ʻAdvent Traditionsʻ - Feast of St. Lucy

The Feast of St. Lucy, Virgin and Martyr, is on December 16th . Her Feast, always in the season of Advent, has many perennial customs attached to it. The Pictorial Lives of the Saints (Shea, J.G., 1887recounts her story: 

"THE mother of St. Lucy suffered four years from an issue of blood, and the help of man failed. St. Lucy reminded her mother that a woman in the Gospel had been healed of the same disorder. “St. Agatha,” she said, “stands ever in the sight of Him for whom she died. Only touch her sepulchre with faith, and you will be healed.” They spent the night praying by the tomb, till, overcome by weariness, both fell asleep. St. Agatha appeared in vision to St. Lucy, and calling her sister, foretold her mother’s recovery and her own martyrdom. That instant the cure was effected; and in her gratitude the mother allowed her daughter to distribute her wealth among the poor, and consecrate her virginity to Christ. A young man to whom she had been promised in marriage, accused her as a Christian to the heathen; but our Lord, by a special miracle, saved from outrage this virgin whom He had chosen for His own. The fire kindled around her did her no hurt. Then the sword was plunged into her heart, and the promise made at the tomb of St. Agatha was fulfilled."



On the Feast of St. Lucy there are many customs throughout the world that usually involve ʻlightʻ since that is what her name means. In some places torch processions or elaborate bonfires are lit in her honor. There is also a specifically Swedish Tradition, which has caught on in some Catholic circles here in Hawaii, of having the eldest daughter in the family waking up before the rest of the family and wearing a white gown with a ʻhakuʻ (or wreath) of light. Her and her helpers, know as starboys (because of the star adorned hats they wear), go around to the rest of the family and wake them up with some delicious St. Lucy Day food. In some places, especially Sweden, this custom even takes place as part of a community event via St. Lucy Day procession of Light


For an idea of how to celebrate St. Lucyʻs Day in your family take a look at the following link which has step by step instructions including recipes for St. Lucyʻs Day food :) http://www.wikihow.com/Celebrate-St.-Lucia-Day

image via creative commons. Icon of St. Lucy
image from The Pictorial Lives of the Saints (Shea, J.G., 1887). Public Domain
Procession image via wikimedia commons.By Fredrik Magnusson

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Today, December 8th, is the great feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Mother of God, Mary most holy.

“The Most Holy Virgin Mary was, in the first moment of her conception, by a unique gift of grace and privilege of Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of mankind, preserved free from all stain of original sin.”


 - Ex Cathedra Statement of Pius IX in “Ineffabilis Deus


If you are interested in studying the biblical and traditional basis of the Immaculate Conception and the other beautiful Marian Dogma check out these posts from several years back:

Mary Most Holy: ʻPotuit, decuit, ergo fecit!ʻ

Mary Most Holy: Mother of God & Ark of the New Covenant

image from the 'Public domain' via wikimedia commonsImmaculate Conception
Magisterial excerpt from Ott, L., 1957. Fundamentals of Catholic dogma

ʻAdvent Traditionsʻ - The Feast of St. Nicholas

December 6th is the Feast of St. Nicholas. MY favorite story of St. Nicholas deals with his presence at the Council of Nicaea where he slapped the heretic Arius for his denial of the two natures of Christ! Here is Dr. Taylor Marshall, of http://www.taylormarshall.com, retelling the story:

 

BUT, of course, my children much prefer the other famous stories of St. Nicholas or ʻSanta Clausʻ which is a rough distortion of his name. The Pictorial Lives of the Saints (Shea, J.G., 1887recounts one of his famous stories here:  

"ST. NICHOLAS - Throughout his life he retained the bright and guileless manners of his early years, and showed himself the special protector of the innocent and the wronged. Nicholas once heard that a person who had fallen into poverty intended to abandon his three daughters to a life of sin. Determined, if possible, to save their innocence, the Saint went out by night, and, taking with him a bag of gold, flung it into the window of the sleeping father and hurried off. He, on awaking, deemed the gift a godsend, and with it dowered his eldest child. The Saint, overjoyed at his success, made like venture for the second daughter; but the third time, as he stole away, the father, who was watching, overtook him and kissed his feet, saying: “Nicholas, why dost thou conceal thyself from me? Thou art my helper, and he who has delivered my soul and my daughters’ from hell.” 


