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Archive for June, 2011

Of the Sabbath

 

SOLMENITY OF ST. PETER AND PAUL

 

THERE is a hidden side to this apostolate that from time to time makes its way to this column—the letter writing that goes back and forth between myself and atheists, unbelievers, doubters, skeptics, and of course, the Faithful. For the past two years, I have been dialoguing with a Seventh Day Adventist. The exchange has been peaceful and respectful, even though the gap between some of our beliefs remains. The following is a response I wrote to him last year regarding why the Sabbath is no longer practiced on Saturday in the Catholic Church and generally all of Christendom. His point? That the Catholic Church has broken the Fourth Commandment [1]the traditional Catechetical formula lists this commandment as Third by altering the day on which the Israelites "kept holy" the Sabbath. If this is the case, then there are grounds to suggest that the Catholic Church is not the true Church as she claims, and that the fullness of truth resides elsewhere. 

We pick up our dialogue here about whether or not Christian Tradition is founded solely upon Scripture without the infallible interpretation of the Church…

 

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1. the traditional Catechetical formula lists this commandment as Third
Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, FAITH AND MORALS | on June 29th, 2011 | No Comments »

Time, Time, Time…

 

WHERE does the time go? Is it just me, or are events and time itself seeming to whirl by at breakneck speed? It’s already the end of June. The days are getting shorter now in the Northern Hemisphere. There is a sense among many people that time has taken on an ungodly acceleration.

We are heading towards the end of time. Now the more we approach the end of time, the more quickly we proceed—this is what’s extraordinary. There is, as it were, a very significant acceleration in time; there’s an acceleration in time just as there’s an acceleration in speed. And we go faster and faster. We must be very attentive to this to understand what is happening in today’s world. —Fr. Marie-Dominique Philippe, O.P., The Catholic Church at the End of an Age, Ralph Martin, p. 15-16

I’ve already written about this in The Shortening of Days and The Spiral of Time. And what is it with the reoccurrence of 1:11 or 11:11? Not everyone sees it, but many do, and it always seems to carry a word… time is short… it’s the eleventh hour… the scales of justice are tipping (see my writing 11:11). What’s funny is that you can’t believe how difficult it has been to find time to write this meditation!

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Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, SIGNS | on June 24th, 2011 | 1 Comment »

When Cedars Fall

 

Wail, you cypress trees, for the cedars are fallen,
the mighty have been despoiled. Wail, you oaks of Bashan,
for the impenetrable forest is cut down!
Hark! the wailing of the shepherds,
their glory has been ruined. (Zech 11:2-3)

 

THEY have fallen, one by one, bishop after bishop, priest after priest, ministry after ministry (not to mention, father after father and family after family). And not just little trees—major leaders in the Catholic Faith have fallen like great cedars in a forest.

In a glance over just the past three years, we have seen a stunning collapse of some of the tallest figures in the Church today. The answer for some Catholics has been to hang up their crosses and "quit" the Church; others have taken to the blogosphere to vigorously raze the fallen, while others have engaged in haughty and heated debates in the plethora of religious forums. And then there are those who are quietly weeping or merely sitting in stunned silence as they listen to the echo of these sorrows reverberating throughout the world.

For months now, the words of Our Lady of Akita—given official recognition by no less than the present Pope when he was still Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith—have been faintly repeating themselves in the back of my mind:

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Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, THE GREAT TRIALS | on June 21st, 2011 | 2 Comments »

A Priest In My Own Home – Part II

 

I AM the spiritual head of my wife and children. When I said, “I do,” I entered into a Sacrament in which I promised to love and honor my wife until death. That I would raise the children God may give us according to the Faith. This is my role, it is my duty. It is the first matter upon which I will be judged at the end of my life, after whether or not I have loved the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, and strength.

