Monday, January 30, 2012

Wisdom from Father Jose 11

Before you judge someone, please, first give that person an opportunity to explain... this saves time, energy, and possibly a friendship. -- Father Jose
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Petition Against HHS Regulation

There's a petition on the White House Website of all place against the HHS regulations requiring employers to provide contraception, sterilizations and abortions against the religious freedoms of the American people.

Sign it here!
h/t to Why I am Catholic
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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Obadiah didn't have spellcheck back in the day

At the bottom it says Obadiah 15.

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Saints and Scripture Burning Bush

The picture above has a woman's face in the middle of the burning bush that Moses saw. The woman is Mary, the Theotokos. Many of the Church Fathers compared Mary to the burning bush because, even though she was pregnant with the Incarnate Word, she was never consumed and her nature remained unchanged.St Gregory of Nyssa said “What was prefigured at that time in the flame of the bush was openly manifested in the mystery of the Virgin … As on the mountain the bush burned but was not consumed, so the Virgin gave birth to the light and was not corrupted.”


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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Remember when?

Long time readers of my blog might remember that I was still a seminarian when I began 50 Days After and that I used to have regular anti-Communist posts (I've since become less political, but I think I might bring them back). Its hard to believe I've been rambling on this blog for almost six years and the changes that happened in those six years are even more astounding.
I always find it humbling that people actually read this blog!
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Sunday Snippets 28JAN

I've been relatively busy with posting this week. Of course on Sunday I posted with Saints and Scripture Sunday, this time about Zaccheus, then on Monday was my Wisdom from Father Jose posting and I joined in with Seven Quick Takes on Friday. Outside of my normal weekly postings is a caption contest of two Orthodox priests in Kudos for the Best Caption, a rambling about Jonah as an example of a vocations story in Jonah and Vocations, Father Pontifex Responds to "Why I Love Jesus, but Hate Religion", and a thought for the day in Handfuls of Sand. I almost forgot. I also took a picture of Princess's icon written by our parish priest, Father Damien.


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Handfuls of Sand

A handful of sand, thrown into the sea, is what sinning is, when compared to God‚s Providence and mercy. Just as an abundant source of water is not impeded by a handful of dust, so also the Creator's mercy is not defeated by the sins of His creations.
St. Isaac the Syrian


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Friday, January 27, 2012

7 Quick Takes 27JAN

1. I'm still trying to understand how or why the speaker at our Young Adult Ministry last night delved into the topic of "Faithful Citizenship" without any material/discussion on Natural Law or Social Contract.To understand the American system you have to understand Social Contract. To properly understand Catholic political thought one has to understand Natural Law. I don't get it.
2. I do very much enjoy the chance to meet new people and sometimes discuss these things to a depth that satisfies me. Its been a great experience. A year ago the only people I knew in town were other Soldiers and Hephzibah's family.
3. Last night I got the chance to talk with one of the guys who plays the music during the Adoration portion of the Young Adult Ministry and ask him why none of the songs are about the Eucharist directly or indirectly. He was a lot more receptive than I thought he would be.
4. I like taking Princess to new restaurants in theory, but in practice its usually more irritating than its worth. First off, when we try a new restaurant all I can usually get her to eat is something like chicken strips or hot dogs which defeats the purpose of going to any kind of ethnic restaurant. And then even if I order from the children's menu she never seems to eat more than two or three bites before she claims to be full. Of course she's hungry again in another half hour.
5. Had an interesting discussion yesterday with a guy who said that he was hesitant about whether or not God was calling him to the priesthood because he wants to make lots of money to give it to the poor. I had never heard that one. His friends explained that as a priest he would be giving all his time and talents to the people everyday. I explained that the rubber has to eventually meet the road. We can't all be the ones to donate money, someone has to eventually take that money and do something with it.
6. I never realized how much stuff with my house that I have put off, not had the time, or only just begun on it. That is until about three weeks ago when I took a whiteboard and filled it full of about 60 things I want/need to do around here. So far I've gotten about half at least underway. I've only actually completed about a dozen.
7. Also, (continued rambling from #1) why would a discussion on Faithful Citizenship not include the parable of the goats and sheep? As you can tell it left me flat.