It is from these and many other stories of St. Nicholas that he is known for his generosity and care of the young and innocent. Many customs were formed throughout the centuries involving the Feast of St. Nicholas and has, though thoroughly commercialized, resulted in some of the ʻSanta Clausʻ traditions that the secular world embraces today. There are  many Advent Traditions, however, that still properly honor this great Saint on the day of or on the eve of his Feast day, December 6th. Here are few mentioned in ʻAround the Year with the TRAPP FAMILYʻ, Maria Augusta Trapp, 1955. Pantheon Books :

"While in some places the children only put their shoes on the window sill on the eve of St. Nicholas' Day and find them filled with candies, cookies, oranges, and dried fruit the next morning (but only the good ones; the bad ones find a switch), in other parts St. Nicholas comes in person. On the eve of December 5th . . . The holy bishop (Father of the house dressed as St. Nicholas), in his pontifical vestments, accompanied by Krampus, would enter the room while everybody stood up reverently. . . He calls each member of the household forward, rewarding the good and admonishing the less good. The good children will get a package of sweets, whereas Krampus aims at the legs of the children who did not deserve one. After everyone has received his due, the holy bishop addresses a few words of general admonition to the whole family, acting as a precursor to the One Who is to come, drawing their thoughts toward Christmas, asking them to prepare their hearts for the coming of the Holy Child."

image from The Pictorial Lives of the Saints (Shea, J.G., 1887). Public Domain

ʻAdvent Traditionsʻ - The Feast of St. Barbara

During this Advent season (a time of penitential preparation and restrained joy in anticipation of the birth of Christ) there are many beautiful traditions that ages of Catholics participated in that have sadly been replaced with commercialized holiday shopping and premature Christmas parties. I would like to, on this blog, share some of those traditions throughout this Advent season as a means of slowly restoring some of the beautiful Catholic Advent traditions.

Today (December 4th) is the Feast of St. Barabara, Virgin and Martyr. The Pictorial Lives of the Saints (Shea, J.G., 1887) recounts her story here:  
"ST. BARBARA was brought up a heathen. A tyrannical father, Dioscorus, had kept her jealously secluded in a lonely tower which he had built for the purpose. Here, in her forced solitude, she gave herself to prayer and study, and contrived to receive instruction and baptism by stealth from a Christian priest. Dioscorus, on discovering his daughter’s conversion, was beside himself with rage. He himself denounced her before the civil tribunal. Barbara was horribly tortured, and at last was beheaded, her own father, merciless to the last, acting as her executioner. God, however, speedily punished her persecutors. While her soul was being borne by angels to Paradise, a flash of lightning struck Dioscorus, and he was hurried before the judgment-seat of God."


Tradition has it that while St. Barbara was captive in the tower she kept a branch of cherry tree which she watered and tended to. On the day of her martyrdom, it blossomed! A beautiful Advent tradition stemmed from this and is usually (but not necessarily) reserved for the unmarried members of a household: 
"On the fourth of December, unmarried members of the household are supposed to go out into the orchard and cut twigs from the cherry trees  and put them into water. There is an old belief that whoever's cherry  twig blossoms on Christmas Day can expect to get married in the following  year. As most of us are always on tour at this time of the year, someone at home will be commissioned to "cut the cherry twigs." These will be put  in a vase in a dark corner, each one with a name tag, and on Christmas  Day they will be eagerly examined; and even if they are good for nothing  else, they provide a nice table decoration for the Christmas dinner." - ʻAround the Year with the TRAPP FAMILYʻ, Maria Augusta Trapp, 1955. Pantheon Books
image from the 'Public domain' {{PD-Art}} .San Clemente de Roma
image from The Pictorial Lives of the Saints (Shea, J.G., 1887). Public Domain


ʻHilaireous Gilbertʻ - My first home brewed wine complete!

