts to life and love, hope and faith. And the power is ours as well to keep the shadows at bay.While the writer's point about our own "power" to open and shut is a profound and insightful one, more needs to be said than what he wrote. In fact, to say that I have any power to shut someone else out of the kingdom, or let him into it, sounds as wrong as it sounds presumptuous to say of myself. While our own free will, a gracious gift from God, allows us to open to to shut out ourselves from the kingdom, those are our own decisions to cooperate with God's grace or not. While we do preach the gospel to plant seeds, it is not my "power" at work, only my participation. To God be the glory! Extolling our "power" to open and shut makes it seem as if it was sufficient in and of itself. All this talk of our "power" is discomfiting. We cannot even say "yes" to God without His grace. Of the pope, it is not his power, but Christ's power, extended to him as authority.
Why did Fr. Jose not write about the papacy, though that would be the most natural theme for this passage? Walking around the topic of authority, even with the best intentions, the essay ends up turning everyone into the ultimate authority, it seems. As Msgr. Charles Pope wrote today, if no one is pope, everyone is pope.
I believe that the authority of the Church and the papacy are not to be hushed up, but to be proclaimed! The readings today about Eliakim, and then about Peter make for an unmistakable lesson on authority. Yes, the authority to bind and to loose may be seen as power, but as you said, [s]uch power can never really be divorced from the grace of his love.. . The papacy is a gift, an expression of God's love. Such love, we should proclaim, and be thankful for!
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Monday, June 20, 2011
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Sunday, June 05, 2011
I was watching this video of the beatification of Blessed John Paul II and I was struck by a thought while Pope Benedict XVI was kneeling in front of the coffin of the Blessed JPII in prayer. In pagan Rome, it was made lawful (and mandatory) that the emperor be declared a god to be worshipped. In Catholic Rome, JPII was declared to now be among those blessed to forever worship God and serve him day and night in His temple. Prayer to the Roman emperors is without effect, for they are not gods. Prayer to the saints in Heaven, those made righteous in Christ, have great effect, because they add their prayers to our intentions, praying to the one true God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
There are many cultures that include some ancestor worship. As in many things that spring out of humanity, they might have caught some of the truth but in a corrupt form. In Christ, we get the truth: death is not the end, indeed, but there is only one God to worship, for a community of saints who are alive in Christ for all eternity, always united by love through the Holy Spirit.
Saturday, June 04, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Monday, May 02, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Thursday, April 14, 2011
|To a great extent the level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood. When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more noble her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women.|
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
It also struck me that meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary (this episode was the second Luminous) is akin to Lectio Divina, or the slightly streamlined "WORD" approach. Of course I'm probably breaking a few rules on either methods by focusing on what was not said, but I think it's something to ponder. :-)
Saturday, April 09, 2011
Sunday, March 27, 2011
But it is Lent, so I do ought to put more time into reading. We started using "The Imitation of Christ" (Thomas a Kempis) at night, and most of it probably whizzes past my boys, but these are seeds, and I can certainly use them for myself, too. As a parent, one thing I can say is that you can't neglect your own welfare. Whether or not you adopt a healthy lifestyle (body, mind and soul), your children will take up a lot of that. And that's why Lent should not go by unnoticed in this household. If I don't keep it well, how will they learn to do so?
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Monday, February 14, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Sunday, January 23, 2011
|I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chlo'e's people that there is quarreling among you, my brethren. What I mean is that each one of you says, "I belong to Paul," or "I belong to Apol'los," or "I belong to Cephas," or "I belong to Christ." Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? .. For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.(1 Cor 1:10-13,17)||Now when [Jesus] heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth he went and dwelt in Caper'na-um by the sea, in the territory of Zeb'ulun and Naph'tali, that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:|
"The land of Zeb'ulun and the land of Naph'tali,
toward the sea, across the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles --
the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,
and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death
light has dawned."
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zeb'edee and John his brother, in the boat with Zeb'edee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him. (Mt 4:12-23)
|".. that they may be one, even as we are one.. that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. .. that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me." (Jn 17)|
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Judge Rutherford acknowledged that the Bulls had good reason to want to preclude what they regarded as immoral sexual activity in their home, but commented, “Whatever may have been the position in past centuries it is no longer the case that our laws must, or should automatically reflect the Judaeo-Christian position.”
Does it mean that the couple has no right to live according to their Judaeo-Christian position? It is one thing to say that the government should not be run by any particular religion, which I can accept, but it is another to say that citizens cannot have religion.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Why? I started this blog years ago as I began to journey deeper into my Catholic faith. This was mostly prompted by my having fallen in love with, married and now have four children with an Evangelical Protestant. But that was just the beginning. Back in college, I was aware of the growing Evangelical presence within the university. Soon after the Internet became prominently part of life (and my career), my eyes were opened to the distressing scandal of schisms and heterodoxy among Christians. Over the years, the distress seemed to focus into a calling. I started this blog mostly (I think) to collect my thoughts on the subject matter, but also to reach out to those who might drop by. It is my prayer that, by God's grace, I may participate in the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing Christianity back into reasonable and visible communion.
How? I offer my thoughts and my prayers. I offer my time to prayerfully research matters of division that should not be. I believe (as many do) that most people hate what they think is the Catholic Church, but is, in reality, a misrepresentation of it. It is not my place to judge people and groups, and may I never do so. My sincere belief is that most branches of non-Catholic Christianity are on the right track but are sorely missing essential elements of the deposit of faith that comes down to us through the Apostles. Thus do they miss out on the fullness of Truth that Christ wills and willed for us to all share within the Church.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Thursday, January 06, 2011
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
man passes away, like a shadow. Nothingness, although he is busy:What keeps me busy? It is incredibly easy these days to be constantly doing something. This age of technology presents man with so many possible distractions, but only one thing is important, a certain Martha was told once. Why do I blog so much when there is so much more to gain in praying the Scriptures, or other spiritual reading? Why the online games? Why spend an hour everyday on the news? Where is my treasure? I seem to surround myself with so much activity that I hardly have time to think beyond the moment...
Tuesday, January 04, 2011
|.. with liturgical music. Church music uses free rhythm that always points upwards in the same way that incense is always rising. This assists our prayer. Secular styles of music, in contrast, use rhythms that elicit temporal thoughts and emotions. Rock music points to nothing outside of itself, so it does not belong anywhere near the liturgy.|
Monday, January 03, 2011
My 11-year old son and I went to Mass this morning (Monday) because we were unable to receive Holy Communion yesterday, having missed the hour-long fast. I did tell him that it was not obligatory that he receive at every Sunday Mass, although it would be good whenever possible. He said he understood, but insisted that he wanted to receive today. This was no small thing because we would otherwise get up late during these school holidays.
Watching him serve at the altar, I was reflecting on his response to the Holy Spirit, on my fatherhood and that of God. A staunch Calvinist once asserted that there is no such thing as free will. What does this doctrine say about the goodness of God? The idea that He would limit his children to act only upon divine "programming" -- without free will -- is unthinkable (David Armstrong on soteriology and creation here).
Today my son responded to grace, I believe, and while the grace is God's, the will to respond was his. He is growing in faith, into an obedience of faith, and it is as joyous to behold as it is inspiring to me.
|.. Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. .. "I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one. I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me.|