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A worthy New Year's resolution.
Religion: December 2004 Archives
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More than 10,000 people have been killed across southern Asia in massive sea surges triggered by the strongest earthquake in the world for 40 years.
The 8.9 magnitude quake struck under the sea near Aceh in north Indonesia, generating a wall of water that sped across thousands of kilometres of sea.
More than 4,100 died in Indonesia, 3,500 in Sri Lanka and 2,000 in India.
Casualty figures are rising over a wide area, including resorts in Sri Lanka and Thailand packed with holidaymakers.
The USGS put this at a 9.0
At least 3,000 people killed in Sri Lanka, 2,300 in India, 2,000 in Indonesia, 289 in Thailand, 42 in Malaysia, 8 in Somalia and 2 in Bangladesh by tsunamis. Tsunamis also occurred on the coasts of Maldives and Cocos Island. At least 200 people killed, buildings destroyed or damaged in the Banda Aceh area, Sumatra. Felt widely in Sumatra. Also felt in Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand. This is now the fourth largest earthquake in the world since 1900 and is the largest since the 1964 Prince William Sound, Alaska earthquake.
among the gifts under my tree:
The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History
Eats, Shoots, & Leaves
Surprised by Canon LawMore Catholic than the Pope
The Age of Consent
I have been told that the bio of Archbishop Sheen is on order.
I also was given a wonderful and warm winter coat, much tea, a gift certificate to amazon.com, and many hugs and kisses.
Midnight Mass was as usual wonderful, and we the choir didn't flub too many notes. Our new piece for this year was an arrangement of "In Deepest Night" in four part harmony. I wish that we had been able to sing it a capella, but with only 1 1/2 hours rehearsal per week and not starting on Christmas music until Novenber it becomes difficult to get to that level of competence. But we sang out in joy and praise anyhow.
Today for Sunday Mass we went to our other parish (the one where we aren't in the choir) and had the treat of singing "Once in Royal David's City" which is one of my favorite Christmas carols - especially these lines:
Christian children all must be
mild, obedient, good as he.
Once again, my favorite gripe - Why o why don't we sing all the verses of these beautiful hymns? If we had sung this at Communion (and why not?) the 6 verses would not have been unduly lengthy. Of course, the OCP hymnals only included the first 3 verses........
A dear friend of mine just emailed my about her daughter. This young woman has a severe problem with alcohol and drugs, and is on her way back to jail after a rather wild night. Her children (my friend's grandbabies) have been taken from their mother and placed in temporary foster care. Please pray for my friend, that she will be able to make the right choices to protect her grandbabies and to encourage her daughter to get the help she needs. Please pray for my friend's daughter, that she will turn her life around and will call for help from the only real source. And especially pray for the children, that they will be placed where they will have consistent love and care.
St Gianna, pray for them! St Monica, mother of a prodigal who became a saint, please intercede!
I got an email from a friend that said:
"last night at mass, the priest pointed out that Mary's Immaculate
Conception is celebrated 21 days before the feast of the Immaculate
Heart of Mary, and wouldn't her heart have begun beating on the 21st
day after conception? I figured I'd run that by you and you'd know if
it was accurate and/or blogworthy. "
I certainly think it is blogworthy, so I decided to do some research to see if it is accurate. I found a neat website which details human development from conception to birth, and here is their page for 21 to 23 days after conception.
What do you all think?
In the office yesterday, between seeing patients and running to the hospital to check on my labor patient, I had a brief discussion with one of our translators (Portugese/Spanish) about the meaning of the Immaculate Conception. Like so many others, Cradle Catholic or non-Catholic, she thought that it referred to Mary's Conception of Jesus. SHe was wondering why the feast was so close to Christmas - did that mean Mary was only pregnant for a few weeks? I hope I cleared up things a bit - I pointed out that the feast of Jesus' conception is the Annunciation, March 25, 9 months before the Feast of Christmas. (Actually, based on that date as conception, the EDC would be closer to 12/18 than to 12/25, but it's close enough!).
Why is it so hard to understand that the Immaculate Conception refers to Mary's conception?
"There are three influences which appear to Us to have the chief place in effecting this downgrade movement of society. These are-first, the distaste for a simple and labourious life; secondly, repugnance to suffering of any kind; thirdly, the forgetfulness of the future life."
Pope Leo XIII
Dislike of Poverty - The Joyful Mysteries
Repugnance to Suffering-The Sorrowful Mysteries
Forgetfulness of the Future - The Glorious Mysteries
She then asked:
"For what ill in society would the Luminous Mysteries be a remedy?"
and carried the discussion over to St. Blog's Parish Hall.
I'm not one to hang out in BBS type discussion forums - I tend to get lost and to have trouble navigating the threads. I much prefer email listservs and blogs with comments. So I have no idea if or how much discussion this little post generated. But I have been thinking about it a bit myself.
The Mysteries of Light are:
Jesus' Baptism in the river Jordan;
His self-manifestation at the wedding at Cana;
His proclamation of the Kingdom of God, with his call to conversion;.
His transfiguration before the Apostles on Mount Tabor.
His institution of the Eucharist, as the sacramental expression of the Paschal Mystery.
and they bridge, chronologically, between the Joyful and the Sorrowful Mysteries.
What do these mysteries have in common? What societal ill are they ammunition against? And what does this have to do with Advent?
I see in them an epiphanos of the incarnation. We have the revelation of our God-made-flesh, who dwelt among us, and continues to this day to feed us with His very Body. "This is My Body", he says to us. "you must be born again, of water (baptism) and the spirit". We are flesh that He has created.
The societal ill that these mysteries combat is the disrespect for the human person, the loss of the respect for the right to life "from conception to natural death", the Gnostic and Manichean heresies that permeate our culture.
Consider the opening of the Gospel of John (the 'last Gospel', which used to be proclaimed after Mass). Consider especially verse 14
" And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth. "
God became flesh. The so-called scandal of the incarnation. In Advent, we celebrate that God so loved us that He became physically one of us. He suffered hunger, thirst, emotions, physical, spiritual and emotional pain. He became our Paschal sacrifice - not as a suicide but as a martyr, a witness that there is a life more important than our earthly physical life - but also that our earthly physical life is also important.
I continue to find it amazing that the words of the Eucharist "This is My Body" are so aptly mimicked by various political movements - "It's MY body, and I will decide what to do with it" as a justification for just about every sin of the flesh from gluttony to lust to suicide and even murder of the unborn. But what a world of difference between the two phrases "This is My Body, given up for you" and "This is my body and I am in charge". And even though we are awaiting Christmas, not Easter, there is still that sense of waiting, building up in anticipation, even though we know the ending of this particular story.
So let us remember that we are Incarnational, and that the feast we are preparing to celebrate is about the gift of being human. It is about the rightful pleasures (and pains, too) of the flesh, from hugging ones' children to eating a fine meal to sacrificial fasting. It is about the right order of things, about reading the natural law that God has written in our hearts and endeavoring to follow this law. It is about the best wine for the wedding, the feeding of the multitudes, the washing away of sins in preparation for the wedding feast of the lamb, and the call we are to answer to be transfigured and transformed in our daily life.
I have a friend who is looking for some basic info and resources on the Theology of the Body. I have suggested some books and articles, but I am also interested in finding her some talks on tape or CD - preferably free or inexpensive. If you have any suggestions, please drop me a comment or an email. Thanks!
Oh, and ditto on natural law/biomedical ethics, especially as related to pregnancy birth and breastfeeding.