This past weekend I finally, after a month and a half of the wine making process, was able to bottle and label my very first wine! It was a great experience!

The wine is a Washington Merlot and was made in honor of my favorite author G.K. Chesterton and his dear friend Hilaire Belloc (also an excellent Catholic author). The name, ʻHilaireous Giblertʻ, is a play on both their names. 


The quotes I chose for the back of the wine bottle are as follows:

“Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine,There’s always laughter and good red wine. At least I’ve always found it so. Benedicamus Domino!” - Belloc

". . . . drink because you do not need it, for this is irrational drinking, and the ancient health of the world.” - Chesterton

I am currently working on several more wines. One in honor of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati and another in honor of St. Pius X. Ill post pictures of the finished products :)  

ʻMemorials of the Saintsʻ - The Biblical Basis for Relics

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, a relic is some object, notably part of the body or clothes, remaining as a memorial of a departed saint. The Church teaches that relics may be the occasion of God’s miracles, and in this the Church follows Scripture. (From the 25th session of the Council of Trent)

In this Bible Study I go through 4 of the major verses in Scripture that clearly show that Relics are part of not only the Old Testament but of the New Testament Faith. There is a clear continuity between present-day Catholic practice and ancient practice


2 Kgs. 13:20-21“So Eli'sha died, and they buried him. Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the spring of the year. And as a man was being buried, lo, a marauding band was seen and the man was cast into the grave of Eli'sha; and as soon as the man touched the bones of Eli'sha, he revived, and stood on his feet.”

Matt. 9:20-22“And behold, a woman who had suffered from a hemorrhage for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment; for she said to herself, "If I only touch his garment, I shall be made well." Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, "Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well." And instantly the woman was made well.”

Acts 5:14-16 “And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women, so that they even carried out the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and pallets, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.”

Acts 19:11-12“And God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.”

(The picture is of a Relic from the shrine of Saint Boniface. The bone fragment in middle is from Saint Boniface; the little folded papers on the left and right contain bone fragments of Saint Benedict of Nursia and Bernard of Clairvaux)

image via ʻ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported. Photo by Broederhugo

St. Clement of Rome on the Inerrancy of Scripture

"You have studied the Holy Scriptures, which are true and inspired by the Holy Spirit. You know that nothing contrary to justice or truth has been written in them." 
-St. Clementʻs Letter to the Corinthians, 45

image from the 'Public domain' {{PD-Art}} .San Clemente de Roma

Sacred Vestment - The Alb

The Alb, so called from its white color—albus  meaning white, is "an ample, loosely-fitting garment of pure linen, entirely enveloping the body, and fastened at the neck by means of strings.

The use of a vestment of this kind is of the highest antiquity, for we find it employed by all nations in their religious services. It is the same as the linen garment ordered to be worn by the priests of the Old Law (Exod. 28; Levit. 8) King David wore a linen Alb when translating the Ark of the Covenant from the house of Obededom to Jerusalem (1 Paral. 15:27)."

"Figurative Signification of the Alb.—According to Pope Innocent III. (De Sacr. Altaris Mysterio, 57), the Alb, from the purity of its color, denotes newness of life, and reminds us of St. Paul’s admonition to the Ephesians, chap. 4: “Put off the old man with all his acts, and clothe yourselves with the new man, who, according to God, is created in justice and holiness of truth.” This beautiful idea of a new life, as signified by the Alb, is very forcibly presented to us in Holy Baptism, where the newly-regenerated receives a white garment with these significant words: “Receive this white and spotless garment which you are to bear before the tribunal of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you may possess eternal life. Amen.”

Priests of the Latin Church put on the Alb with the prayer: “Purify me, O Lord! and make me clean of heart, that, washed in the Blood of the Lamb, I may possess eternal joy.” 

