Monday, June 25, 2012

Sola Scriptura

Scripture (Photo credit: Bob Jenkin)
From Devin Rose’s book, If Protestantism is True

If Protestantism is true, then there is no infallible interpreter of the Scriptures and thus no interpreter can be accepted as authoritative. God did inspire the Scriptures to be without error, but He did not provide an authoritative, infallible interpreter for the inerrant Scriptures, leaving us with only conflicting, error-prone opinions of people. The Scriptures must therefore be deemed to be sufficiently clear for most people on all important matters of the faith. Since, even between the founders of Protestantism, no accord could be reached on what Jesus meant at the Last Supper, then the proper meaning of “body” and “blood” must simply not be significant, and the Reformers were quibbling over trifles.

 This, generally, is the issue that brought me into the Church: amid all the conflicting interpretations of the Bible, how do you know who's right? How, in fact, can there be so much difference among Christians on what the Bible says?  It became an impossible issue to get around, and I tried!

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Desert Fathers, Sunday, June 24, 2012, St. John Climacus

English: St. John Climacus Русский: Иоанн Лест...
English: St. John Climacus Русский: Иоанн Лествичник. Фрагмент новгородской иконы «Иоанн Лествичник, Георгий и Власий». Государственный Русский музей, Санкт-Петербург, Россия. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Repentance is the renewal of baptism. Repentance is a contract with God for a second life. A penitent is a buyer of humility. Repentance is constant distrust of bodily comfort. Repentance is self-condemning reflection, and carefree self-care. Repentance is the daughter of hope and the renunciation of despair. A penitent is an undisgraced convict. Repentance is reconciliation with the Lord by the practice of good deeds contrary to the sins. Repentance is purification of conscience. Repentance is the voluntary endurance of all afflictions. A penitent is the
inflicter of his own punishments. Repentance is a mighty persecution of the stomach, and a striking of the soul into vigorous awareness.  

St. John Climacus

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Florilegia, Friday, June 22, 2012

First page of the Gospel of Mark, by Sargis Pi...
First page of the Gospel of Mark, by Sargis Pitsak, a Medieval Armenian scribe and miniaturist (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A lengthy reading,  next Sunday’s Gospel.

Gospel Mk 5:21-43

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat
to the other side,
a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea.
One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward.
Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying,
"My daughter is at the point of death.
Please, come lay your hands on her
that she may get well and live."
He went off with him,
and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him.

There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.
She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors
and had spent all that she had.
Yet she was not helped but only grew worse.
She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd
and touched his cloak.
She said, "If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured."
Immediately her flow of blood dried up.
She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.
Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him,
turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who has touched my clothes?"
But his disciples said to Jesus,
"You see how the crowd is pressing upon you,
and yet you ask, 'Who touched me?'"
And he looked around to see who had done it.
The woman, realizing what had happened to her,
approached in fear and trembling.
She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.
He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has saved you.
Go in peace and be cured of your affliction."

While he was still speaking,
people from the synagogue official's house arrived and said,
"Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?"
Disregarding the message that was reported,
Jesus said to the synagogue official,
"Do not be afraid; just have faith."
He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside
except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.
When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official,
he caught sight of a commotion,
people weeping and wailing loudly.
So he went in and said to them,
"Why this commotion and weeping?
The child is not dead but asleep."
And they ridiculed him.
Then he put them all out.
He took along the child's father and mother
and those who were with him
and entered the room where the child was.
He took the child by the hand and said to her, "
Talitha koum,"
which means, "Little girl, I say to you, arise!"
The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around.
At that they were utterly astounded.
He gave strict orders that no one should know this
and said that she should be given something to eat.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Monastic Tradition, June 21, 2012

The grave of Thomas Merton.
The grave of Thomas Merton. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

"Only a true sense of monastic tradition can preserve sanity and peace in monasteries.” Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island
This is true because, with this sense of tradition, monks know what kind of life they are trying to live. This is no less true in relation to the Tradition of the Church; without it we do not know how to live as Christians; we would be continuously "reinventing the wheel," always rediscovering, or inventing out of whole cloth, the Christian life. All the while we'd risk getting further from the Truth, thereby losing our sanity.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Word on Wednesday, Wednesday, June 20, 2012,St Toribio

Happy St. Turibius Day!
Happy St. Turibius Day! (Photo credit: A.Currell)

Christ said, "I am the Truth"; he did not say "I am the custom." -- St. Toribio

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Monday, June 18, 2012

A very sensible comment from the Editors of National Review on Obama’s immigration move.

