Wednesday, August 31, 2011
The Midwest Conservative Journal reports that the Canadian Government is warning people not to purchase semen on-line for artificial insemination. Like Jeff Foxworthy said, they wouldn't warn you if somebody hadn't done it! If your mama ordered your Daddy's seed off the internet, you might be a Redneck . . .
Monday, August 29, 2011
A Chinese Protestant leader has been sentenced to two years of "re-education through labor." The intent is to "re-educate" him out of his Christian beliefs. Full story here.
Today, August 29th, the Church honors the martyrdom of Saint John the Baptist.
From The Gospel of Mark (6: 20 - 28).
". . . for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he was much perplexed; and yet he heard him gladly. But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and the leading men of Galilee. For when Herodias' daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, "Ask me whatever you wish, and I will grant it." And he vowed to her, "Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom." And she went out, and said to her mother, "What shall I ask?" And she said, "The head of John the baptizer." And she came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, saying, "I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter." And the king was exceedingly sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. And immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard and gave orders to bring his head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother."
PRAYER: "GOD OUR FATHER, YOU CALLED JOHN THE BAPTIST TO BE THE HERALD OF YOUR SON'S BIRTH AND DEATH. AS HE GAVE HIS LIFE IN WITNESS TO TRUTH AND JUSTICE, SO MAY WE STRIVE TO PROFESS OUR FAITH IN YOUR GOSPEL. GRANT THIS THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, YOUR SON, WHO LIVES AND REIGNS WITH YOU AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, ONE GOD, FOR EVER AND EVER. AMEN.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
From The Liturgy of the Hours:
Almighty God, every good thing comes from You. Fill our hearts with love for You, increase our faith, and by Your constant care protect the good You have given us. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Collect for the Tenth Sunday After Trinity from The Book of Common Prayer:
LET THY MERCIFUL EARS, O LORD, BE OPEN TO THE PRAYERS OF THEY HUMBLE SERVANTS; AND, THAT THEY MAY OBTAIN THEIR PETITIONS, MAKE THEM TO ASK SUCH THINGS AS SHALL PLEASE THEE; THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD. AMEN.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
A Florida teacher, who is a former "Teacher of the Year," has been suspended for posting his private opinions on Gay Marriage on his Facebook page. Full story here.
Today, August 23rd, the Church honors Saint Rose of Lima. From The Liturgy of the Hours:
Saint Rose was born at Lima, Peru in 1586. She led a virtuous life at home and, after receiving the habit of the Third Order of Saint Dominic, she made great progress in a life of penance and contemplation. She died August 24, 1617.
PRAYER: GOD OUR FATHER, FOR LOVE OF YOU SAINT ROSE GAVE UP EVERYTHING TO DEVOTE HERSELF TO A LIFE OF PENANCE. BY THE HELP OF HER PRAYERS MAY WE IMITATE HER SELFLESS WAY OF LIFE ON EARTH AND ENJOY THE FULLNESS OF YOUR BLESSINGS IN HEAVEN. GRANT THIS THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, YOUR SON, WHO LIVES AND REIGNS WITH YOU AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, ONE GOD, FOR EVER AND EVER. AMEN.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
From The Liturgy of the Hours:
Father, help us to seek the values that will bring us lasting joy in this changing world. In our desire for what you promise make us one in mind and heart. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Collect for the Ninth Sunday after Trinity from The Book of Common Prayer:
GRANT TO US, LORD, WE BESEECH THEE, THE SPIRIT TO THINK AND DO ALWAYS SUCH THINGS AS ARE RIGHT; THAT WE, WHO CANNOT DO ANY THING THAT IS GOOD WITHOUT THEE, MAY BY THEE BE ENABLED TO LIVE ACCORDING TO THY WILL; THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD. AMEN.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Here’s a recap. I started a Bible study on the Book of Exodus back during Lent. Of course, covering the entire book of Exodus was a much bigger job than I anticipated. I intented to write a new Bible study post every week. After Lent was over, I was grew tired of the project and gave it a rest. I had pretty much decided to just drop it until I noticed how many hits that those posts were getting and I realized that people must be hungry for this type of material. So I am going to begin again and attempt to finish the study of Exodus. I will probably be much less ambitious and I anticipate a new Bible study post about once a month. At that rate it will take forever to finish, but so what?