(All of the citations above are from - O’Brien, J., 1881. A History of the Mass and Its Ceremonies in the Eastern and Western Church

Since our priests are ʻIn persona Christiʻ there is also a pious tradition that ties the all the priestly vestments (which are put on right prior to the offering of Mass) to the Passion and Death of Christ.  This tradition traces the Alb specifically back to Luke 23:11 wherein Jesus is clothed with a white garment:  "And Herod with his army set him at nought and mocked him, putting on him a white garment: and sent him back to Pilate." 

image from the 'Public domain'  via wikimedia commons

Sacred Vestment - The Amice

Every action and symbol that the Church uses in her Liturgy has great biblical, historical, and traditional meaning. What the priest says and does during Mass is precise and rooted in centuries of Tradition. What the priest wears during Mass is also of great importance. 
The sacred vestments used by a priest in offering the Mass are: The Amice, Alb, Cincture, Maniple, Stole, and Chasuble.

This post is the first of a series of six posts to address the significance of these Sacred Vestments. Lets first take a look at the Amice:

"The Amice, so called from the Latin amicire, to clothe or cover, is a rectangular piece of linen about three feet long and two feet wide. It has a string at each of its two upper corners by which to fasten it on the shoulders of the wearer, and a cross in the middle of the upper edge, which the priest kisses when vesting.

From the office which the Amice serves various names have been given it, such as Humeral, from the Latin humerus; a shoulder; Anabolagium, from the Greek ἀναβολή (anabole), a cloak; and Ephod, from its resemblance to the Aaronic garment of that name."

"Mystical Meaning of the Amice.—The mystical meaning of the Amice may be gathered from the prayer recited in donning it: “Place upon my head, O Lord! the helmet of salvation for repelling the attacks of the evil one.” It is, then, part of the armor of a soldier of Christ, and serves to remind the priest of the obligation he is under of being ready at all times to fight the good fight of faith in accordance with that sacred admonition of the Apostle of the Gentiles, “Put ye on the armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil.… And take unto you the helmet of salvation” (Ephesians 6:11–17)." 

(All of the citations above are from - O’Brien, J., 1881. A History of the Mass and Its Ceremonies in the Eastern and Western Church

image from the 'Public domain'  via wikimedia commons

St. Ambrose on Mary the Mother of God

"The first thing which kindles ardour in learning is the greatness of the teacher. What is greater than the Mother of God? What more glorious than she whom Glory Itself chose? What more chaste than she who bore a body without contact with another body? For why should I speak of her other virtues? She was a virgin not only in body but also in mind, who stained the sincerity of its disposition by no guile, who was humble in heart, grave in speech, prudent in mind, sparing of words, studious in reading, resting her hope not on uncertain riches, but on the prayer of the poor, intent on work, modest in discourse; wont to seek not man but God as the judge of her thoughts, to injure no one, to have good-will towards all, to rise up before her elders, not to envy her equals, to avoid boastfulness, to follow reason, to love virtue."

- St. Ambrose of Milan [Virgins 2:2:7 (a.d. 377)]."

image from the 'Public domain' {{PD-Art}} .Our Lady of Good Counsel

Perspicuity of Scripture? 2 Peter 3:16

One of the common protestant claims raised in a conversation about Sola Scriptura (and its implicit denial not only of Sacred Tradition but also of the Interpretive Authority of the Church) is that the Bible is simple, easy to understand, and that Scripture needs no interpretation OR just interprets itself. This is referred to as the ʻPerspicuity of Scriptureʻ.

Like other arguments brought up in defense of Sola Scriptura this argument is NOT supported by Scripture. In fact The Bible warns us that it is easy to MISINTERPRET Scripture 

" As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are certain things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction. " (2 Peter 3:16) 

The Holy Church is the sole authoritative interpreter of Revelation and is our proximate guide to understanding and interpreting Scripture lest we twist it to our own destruction! Thank God for Holy Church! 

For rules for Catholic Biblical Interpretation check out THIS POST
To learn about the problems with Sola Scripture check out THIS POST 

image via ʻ Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic. Photo by Dave Bullock

The ʻEmber Daysʻ and Tempura!

