Monday, July 27, 2020

Preach the Gospel at all times, if necessary, use words

So goes the statement very commonly attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. Now, did he actually say:
Preach the Gospel at all times, if necessary, use words?
Well, probably not those exact words, but he DID say these, very similar, words:
Nevertheless, let all the brothers preach by their works. And let no minister or preacher appropriate to himself the ministry of brothers or the office of preaching, but let him give up his office without any contradiction at whatever hour it may be enjoined him. (St. Francis, 2019).

So, one can see that the "rule" was the brothers (friars) were to "preach by their works." That does pretty much say what is commonly attributed to him!
These words are rooted in Scripture too. John 13:35-
By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another. (DRB, 1899).
In other words, Jesus was not saying that they will know the Apostles are His Disciples by what they preach, but by them showing the love they have for one another.
One of my instructors relates his experiences and meditations as he walks from Tui to Santiago de Compostela along the Camino Portugues, which is the way of St. James, the Apostle through Spain. He relates how much you can see how the people who live along the Camino Portugues live their faith, day in and day out. You can also see how other pilgrims on the trail have left their own marks of meditation and adoration. The point is, we should all live our faith - all the time - so that those who observe us, like our co-workers, family, and other associates, can see that our faith is not just a Sunday-only thing, but is part of our lives.
One of my purposes for writing this blog entry is related to a request from my instructor, "Pilgrim Paul," (Pilgrim, 2014), but the other reason I have for this is to counter several other writers out there who downplay the St. Francis paraphrase - 1) because he didn't use those words and 2) the Gospel MUST be preached, WITH words.
To the latter point, St. Francis clearly did not say "do not use words," for he himself used MANY words - including the First Rule of the Friars Minor, (Francis, 1209) which I quoted from earlier. The point is - live the Gospel, for that too is preaching - and when necessary, use words. Often we find that using words does not lead to conversion, but leaves one with an emotional response, either entrenched in their position or you are preaching to the choir (those who are already convinced) (Adler, Iacobelli, & Gutstien, 2016).
References

Adler, R. F., Iacobelli, F., & Gutstein, Y. (2016). Are you convinced? A Wizard of Oz study to test emotional vs. rational persuasion strategies in dialogues. Computers in Human Behavior, 75. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563215302867?via%3Dihub

DRB (1899). John 13:35. Douay Rheims Bible, American Edition. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+13%3A35&version=DRA

Pilgrim, P. (2014). Following in the footsteps on the Camino [blog post]. Following in the Footstepshttp://followinginthefootsteps.org/following-in-the-footsteps-on-the-camino/

St. Francis of Assisi (2019). 17: Of preachers. First Rule of the Friars Minor. https://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/assisi-the-writings-of-saint-francis-of-assisi

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Those Nefarious Catholics and the Letter J

One of my sons asked me to look into this alleged controversy. I say "alleged" because the controversy itself is an invention of those who do not understand linguistics and how the letter "J" came into the English alphabet.


The claim is that the letter "J" is only 400-500 years old and that the Catholic Church invented the letter to get the world to worship their false god "Jesus" as opposed to the real God, Yeshua. The fact is there is some truth to the inclusion of "J" into the English alphabet! What is false is that the Catholic Church somehow used this to undermine "true" Christianity. The reality is that the origin is in the letter "I". Therefore the name Jesus would have originally been written "Iesus." If we want to get picky, it would actually have been written: "IESVS" as there was no "U" prior to the 14th century either! One of the most famous Roman Ceasars is Julius Ceasar, which was written IVLIVS CÆSAR (originally there were no lowercase letters either!).

Source: Cody, (n.d.)
Hebrew: שׁוּעַ  or YeshuaGreek: IésousLatin: IESVSModern English: Jesus
You can see the evolution of the name Jesus from the Hebrew, where a "Y" or "yod" becomes an "I" in Greek and Latin, and later to the "J" in modern English. (Reminder, when you read in Hebrew it is right to left).