Here’s a recap of prior posts in the series: Exodus Chapter 1 and 2; The Call of Moses (Exodus 3 - 6); The River of Blood (Exodus Chapter 7); The Finger of God (Exodus Chapter 8); When the Gods Were Silent (Exodus 9 - 10); An Ordinance Forever (Exodus 11 - 12).
PRAYER BEFORE STUDYING SCRIPTURE: Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in us the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and we shall be created and You shall renew the face of the earth.
THE CONSECRATION OF THE FIRSTBORN AND THE FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD (EXODUS CHAPTER 13: 1 - 16).
Exodus Chapter 13 begins with God’s command to consecrate all of the firstborn to Him. “The LORD said to Moses, ‘Consecrate to me all the firstborn; whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine.” (Exodus 13: 1-2). Professor Davis comments: “The consecration of the firstborn was closely associated with the events of the Passover and was to serve as a reminder of God’s mercy to His people.” (Davis, Moses and the Gods of Egypt, p. 161). The Navarre Bible Commentary stresses that Jesus was the firstborn son dedicated to God: “This law, which is an acknowledgment that children are a gift from God and belong to him, stayed in place virtually unchanged up to the time of the New Testament. Jesus himself submitted to it in a profound act of humility.” (Navarre Bible, Volume I: Pentateuch, p. 294).
In verses 3 through 16, Moses gives the people liturgical instructions about how the Feast of Unleavened Bread is to be celebrated. Professor Davis comments “The feast of unleavened bread was not only designed to bring back the memory of that great deliverance, but to remind them of the possibilities of future blessing.” (Davis, p. 163). The Navarre Bible Commentary quotes paragraph 1363 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “This is how Israel understands its liberation from Egypt: every time Passover is celebrated the Exodus events are mad present to the memory of believers so that they may conform their lives to them” (Navarre Pentateuch p. 295).
Verses 9 and 16 command “And it shall be to you as a sign on your hand and as memorial between your eyes, that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand the LORD has brought you out of Egypt.” (Exodus 13: 9), and “It shall be as a mark on your hand or frontlets between your eyes; for by a strong hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt.” (Exodus 13: 16). This is the origin of the Jewish practice of wearing tephillin which Orthodox Jews still maintain. As Professor Davis explains:
“The precise meaning of the term “token” . . . and its implications in daily practice have been the subject of some speculation. Upon the basis of this verse and Deuteronomy 6:8 and 11:18 the Jews have concluded that this means the wearing of literal pouches which they have designated tephillin, a term explained to mean prayers. The Greek designation was phylakterion (Matt. 23:5) from which the English word “phylactery” has been derived. The phylactery consisted of small pouches made from the skin of ceremonially clean animals, sewed to leather bands by which they were strapped to the forehead between and immediately above the eyes and to the left arms of males who had reached the age of thirteen. Inside the small pouches were strips of parchment on which were written certain passages from the Law (viz. Exod. 13:2-10; Deut. 6:4-9; 11: 13-21). These passages were placed in one of the four compartments of the head phylactery. The arm phylactery had but one pocket yet contained the same four passages written on one piece of skin. It was generally tied to the inside of the left arm a little above the elbow so that the Scripture passages might be close to the heart.
. . . This practice is still perpetuated today by orthodox Jews and phylacteries are worn by the pious during the daily morning prayer and by some devout men all day long. . . . In Jesus’ day men would make the phylacteries more conspicuous by broadening the bands, which practice was severely criticized by Christ in Matthew 23:5.” (Davis, p. 162 - 163).
THE DEPARTURE FROM EGYPT
When the children of Israel left Egypt God led them on a round about way in order to avoid contact with the Philistines. “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, ‘Lest the people repent when they see war, and return to Egypt.’ But God led the people round by the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea.” (Exodus 13: 17- 18). The Bible notes that Moses took the remains of Joseph with him. “And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him; for Joseph had solemnly sworn the people of Israel, saying, ‘God will visit you; then you must carry my bones with you from here.’ (Exodus 13: 19). The New Jerome Bible Commentary notes: “In Gen. 50: 22 - 26, Joseph made his brothers swear that they would take his bones with them when God ‘will visit you.’ The transfer of the bones is a sign that ‘the visitation’ has taken place.” (New Jerome Bible Commentary, p. 49).
“And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night; the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.” Exodus 13: 21-22). God appeared as smoke by day and as fire by night. (Davis, p. 167).