Today (9/18/13) begins the Michaelmas Embertide. One of the four times a year that the Church calls the ʻEmber Daysʻ or the ʻQuatuor Temporaʻ in Latin

A concise explanation of the ʻEmber Daysʻ Can be found in Theinʻs Ecclesiastical Dictionary: 

They are "the first Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of each of the four seasons of the year, set apart as fast days by the Catholic Church. According to the testimony of Pope Leo, they originated in the time of the Apostles, who were inspired by the Holy Ghost to dedicate each season of the year to God by a few days of penance; or, as it were, to pay three days’ interest, every three months, on the graces received from God. The Church always commanded the Faithful to fast at the beginning of each of the four seasons of the year, because it is at this time that she ordains the priests and other servants of the Church, which even the Apostles did with much prayer and fasting." (Thein, J., 1900. Ecclesiastical Dictionary)

A much deeper look at the Ember Days, including a more detailed look at its historical roots, can be found in a great article by Michael P. Foley called ʻThe Glow of the Ember Daysʻ. You can read it here - http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2008/09/glow-of-ember-days.html 

One of the unique stories , and a favorite of many local Hawaiian Catholics, surrounding the ʻEmber Daysʻ is that of how the ʻEmber Daysʻ led to the creation of the very tasty and very popular food, Shrimp Tempura! Mr. Foley explains it in his article

"In the sixteenth century, when Spanish and Portuguese missionaries settled in Nagasaki, Japan, they sought ways of making tasty meatless meals for Embertide and started deep-frying shrimp. The idea caught on with the Japanese, who applied the process to a number of different sea foods and vegetables. They called this delicious food—have you guessed it yet?—“tempura,” again from Quatuor Tempora. " (M. Foley. Fall 2008 issue of The Latin Mass Magazine, vol. 17:4)

So either today, Friday, or this Saturday, in honor of the Apostolic tradition of the ʻEmber Daysʻ consider including Tempura as the main part of your one full meal! Its  a food with a very Catholic history :)

image via ʻCreative Commonsʻ. Photo by avlxyz

The Vincentian Canon (St. Vincent of Lérins)

The Vincentian Canon, written by St Vincent of Lérins in his work entitled Commonitorium , is a threefold test to determine the true Catholicity of a given tradition and to act as a  “A Warning against the Profane Novelties of all Heresies”. The canon is as follows:

“In the Catholic Church we must with all care hold that which has been held in all places, at all times, by all men, for this is truly and properly Catholic.” 

(Hunter, S.J., 1896. Outlines of Dogmatic Theology)

image from the 'Public domain' . St Vincent of Lérins.


September 23rd: The Aloha Lecture Series

I have been given the honor of speaking on September 23rd, 2013 as a part of the Hālāwaiʻs ʻAloha Lecture Seriesʻ. Their entire Fall calendar is below. Please contact thehalawai@gmail.com for more information about any of the scheduled lectures or about the Sandwich Island Chesterton Society meeting 



ARCHIVE - St Michael School Religion/Theology

ALL COMPLETED HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENTS MAY BE EMAILED TO ME AT dcarter@stmichaelschoolhi.net BUT PLEASE ALSO SAVE A COPY ON YOUR CHROME BOOKS JUST IN CASE I DO NOT RECEIVE YOUR EMAIL

THIS IS THE ARCHIVE OF PAST LESSONS AND ASSIGNMENTS
1) Lesson 1 of the Catechism and the The Christian Message Diagram (August 2nd - August 23rd, 2017) - CLICK HERE to download Christian Diagram

* Test Prep (Test is on Wednesday, August 23rd) - 
  • Christian Message (Draw Diagram, Verses, Explain the diagram) 
  • Write out the Angelus
  • Incarnation (Definition)
  • Assumption and Ascension (Definitions) (explain difference)
  • Why did God make you?

