Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
In my earlier blog I discussed the idea of fog being paradoxical. I wanted to add this little tidbit. I was visiting my father-in-law last Saturday. He's 93 going 94 (really going on 16). He's an amazing guy. I think he subscribes to every major magazine out there. He saves his issues and stacks them everywhere but mostly on the kitchen table. He asked me if I wanted to take any of them home with me. I told him yes just to get rid of them. I don't read magazines. No real surprise there. The internet has so many outlets for news that most of the articles are outdated by the time you read them in print (and oh yea there is a subscription to pay too) The other reason is that the media is so biased in many ways and of course anti Christian and anti Catholic. I was scanning the December 8th issue of Newsweek when I came across an article about the movie "Doubt". The title of the article is "The Nun vs. the Priest" They interview Meryl Streep who plays the nun , Viola Davis who plays the mother of the alleged abused boy and John Patrick Shanley the writer-director.. Isn't it so refreshing to see these great Catholics being portrayed in the media. Priests are always murderers or sex crazed offenders. Nuns have some secret sex life and are always victimized by the evil Father Tom. I haven't watched any trailers on this movie but I betcha the priest did it. What intrigued me about this article was the interviews. Ms Davis says: "For me, Catholicism was such a sense of community and belonging and identity. We were the first black family in our Rhode Island town. We were on the periphery. And to see all my friends in their white little first communion dresses, looking so cute and going to catechism -it was fabulous to me." John Patrick Shanley the writer director adds " I think the great attraction that Viola is feeling, to be presumptuous, is community - she needs community, and I think that is one of the great deficits in modern life. Now the Catholic Church has its faults, but these diocese, these church schools, these centers, provided a gravity which kept people from flying off into outer space. And we haven't really yet come up with a great substitute. The best we have is the Internet, that's the new community. I mean Meryl do you suffer from a lack of community yet"? Streep: "I don't know" Davis says "Or is it just that you don't care." Streep says " No I mean I guess I'm in awe of what I don't know. All the uncertainties that are embedded in doctrines - I understand the solace they provide, but in a way, they also for me form a kind of fence that divides us from each other. I am pulled towards the ineffable and I am trying to conceive why we exist and is there a greater purpose. But I'm a mother, and I have a purpose, and I have a place, and I deeply resent the idea that if you're not a member of a church, temple, ashram, synagogue or- what else is there? - that you are somehow denying your children the meaning of life. I have a deep reverence for life. I feel I'm a deeply moral person. But often religion is a club of which people are excluded." Do you realize how retarded her arguments are? She is what 60 years old and she's trying conceive why we exist and is there a greater purpose... ok, so aren't a lot of people. She says she's in awe of what she doesn't know (which was the most intelligent thing she said) but suddenly abandons that thought to proudly proclaim that she's a mother and "I have a purpose". The Catholic Church applauds your motherhood, Meryl. She also resents that any organized religion (please notice the conspicuous absence of a Mosque, cannot offend the Muslims that would not be politically correct or as we see in many cases dangerous to your health) would force themselves on her. And I'm sorry but I don't get the part about denying your children the meaning of life - you are 60 years old and haven't discovered it yet and I'm dam sure Hollywood isn't contributing to the cause. Meryl please get to know the Catholic Church. We don't build fences, we don't exclude people, and we do have a reverence for life, so much so we respect all life even the unborn. We are against abortion unlike yourself. You sound like a person who doesn't care. I know you are intelligent and a darn good actress but would this church work for you?
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide,
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present,
My true account lest he returning chide,
'Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?'
I fondly ask. But Patience to prevent
That murmur soon replies,'God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts. Who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly: thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who stand and wait.'
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Biblical scholars tell us that St. John the Evangelist, "the disciple whom the Lord loved" wrote his Gospel when he was living on the island of Patmos. He was 90 years old or so. John wanted to make sure that the people really understood who Christ was. His Gospel is more personal, he was in the inner circle, he was speaking as an eyewitness. In being that eyewitness he has a closer view to Jesus' divinity. From that he saw the love which is God. The very beginning of John's Gospel makes it clear who Christ was. He now emphatically states that the Logos was God, and furthermore that the Logos became flesh and made his dwelling among us. This shatters all previous philosophical understanding of this notion of a "supreme being". If you want to really know who Jesus is, read the Gospel of John. It is poetic and beautiful and reveals "the light, life, darkness, truth, Lamb of God, Light of the World, Bread of Life, the Good Shepherd, The Vine, the Bridegroom, and the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I personally believe also in a sense it argues against "sola scriptura" because it ends with John saying after His resurrection that " Jesus did many other things as well. If everyone of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written" I guess since those things did not end up in the Bible they were not important. St. Thomas Aquinas once said, "Hold firmly that our faith is identical with the ancients. Deny this and you dissolve the unity of the Church"
Friday, December 26, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Joy to the world, the Lord has come!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
In the movie " It's A Wonderful Life" the main character George Bailey wishes he was never born. The angel Clarence Oddbody consults with God and his wish is granted. George Bailey sees the results of his absence. The brother who dies because he was not there to save him, the wrong prescription that is sent out and resulting ruin of the pharmacist, the town being taken over by the
greedy Mr. Potter and so on and so on. We have no way of ever knowing how our lives affects those we come across in this journey. I have been touched by people the most during tragic events. My own son who was severely injured in a boating accident that transformed his life. The funeral of a parishioner who had taken her own life. The love and support for a young lady, who also is a parishioner, after she had been in a serious car crash. It could be that I am a stoic in terms of my emotions. The jolt that comes from seeing the outpouring of love during these most tragic of times may be powerful enough to penetrate the walls that surround my heart. But it does penetrate and leaves it with a lasting impression. In today's mornings paper I read about a most horrific tragedy. A man had accidentally driven his car over his own two year old daughter. I can't begin to fathom the range of emotions that has befallen this person. The wrenching guilt, the sadness, the regret, and the countless time that horror plays over and over again in his mind. All the what ifs and whys in the world cannot ease his pain. It is at this time that I ask all and anybody out there to pray for them. This can be our Christmas gift and even if this person may never know, Our Loving and Merciful Father will hear our prayers and bring healing. There is an end to the darkness, "In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us"
The King shall come when morning dawns
And light triumphant breaks,
When beauty gilds the eastern hills
And life to joy awakes.