The fact is the ancient letter "I" has long had the pronunciation of the modern letter "J." Have you ever noticed that "J" can also sound like a consonant "Y" as well as to a vowel "Y"?  For example, the Roman word IVVNIS, the Latin word for "young." The first "I" makes the Y/J sound, like we use in the English word "young," while the second "I" has the sound of the vowel "E"!  To help make the distinction between the two sounds of "I," in the Middle Ages writers started adding a little "tail" below the line to the letter "I" - that below-the-line tail is still seen in the lowercase "j" and moves above the line for the uppercase "J." Thus the letter "J" is born! (NativLang, 2016).

So, when did "J" get officially recognized? In 1524, an Italian man named Gian Giorgio Trissino made the distinction between the soft "J" like in "jam" and the "I" sound - and he did this to clarify the phoneme for Jesus - so yes, it does come down to that name! 

U and J are not alone! G, W, and Y are also on the list of the English alphabet of letters which were not there in the original Latin alphabet! This brings us back to the earlier statement of the ignorance of modern antagonists who are unaware of how alphabets evolve linguistically - and not for some nefarious motives of the Catholic Church.

Speaking of nefarious - even the Nazis got into the act! First, in German, the name "Jesus" is "Jesus!" There is no transliteration! That said, the Nazis felt they had to remove all Jewishness from Jesus - and for some, the claim was (is?) that Jesus Himself was German (or Aryan) and was persecuted and crucified by the Jews, and therefore was not one of them (Heschel, 2008).

The sign the Romans posted on Jesus' Cross, often artistically rendered by the initials in Latin, was IESVS NAZARENVS REX IVDÆORVM, Jesus (of) Nazareth, King (of the) Jews - or INRI. It is also recorded in John 19:19-20 that the sign was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.



Resources

Cody, D.J. (n.d.). Yeshua -vs- Jesus; The controversy; The debate; The answer. Encouraging Love Ministrieshttps://www.encouraginglove.com/yeshua-vs-jesus/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIvcSdjMzP6gIVyrzACh3mQw5mEAMYAiAAEgIrWvD_BwE

Dictionary.com (n.d.). Meet the man responsible for the letter "J". Dictionary.com.   https://www.dictionary.com/e/j/#:~:text=It%20wasn't%20until%201524,distinction%20between%20the%20two%20sounds.

Heschel, S. (2008). The Aryan Jesus; Christian theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany. Princeton University Presshttps://www.manchester.edu/docs/default-source/academics/by-major/philosophy-and-religious-studies/journal/volume-3-issue-2-spring-2010/the-aryan-jesus.pdf?sfvrsn=a35d8962_2

NativLang, (2016). Modding the Latin alphabet: the odd history of G, J, U, W, Y [video]. NativLang.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mC0wsuowbRA






Friday, June 19, 2020

Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Another of the "not-so-ordinary" days in Ordinal Time!


Remember too, when a solemnity falls on a Friday - there is no fasting or abstinence, so have that cheeseburger without guilt today! Just remember WHY you can have that cheeseburger today! If someone who knows you and knows you typically abstain from meat on Fridays asks you why you are having that cheeseburger, it gives you an opportunity to share just a little more of your faith with them.


Sunday, June 07, 2020

Anything But Ordinary


We often hear this period after the Feast of Pentecost referred to as "Ordinary Time." I believe this label, though technically accurate, does the season - and the Church - a huge injustice. The term "ordinary" comes from the same root as "ordinal" which refers to "counting," in fact traditionally this period, as well as the weeks which follow the Feast of the Epiphany, is called an "Ordinal Time" because these are the "counting weeks" after Pentecost, before Advent (and Epiphany, before Lent). There are several very important feast days which take place during ordinal or counting time...
  • Trinity Sunday (June 7, this year - varies due to date of Easter)
  • June 24 - Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist
  • June 29 - Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul
  • August 15 - Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (a holy day of obligation!)
  • November 1 - All Saints Day (a holy day of obligation)
  • November 2 - The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls Day)
  • November 25 - Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (Christ the King)
To call this period "Ordinary Time" makes it sound so "plain" or "boring" as the common use of "ordinary" implies. So will you join me in this movement to return to calling this "Ordinal Time?" If enough of us do so, perhaps the bishops will join us in seeing the wisdom of the more precise terminology. Feel free to use the image in this post and copy it to your blog and/or Facebook cover - or make your own! Please use one of the "share" buttons below this posting to share with others!
 
