Religion: May 2003 Archives

Canticle for today, Ascension Thursday


Isaiah 12
The rejoicing of a redeemed people
I will praise you, Lord, for when you were angry with me
you calmed your rage and turned again to console me.
Behold, God is my salvation:
I will be confident, I will not fear;
for the Lord is my strength and my joy,
he has become my saviour.

And you will rejoice as you draw water
from the springs of salvation.
And then you will say:
“Praise the Lord and call upon his name.
Tell the peoples what he has done,
remember always the greatness of his name.
Sing to the Lord, for he has done great things:
let this be known throughout the world”.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
(from Universalis)

Crisis Article


I got home from work this morning to see that the current issue of Crisis magazine had arrived. So, of course, I had to sit down to read it and ignore the rest of my 'day off' chores like laundry and so on. Flipping through the pages, I saw a great article on one of my favorite organizations, Feminists for Life, and then - what is this? Who is this? Mark Shea, with a great article about St. Blog's Parish! This issue is not yet available on-line, but most of you subscribe anyhow, don't you?

Is anyone in Hell?


Is Hell Empty? more on the topic from The Lidless Eye Inquisition.

Ora pro nobis peccatoribus


One of the little tidbits in Father Groeshel's talk was a bit about the Oratory, the first 'prayer meetings'. He talked a bit about how Praetorius put some of the prayers and scriptures to music and thereby developed the musical form, the Oratorio. I am not sure just how clearly I remember just what he said - did I mention there was wine with the dinner? but I remember thinking that with the feast day of St Philip Neri close by, how appropriate this little tale was.

Second reading
Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins.
1 John 4:7 - 10
Jesus said, "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. This I command you, to love one another".
John 15:9 - 17
I happen to love readings from John, both the Epistles and the Gospel. We chose readings from John for our Wedding Mass. I grew up hearing the opening of the Gospel of John (the last Gospel) every week after the Sunday Eucharist (Anglican) and the poetry and meaning still move me incredibly. There was so much good stuff in yesterday's readings - I was looking forward to a wonderful homily.
Due to a set of circumstances, we ended up at a different Mass in a different parish than we had originally planned, but I wasn't terribly worried. The pastor of the parish we ended up attending is a wonderful and holy priest - the one that I blogged about a while back who pulled out his Rosary from the folds of his robes in the middle of a homily. The parishioners of this parish are wonderful faithful people, too, who participate joyfully in the Mass. The parish is in the process of establishing Perpetual Adoration for our area, something to which I am looking forward. The music is more lifely than reverent, but is still within the bounds of good taste. We arrived early, got some good places, and settled down to worship God in the Holy Sacrifice of the altar.
I was a little concerned when I saw that it was a substitute priest, especially when he found it necessary to introduce himself (at length) after the opening prayers. But I chided myself for being uncharitable. When he started his homily, my radar started to go off. I am not even sure just how to convey what I was hearing and responding to. It was, as Bill Luse says, a bit of erosion by emphasis.
He started off by referring to our God being a God of love, which is true. What got my radar buzzing was when he started to talk about the classic question, "Do you know where you are going after you die?". I guess I got irked because this is a classic opening for Evangelicals who are trying to pull Catholics out of the church. Because of the Protestant belief in 'once saved, always saved', most Evangelicals will answer a resounding "Heaven", whereas most Catholics are likely to respond more along the lines of "I hope I will get to heaven some day". Well, Father answered the question with the comment that we, as Catholic Christians, should be able to speak with assurance that we are going to Heaven, as God loves us and wants us to be with Him in Heaven. This is factually true - God does love us, He does desire that we join Him in Heaven. But I would find it presumptuous to state that I am going to Heaven immediately after my death. While I will do everything I can to be in a state of grace, I fully expect to spend quite a bit of time in Purgatory getting scrubbed up for Heaven. Well, Father didn't even mention the concept of Purgatory. He then went on to ask the question - do we think there is anyone in Hell? He stated that we will probably be very surprised to see how few people, if any, are actually in Hell. He continued to flirt with the heresy of Universalism, but never quite crossed the line. He spoke about how, at his age (63) he remembered when if you ate meat on Friday and died before getting to confession, you were going straight to Hell. Again, I waited for a more nuanced discussion of this, maybe bringing out that in order for it to truly be a mortal sin the transgression against the discipline of the church had to be intentional and so on, but he just went on to his next point. It was a kind of mocking of the meaning and significance of one discipline.
He did have some good points in the rest of his homily. He pointed out how we are obliged to try to love one another, and how this is hard work. But so much of the homily struck me as touchy-feely feelgood stuff, and I was rather disappointed.