Not as of old a little child,
To bear and fight and die,
But crowned with glory like the sun
That lights the morning sky.
Oh, brighter than the rising morn
When Christ, victorious, rose
And left the lonesome place of death
Despite the rage of foes.
Oh, brighter than that glorious morn
Shall dawn upon our race
The day when Christ in splendor comes
And we shall see his face.
The King shall come when morning dawns
And light and beauty brings.
Hail, Christ the Lord! Your people pray:
Come quickly, King of kings.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
John of course was preparing the way for Our Lord's arrival. He was preaching of repentance and making straight our paths. The Church in her wisdom goes back to John the Baptist reminding us that although the day nears that we are yet to repent and prepare. We reflect on one birth looking towards the birth of the Word Incarnate. In today's meditation from the Magnificat Father Julian Carron, a professor of theology at the University of Milan writes in a piece called "The Baptist is Born to Help Us Beg for Christ" The true protagonist of history is the beggar. If we wish to live this moment as protagonists, that is, without being formal, by following the manner in which we are educated, each of us must become, or better recognize what he is: a beggar" " It is easy : each of us must realize his need. The beggar is the one who is aware of his own human need."
Monday, December 22, 2008
Gates, lift up your heads! Stand erect, ancient doors, and let in the King of Glory. Psalm 23:7 Thoughts always seem to run rapidly through my mind. Sometimes I can hold on to them, other times they are so very fleeting, yet other times they are like a link in a chain that has slipped through my hands, not knowing what happened to them. We had a wonderful visit with our son yesterday and we are grateful that our Lord has blessed us with him. Our prayer for him and the other novices is that they grow in their love and devotion, and that they reach the spiritual azimuth necessary to be true disciples of Christ. The message of Advent is an important message. The Church waits in anticipation for the King of Glory to arrive but heeds that we prepare ourselves. We are in need of daily conversion all the days of our lives. Have we examined ourselves and asked if we truly are ready to receive this greatest of gifts? Are the doors of our lives only partially opened? Have we forgotten to place a spread out for his arrival, a spread from our very hearts? Do we exhibit the joy and hospitality required for such a special guest? Does this hospitality pour out to all those we meet, especially those in need? Have we gone to our father and confessed our sinfulness and allowing for his love and mercy to absolve us and renew us? There may be work to do yet. I know there is for me. Let us stand erect like those ancient doors and "Let in the King of Glory"
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Malachi 3: 19-20
Lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the proud and evildoers will be stubble, And the day that is coming will set them on fire, leaving them neither root nor branch, says the Lord of host. But for you who fear my name, there will rise the sun of justice with its healing rays.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
The Holy Gospel According to St. Luke 1:26-38
"Behold, you shall conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call him Jesus'
OH COME LET US ADORE HIM, OH COME LET US ADORE HIM, OH COME LET US ADORE HIM , CHRIST THE LORD, OH COME LET US ADORE HIM, OH COME LET US ADORE HIM, OH COME LET US ADORE HIM, CHRIST THE LORD, OH COME LET US ADORE HIM, OH COME LET US ADORE HIM, OH COME LET US ADORE HIM, CHRIST THE LORD
Friday, December 19, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
The state of of our current economy is troublesome at best. It is easy to get caught up with things you can't control. I am not suggesting that it should not concern you but rather it should not consume you. Our faith teaches us that our eyes should be on the prize; the many rooms that have been prepared for us. The things of this world are transient. St. Paul wrote many times on the tension between the things of this world and the spiritual life. Paul also tells us: "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you" (Philippians 4:6-9). Trusting in God, we can take life as it comes. Jesus does not deny that we have troubles. He just tells us to deal with them one day at a time. Each day, God will give us the strength we need for the challenges of that day. I am reminded of a hymn of evening prayer that can be sung to the tune of "There is a Wideness in God's Mercy" It goes like this:
Till your love's revealing light,
Till the height and depth and greatness
Dawns upon our human sight:
Making known the needs and burdens
Your compassion bids us bear,
Stirring us to faithful service,
Your abundant life to share.