Use this link: http://quilocutus.blogspot.com/search/label/Ordinary to see previous postings on this subject.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Physical - Not Social Distancing


I stumbled across the Hour of Power broadcast last week and heard the Rev. Bobby Schuller (grandson of Robert H. Schuller, of the same Hour of Power). My father loved watching Robert Schuller and always wanted to go see the Crystal Cathedral, sadly - he never made it there. The Crystal Cathedral is now Christ Cathedral - an actual cathedral of the Catholic Church for the Diocese of Orange in California (Christ Cathedral, 2020). Ironically, when Bobby Schuller moved from the Crystal Cathedral to Shepherd's Grove, it is located in a former Catholic church called St. Callistus (CBN, 2020).

But I digress... I stumbled across Rev. Bobby Schuller's Easter sermon and was struck by him making the distinction between social distancing and physical distancing. The message is that we need to continue to be socially close to each other - while in this time of the COVID-19 outbreak, we need to practice physical distancing to help stop the spread of this virus.

Schuller Is Not Alone

Since hearing Schuller's sermon I did a little research, and he is not the only one making this distinction. Dr. Joe Kort made virtually the same claim stating "We have to stay socially connected through this (COVID-19 pandemic)." He continues:
We can stay in connection with each other on the phone, webcam, and many other online formats. Now is a time to be intentional and interactive and not to isolate. We are wired to be social and luckily can maintain that with technology. (Kort, 2020).
Anderson reports that even the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is changing its terminology to physical distancing instead of social distancing (Anderson, 2020). Continuing, "social distancing implies not socializing; physical distance mans not being physically close."

In another report it is stated that "social distancing is a misnomer." This article continues, "While we must be physically distant, it is crucial we maintain, or even increase, social contact with others during this unprecedented time" (Greenaway, Saeri, & Cruwys, 2020).

Not Just For COVID-19

The concepts of frequent hand-washing and physical distancing we have all been a party to for the past several weeks are and have long been the recommendations to help stop the spread of any virus or other infectious disease. Every year we encounter the seasonal flu, which mutates from year to year. We have figured out how to make vaccines for the flu, but since it mutates, each year we need a different vaccine. Thus far there is no vaccine for COVID-19, but it is expected we will see one later this year, or perhaps next year. The point though is during flu season and presumably, now we may see a COVID season, frequent hand hygiene and physical distancing should be and should have been the norm. Keep in mind, thus far the most recent seasonal flu (for which we have and widely distribute a vaccination) has killed more in the United States (and the world) than COVID-19 has and since it is a new virus there is no vaccine for it (Maragakis, 2020). So again, good hygiene and physical distancing is something we should constantly be practicing. Welcome to the new normal.

References

Anderson, J. (2020). Social distancing isn't the right language for what Covid-19 asks of us. Quartz. Retrieved from https://qz.com/1830347/social-distancing-isnt-the-right-language-for-what-covid-19-asks-of-us/

CBN, (2020). Bobby Schuller helps you find happiness through Jesus. The 700 Club. Retrieved from https://www1.cbn.com/bobby-schuller-helps-you-find-happiness-through-jesus

Christ Cathedral, (2020). About Christ Cathedral. Diocese of Orange. Retrieved from https://christcathedralcalifornia.org/explore/about-christ-cathedral/