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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fr Pontifex responds to "Why I Love Jesus, but Hate Religion"

My favorite parts that really hit the nail on head, IMHO:
“the teacher will teach when the students are ready to listen”
"lines about building big churches and feeding the poor sound a bit like Judas when the perfume was being poured"
"blaming religion for contradiction is like staring at death and blaming the hearse"
"if I have the jersey and I'm playing for the Bulls, there's going to be some boundaries, regulations, and rules"



h/t to Being Frank

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Jonah and Vocations

So it occurs to me that the story of Jonah can be seen as a story of his vocation as well. God has called on him to be His prophet to Nineveh. We are each called to a vocation where we can spread the Gospel with the talents we are given, just as apparently among Jonah's talents was preaching.
However, many of us like Jonah turn away from that which our God has called us to. In these cases, He has various methods to convince us to see things His way (i.e.  storm and spending three days inside the Leviathan). I suppose how long this convincing takes depends on the hardness of our hearts, but we are each called to go to our own Nineveh with the message given to us.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Wisdom from Father Jose 10

The world will revolve, but you stay steady on your faith. -- Father Jose Ramirez
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Kudos for the Best Caption


source
One of the comments had a tinyURL that led to this picture:


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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Saints and Scripture Zaccheus


Today was Zaccheus Sunday in the Byzantine Churches. As such, the Gospel reading was the story of Zaccheus:
And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.
And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And he sought to see Jesus who He was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.
And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, "Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house."
And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, "That He was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner."
And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold."
And Jesus said unto him, "This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."-- Luke 19:1-10
I read somewhere (I forgot save the link) that Zaccheus climbing into the sycamore was symbolic of Zaccheus taking up his cross (Paul mentions Jesus dying on the cross as bearing the sin of hanging from a tree) and dying to himself and his greedy desires in order to see who is Jesus.
When I did a Google Image search for pictures of Zaccheus, some of the pictures displayed were from the Garden of Eden. It does occur to me that it is almost the reverse of Adam and Eve partaking of the forbidden fruit. As Adam and Eve picked the forbidden fruit from the tree and mankind fell, Jesus called Zaccheus from the tree and brought salvation to his house in order "to save that which was lost".
According to some traditions, he followed St Peter after the Ascension of our Lord and became bishop of Caesarea.
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Icon of Holy Family

Father Damien wrote this icon for us:

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Friday, January 20, 2012

St Sebastian

Today is the Memorial of St Sebastian. As such I am re-posting a picture from one of my LOLSaints postings.


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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Member of the Roman Curia speaks on Tebow

First of all, I think its interesting that the Vatican has a "Church and Sport" section in the Pontifical Council for the Laity. I heard once that the Catholic Church has the world's largest bureaucracy and it might well be true. As to the article, I found this section thought provoking.
ZENIT: OK, but does prayer really have a place in football? Surely God doesn't care about who wins the Super Bowl -- or does he?

Father Lixey:
Judging from his public statements, Tebow is one of the few and most prominent religious athletes to recognize that God does not care about the score of football games. Tebow considers his missionary and philanthropic work much more important than football, but at the same time, possible, because of it. We all too often equate prayer with only asking good things from God, where prayer is only used "to obtain something" i.e., victory, health, or a miracle. The Catechism reminds us that prayer is also "the raising of one's mind and heart to God" and that we "we must remember God more often that we draw breath."

Certainly there are moments and places more conducive to prayer, but there is no reason that all religious manifestations be entirely banned from the public square. These external manifestations of one's beliefs are impressive precisely because they are public. Just as Christians once fell to their knees at the sound of the Angelus bell to remember the Incarnation, or just as the cab driver makes the point of getting out of his car to bow down toward Mecca in prayer, I see no reason why a professional football player cannot offer a prayer of thanksgiving or point to heaven instead of doing a lewd victory dance in the end zone.