* 3 Minute Catechisms to help you with Lesson 1



2) Lesson 2 of the Catechism and the books of the Bible (August 25th - September 8th)

Homework due on Wednesday, September 6th - The Discussion Questions, True False, and Fill in the Blank for Lesson 2 of your Baltimore Catechism


* Test Prep (Test is on Friday, September 8th) - 

  • Eucharist (Definition)
  • Adoration (Definition)
  • Write out Hail Holy Queen
  • Transubstantion (Definition)
  • Consecration (Definition)
  • What are the Perfections of God?
  • What is the Bible? 
  • What is Divine Tradition?
  • Has Tradition the same force as the Bible? 
  • What are the Books of the Bible? (CLICK HERE FOR A LIST OF THE BOOKS)
* Mnemonics for the New Testament Books of the Bible

Gospels and History (5): Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts 
My Mother Likes Juicy Apples 

Pauline Epistles (13): Romans, 1&2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1&2 Thessalonians, 1&2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon 
Red CatS Give Every Pink Cat ThoSe ThingS That Pop 

General Epistles (8): Hebrews, James, 1&2 Peter, 1&2&3 John, Jude 
Helpful Joe PickleS JoSe'S Jelly  

Apocalypse (1): Revelation None, we're supposed to remember that Revelation is the last book of all.

* Songs that can help you remember the books of the bible

New Testament
 

Old Testament
 
(REMEMBER - There are 7 books of the Bible that are missing from this song Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch, 1 & 2 Maccabees) Dont forget to memorize these! 

* 3 Minute Catechisms to help you with Lesson 2



St Michael School Religion/Theology

ALL COMPLETED HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENTS MUST BE EMAILED TO ME AT dcarter@stmichaelschoolhi.net BUT PLEASE ALSO SAVE A COPY ON YOUR CHROME BOOKS JUST IN CASE I DO NOT RECEIVE YOUR EMAIL

THE LESSON  BELOW IS WHAT WE ARE CURRENTLY WORKING ON

3) Lesson 3 of the Catechism, the Apostles Creed, and the 1st quarter project (September 8th - September 22nd)(Please see further below for details on your 1st quarter project)

Homework due on Wednesday, September 20th - The Discussion Questions for Lesson 3 of your Baltimore Catechism. PLEASE USE COMPLETE SENTENCES. 

* Quiz Prep (Quiz is on Wednesday, September 27th) - 
  • The Apostles Creed
  • What is a Supernatural Mystery?
  • Explain the difference between nature and person
  • How many natures does God Have? How persons are in God?
  • Draw the Trinity Diagram (CLICK HERE for the Trinity Diagram)

1st QUARTER PROJECT (Due October 6th) 
 * Choose a prayer from the Catechism OR a Book of the Bible
- You can do your project on a poster board, a power point, a podcast, or video

* You may choose a partner to work with on this project 

In your project the following needs to be included

1) The history of the prayer or book
2) Important characters in the book or prayer
3) Stories about the prayer in the life of the Church OR stories from that book of the bible
4) Lessons we can learn from that prayer or book

The Apostles Creed

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth, 
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, Who was conceived by 
the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, 
was crucified, died, and was buried. 
He descended into Hell; the third day He arose again from the dead; 
He ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of God 
the Father Almighty, from thence He shall come 
to judge the living and the dead. 
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, 
the Communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, 
the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.  Amen.


*PLEASE WATCH THE FOLLOWING VIDEO ON THE CREED*



*PLEASE WATCH THE FOLLOWING VIDEOS ON THE TRINITY*



ʻOn Prayer, Fasting, and Mercyʻ - St. Peter Chrysologus

"My brothers and sisters, it is through three things that faith stands firm, that piety exists, and that virtue remains, namely, prayer, fasting, and mercy. What prayer requests through unrelenting petition, fasting obtains, and mercy accepts. Prayer, mercy, fasting: these three are one; these three invigorate one another. Fasting is the soul of prayer; mercy gives life to fasting. May no one divide these three; they are not to be separated. A person who has only one of them or does not have all three of them together has none of them. And so the person who prays is to fast. Whoever fasts is to show mercy"

- Sermon from St. Peter Chrysologus (c.380 - c.450)

image from the 'Public domain' via wikimedia commons. St. Peter Chrysologus

Congratulations to the Newly Confirmed!

