Thursday, January 28, 2010

Missing in Action

We should zealously cultivate watchfulness, my brethren; and when, our mind purified in Christ Jesus, we are exalted by the vision it confers, we should review our sins and our former life, so that
shattered and humbled at the thought of them we may never lose the help of Jesus Christ our God in the invisible battle.

St. Hesychius the Presbyter
I haven't posted here in the last two weeks, although it seems like just a day or so ago.  Around the 7th of January, my wife came down with a bad cold that lead to bronchitis, then pneumonia.  A week later, I got it, although I didn't contract the pneumonia piece.  I still haven't nearly recovered from it -- bad stuff.  Hope to have things back to normal in the next few days.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Snow Shoeing, Redux

Another couple of shots from from the snow shoe expedition over last weekend.  The sky on a cold, clear Colorado day always just blows me away.  It makes me appreciate the beauty God has given us.Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Study and lectio

I’ve noticed something over the last year or so that seems strange; I keep rediscovering spiritual practices that somehow over the years I either forgotten or just moved away from. Most of these rediscoveries are quite serendipitous, but still, I often find them beneficial. 

For example, before I came into the Church my habit was to do something akin to lectio but not the same thing. I found it useful when spending an extended period of time reading one particular chapter or book of the Bible, to spend the greater part of that time more in study than just reading. Often, I would focus in on one word in a verse and try to get to the meaning of that word, and all the implications it contains. This often lead effortlessly, more or less, into prayer.

Once I came into the Church and began to study what lectio was, I abandoned my old practice and tried to strictly follow the standard procedure for lectio divina. I always struggled with it. Then, late last week I received two copies of a magazine called Bible Study Magazine. I guess they were sent as ads, but I opened one up and noticed they had an eight week study on Hebrews Chapter 11 right in the magazine. I started to read that, and then thought, just for a little change of scene I might work through a bit of it. Then I realized, that is what I used to do “all those years ago,” to quote an old Beatles song. My old habits came right back to me and seemed just as appropriate for me as a Catholic as when I was a Protestant. I thought immediately of the Rule and how Benedictine it is to go with what works. For the time being, at least, it works for me.

Over the next post or two, I’ll try to share some of an insights I’ve gained in studying Hebrews 11, actually, the study goes from Heb 10:32-12:2. There are some interesting details in that passage.

What Do We Have to Lose?


There is nothing to be gained by speculating where the Magi came from and what exactly the star was. The star was only the means by which a great mystery was revealed – the revelation of Christ as the Saviour of both Jew and Gentile. The second reading in today’s Mass, from Ephesians, expresses the same theological truth of today’s feast. God invites Jews and Gentiles to share on an equal footing the benefits of Salvation brought by Christ.
This is from a homily by Fr Aelred for Epiphany posted by Dom Donald of Nunraw Abbey in Scotland. The point that is being made is an extremely important one: trying to explain a mystery “scientifically” is pointless. There is nothing at all to be gained from such speculation, and even something to be lost, our faith. 

It always vaguely annoys me every year when I hear even faithful Catholics say something like, “Well, the star was really an exploding super nova, you know,” or some such thing. In the same way when people try to explain the feeding of the five thousand by saying what really happened is that all the people brought sandwiches with them. Egad, do people realize when they say that they are, in essence, denying Jesus’ willingness and/or ability to perform a miracle? It comes close to refusing to take God at his word. Looking a Scripture like that soon leads to an attitude of complete skepticism. 

It’s difficult for people today to accept the fact that God is so far above as, “as the east is from the west,” that there are things we can’t understand and never will understand. We have lost our sense of mystery, and so much else in the bargain.

Sorry, I had to rant just a little.

Matthew is our only source for the account of the three Gentiles who come from a far country to pay homage to the Christ Child. For Matthew, the story of the Magi becomes an anticipation of the fate of the good News of Salvation, a fate that He knew in the aftermath of the Resurrection! God revealed Himself to the Jews through the Scriptures and the Gentiles through nature. Hence, Matthew shows the Mage receiving a revelation through astrology. The story highlights the paradox: the Jews who have the Scriptures reject Jesus, while Gentiles come, and with the help of the Scriptures, find and adore Him.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


"Charity may be a very short word, but with its tremendous meaning of pure love, it sums up man's entire relation to God and to his neighbor." -- St Aelred of Rievaulx

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Happy New Year

I hope everyone had a happy, and safe, new year celebration.  We now have a new year ahead.

My better half and I were able to start the new year off well with a trip to Mueller State Park for a couple of hours of snow shoeing.  It was only our second time out, but the park was nearly deserted when we arrived, as was the trail.  Some photos from an early birthday present, a Canon S90.  It is often difficult to carry a full bag of camera gear, lenses, etc., so I thought a carry along camera might be useful.  A few results below.

Adjusting gear.

The sky on a cold, clear winter day in Colorado is spectacular.

Aspens along the trail.