Greenaway, K.H., Saeri, A., & Cruwys, T. (2020). Why are we calling it 'social distancing'? Right now, we need social connections more than ever. The Conversation. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/why-are-we-calling-it-social-distancing-right-now-we-need-social-connections-more-than-ever-134249

Kort, J. (2020). Practice physical distancing, not social distancing; How to cope with the coronavirus quarantine. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/understanding-the-erotic-code/202003/practice-physical-distancing-not-social-distancing

Maragakis, L. (2020). Coronavirus disease 2019 vs. the flu. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus-disease-2019-vs-the-flu


Thursday, April 09, 2020

Jewish Festivals

I was just viewing a Bible study online with Fr. Bill Halbing which brought back memories of the Jewish Studies course my wife and I took several years ago with Rabbi Perlmutter. One thing which caught my eye, which I didn't quite get from the previous course we took, comes from the three main feasts in Judaism:

Pasach - or Passover - coincides with Good Friday.
Pentecost - In Christianity we use the same name - coincides with Christ going into Heaven.
Sukkoth - Feast of huts, or tents - the harvest - coincides with Christ's second coming.

Fr. Halbing then points out - these refer to "Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again." Something which is proclaimed in the Ordinary Rite just after the Mystery of Faith which is the Consecration of the Eucharist. It is good to remind everyone, the Mystery of Faith is NOT "Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again," for those are two statements of history and one of prophecy and there is no real mystery here. The Mystery of Faith, in the context of the Mass, is the Consecration of the Eucharist where mere bread and wine are substantially transformed into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ - THAT is the Mystery of Faith! But, to reiterate Fr. Halbing's point - that which is professed during the Ordinary Rite of the Mass comes to us from our Jewish heritage.

I have not finished this online Bible study yet myself, but thus far I am finding it quite interesting. If you are interested, I am including the video (and a link) below.




Fr. Halbing also does live Zoom meetings on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. You can find more information here:  http://www.godswordalivetoday.org/ 

Holy Thursday

The evening begins with a humble foot washing and before it is over, Jesus stands before Caiphus.

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Why Is This Week Different From the Rest?

Ma Nishtana

Traditionally, during the Passover Seder, the youngest (capable) son asks, "Why is this day different from all the rest?"  Our tradition should be to ask, "Why is this week different from all the rest?"

In the Hebrew tradition, the reading of the Torah in preparation for Passover, the Ma Nishtana is one of 4 (or 3, depending on the tradition) questions asked by the youngest male child. It is a way of involving the children in the lessons/readings for this season - a great lesson we can all learn to help involve our children.

Four Questions

In light of the Hebrew Mishna tradition (Pesachim 10.4) we should have our youngest child ask four questions to reflect upon the events of Holy Thursday.
1) Why is this week different from all the rest?
2) Why does Jesus wash the feet of the Apostles?
3) What happens to the bread and wine?
4) Why is Jesus arrested on this night?

We are taken from the height of praise, singing "Hosanna in the highest!" to the lowest of lows when our Lord is betrayed by one He Himself selected. He is beaten, scourged, forced to carry His Cross, crucified, died and was buried. Oh the grief! Oh the pain! Oh the suffering! Oh that the week would end here!  But while that week ends with Jesus in the grave - the next week brings the Resurrection!

On Holy or Maundy Thursday, we celebrate the First Mass as Jesus Christ celebrated it nearly 2000 years ago on this day. Traditionally, after the sermon the priest in alter christos, washes the feet of twelve men, representing the Twelve Apostles. Then comes the Lord's Supper - the first celebration of the Eucharist. It is that SAME Sacrifice we celebrate today and at EVERY Mass. It is not a repeat of the first - it is that SAME Sacrifice - re-presented for us, just as Christ presented to the Apostles on the same night in which He was betrayed.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Passion Sunday - Purple Veils