ESCAPE FROM DANGER (EXODUS 14: 1 - 15:21)
The exact location where Israel encamped and crossed over from Egypt into Sinai has been endlessly debated. Professor Davis notes: “The exact identity of the Red Sea (Heb. yam sup - “sea of reeds”) has been the subject of very lively debate. . . . The place of encampment is listed in verse 2 as Pi-hahiroth, ‘between Migdol and the sea, over against Baa-zephon. . . .’ The exact location of these sites is at present uncertain.” (Davis, p. 167).
In any event, when the people find out that Pharaoh’s army is behind them with chariots and coming up fast, they panic. Moses, however, remains calm and firm and tells the people that if they will only have faith the LORD will deliver them.
“When Pharoah drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them; and they were in great fear. And the people of Israel cried out to the LORD; and they said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us, in bringing us out of Egypt? Is not this what we said to you in Egypt, ‘Let us alone and let us serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die I the wilderness.” And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be still.” (Exodus 14: 10 - 14).
Professor Davis comments “The reaction of the Hebrews is quite typical of those whose spiritual perspectives are those which are conditioned by the present alone. Without a historical consciousness of what God has done and a deep rooted faith in what God will do, one is easily moved by the emotion of a given situation. The shallow responses of the Hebrews should be a warning to all of those who put their emphasis on the present.” (Davis, p. 169).
The Navarre Bible Commentary quotes the Church Father Origen: “You too, if you distance yourself from the Egyptians and flee far from the power of demons, will see what great helps will be provided to you each day and what great protection is available to you. All that is asked of you is that you stand firm in the faith and do not let yourself be terrified by either the Egyptian cavalry or the noise of their chariots.” (Navarre Pentateuch, p. 300).
CROSSING THE RED SEA
“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. The Egyptians pursued, and went in after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharoah’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. And in the morning watch the LORD in the pillar of fire and of cloud looked down upon the host of the Egyptians, and discomfited the host of the Egyptians, clogging their chariot wheels so that they drove heavily; and the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from before Israel; for the LORD fights for them against the Egyptians.”
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.” So Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its wonted flow when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled into it, and the LORD routed the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen and all the host of Pharoah that had followed them into the sea; not so much as one of them remained. But the people of Israel walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
Thus the LORD saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the seashore. And Israel saw the great work which the LORD did against the Egyptians, and the people feared the LORD; and they believed in the LORD and in his servant Moses.” (Exodus 14: 21 - 31).
The Navarre Bible Commentary notes that Saint Paul viewed the crossing of the Red Sea as pre-figuring the sacrament of Christian Baptism: “St. Paul sees in the passage of the sea a figure of Christian Baptism. Baptism marks the start of salvation, and the start also of a persevering effort on the Christian’s part to respond to it. (cf. 1 Cor. 10: 1-5).” (Navarre, p. 299).
Professor Davis comments: “From the days of Josephus onward there have been critics who have denied the very historicity of this event explaining it as simply mythology. . . .
Professor Angelos Galanopoulos of Athens University is quoted as ascribing both the pollution of the Nile River and the crossing of the Israelites through the sea, to a violent volcanic eruption which occurred somewhere in the thirteenth century B.C. According to Galanopoulos, this volcanic explosion set off air waves 350 times more powerful than those of a hydrogen bomb and devastated not only the presumed continent of Atlantis, but provided associated catastrophic events such as the plagues and the separation of the Red Sea. . . . A very popular view is that the Israelites crossed in a generally shallow and marshy district which could easily have been cleared of water and laid dry by the normal action of a strong wind. The difficulty with this viewpoint is that if this were merely shallow water, it is difficult to see how the Egyptians could have been drowned.” (Davis, p. 171 - 172).
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Commonwealth, provides a possible naturalistic explanation: “. . . the events that took place could be described as follows: The Israelites had arrived at the Reed Sea at a point at which it was shallow. Possibly there was a ridge in the sea bed, normally covered by water, but occasionally - when, for example, a fierce east wind blows - exposed. This is how Cambridge University physicist Colin Humphreys puts it in his “The Miracles of Exodus”:
‘Wind tides are well known to oceanographers. For example, a strong wind blowing along Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes, has produced water elevation differences of as much as sixteen feet between Toledo, Ohio, on the west, an Buffalo, New York, on the east . . . There are reports that Napoleon was almost killed by a ‘sudden high tide’ while he was crossing shallow water near the head of the Gulf of Suez.’
