Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Do you want to be healed?

A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, "Do you wish to get well?" The sick man answered Him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me." -- John 5:5-7 (NASB)
 Its been a few weeks since this reading at St Ignatios, but Jesus' question has been stirring around in my mind for these weeks and I decided to finally put it into the blog.
He asked the man, "Do you want to be healed?". The first running through my mind was that Jesus never forces grace upon anyone. I wrote some thoughts about that once before.
But there was another though that followed soon after: "How many times have people said no?" I know that I have struggled to yes from time to time. I make no secret that I used to drink alcohol to excess (see here, here or here )and certainly I said no many times during those years when I drank. I didn't believe that I had a problem for quite a while. I would tell myself that it wasn't sinful (I knew it really was). I was tell myself and others that it wasn't so bad.
But worst of all I was like the man in the story, I didn't believe I could stop or that there was hope for me. I didn't ask for help from the Lord. I had tried once before to stay sober and failed after 6 months so I gave up on the thought of sobriety and tried to moderation (I failed at that too). Finally, after my year in the seminary it was especially impressed upon me that I had a problem. I tried again to stay sober, but this time I started off by praying in front of the tabernacle at a local parish. A sudden sense of certainty swept over me. I can't explain it properly in words, but I knew from that point that I was free. I have been sober now for 8 years and still going strong.

Enough about myself, the point I am trying to make is that I encourage you to look inward and ask yourself if Jesus has asked you "Do you wish to get well?". Did you say no or did you accept His love and His grace.

May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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Toilets and Popes

I know what your thinking: Why is it titled "Toilets and Popes"? What kind of garbage is he about to spew? I ask to bear with me for this story.

I had to go to Lowes to buy a new toilet. My daughter was along for the ride in the back of the car.
"Daddy, why do we have to get a new toilet?"
"Its a long story." (It wasn't. I just didn't feel like answering.)
"Tell me the story."
"Ok, once upon a time there was a girl named Princess who went with her Daddy to go get a new toilet. The End."
"Tell me another story!"
"Once upon a time there was a man named Peter. Jesus told him, "I give you the keys to my Father's kingdom. Whatsoever you loose on Earth shall be loosed in Heaven." And Peter became the first Pope because with those words Jesus installed him into office as Pope."
"Is that the end?"
"No, Princess. The story continues today. Do you know who the Pope is now?"
"His name is Frances."

May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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Things I like about our local Melkite parish VI

51. Baptism hymn sung at Christmas, Baptism of the Lord and Easter. "All of you who have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. Alleluia."

52. The week after Easter is called Bright Week.

53. Royal Doors remain open all through Bright Week.

54. King Cosmos shown beneath the Apostles on the Pentecost icon

55. Eyes on the icons.
I've been shown that all righteous people portrayed in the icons have both eyes visible. Eyes are the window to the soul and only Satan, Judas, and demons are portrayed with only one eye visible.

56. Icon of the guardian angel. I really like that an icon was specifically put on the wall for guardian angels. Why don't more parishes have depictions of guardian angels?

57. Its where I'm going to be crowned (married) in October.

58. Our new priest! Ok, so he's been around since August but that's still less than a year. I love that he adds humor into every sermon. He always starts his preaching with this greeting :"Good morning, Saints!".
And as strange as it sounds, I've never met a priest who said God bless you except at confession or if I sneezed. He always makes sure to say it when we're done talking.

59. I love the parish community as a sign of unity. The parish is a motley crew. It was started by Ruthenian Catholics (no one in the parish is Arab or originally Melkite) and taken care of and established as a parish by the Melkite eparchy. The first priest was an Anglican convert who was ordained a Latin Rite who was bi-ritual with the Byzantine Rite. The second priest was an Anglican convert to the Antiochian Orthodox Church who was ordained as a priest in the Orthodox Church and who then reconciled with the Catholic Church to become a Melkite priest. We had a Ukrainian Catholic priest in residence who would celebrate the Divine Liturgy with us from time to time until he was called back to his monastery. Our current priest is a former Orthodox priest who used to be pastor for a Western Rite Orthodox parish.
As Catholic of the various Byzantine Catholic Churches move into the area they start coming to the parish. We have Ukrainian, Ruthenian, and Melkite Catholics. There are also of course Latin Rite Catholics who remain in our parish on a continuing basis. And then there are others like me who came as a Latin Catholic, fell in love, and chose to become Melkite.

60. Its a growing parish and I'm looking to seeing what it will become some day. I enjoy the small intimate size, bu I realize that we must not close off the parish to people who also discover the joy of the East.

May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I'm back

To my patient audience who have been waiting for any word from me, I apologize for making you wait so long.
Its been busy lately and the blog has taken a back seat. What has kept me busy you ask?
I've met a wonderful woman, dated her, and now we are engaged. My car was totalled (no one was hurt, Thank God!). I was unemployed for a time and frantically trying to find a new job. I have a new job and I am spending quite a bit of time looking for a better one. The list goes on, but I am back with fresh material and I hope the wait hasn't been too long for you.

