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 

ARCHIVE - St Michael School Religion/Theology


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

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.




St Michael School Religion/Theology