  

This past Sunday (August 18th, 2013) His Excellency Bishop Larry Silva came to administer the sacrament of Confirmation for 6 Confirmandi of our community. Congratulations to Britney, Nathan, Joseph, Gabriella, Claudia, and Sophie! 

The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother

Today, August 15th, is the great feast of the Bodily Assumption of the Blessed Mother of God, Mary most holy.

“Mary, the immaculate perpetually Virgin Mother of God, after the completion of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into the glory of Heaven” (pronuntiamus, declaramus et definimus divinitus revelatum dogma esse: Immaculatam Deiparam semper Virginem Mariam, expleto terrestris vitae cursu, fuisse corpore et anima ad caelestem gloriam assumptam)

 - Ex Cathedra Statement of Pius XII in “Munificentissimus Deus”

If you are interested in studying the biblical and traditional basis of the Assumption and the other beautiful Marian Dogma check out these posts from several years back:

Mary Most Holy: ʻPotuit, decuit, ergo fecit!ʻ

Mary Most Holy: Mother of God & Ark of the New Covenant

image from the 'Public domain' via wikimedia commonsAssumption of Mary
Magisterial excerpt from Ott, L., 1957. Fundamentals of Catholic dogma


Vicarious Suffering (Even for those in Purgatory)

It says in James that the prayer of a righteous person is extremely powerful (cf. Jas 5:16). Thats why we ask certain people or groups to pray for us. 

We wouldnt normally, lets say, ask a random person on a street corner to prayer for us. Rather, we would ask those  which we believe actually DO pray and who we believe God will hear. 

This is why we ask the saints to pray for us. They are at the very throne of God offering up their prayers on our behalf (Rev 5:8) Who better to ask for prayers than those who are living in eternal Glory in the presence of God! 

In addition to prayer there are other forms of supplication that   we can offer on our own behalf and on behalf of others. Fasting and suffering are 2 most powerful forms of this. AND, since we are in communion with those in purgatory we can offer up our fasting and suffering on their behalf as well.

Suffering on behalf of others is very scriptural:

Col 1:24 - "Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church"

1 Jn 3:16 -  "In this we have known the charity of God, because he hath laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren"

Phil 2:17 -  "Yea, and if I be made a victim upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and congratulate with you all"

2 Tim 2:10 - "Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus, with heavenly glory."

We are called to imitate St. Paul in sufferings for others. 

The connection to suffering on behalf of those in purgatory is the same as it is for praying, in general, for others (even for those in purgatory) namely that

"that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor might, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom 8:38–39)

Since WE are united as one body in Christ THROUGH the love of God . . . death does not separate our communion with another in Christ. So just as much as I can pray for you while you are alive here on earth, so too can I pray for you or suffer for you (for the quick remission of temporal punishment due to your sin) after you depart from this earthly life. 

image via creative commons license. A Procession in the Catacomb of Callistus (Prayers for the dead). Alberto Pisa. 1905

ʻOutburst from the heart!ʻ From St.Therese of Lisieux

I took a break from my normal reading of the great Catechetical and Theological Fathers of the Church to seek out spiritual wisdom from a great Saint and Doctor. Her words give me great hope for my own spiritual life that even when I have not the strength to be elaborate in prayer, my Father hears me! 

"Prayer is, for me, an outburst from the heart; it is a simple glance darted upwards to Heaven; it is a cry of gratitude and of love in the midst of trial as in the midst of joy! In a word, it is something exalted, supernatural, which dilates the soul and unites it to God. Sometimes when I find myself, spiritually, in dryness so great that I cannot produce a single good thought, I recite very slowly a Pater or an Ave Maria; these prayers alone console me, they suffice, they nourish my soul."

"I have not the courage to force myself to seek beautiful prayers in books; not knowing which to choose I act as children do who cannot read; I say quite simply to the good God what I want to tell Him, and He always understands me."
- Story of A Soul, St. Therese of Lisieux

image via creative commons license. Thérèse de Lisieux. sconosciuto. 1895