Nonetheless, these external manifestations can make some people feel uneasy and it is not certain how long this will be "allowed" in the NFL. The Danish Football Federation complained to FIFA for permitting members of the Brazilian national to gather together in prayer after their victory of the 2009 Confederations Cup. FIFA's president responded by warning that any religious manifestation would not be permitted in the 2010 World Cup.

See the rest.
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Monday, January 16, 2012

Wisdom from Father Jose 9

The people will hate you for who you are, but don´t worry about what the world thinks of you, worry about your salvation. -- Father Jose Ramirez
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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Saints and Scripture 15JAN

"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up" John 3:14
I like this quote not just because of the imagery and that I could meditate on this forever, but it almost seems to me that its like John 3:16's lesser known brother. Anyways, enough rambling...

I took this picture this morning (before Orthros and the Divine Liturgy) at my parish, St Ignatios. I like how it takes the quote and gives a visual representation linking the Old Testament story with the verse from the Gospel of St John.Of course the Son of Man lifted on the cross heals primarily our souls while the snake on the staff was solely a physical healing from the scourge the LORD had sent upon them.
I wish to point out that there are many parallels drawn between Jesus and Moses. The Exodus is very often cited as a parallel to the Christian experience. Slavery in Egypt is akin to our slavery to sin before baptism. The parting of the waters and washing away of Pharaoh's army is symbolic of our baptism and the washing away what held in slavery to sin. On our journey to the promised land, a.k.a. Heaven, we are afflicted because of our sins/grumbling/doubting. Just as the Israelites were healed by the snake on the staff.
Then they set out from Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the people became impatient because of the journey. The people spoke against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food.” 
The LORD sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died.  So the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD and you; intercede with the LORD, that He may remove the serpents from us.” And Moses interceded for the people. Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.” And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived. Numbers 21:4-9
The part about Moses interceding on their behalf reminds me of Jesus' parable about the fig tree:
And He began telling this parable: “A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any.  And he said to the vineyard-keeper, ‘Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?’ And he answered and said to him, ‘Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer;  and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.’” Luke 13:6-9
I think that what I mean is self-evident. On that note, I'll quit rambling and leave you to think on this if you will it.



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Sunday Snippets 15JAN

This last week was had a large number of posts for me. First was Saints and Scripture Theophany. On Monday was the latest edition of Wisdom from Father Jose. Tuesday I compared a passage from Isaiah in various translations. Finally, on Friday I joined in with Seven Quick Takes.
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Friday, January 13, 2012

7 Quick Takes 13JAN

  1. Got a few more things done from my to do list that mentioned last week. I hired someone to do a handful of the others next week also.
  2. I live in the same city as the Medical College of Georgia. Last year they changed their name to Georgia Health Sciences University and they were allocated $2 million dollars from the state to change all their signs. They only spent $200,000 because they caught wind of the merger of them and Augusta State University. So now they have a hodge podge of signs for at least another year until they merge and decide on a name.
  3. I was pleased to see that not only did the Supreme Court uphold the "ministerial exemption", but that it was unanimous.
  4. My little girl turned 4 on Monday.
  5. I saw this on Being Frank: 10 Amazing Catholics of the Year 2011
  6. 6 more weeks until my discharge.
  7. O Lord, forgive us sinners, of whom I am the greatest. Then deign to open our lips, that our mouth may proclaim your praise. Let these lips not give a kiss, like Judas, but like the thief may our belief inspire many others to repentance and salvation. Remember us all in Your Kingdom and have mercy on us.
Be sure to check out the host post for this week's 7 Quick Takes.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Isaiah 64:6-8 in various translations