May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Difference in emphasis

I've been going to a Byzantine Rite Catholic parish for a few years now and when this subject comes up people often want to know the difference between Latin and Byzantine Rites. I usually say its a difference in what is emphasized.
The two sides have identical beliefs. The filioque is not part of the Nicene Creed and we have the Dormition instead of Assumption. However,  both sides agree that Mary ended up in Heavean body and soul and it is agreed that the Spirit proceeds through the Son from the Father.
The two sides emphasize different aspects of the same beliefs. For example, Mary is emphasized in the East as Theotokos (Mother of God) and ever-virgin in the West. Both sides believe and teach she is the Theotokos and ever-virgin but each side has its own emphasis.

May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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Friday, July 05, 2013

7 Quick Takes 5 July 2013

1. Happy Independence Day! God bless these United States!

2. I was teaching my daughter the Jesus Prayer (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.) I wanted to make sure Princess understood the prayer so I asked her, "Do you know what a sinner is?"
"Yeah, that's Father Damien"
"Why do you say that?"
"He says so."
Then it dawned on me while celebrating the Divine Liturgy every Sunday the priest says "O God be propitious to me a sinner" three times bowing before the altar.
I explained to her as best I could what sin is and that all of us are sinners, but her answer was amusing.
By the way, Father Damien is now the abbot of Holy Transfiguration Monastery.

3. Another time while praying the Lord's Prayer with her Mermaid Man came to mind. He always had the funniest reaction when he heard the word evil. I had a mental image of him freaking out after the last word of the Lord's Prayer.
A Google search has revealed that I am not the only one with this funny thought:

4. Pope Francis is releasing his first encyclical today. It was started by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. The subject is faith.
Could a Pope Emeritus send out an encyclical or would it be called something different?

5.  I saw this picture on the Facebook page for the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter.
The picture is of a transitional diaconate ordination. The boy next to the deacon is his son.

6. Hulkamania!

7. O Heavenly King, Consoler, Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere and fillest all things; Treasury of Blessings, and Giver of Life - come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.

You can check out other people's Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.

May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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Thursday, July 04, 2013

Happy Fourth

Happy Independence Day!
God bless these United States!

May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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Friday, June 21, 2013

7 Quick Takes 21JUN2013

1. Father's Day went well. I got to spend the whole day together with Princess!  At the end of the day we visited with her Nana and Papa. Her gift to me was at Nana/Papa's. She picked out a nice pocket watch with deer on the cover. Its definitely the best gift I've received in years. I went home and put it in the drawer of my nightstand, not because I didn't want it but because I'm afraid that I will break it otherwise. I have a tendency to break things. I am the reason my parents couldn't have nice things.

2. Two parts from the Psalms always come to mind for me on Father's Day:
Just as a father has compassion on his children, Behold, children are a gift of the Lord,
So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. The fruit of the womb is a reward.
--Psalm 103:13 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,

So are the children of one’s youth.

How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;

They will not be ashamed

When they speak with their enemies in the gate.

--Psalm 127:3-5

3.I've really struggled this year to write in this blog. I'm not going to quit writing on it, but I think I need to think and pray about new subjects to write about. I always had something to write about when I was in the seminary (most days 2 or 3 posts) but the inspiration has diminished since then. After a while in Iraq I stopped writing here altogether and forgot I had this blog for over a year before I began posting again. Maybe a retreat is in order.

4.Would anyone in my limited audience care to guest post here at 50 Days After? I've asked before but I only ever got one taker.

5. I read about a shooting in Utah during Mass. The man who was shot is expected to survive. Please say a prayer for those involved and a prayer for the shooter that he may repent.

6. I finished reading Willie Robertson's autobiography. I previously read Phil Robertson's autobiography. I like how each chapter starts with a Bible verse. I was thinking what I could put for Bible verses at the beginning of chapters if I wrote an autobiography, but all I could think of was Jonah when he was swallowed by the whale.

7. Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true Man.

May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day 2013

Happy Father's Day to all the Fathers out there!
I think the US should change Father's Day to March 19 so that it will be on the Feast of St Joseph, but that's just my humble opinion.
My Father's Day started off at 6:15 this morning with a text message from a number I don't recognize wishing me a "Happy Father's Day!".
A short while ago I read a story from Catholic News Agency about fatherhood. The rest I though was blah but these two paragraphs stood out to me:
Frequently in pop culture – especially in sitcoms on television – fathers are shown as clueless or out of touch and domineering, he said. When this is the only example of fatherhood and masculinity men have, that role almost becomes “a self-fulfilling cycle.”

However, no matter what the “external factors” are, such as pop culture or economic status, a man must be aware that his value and worth are from God, Caulfield emphasized.
To understand God as our Father, we must understand what a father is. I have read many times that the home is the first seminary and fathers most certainly have a God-given role to catechize.

 "As a father hath compassion on his children, so hath the Lord compassion on them that fear him"
--Psalm 103:13

May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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