In the case of the wind that exposed the ridge in the bed of the sea, the consequences were dramatic. Suddenly the Israelites, traveling on foot, had an immense advantage over the Egyptian chariots that were pursuing them. Their wheels became stuck in the mud. The charioteers made ferocious efforts to free them, only to find that they quickly became mired again. The Egyptian army could neither advance nor retreat. So intent were they on the trapped wheels, and so reluctant were they to abandon their prized war machines, the chariots, that they failed to notice that the wind had dropped and the water was returning. By the time they realized what was happening, they were trapped. The ridge was now covered with sea water in either direction, and the island of dry land in the middle was shrinking by the minute.. The mightiest army of the ancient world was defeated, and its warriors drowned, not by a superior army, not by human opposition at all, but by their own folly in being so focused on capturing the Israelites that they ignored the fact that they were driving into mud where their chariots could not go.” (Sacks, Covenant & Conversation: A Weekly Reading of the Jewish Bible: Exodus: The Book of Redemption, p. 105).
The New Jerome Bible Commentary says that the account which we have is drawn from two different sources, identified as “J,” or Yahwist source, and “P” or the Priestly source:
“The battle is conceived by each source differently. According to P, Moses divided the sea by the rod and Israel walked through on dry land, the waters being a wall to their right and left. When Israel go to the other side, Moses raised his hand and the walls of water crashed in on the Egyptian army, wiping them out. According to J, Yahweh the storm-god drove back the sea long enough for Israel to cross in the night and then the sea returned to its wonted flow in the morning.” (New Jerome Bible Commentary, p. 49 - 50).
Being a fundamentalist, Professor Davis warns of the dire consequences of not believing that all of these events literally occurred just as they are recounted in scripture: “It would be well to observe at this point that not all scholars are agreed on the historical reality of the Red Sea crossing. There have been numerous attempts over the years to account for the origin of the story without having to resort to a literal event. . . . Such assertions, however, miss the point of prophetic admonition. If these historical events never occurred, there are no real theological or spiritual applications to be made. . . . if Christ did not literally and historically rise from the dead, we have no theology! Faith, as presented in Scripture, is predicated upon historical realities.”
Rabbi Sacks makes this comment on the nature of miracles: “. . . a miracle is not necessarily something that suspends natural law. It is, rather, an event for which there may be a natural explanation, but which - happening when, where and how it did - evokes wonder, such that even the most hardened sceptic senses that God has intervened in history.” (Sacks p. 106).
After safely crossing over the sea and reaching safety and having witnessed the defeat of the Pharaoh’s army at the hands of the LORD, Moses and the people of Israel sing a great hymn of victory. This victory anthem, Exodus 15: 1 - 21, will be discussed in the next post in this series.
Professor Davis sums up well the theological implications of the deliverance of the people from Egypt: “The story of the Red Sea crossing is a reminder to every believer that God is fully capable of completing His purposes and plans for those who have committed themselves to Him.” (Davis p. 182).
PRAYER AFTER STUDYING SCRIPTURE: O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
The Obama Department of Justice is seeking to over turn the Ministerial Exception which states that religious groups can hire and fire clergy and others who work in a religious capacity based upon their religious beliefs without regard to Federal discrimination statutes. The Obama DOJ is now arguing that there should not be a Ministerial exception (in other words, Bishops might be able to be sued for refusing to ordain a woman to the priesthood because it is "sex discrimination.") Full story from the National Catholic Register.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Father Dwight Longenecker verses Demons. Apparently, a family who attends a Protestant mega church (the mother and sister of the husband are Wiccans)called Father Dwight for help when they started having strange things happen in their house. Read about it at Father Dwight's blog Standing on My Head.
I always thought it would be fun to re-make the Exorcist with say, Pentecostal Faith Healer Bennie Hinn as the Exorcist. When little Linda Blair threw up pea soup all over his white preaching suit he could say in his Lebanese accent, "You will pay my dry cleaning bill, In the name of Jesus!"
Apparently there is a new pedophile priest scandal brewing in Kansas and another Bishop who elected to take no action against a priest who was suspected of being a child molester. Full story from The Deacon's Bench.
Assumption of the Virgin by Anton Kern
Icon of the Dormition of the Theotokos.