Fr. Groeschel

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Last night's talk by Fr. Groeschel was actually a fund raising event for Holy Family Academy in Manchester NH. A few weeks ago, I saw the notice in our parish bulletin, and my husband and I decided that it was worth the cost of tickets ($60 per) to attend. The evening started with Mass at Sainte Marie's, open to the public, at which Father was the principle celebrant and gave a wonderful 40 minute homily. Music was provided by the students of the academy, and was well done. I could argue with a couple of choices, but on the whole it was an excellent Mass - spirited and reverential. Also, there were several concelebrants and no EMEs. The homily began developing the theme that the salvation of the church will come from restoring individual holiness of every baptised member. Yes, the church is in crisis - at least in the USA. But the church has been in crisis before.
After Mass, we moved into a parish hall for dinner and more speaking. I don't have any children in the academy, we are not members of the Parish that hosted this event, and I fully expected that the only familiar face I would see would be that of my husband. Imagine my surprise to see, a pew ahead of me, a woman I knew from the NFP teacher/practitioner training. Imagine how much greater my surprise to see that we had been seated at the same table as her! God and his sense of humour..... We were also seated with another mother of 6 - except that hers range in age from 15 to 1. So it was a great bunch of people to be sitting with.
Anyhow, I bought 3 books and had them autographed by Fr. Groeshel. One will be a birthday gift to my husband, another for my daughter who turns 21 next month, and the third is for me.
I wish now that I had taken notes during his talk. It was focused on the theme of "Where do we (the church) go from here?" but it covered so many areas of thought. I remember that he referred to books like Weigel's The Courage to be Catholic, the recent book about the new orthodoxy (especially in gen x ers), another book about how anti-catholicism is the last remaining 'respectable' prejudice. He also talked about how important and difficult it is for pastors to preach on the tough topics. He gave an historical perspective and referenced one of my favorite books on church history The Four Witnesses. HE talked about how the early Protestants actually maintained several doctrines that they now reject (the immaculate conception of Mary, her perpetual virginity, eucharistic devotion), and how 'modern catholics' run the risk of also losing much of this richness.
He also talked about how important education is - and how we need to support true Catholic education. And how we need to support what is good, work against what is evil, and communicate our choices and the values that prompt them. He spoke of being totally unsurprised by the Jason Blair stories, about how the New York Times is not in the business of reporting news but rather in that of creating headlines. He had quite a bit to say about mass media, including a scathing condemnation of MTV as it currently exists.
He also spoke of hope - how his little order has been growing exponentially, about how orthodox seminaries are thriving and the heterodox are becoming less powerful.
One comment I recall was that Catholic clergy in the Roman rite can ONLY reproduce themselves through the laity. Celibacy means that the people get the clergy they produce. It gives an advantage to celibacy that, frankly, I hadn't really seen clearly before. There is not the establishment of dynasties of clergy (eg the several generations of the Martin Luther King family).
He also made a powerful plea for the establishment of Perpetual Adoration. I will say that a local parish is working very hard to establish a perpetual adoration chapel.
All in all, it was a wonderful evening. I will try to post later about the talk on education given by one of the representatives of the school. It tied right in with my thoughts about education versus training, the thoughts that I am still trying to organize into a decent post.

Malcolm Muggeride


How I got to Malcolm Muggeridge (from a post on Oblique House about David Gilmour) - a cute piece by Davey's Daddy

Father Benedict Groeschel

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Father Benedict Groeschel will be speaking in my neighborhood Friday night, and my husband and I are going!!!!! This is a fund-raising event for a private Catholic high school (Holy Family Academy, Manchester NH), and the tickets are a little pricey, but we figured that it will be worth it to 1) support quality orthodox Catholic education and 2) hear Fr. G. speak. Oh, and it also includes Mass! I am really excited - this is my idea of a quality 'date' with my husband on a Friday night. The only real down side is that we will meet at the site - I will be driving north from work, and he will be driving south...... Why do things start so early? I mean, do most people really get off work in time to make it to an event at 530 PM on a Friday night?



Sparki has a wonderful post on holiness - and some musings on the vocation of marriage and motherhood. Sparki - vocation means literally 'calling' - and we fulfill our God-given vocations by being the best we can be at what we are called to do. Holiness isn't the big stuff that we want to think it is. No, it is as you describe, 'wiping up Cheerios from the four corners of the universe'. It is in making our actions into prayers - sometimes of thanksgiving and awe, but far more often of frustration and annoyance.

Father Stravinskas: New Liturgy Document Vindicates Critics makes many points about the ICEL translations and their impact. Link courtesy of WhysGuys.
(also posted at Catholic Bookshelf)



"Little Lost Lambeth" is an interesting bit of context to an historic decision by the Church of England, one whose ripple effects are still being felt today.

a prayer for today


(from Magnificat magazine)
O most holy Mother of God, from the moment of the Christmas miracle your blessed womb remains ever fruitful, for it is you who are our Mother. How we rely on your incomparable merits and your maternal intercession for our spiritual birth and our growth in the life of grace. You are the Theotokos, not only because you conceived and gave birth to the Son of God, but also because you accompanied Jesus in His human growth. Accompany us as well with your motherly tenderness.
Happy Mother's Day

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Religion category from May 2003.

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