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 - 

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 for more information about any of the scheduled lectures or about the Sandwich Island Chesterton Society meeting