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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Preach it, (Msgr) Pope!


Sunday, April 01, 2018

Risen, just as he said

Christ is Risen! Alleluia!

While I love the Mass in general, there's nothing like the celebration of the Easter vigil. The darkness, the Paschal candle and then people lighting their candles from it and then from their neighbors, and the growing sea of tiny flames as they keep going until every person's candle is lit. And then the readings, starting from the creation account in Genesis, then the Exodus rescue, then from Isaiah and Ezekiel, until we reach the New Testament readings where it culminates in Jesus Christ, the Paschal Lamb, sacrificed, and then the Resurrection. Then we have baptisms and confirmations, the creed and then the Eucharist. It is beautiful! And powerful!

Yes, my wife and daughter are away on holiday, and yes, my sons were blowing out my candle when I wasn't looking. And yes, one of them decided to break up his remaining candle into tiny pieces and pull out the wick. And he dribbled a bit of wax on his pants and maybe the floor. And yes, he's too old to be fooling around with it like that (at 16), and yes he and his younger brother were sniggering at the size of the feet of the guy in front of us, for everyone to see his shoulders shaking uncontrollably. And yes, they also saw me trying to keep them quiet a number of times during the Mass.

But all my sons were with me and were fine. They weren't miserably begging off the Mass, nor miserably begging to go after an hour. They weren't grumpy at having to stand and kneel and sit and on and on. Mind you, I wish they'd been more prayerful throughout, as they should, but they were with me through more than two hours, and sang and chanted and prayed through some if not most of that. Grace doesn't come from us. As Lito would say, it's 'extra nos', outside of us, coming from God, unmerited. Our receptiveness depends on our disposition, of course, but not Grace. My sons are young. If they don't resist too much, they will mature, and I will pray for that all my life and after. God is patient, rich in kindness and mercy, slow to anger and abounding in love.

It's Easter. Christus Resurrexit! Alleluia!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Beware the paradigm shift

.. for you might just get it. The pastoral angle is attractive, just as emotional, romantic highs are, but what does it profit us if we wander away from truth?

Show me, Lord, your way,
So that I may walk in your truth.
Guide my heart to fear your name.
  -- Psalm 85 (86)

Promises of paradigm shifts, like hasty science, buzz words and sound bites, tend to leave a lot of details out. The whole point of the journey is perfection, so of course there is struggle. Devaluating the struggle for the sake of expedience  - wouldn't that risk making any struggle optional, perhaps arbitrary, to commit to (or not) as with the demands of discipleship in general?

Friday, February 23, 2018

Aim higher

Because we can. As a great saint wrote, "Why fly like a barnyard hen when you can soar like an eagle?"

Wednesday, January 03, 2018


From St Augustine's tractates on St John,
The twin commandments of love:

".. As far as teaching is concerned, the love of God comes first; but as far as doing is concerned, the love of our neighbour comes first. Whoever sets out to teach you these two commandments of love must not commend your neighbour to you first, and then God, but God first and then your neighbour. You, on the other hand, do not yet see God, but loving your neighbour will bring you that sight. By loving your neighbour you purify your eyes so that they are ready to see God, as John clearly says: If you do not love your brother, whom you see, how can you love God, whom you do not see?
    You are told “Love God”. If you say to me “Show me whom I should love”, what can I say except what John says? No man has ever seen God. But you must not think yourself wholly unsuited to seeing God: God is love, says John, and whoever dwells in love dwells in God. So love whoever is nearest to you and look inside you to see where that love is coming from: thus, as far as you are capable, you will see God. .."

From Universalis.com (Office of Readings 3 January, 2017)