Today is Passion Sunday (in the Extraordinary Rite) - only two weeks remain of Lent. So why do we veil images and statues starting on Passion Sunday? You can find a few explanations, but the one I like is that Jesus hid Himself from the Jews who sought to stone Him, and left the Temple. This is the beginning of Passiontide - a season (sadly) no longer observed in the Ordinary Rite, but in the Extraordinary Rite, it still is. Pictures of Jesus, the Saints, etc. are hidden from us for these last two weeks which increases in us the hunger for Christ and holiness. The veils are a reminder of the fact that Jesus had to hide Himself and so His image is hidden from us too and remain hidden until during the Gloria, which has also been omitted during Lent, of the First Mass of Easter. During the Gloria, the veils are removed the bells ring (which were silenced after Holy Thursday) and we again can look upon Him and His holiness, as also revealed through the Saints (which again, were also veiled for Passiontide).

This excellent tradition of veiling holy items is not just for the Church, but also in the homes of the laity. What a wonderful visual and lesson for our children! If you have not participated in this before, I urge you to do so - now! If you do not have purple cloths, plan to get some - but go ahead and cover with whatever you do have now, change it to purple when you have it. When your children ask about it, you can share the reasoning. As the two weeks progress, they too may begin to miss seeing these images and statues and given another reason to be joyful on Easter Sunday - another reminder that He IS risen!

In the Ordinary Rite, Passion Sunday was moved to and combined with Palm Sunday, liturgically speaking. Again I urge you to keep the tradition of Passion Sunday (there is no rule against doing so!) and not detract from Palm Sunday - when Jesus was honored upon His entrance to Jerusalem which ultimately begins Holy Week, the holiest week in the liturgical year.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Laetare Sunday - 4th Sunday of Lent

Today the vestments are in rose (not pink) to celebrate the joy of seeing our Lord. We are twenty-one days from the glorious celebration of Easter Sunday.

The Gospel reading includes the healing of a man born blind - who sees for the first time and pronounces his belief in the Son of Man - Jesus Christ. Let us all be joyful in seeing the Lord and not be afraid to witness to others, as the man healed of blindness did not fear standing before the Pharisees, even after they had rebuked him.

COVID-19 Considerations
Today, due to mandates to observe social distancing we were encouraged to watch the Mass on TV or on the Internet. Which I did. I watched a couple Masses actually, and I will not name them here in public but was a bit disturbed to see that people were standing (and sitting) right next to each other and at the Kiss of Peace they shook hands with each other, the second Mass I watched did not show the congregation, but the priest and deacon shook hands and embraced. At both Masses the Eucharist was given as the host only, the Precious Blood was reserved for the priest and deacon alone.

A third Mass I watched, celebrated by a bishop, the Kiss of Peace was not physically done at all, "The peace of the Lord be with you always..." and then he moved on with the Agnus Dei. This one did not show the distribution of the Eucharist at all.

Many bishops have already temporarily lifted the Sunday obligation - so check with your local diocese to see if you are among them.

God be with us in these trying times.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Third Sunday of Lent

This Sunday is the 3rd Sunday of Lent. In the Extraordinary Rite we read about Jesus casting out the devil from the dumb man. Traditionally this was a day of testing of the catechumens in preparation for their baptism on Easter Vigil. The first effect of baptism is to free souls from the power of the devil.

One site I read this week encourages everyone to offer up as a Lenten sacrifice to only purchase that which is absolutely needed. In this week of media driven panic people are rushing to stores and hoarding things like toilet paper and hand sanitizer - leaving the shelves empty for others who still need these items while they now have an over-abundance.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

First Sunday of Lent

First Sunday of Lent


Lent began last Wednesday, which of course was Ash Wednesday. It is traditional to do penance during Lent, or "give up something" for Lent. While this practice is not a requirement, it is a very pious and can be very healthy, both spiritually and physically - depending on what you "gave up." So, how are you doing so far? I know, it has been less that a week, but sometimes those first few days are the hardest. Be of good cheer! Even if you "messed up" already, don't give up! Remember, it is not a requirement - and remember WHY you are doing it!

