Friday, August 10, 2007


I will be travelling to St. Meinrad Aarchabbey with friend and former student and seminarian for the diocese of Little Rock, Jason Sharbaugh, and our organist-choirmaster, Michael Odom and his wife Jennifer and baby, Sam. We will be there for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I'm sure that the monks' schola will be in good form.

We will return on Thursday, and then turn right around and go to Fort Smith (stopping to get rooms at Subiaco) for the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher state section Mass and dinner. The Mass will be celebrated at Immaculate Conception Church, and dinner and meeting will follow at Taliano's Italian Restaurant. Because it will be too long to drive back to El Dorado, we will spend the night at Subiaco and make our way back south Saturday morning---and then it will be Sunday! Is there no rest for the wicked?

Regarding the 5 questions released by the Cong. for the Doctrine of the Faith, 29 June 07

I quoted the document in full down below. The release of this document was trumpeted by the secular press as another example of Catholic bigotry. Some of my parishioners were asked by their Protestant friends why the Pope said they were going to hell.

Our ministers' discussion group that meets on Thursdays finally met again after a hiatus of about 4 weeks because of vacations and travel. I brought the document for us to read through. All were enlightened when they were able to go through it and see what is really said. Here are some points:

  • It didn't say anything different that the Vatican Council had said.

  • The document Dominus Jesus, issued by the CDF said the same thing. (There was a flap then, too, but it had died down. Did Rome, by posting this new document want to stir the pot again?)

  • The Church teaches that there are several integral things that Christ instituted when he established the Church that are absolutely necessary for the Church to be.

  • One of these is the Apostolic Succession---given to Peter and then all the Apostles that established a hierarchical government of the Church---it was not of human foundation.

  • A second thing is the Eucharist. A valid Eucharist can only be confected by a validly ordained presbyter who was ordained by a validly ordained bishop in the line of succession.

  • The Oriental Churches possess these elements, and are therefore true churches, however, they do not accept the primacy of Peter and his successors, therefore, while being churches in a very real sense, they are lacking a fundamental element: acceptance of the Petrine primacy.

  • The churches born of the 16th c. Reformation abandoned apostolic succession, and therefore a valid Eucharist, and, obviously, the acceptance of the Petrine ministry. Therefore, they cannot be truly called particular churches since they lack these things that are necessary and constitutive of "Church."

  • The recent document, as well as Dominus Jesus, and Unitatis redintegratio of Vatican II made these same distinctions, so this is nothing new, except that it has been published again let anybody get the idea that these ecumenical activity can be played fast and easy by anyone who is a champion of peace at any price. (History has proved the unreality of that!)


"My mother nags me enough about my behavior at home. If she were a priest at our Church, I think I'd become Buddhist."
- Dan Redding, Santa Barbara, CA

When technology and lack of vocations combine

This is funny, but don't make any more of it than a bagatelle.

August 10, St. Lawrence, deacon of Rome, martyr

St. Lawrence lived in the third century and was one of the deacons of St. Sixtus II, whose martyrdom we celebrated a few days ago. This was during the persecution of emperor Valerian. Lawrence was told by the prefect to hand over the treasury of the Church. When told to do so, he pointed to a group of poor people and said: Here are the true treasures of the Church. He died by being roasted on a gridiron.

Today, in the gospel, Jesus speaks the words that describe what the life of his followers has to be: “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.” The followers of Christ have to experience in their lives what he experienced. He puts to us the question: “What, then, will a man gain if he wins the whole world and looses his soul?” Anyone with a sense of what salvation means would answer “Nothing.” We have to understand though, that the shadow of the cross is from the light of the resurrection: “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of his Father with his angels.” Only by renouncing self and giving ourselves over to the trials of living the Christian life in the world does a person make himself able to experience the glory of Christ’s kingdom when he comes again.
Collect: Father, you called St. Lawrence to serve you by love and crowned his life with glorious martyrdom. help us to be like him in loving you and doing your work. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Same problems, different age

Go to this site, and see how the monks of old had to deal with things.

Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, OCD, (Edith Stein) virgin & martyr

This is the feast of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, a Jewish woman, philosopher, Catholic convert, Carmelite nun, virgin and martyr who was killed in the Holocaust. "St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross says to us all: Do not accept anything as the truth if it lacks love. And do not accept anything as love which lacks truth! One without the other becomes a destructive lie." (Pope John Paul II from the canonization homily of St. Teresa Benedicta, 11 October 1998)

Today's gospel is the famous Matthew 16, where Jesus asks the apostles to confess who he is. Peter replies that Jesus is the "Christ---the Son of the Living God." Then follows the "Thou art Peter" and then Peter's rebuke from the Lord for inhibiting his exodus in Jerusalem. St. Peter speaks in love to Jesus that he should not go to his crucifixion: Heaven preserve you, Lord, this must not happen to you. It was said in love, but it was contrary to the truth of Jesus' mission, the redemption of the world. He had already explained to the apostles that he must endure this burden. A few days later he would show Peter, James, and John that it would end in glory (the Transfiguration that we celebrated last Monday).

You are an obstacle in my path, because the way you thing is not God's way but man's. Jesus reminds us that love and truth have to be always together. The reality (truth) of our life should be accompanied with the love that springs from the divine life of God.