In times when our burdens grow remember there are those who struggle every day, whose crosses are weighed down, whose suffering never ceases. We can take this time to be there for those in need through prayer, support by being present, and monetary support. Set aside your fears and take this opportunity to grow in faith and in service in building the Kingdom of God. Keep you eye on the prize for "Eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man what things God has prepare for those who love Him."
Monday, December 15, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
"He was praying, or he was weeping, or he was staring into eternity" -late summer, 1741
Ludwig Von Beethoven (1770-1827), in his own hand, copied every word and note of the Messiah, so much did he desire to absorb every detail and nuance. It is my desire that you have the matchless experience of reading the Holy Scriptures of the libretto, aloud to yourself, and then to someone else. You will enter into an intimate fellowship with Handel and Beethoven. And then, hearing, or participating in, the great performances of this saga of redemption will bring new thrills for your spirit. Beethoven was reputed to have first picked up Handel's Messiah with these words, "Here is a different fellow" and proceeded to play the most interesting looking passages. On another occasion he is said to have remarked, "Handel is the greatest composer that ever lived", and spoke of the oratorio as having "sublimity of language". The music of Messiah so permeated Beethoven's being that on his deathbed he is reputed to have quoted from The Messiah stating that if there were a physician that could help him "His name shall be called Wonderful".Handel, upon reading these Scriptures from the Old and New Testaments (compiled by a friend) (August, 1741) was overcome by their power. The music began dancing and exploding within him. He immediately shut himself in and worked night and day, often forgetting to eat. The servants could, from time to time, hear his sobs as he labored over the inspired text. He finished the original libretto and score in twenty-four days. A complete musical performance requires nearly three hours; the Scripture texts, thirty minutes. Read these as Handel did and you will experience God and eternity.
Rejoice, the time draws near, and relax put on Handel's Messiah "For Unto Us A Child is Born"
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Neither suffering nor serious illness, neither the exhausting ministerial activity, frequently carried out in difficult and dangerous circumstances, could stifle the radiating and contagious joy which he brought to his life for Christ and which nothing could take away. Indeed, the deepest root of self-sacrificing surrender for the lowly was his passionate love for Jesus Christ and his ardent desire to be conformed to him, even unto death
When I hear the excuses that people give about missing Mass and how this or that is so difficult, I remind them of the many martyrs who throughout the ages paid with their lives so the Faith would continue. Men will die but the Church will never die as Christ promised. We are to live our faith with joy and courage. If you look at the Catholic Church and truly understand its history and its message of hope and love you will recognize that our faith is a faith worth living and worth dying for. Viva Cristo Rey!.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
A few nights ago I watched the tv version of Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol" the 1984 movie with George C. Scott as Scrooge. It is wonderful. There is a point in the story were Scrooge is taken to the home of Bob Crachit by the spirit. The family are awaiting Bob and Tiny Tim and are busy about the home doing their preparations. Finally Bob Crachit and Tiny Tim arrive. I will pick up the dialogue exactly as Dickens wrote it. "And how did little Tim behave?" asked Mrs. Crachit, when she rallied Bob on his credulity, and Bob hugged his daughter to his heart's content. "As good as gold," said Bob, "and better. Somehow he gets thoughtful, sitting by himself so much, and thinks the strangest things you ever heard. He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church because he was a cripple and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk and blind men see." That is the humility that God seeks us to have. Jesus instructs in Matthew 18:4"Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Paul reminds the Philippians of imitating Christ's humility. " Do nothing out of selfish ambition, but in humility consider others better than yourself." He describes Jesus as one who"did not consider equality with God something to be grasped" and "he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!" How do we posses this kind of humility? We first have to shed our pride. This is a difficult thing. We can reflect on Scripture meditating on Christ's humility, we can also look to the Blessed Mother and the saints for example. I would read about Maximilian Kolbe or Mother Teresa. We can pray for the desire to be humble. We can practice it on family members, co-workers, neighbors, and yes even strangers. All virtues grow with practice and repetition. There is always a choice that is before each of us. The secular world which has rejected God and teaches us quite the opposite of humility. Will you follow the "world" or the example of Jesus Christ? We can approach our day with the attitude of what good thing can happen for me or the example of Jesus Christ which is what good thing can I do for others. When we surrender our heart to the will of God which is totally unconditional love, we can love others as we love ourselves. One other thing....I don't know about you but I get from time to time emails that are sort of "good feeling, God loves you, chain letters". You are suppose to forward these letters and "something good will happen" Whereas I don't deny or want to imply that God doesn't love you or that these letters are harmful in any way, my suggestion if you want something good to happen for yourself and others is to link to one of the charitable websites to the left of here. You will be genuinely helping someone who is truly in need. We Americans have far too much. Can't you give just a little for someone else?