Why Do We Do Penance for Lent?

Simply stated, Jesus did a forty (40) day penance (fasting) prior to Palm Sunday. He knew what the next week (Holy Week, as we now call it) would hold in store for Him. We all know what He went through - FOR US - so remembering not only the forty days Jesus "offered up" - but also His Passion and death on the Cross, THIS is why we have "offered up" a small sacrifice, or penance, for the forty days of Lent. Each time we would have had that cup of coffee or drank that soda or ate that chocolate or ate that red meat, etc. we should bring our thoughts, even if just for a moment, upon the penance and suffering Christ went through on our behalf. When you would have had that donut at breakfast time just say "Thank you, Jesus!" and do or have something else. 

No Meat on Fridays!

Yes, no meat at all on Fridays during Lent (Ash Wednesday too but that has past now). This penance (something offered up) is a practice which ALL Catholics MUST do during Lent. Keeping in mind, ALL Fridays throughout the year we are still required to do penance (or an act of charity) and prior to 1966 that Friday penance HAD to be abstinence from meat. Now it doesn't HAVE to be meat, but it has to be SOMETHING and while it doesn't HAVE to be meat, it CAN be! So, if you HAVE to do something on EVERY FRIDAY THROUGHOUT THE YEAR, why not hold to the traditional penance of abstaining from meat? As mentioned earlier, it CAN be an act of charity, but one should exercise caution in selecting this because it is not something you do every-so-often, but EVERY Friday. Say your act of charity is to visit a nursing home and talk with the residents, fine, but be sure you do it EVERY FRIDAY! "For every Friday is like a "little Good Friday." If you're not being consistent with what you choose - then are you really picking something which you will offer up ALL Fridays throughout the year?

Is There an Exception to the Every Friday Rule?

Yes! IF a solemnity falls on a Friday then there is no fasting or abstinence requirement for a solemnity is like a Sunday, which is a celebratory day in remembrance of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every Sunday is like a "little Easter," Likewise, whatever it is you have offered up for Lent you do not need to offer it up on Sundays (and shouldn't) because in celebrating your "little Easter" every week you should not be suffering.

Have a Great Lent!

Our Eastern brethren begin Lent last Sunday (they don''t do Ash Wednesday) and their Lenten penance is far more strict than typically observed in the Latin Church, (giving up meat, dairy, and eggs for ALL days of Lent, not just Fridays). For all Christians, please have a great Lent and remember WHY we "offer up" what we do during this season.

AMDG

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Ash Wednesday


‘Memento, homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.’

‘Remember, man, that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return.’

On this day, the first day of Lent, we meditate upon who we are and what we are. We are nothing more than created elements of this earth sustained together by God. Our bodies came from the earth and to the earth, they shall return. That speaks of the physical body - not of the soul. The soul is eternal and after this life, the soul is judged and will spend eternity with God - or eternity without God. The latter is the state of hell, where those who refuse His redemptive gift will spend eternity, weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 22:13).

The ashes represent our mortality, and the dust we shall return to. They are a sign of penance and mourning. We mourn not for our pain and suffering, but for the pain and suffering which Jesus underwent for us during His passion and death. It is because of this passion and death that Jesus paid the price of our redemption and we can then rejoice with Him and the angels in eternity - IF - we believe in Him and confess Him among our neighbors. The penitential rite of wearing the ashes for the day of Ash Wednesday is one of those ways we confess Him before others. The ashes are a reminder of our death - and remind us to be ready for that death.

Offer up something for Lent that will continue to remind you of Jesus and the 40 days He spent fasting in the desert before He entered into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, and then the suffering of Passion Week which culminates on Good Friday with His death on the Cross and burial in the tomb.

Also, remember - Ash Wednesday and all Fridays throughout Lent are days of fasting and abstinence from meat. NO MEAT and only ONE full meal for the day plus two smaller meals which if combined do not equal a full meal.