This executive order would, therefore, be entirely unacceptable even if it represented good policy. But it does not. Congress has been correct to reject earlier attempts at this sort of limited amnesty, and the American public is correct to remain generally skeptical of amnesty proposals. The amnesty proponents will of course point to any number of cases in which a young person is facing a painful situation through no fault of his own, and one would have to have a heart as hard as coffin nails not to sympathize, but the fact is that it was not the people of the United States who put these young people in legal jeopardy — it was their parents. Without first ensuring effective enforcement at the border and at the workplace, any step toward normalizing the status of those here in violation of the law invites more of the same abuse and disorder.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Desert Fathers, Sunday, June 17, 2012, St. Cyril of Jerusalem

English: Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, fresco at a...
English: Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, fresco at a greek orthodox church (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
O strange and inconceivable thing! We did not really die, we were not really buried, we were not really crucified and raised again, but our imitation was but a figure, while our salvation is in reality. Christ was actually crucified, and actually buried, and truly rose again; and all these things have been vouchsafed to us, that we, by imitation communicating in His sufferings, might gain salvation in reality. O surpassing loving-kindness! Christ received the nails in His undefiled hands and feet, and endured anguish; while to me without suffering or toil, by the fellowship of His pain He vouchsafed salvation.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem

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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Saturday Gifts

The air seems a little better today, we have a bit of a breeze and so it seems a bit clearer than it was yesterday. Recovering from my shoulder replacement last week, part of my rehab is to go outside and walk at least two or three times a day. In the last two days I haven't been able to that.  I'm looking forward to being able to do that today, to get outside and walk a little.  It is a beautiful day and I should get out.

I remember, for someone having surgery as major as this was, it would be the practice to have them stay in the hospital two to three weeks, if it could be done at all.  I was up within 12 hours, home in less than 24!  I fret about not being able to get up and go for a walk a week after surgery, not thinking that I am very blessed to be able to do that at all, it's something that I'm truly grateful for.   I try not to let myself forget that probably 15 years ago the surgery wouldn't have even been possible and I would've been condemned to a life of ever decreasing movement in my right arm. God truly is great.  God has also blessed me in that, contrary to predictions, I have had no pain whatsoever in my right shoulder; after such a surgery it's a miracle. 

I should also say that I'm writing this post via dictation to the Vdictation app on my ipad. I've done this with the last two or three posts and I'm getting better at it,  which I'm also grateful for. It lets me have some contact with the world during a time when my movement is still somewhat restricted.

What are you grateful for today?

Death To Self

How misunderstood, even by Christians, is the idea of death to self. We are not out to destroy ourselves, rather to glory in God.  It's the only "self-improvement project" worth undertaking.  It's not denial, rather affirmation of who we are.  Merton says, He Who made our flesh and gave it to our spirit as its servant and companion, will not be pleased by a sacrifice in which the flesh is murdered by the spirit and returned to Him in ruin.”

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Smokey Day --Again

There's lots of smoke in the air of this morning, it's from the fire up in Fort Collins, nearly 150 miles north.  This is as it was yesterday, but seems to be a little worse today since we don't have any wind to help clear up smoke. There is, of course, an air quality advisory out for most of the day. It makes for a very difficult time going outside, or doing much of anything other than in the house. To make matters worse we had a power outage at the house last night lasting about eight hours starting about 2:30 in the afternoon,  so the air conditioning wasn't working during that time to help keep the air circulating; hope  they get it out soon.
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Friday Florilegia, Friday, June 15, 2012

From Saturday’s Gospel

Gospel Mt 6:24-34

Jesus said to his disciples:
"No one can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink,
or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds in the sky;
they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
Why are you anxious about clothes?
Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.
They do not work or spin.
But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor
was clothed like one of them.
If God so clothes the grass of the field,
which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow,
will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry and say, 'What are we to eat?'
or 'What are we to drink?' or 'What are we to wear?'
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.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
Sufficient for a day is its own evil."

