Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What I love about the Iconostasis

1. It is the perfect symbolism of what one would expect where Heaven meets Earth. There is always a picture of Mary and Jesus. The Theotokos of course is Jacob's Ladder so to speak, God's connecting point between Heaven and Earth. Jesus is of course true God and true Man. But also, there are the saints, the holy ones of God who though human abide in Heaven.

2. The Incarnation is front and center. The middle doors (Royal Doors) always portray the moment of Gabriel anouncing to Mary that she will bear the Christchild. On either side of the Royal Doors is a portrayal of Christ and an icon of Mary holding Jesus. The Incarnation is the removal of that which separated Heaven and Earth (see above).

3. The opening of the curtain highlights the removal of barriers between Heaven and Earth. The curtain is opened at key moments symbolizing the Revelation of God (readings, Eucharist, etc). It is a beautiful and subtle reminder that man had walked in darkness, but no more.

4. Like the name Divine Liturgy itself, we are made to remember that we are worshipping not just on Earth. I read a book called Lamb's Supper when I was in the seminary. I remember that Scott Hahn pointed out that the Mass is occuring in Heaven as well as Earth and that we are constantly worshipping alongside angel's in the same liturgy described in Revelation and OT prophetic writing. At the time that blew me away because I couldn't remember anyone teaching this or even talking about it. Then I came to the Melkite parish where I still am today and found out that Eastern Churches call it Divine Liturgy instead of Mass and I was hooked.

May God bless all who read my ramblings,
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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Frozen Spud

If anyone still reads this blog, I humbly ask that you read what I have so far on another blog called the Frozen Spud.

I hope to publish more of the story soon. I am putting together a Sci-Fi story and who knows maybe publish it someday? I would love any comments you wish to make, be they critical or otherwise. If you like what you read, you are also most welcome to let me know.

May God bless all who read my ramblings,

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A few notes

1. Yes, it has been a very long time since I have posted and I have thought about closing down the blog altogether. Life has gotten busy: I have been working full time again for the last 2 and a half years. I have been remarried now for 2 years and some change.

2. I have officially changed my rite of ascription. I am no longer Latin Rite, I am now Melkite (Byzantine Rite).

3. I have missed blogging and I hope I can find the time to get back to it. I miss my audience and I miss reading other people's blogs.

4. Most importantly, God bless you all!

May God bless all who read my ramblings,
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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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