Today, August 15th, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. From The Liturgy of the Hours:
All powerful and ever living God, You raised the sinless Virgin Mary, mother of Your Son, body and soul to the glory of heaven. May we see heaven as our final goal and come to share her glory. We ask this through Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
From The Liturgy of the Hours:
God our Father, may we love you in all things and above all things and reach the joy you have prepared for us beyond all our imagining. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Collect for the Eighth Sunday after Trinity from The Book of Common Prayer:
O GOD, WHOSE NEVER FAILING PROVIDENCE ORDERETH ALL THINGS BOTH IN HEAVEN AND EARTH; WE HUMBLY BESEECH THEE TO PUT AWAY FROM US ALL HURTFUL THINGS, AND TO GIVE US THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE PROFITABLE FOR US; THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD. AMEN.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
I have a special affection for The Missionary Servants of the Holy Trinity. I began going to the retreat house at Holy Trinity, Alabama, which is run by the Trinitarian Sisters, a number of years ago when I was still a searching Protestant. Through much prayer and searching, much of it done at Holy Trinity Shrine Retreat, I found the Truth of the Catholic faith.
In 1958 Paul Hendrickson was a fourteen year old who had just entered the minor seminary located at Holy Trinity and hoped to one day become a Missionary Priest. In 1965, at age 21 and only weeks away from taking his permanent vows, Hendrickson left religious life. In 2002 he wrote in The New York Times that he is a “cultural Catholic” and no longer attends Mass but that he still believes and “We fear. We (Hendrickson and his wife) both say our prayers.”
Hendrickson has been a lightening rod for controversy. For reasons detailed below, the book under consideration Seminary: A Search (Summit Books: 1983) was controversial. In 1996 Hendrickson published The Living and the Dead a controversial biography of Robert McNamara. Henrickson has worked as a feature writer for the Washington Post and is currently on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania where he teaches in the English Department. His latest book is about Ernest Hemingway.
The Missionary Servants of the Holy Trinity or Trinity Missions was founded by Father Thomas Augustine Judge, a Vincentian priest, in the early years of the 20th century in Russell County, Alabama. Rural Alabama was (and I might add, still is) mission territory for Catholics when Father Judge began his work. At the beginning, Father Judge said mass in an old sharecropper’s cabin which had been converted to a chapel. This building still stands on the property and holds the status of a Shrine for pilgrimage. Eventually a major and minor seminary was established at Holy Trinity.
Seminary is Hendrickson’s attempt, through personal recollection and interviews with his former classmates and faculty members, to make sense of his seminary experience. Hendrickson is a gifted writer and story teller. He began his seminary experience during the Halcyon days of “the Catholic ghetto” and left during the turmoil in Church and the world which occurred in the 1960s. Hendrickson loved and hated the seminary at the same time. He says the Holy Trinity, Alabama is “the most holy ground that I know.”
Out of Hendrickson’s classmates only one remained a priest and in the early 1980s was working as a missionary priest in Eastern Kentucky. A fascinating chapter of the book talks about Father Charles Liteky who won the Congressional Medal of Honor in Vietnam for bravery as a Chaplain but then left the priesthood to marry. Liteky told Hendrickson that he didn’t know why he kept his medal. After Hendrickson’s book was published, Liteky renounced his medal and has since served time in Federal prison for trespassing during a protest at the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia. His brother Pat, who was in the same class with Hendrickson, was ordained but then left the priesthood. He then married and had two children but divorced and “came out of the closet” as a gay man. An internet search reveals that Pat Liteky has recently died.
The controversial part of Seminary involves Hendrickson’s description of the counseling techniques used by his faculty spiritual director. In 2002, Hendrickson recapped this for the New York Times:
“I’d go in, sit in a green chair beside his desk, unzipper my pants, take up a crucifix (it was called the Missionary Cross, and it had a tarnished green skull and bones at the base of the nailed savior’s feet), begin to think deliciously about impure things and then, at the point of full erection, begin to recite all of the reasons that I wished to conquer my baser self and longings. “Father, I’m ready now,” I’d say. Having taken myself at his prompting to a ledge of mortal sin, I was now literally and furiously talking myself down, with the power of the crucified Jesus in my left hand. My director was always there, guiding me, urging me, praying with me. . . . This is important: he never once touched me. . . . I never once saw or felt him studying me with anything close to an erotic urge or a lustful desire. . . . Usually, he sat three feet from me in his black religious garb, hunched forward, watching and listening and talking and nodding intently through a haze of blue smoke. He was a fiend for tobacco. At age 20, somewhat sadder and I suppose wiser, I told him I didn’t want to do it anymore. . . . I can report that many other boys from that same seminary acted out an almost identical ritual with the same man. . . . Something I regret to this day is that I allowed the fleshpots of Playboy magazine to use it as an excerpt. They sensationalized it, of course. It was only my base, worldly longing to score a publishing hit with my first book. Which I suppose is just another way of saying we are all sinners.”