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Detachment is knowing things for their true value; the things of this world are good and useful, sometimes even lovely, but can never be of more than limited, finite, value.  Meton says this well:

"Although the grace of the Holy Spirit teaches us to use created things "as if we used them not"—that is to say, with detachment and indifference, it does not make us indifferent to the value of the things in themselves. On the contrary, it is only when we are detached from created things that we can begin to value them as we really should. It is only when we are "indifferent" to them that we can really begin to love them. The indifference of which I speak must, therefore, be an indifference not to things themselves but to their effects in our own lives."  No Man is an Island

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Word on Wednesday, Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"This discovery of Christ is never genuine if it is nothing but a flight from ourselves. On the contrary, it cannot be an escape. It must be a fulfillment. I cannot discover God in myself and myself in Him unless I have the courage to face myself exactly as I am, with all my limitations, and to accept others as they are, with all their limitations. The religious answer is not religious if it is not fully real. Evasion is the answer of superstition."  Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island
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Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Florilegia, Friday, June 8, 2012

Mary finds Jesus in the TempleMary finds Jesus in the Temple (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)
Today’s lectio topic is from next Friday’s Gospel, a very well known text that might seem too familiar for us to gain from in prayer.  Sometimes for me, however, these texts can be the most fruitful.

Gospel Lk 2:41-51

Each year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover,
and when he was twelve years old,
they went up according to festival custom.
After they had completed its days, as they were returning,
the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem,
but his parents did not know it.
Thinking that he was in the caravan,
they journeyed for a day
and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances,
but not finding him,
they returned to Jerusalem to look for him.
After three days they found him in the temple,
sitting in the midst of the teachers,
listening to them and asking them questions,
and all who heard him were astounded
at his understanding and his answers.
When his parents saw him,
they were astonished,
and his mother said to him,
"Son, why have you done this to us?
Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety."
And he said to them,
"Why were you looking for me?
Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?"
But they did not understand what he said to them.
He went down with them and came to Nazareth,
and was obedient to them;
and his mother kept all these things in her heart.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Word on Wednesday, Wednesday, June 6, 2012,St Aloysius Gonzaga

English: The Vocation of Saint Aloysius GonzagaEnglish: The Vocation of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is better to be the child of God than king of the whole world.

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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Early Church Fathers, Sunday, June 3, 2012 Pope Siricius I

Pope SiriciusPope Siricius (Photo credit: Wikipedia) You had good reason to be horrified at the thought that another birth might issue from the same virginal womb from which Christ was born according to the Flesh. For the Lord Jesus would never have chosen to be born of a virgin if he had ever judged that she would be so incontinent as to contaminate with the seed of human intercourse the birthplace of the Lord's body, chat court of the eternal King (Letter to Bishop Anysius [A.D. 392]).
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Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday Florilegia, Friday, June 1, 2012 Corpus Christi

Damiane. The EucharistDamiane. The Eucharist (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gospel Mk 14:12-16, 22-26

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
when they sacrificed the Passover lamb,
Jesus' disciples said to him,
"Where do you want us to go
and prepare for you to eat the Passover?"
He sent two of his disciples and said to them,
"Go into the city and a man will meet you,
carrying a jar of water.
Follow him.
Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house,
'The Teacher says, "Where is my guest room
where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?"'
Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready.
Make the preparations for us there."
The disciples then went off, entered the city,
and found it just as he had told them;
and they prepared the Passover.

While they were eating,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, gave it to them, and said,
"Take it; this is my body."
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them,
and they all drank from it.
He said to them,
"This is my blood of the covenant,
which will be shed for many.
Amen, I say to you,
I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine
until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."
Then, after singing a hymn,
they went out to the Mount of Olives.

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