But most men think their duty is to bring home the bacon. To make ends meet. To fix the front door. These things are perhaps the duty of the moment. But they are not the ultimate goal. [1]cf. The Heart of God A married man’s prime vocation is to lead His wife and children into the Kingdom by his leadership and example. For, as Jesus says:

All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. (Matt 6:30-33)

That is, men, God wants to father you. He wants to provide for your needs. He wants you to know that you are carved in the palm of His hand. And that all the struggles and temptations you are facing are not as powerful as His grace available to your soul…

…for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

Cling to that word, brother. For the times we are living in call for men to be courageous, not fearful; obedient, not unfaithful; prayerful, not distracted. But do not be afraid or shrink back from this standard you are called to:

I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me. (Phil 4:13)

 

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1. cf. The Heart of God
Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, THE FAMILY WEAPONS | on June 17th, 2011 | 3 Comments »

A Priest In My Own Home

 

 

I remember a young man coming to my house several years ago with marital problems. He wanted my advice, or so he said. "She won’t listen to me!" he complained. "Isn’t she supposed to submit to me? Don’t the Scriptures say that I am the head of my wife? What’s her problem!?" I knew the relationship well enough to know that his view of himself was seriously skewed. So I replied, "Well, what does St. Paul say again?":

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. So (also) husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. (Eph 5:25-28)

"So you see," I continued, "you are called to lay down your life for your wife. To serve her as Jesus served her. To love and sacrifice for her the way Jesus loved and sacrificed for you. If you do that, she likely won’t have any problems "submitting" to you." Well, that outraged the young man who promptly stormed out the house. What he really wanted was for me to give him ammunition to go home and continue treating his wife like a doormat. No, this is not what St. Paul meant then or now, cultural differences aside. What Paul was referring to was a relationship based on Christ’s example. But that model of true manhood has been pilloried…

 

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Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, THE FAMILY WEAPONS | on June 15th, 2011 | 1 Comment »

Sowing Seeds

 

FOR the first time in my life, I seeded a pasture this past weekend. Once again, I experienced in my soul the tremendous dance of the creature with His Creator to the rhythm of creation. It is an incredible thing to co-operate with God to foster new life. All the lessons of the Gospels came pouring back to me… about the seed falling into weeds, rocky, or good soil. As we we wait patiently for rain to water our parched fields, even St. Iraenaeus had something to say yesterday on the feast of Pentecost:

… like parched ground, which yields no harvest unless it receives moisture, we who were once like a waterless tree could never have lived and borne fruit without this abundant rainfall from above [the Holy Spirit]. —Liturgy of the Hours, Vol II, p. 1026

It has not only been my fields, but my heart that has been dry these past few weeks. Prayer has been difficult, temptations have been relentless, and at times, I have even doubted my calling. And then the rains came—your letters. To be honest, they often move me to tears, because when I write to you or produce a webcast, I remain behind a veil of poverty; I don’t know what God is doing, if anything… and then letters such as these come along:

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Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, NEWS | on June 13th, 2011 | 1 Comment »

When God is Stopped

 

GOD is infinite. He is ever-present. He is all-knowing…. and He is stoppable.

A word came to me in prayer this morning that I feel compelled to share with you:

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Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, SPIRITUALITY | on June 8th, 2011 | 1 Comment »

Catholic Fundamentalist?

 

FROM a reader:

I have been reading your "deluge of false prophets" series, and to tell you the truth, I am a little concerned. Let me explain… I am a recent convert to the Church. I was once a fundamentalist Protestant Pastor of the "meanest kind"—I was a bigot! Then someone gave me a book by Pope John Paul II— and I fell in love with this man’s writing. I resigned as Pastor in 1995 and in 2005 I came into the Church. I went to Franciscan University (Steubenville) and got a Masters in Theology.

But as I read your blog—I saw something I did not like—an image of myself 15 years ago. I am wondering, because I swore when I left Fundamentalist Protestantism that I would not substitute one fundamentalism for another. My thoughts: be careful you do not become so negative that you lose sight of the mission.

Is it possible that there is such an entity as "Fundamentalist Catholic?" I worry about the heteronomic element in your message.

The reader here raises an important question: are my writings overly negative? After writing about "false prophets," am I perhaps a "false prophet" myself, blinded by a spirit of "doom and gloom," and thus, unhinged from reality such that I have lost sight of my mission? Am I, after all is said and done, simply a "Fundamentalist Catholic?"

 

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Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, THE GREAT TRIALS | on June 6th, 2011 | 1 Comment »

More on False Prophets

 

WHEN my spiritual director asked me to write further about "false prophets," I pondered on how they are often defined in our day. Usually, people view "false prophets" as those who predict the future incorrectly. But when Jesus or the Apostles spoke of false prophets, they were usually speaking about those within the Church who led others astray by either failing to speak the truth, watering it down, or preaching a different gospel altogether…

Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)

 

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Published in: A DAILY JOURNAL, SIGNS | on June 1st, 2011 | 1 Comment »