Long out of print, I found Seminary to be a very enlightening read with regard to the Church in the fifties and sixties. Hendrickson sums up his experience as a seminarian as follows:
“What I think I got out of the seminary was a moral framework upon which to build the rest of a life. There was far too much protection: we were far too isolated. But there were joys in that ghetto. There were deep mysteries. There were camaraderies and values of a transcendent nature that I doubt a “value-free” Self-oriented, Rolfed, est-ed society could ever understand. If we are a record of whom we have loved and those who have loved us, then I think I am a lucky man indeed.”
Yes, this is for real and it's not a joke.
Today, August 13th, the Church honors Saint Pontian, Pope and Martyr, and Saint Hipploytus, Martyr.
LORD, MAY THE LOYAL SUFFERING OF YOUR SAINTS, PONTIAN AND HIPPOLYTUS, FILL US WITH YOUR LOVE, AND MAKE OUR HEARTS STEADFAST IN FAITH. GRANT THIS THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, YOUR SON, WHO LIVES AND REIGNS WITH YOU AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, ONE GOD, FOR EVER AND EVER. AMEN.
Friday, August 12, 2011
The Rule of Saint Benedict commands that “All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ . . .” (Rule of St. Benedict Chapter 53). The monks of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia, from where I returned home last night, are still following this rule closely.
The directed retreat which I attended, which was led by Father Tom Francis, Father Gerard, and Brother Michael, was informative and spiritually rewarding. The topic was the ancient monastic practice of Lectio Divina.
Father Tom Francis mans the Abbey Store
I got in some good prayer time as well buying some really great new books and fruitcake, fudge and biscotti.
The new Monastic Heritage Center, which opened earlier this year, is fantastic. Everyone within driving distance of Conyers should certainly go and be enlightened. There is also a spacious new Abbey Store and a snack bar.
Monday, August 8, 2011
The Bad Catholic is leaving today for a few days of much needed retreat at the Trappist Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia. Hopefully, I will be praying and not blogging for the next few days. Please pray for me while I am on retreat. God Bless You All.
Today, August 8th, the Church honors Saint Dominic. From The Liturgy of the Hours:
Saint Dominic was born in Calaruega in Spain around the year 1170. He studied theology at Palencia and was made canon of the church of Osma. He worked effectively against the Albigensian heresy through preaching and good example. To carry on this work he gathered together companions and founded the Order of Preachers. He died at Bologna on August 6, 1221.
PRAYER: LORD, LET THE HOLINESS AND TEACHING OF SAINT DOMINIC COME TO THE AID OF YOUR CHURCH. MAY HE HELP US NOW WITH HIS PRAYERS AS HE ONCE INSPIRED PEOPLE BY HIS PREACHING. WE ASK THIS THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, YOUR SON, WHO LIVES AND REIGNS WITH YOU AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, ONE GOD, FOREVER AND EVER. AMEN.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
From the Office of Morning Prayer from The Liturgy of the Hours:
Almighty and ever living God, your Spirit made us your children, confident to call you Father. Increase your Spirit within us and bring us to your inheritance. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Collect for the Seventh Sunday after Trinity from The Book of Common Prayer:
LORD OF ALL POWER AND MIGHT, WHO ART THE AUTHOR AND GIVER OF ALL GOOD THINGS; GRAFT IN OUR HEARTS THE LOVE OF THY NAME, INCREASE IN US TRUE RELIGION, NOURISH US WITH ALL GOODNESS, AND OF THY GREAT MERCY KEEP US IN THE SAME; THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD. AMEN.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Today, August 6th, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord.
From the Gospel of Luke (from the readings in The Book of Common Prayer):
And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said. While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered the cloud. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of the those things which they had seen.
COLLECT: O GOD, WHO ON THE MOUNT DIDST REVEAL TO CHOSEN WITNESSES THINE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON WONDERFULLY TRANSFIGURED IN RAIMENT WHITE AND GLISTERING; MERCIFULLY GRANT THAT WE, BEING DELIVERED FROM THE DISQUIETUDE OF THIS WORLD, MAY BE PERMITTED TO BEHOLD THE KING IN HIS BEAUTY, WHO WITH THEE, O FATHER, AND THEE, O HOLY GHOST, LIVETH AND REIGNETH, ONE GOD, WORLD WITHOUT END. AMEN.