So my friend posted to Facebook: "Isaiah 64:6-8"
I was curious so I highlighted it, right clicked and selected search in Google.
I selected the first link which gave me the King James translation:
6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away . 7 And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities. 8 But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter ; and we all are the work of thy hand.
Well, the page also offered me the opportunity to change translations, so I switched to Douay-Rheims:
6 And we are all become as one unclean, and all our justices as the rag of a menstruous woman: and we have all fallen as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. 7 There is none that calleth upon thy name: that riseth up, and taketh hold of thee: thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast crushed us in the hand of our iniquity. 8 And now, O Lord, thou art our father, and we are clay: and thou art our maker, and we all are the works of thy hands. 
I added the emphasis, but that phrase definitely caught my attention and made me wonder if King James was just too polite to phrase it that way. So I tried New American Standard:
6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment ; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. 7 There is no one who calls on Your name, Who arouses himself to take hold of You; For You have hidden Your face from us And have delivered us into the power of our iniquities. 8 But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter ; And all of us are the work of Your hand.
English Standard Version:
6 We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. 7 There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities. 8 But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.
and Revised Standard Version:
6 We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. 7 There is no one that calls upon thy name, that bestirs himself to take hold of thee; for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast delivered us into the hand of our iniquities. 8 Yet, O LORD, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou art our potter; we are all the work of thy hand.
What does this show (other than I have too much time)? Translations can definitely make a difference in our understanding of Sacred Scriptures.


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Monday, January 09, 2012

Wisdom from Father Jose 8

"exitus-reditus... we come from the Father and our life is meant to go back to the Father, through the salvation offered by Jesus Christ." -- Father Jose Ramirez
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Sunday, January 08, 2012

Saints and Scripture Theophany

The sea saw and fled;
the Jordan turned back.
The mountains skipped like rams;
the hills, like lambs.
Why was it, sea, that you fled?
Jordan, that you turned back?
Mountains, that you skipped like rams?
You hills, like lambs?
Tremble, earth, before the Lord,
before the God of Jacob,
Who turned the rock into pools of water,
flint into a flowing spring.

This past Friday was the Feast of the Epiphany in the Roman Catholic Church and the Theophany in Eastern Catholic Churches. I'm not sure how many Eastern Orthodox celebrated Theophany on Friday, because so many still use the Julian Calendar (Its 19JAN in the Julian Calendar). Both Epiphany and Theophany are from Greek words meaning that God is revealed. The Roman Church celebrates this with readings about the Magi emphasizing the revelation of His divinity to the Gentiles. In the Eastern Churches though, the readings are from the Baptism of Christ when God the Father is heard to say "This is my beloved Son" and the Holy Spirit descends as a dove.
One of the songs sung during the Divine Liturgy was Psalm 114. It emphasizes the wonder and amazement of all creation that the Creator humbled Himself. During the homily Father Damien mentioned that when He was baptized it wasn't so much that He was cleansed by the water so much as the water was sanctified by His presence.

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Sunday Snippets 08JAN


I only had two posts this week: Wisdom from Father Jose 7 and 7 Quick Takes.
Please check out the main Sunday Snippets page.

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Friday, January 06, 2012

7 Quick Takes New Year 2012


1. I recently read an article about a man who was placed in a half-way house in a monastery and escaped only to turn himself into the police and demand to finish his sentence in prison. I understand its an austere life, but I can only imagine how much better is the company you keep.
2. Did anyone else see that video of some guy proposing to his girlfriend on the jumbo-tron at a UCLA game? That's something you don't do unless you already know she'll say yes and its not something she should be put on the spot with.
3. I went to the Divine Liturgy for the Theophany, but I forgot to bring a container to gather some holy water for my daughter and I. Oh well, next year.
4. Speaking of my daughter, our priest in residence wrote an icon of the Holy Family for her. Its great! I should have taken a picture before it went in her room at her Mom's apartment.
5. I set out a to-do list for myself of roughly 60 items to accomplish this last week and next. The total complete so far is 3. I need longer days or a third week.
6. I have also only visited 5 of the places I listed out, but I have considerably more time to accomplish those.

7. Lastly, please consider adopting a Catholic blogger in prayer.

Please visit Conversion Diary to see the other 7 Quick Takes posted and linked there.

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Monday, January 02, 2012

Wisdom from Father Jose 7

"I wish you all a Happy New Year!! Now it's the time to make your goals for this year. May one of them be to be a better son or daughter! To be a better mother or father! Remember your family this year!"
-- Father Jose Ramirez
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