Collect: God our Father, you give us joy each year in honoring the memory of St. Teresa Benedicta. May her prayers be a source of help for us, and may her example of courage and chastity be our inspiration. Grant this through our Lord Jesus christ, your Son, who lives and reighns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

8 August: St. Dominic, founder of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans)

Mt 15:21-28
At that time Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not say a word in answer to her. His disciples came and asked him, “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.” He said in reply, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But the woman came and did him homage, saying, “Lord, help me.” He said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed from that hour.
House dogs do a useful service: they clean up the scraps that fall from the table---a lot of sweeping is eliminated if you let your dogie clean the floor. It was common for the Jews of Jesus’ day to refer to gentiles and “dogs,” and the gentiles of the surrounding nations knew this quite well. Jesus seems curiously aloof in this situation while the needy woman begs for his help. (It is curious that this gospel falls today on the feast of St. Dominic, whose followers are called in Latin: Dominicanes which can either be translated as "Dominicans" or "Dogs of the Lord" [Domini-canes])
Where is his usual compassion to the afflicted who approach him in faith? In his role of Messiah of the Jews, his first obligation was to the Jewish people, and not to the whole world: “I am sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.” Here, however, we see a broadening of his ministry, in fact, he is already starting to visit the “region of Tyre and Sidon,” and the ministry that will eventually include us gentiles begins with the faith of this Canaanite woman, who ended up with more than table scraps.
St. Dominic (1170-1221) was born in Calahorra in Spain. He worked to uproot the Albigensian heresy, and was a great promoter of the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He founded the Order of Preachers (Dominicans).
Collect: Lord, let the holiness and preaching of St. Dominic come to the aid of your Church. May he help us now with his prayers as he once inspired people by his preachings. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Monday, August 06, 2007

Gospel for 7 August (St. Sixtus Pope and Martyr and Companions, Martyrs)

Matthew 14: 22-36 Jesus made the disciples get into a boat and precede him to the other side of the sea, while he dismissed the crowds. After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone. Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore, was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear. At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” After they got into the boat, the wind died down. Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying,“Truly, you are the Son of God.” After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret. When the men of that place recognized him,they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought to him all those who were sick and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak, and as many as touched it were healed.

In the OT, God is portrayed as being in control of the sea. To control the waves and the wind is one of God’ powers: (Ps 107) “Some went down to the sea in ships, they saw the deeds of the Lord, his wondrous works in the deep” or in Job 9:8: “who alone stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea.” Jesus in this episode reveals his almighty power by doing what God does. He even uses the name of God: “Fear not, it is I.” (I am who am.) St Peter’s action seems presumptuous until we realize that he wanted to do what God does, but whereas God “does” by his own nature, we have to “do” the things of God by faith. Peter’s faith was not quite up to this task, but it still allowed him to do something like God, which is an encouragement for us to do the works of God, not walking on water, but bringing the healing works of God into our lives and the life of the Church.
Pope St Sixtus II and his companions ( - 258)
Sixtus was elected Pope in 257. Twelve months later, on 6th August, as he was celebrating Mass in the catacomb of St Calixtus, he was seized by the authorities (it was the time of Valerian’s persecution) and beheaded along with four of his deacons. He was buried in the same catacomb.St Laurence, another deacon, was captured and executed four days later.We know most of the details of this martyrdom from a letter of St Cyprian, who was himself martyred later in the same year.
Collect: Father, by the power of the Holy Spirit you enabled St. Sixtus and his companions to lay down their lives for your word in witness to Jesus. Give us the grace to believe in you and the courage to prefess our faith. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns iwth you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Feast of the Transfiguration, today's gospel

Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up a mountain to pray.While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white.And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem. Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here;let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”But he did not know what he was saying. While he was still speaking, a cloud came and cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened when they entered the cloud.Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.”After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. They fell silent and did not at that time tell anyone what they had seen.
And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elijah talking with them. (St. John Chrysostom:) And this happened for many reason; of which this is the first: because the multitude had been saying He was Elijah or Jeremiah or one of the prophet He here took to himself the chief persons among the prophets, so that from this also they might see what difference lay between the Master and His servants. Another reason is: the Jews continually accused Jesus of being a violator of the Law, and a blasphemer, and of taking to Himself the glory of the Father. That He may be shown guiltless of these accusation He brings before them two persons who had been preeminent in regard to both those things. For Moses had given the Law, and Elijah had been filled with zeal for the glory of the Father.
Another reason was that they might learn that He had power over life and death, and for this He brought Moses before them: who had departed this life by way of death, and Elijah who had not yet suffered death. The Evangelist reveals another reason, namely: to manifest the glory of the Cross, and to comfort Peter and the other Disciples who were fearful of the Passion. for they spoke, of his exodos that he should accomplish in Jerusalem. And so He brings before them these two who had challenged death for the things that were pleasing to God, and on behalf of the people who believed in Him. For both of their own will had faced tyrants; Moses confronting Pharaoh and Elijah Ahab. And lastly He brings them before them so that the Disciples might be Emulous of their special qualities: that they might become gentle, like Moses, and zealous for the glory of God, like Elijah.
This feast became widespread in the West in the 11th century and was introduced into the Roman calendar in 1457 to commemorate the victory over Islam in Belgrade. Before that, the Transfiguration of the Lord was celebrated in the Syrian, Byzantine, and Coptic rites. The Transfiguration foretells the glory of the Lord as God, and His Ascension into heaven. It anticipates the glory of heaven, where we shall see God face to face. Through grace, we already share in the divine promise of eternal life.
Collect: God our Father, in the transfigured glory of Christ your Son, you strengthen our faith by confirming the witness of your prophets, and show us the splendor of your beloved sons and daughters. As we listen to the voice of your Son, help us to become heirs to eternal life with him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.