Sunday, June 06, 2021
In my current course our instructor shares something from Scripture each week, here is her posting for this week (and my response).
Scripture for the week to remind you that every each one of you is special.
Psalms 139:13 – 16: You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knitted me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
You are wonderfully made and are God's creation. Remember God loves you, and all your days are recorded in his book. (1) In what ways are you wonderfully made? (2) Do you count your blessings, and (3) can you name them one by one?
Being reminded of how much God loves us is always welcome!
Counting our blessings is something we inherit from our Jewish brethren. It comes from the Talmud (Menachot 43b) and according to Jewish tradition you are to count, actually recite at least 100 blessings per day. This sounds a bit daunting at first, but they can add up quickly if one is observant.
- Thank the Lord for the new day,
- for the breakfast on your table,
- for the water you clean and groom with,
- for the clothes you have to wear,
- for the house you live in,
- for your health (or recovery if you are sick),
- for the air we breathe
We have seven right there, and we have not even left the breakfast table yet!
There is also the Shema, a blessing every Jewish male is to recite twice every day, morning and night. The Shema begins, “Hear, O Israel: G-d is our Lord, G-d is one” (Kriegel, 2021). The full Shema is three paragraphs from the Torah (the first 5 books of our Old Testament), from Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Deuteronomy 11:13-21; and Numbers 15:37-41 (Rich, 2020).
So, to answer the questions:
- I am wonderfully made in the image of my Lord and God (Genesis 1:27), how much more wonderful can that be?! I am reminded here of the fact that we are creations in His image, and the complexities of our very being, as well as the world in which we live, are testimonies to “order-creation science” (McKelvey, 2001).
- Do I count my blessings? To be honest, not nearly as often as I should!
- Can I name them one by one? Along with my answer to #2, while I have tried this a few times (to count at least 100 blessings per day), this is a lesson I am still learning from our Jewish roots.
Kriegel, L. (2021). THE SHEMA: A MONTHLY JOURNAL OF RELIGION AND PUBLIC LIFE. First Things, , 1-4. https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://www-proquest-com.lopes.idm.oclc.org/scholarly-journals/shema/docview/2492712967/se-2?accountid=7374
McKelvey, B. (2001). What is complexity science? Is it really order-creation science? Emergence. 3(1). 137-157. https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.330.5792&rep=rep1&type=pdf
Menachot 43b: The William Davidson Talmud. https://www.sefaria.org/Menachot.43b.17-18?lang=bi
Rich, T. (2020). Shema. Judaism 101. https://www.jewfaq.org/shemaref.htm
Monday, May 31, 2021
Tuesday, May 25, 2021
The Catholic Debate Forum, CDF, is coming back! After a long hiatus when Yahoo shut down all yahoogroups (and Scott was too busy with school!) it is coming back! We're trying Free Forums, so come on over - give it a shot!
Help bring back our old membership and invite new friends and challengers!
Sunday, May 23, 2021
It was on this Sunday, in 33 A.D., the Catholic Church is born! The Apostles gathered together to celebrate the Jewish Festival of Weeks (50 days after Passover - which is where we get the name "Pentecost" as in pente = 50) and the Holy Ghost descended upon the Apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary, witnessed as tongues of fire upon their heads.
So Why Red Vestments for Pentecost?
It is widely known that red is the color of martyrdom, and is the color of the vestments for the feast day of a martyr, but why red on Pentecost? Well, there are at least two reasons red is the appropriate color for Pentecost, first and foremost - red is also the color for fire, and the fire of the Holy Ghost is represented in the red vestments. Secondly, it is truly an apostolic holy day (holiday) and since most of the 12 Apostles (all but St. John) died as martyrs, the red color of martyrdom is also appropriate.
Happy Birthday to the Catholic Church! Nearly 2000 years strong!
Monday, April 05, 2021
He is risen!
He is risen indeed!
In the Ukrainian (my wife and I were married in the Ukrainian Catholic Church) this is stated:
And the response is:
It is now Eastertide!
We begin this season with the First Mass
of Easter (about half-way through the Easter Vigil) and it lasts through
Pentecost Sunday, which begins the next (and longest) season in the
A reminder to Catholics: One of the precepts of the Catholic Faith is every Catholic must receive Holy Eucharist at least once during Eastertide. We commonly call this precept our "Easter Duty." This will typically be preceded by participating in the Sacrament of Penance (aka: Reconciliation or Confession). This is not to be confused with another precept, that of the so-called "Sunday obligation," wherein every Catholic is obliged to participate in the Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation. While attending Mass is required, every Sunday, reception of the Eucharist is not mandatory every Sunday.
Wednesday, March 17, 2021
BUT! Then you hear or read of those who proclaim that St. Patrick was never officially declared a Saint by the Catholic Church - and most of us then say, um, WHAT?! While it is true that St. Patrick was not declared a Saint, in the same manner, most other Saints have been so declared - one must look at the REASON his canonization was different. The fact is, in the first millennium the formal canonization process had not been fully developed. However, to proclaim he was never officially canonized is simply NOT TRUE! The fact of the matter is, in ancient times, starting about 787 A.D., a new church had to have a relic from a Saint before it could be consecrated.
In 1177, a knight named John de Courcy built a new monastery and he, with Bishop Malachy, applied to Pope Urban III for permission to have the remains of Sts. Patrick, Brigid, and Columcille moved to the new monastery. An investigation was conducted and a Solemn Translation (elevato corporis) was approved. Pope Urban sent Cardinal Vivian with his official commission for the verification of the sanctity of the persons (Patrick, Brigid, and Columcille), followed by an all-night vigil prior to moving the remains. For the day, this WAS an official declaration of sainthood by and through the Catholic Church (McCormick, 2011).
The process of declaring one a saint has changed many, many times throughout the ages, most recently in 1983 and 1997 (McCormick, 2011). So, while St. Patrick's official canonization was not according to the modern means - he was most definitely recognized as a Saint of the Catholic Church and BY the Catholic Church in 1177 A.D.
McCormick, M. (2011). St. Patrick IS a Saint! Ancient Order of Hibernians. https://aoh.com/2011/03/01/st-patrick-is-a-saint/
Saturday, February 06, 2021
Did you know there are nine (9) Choirs of Angels in Heaven?
So, what are the names of these choirs, and is there a scriptural reference?
The Seraphim: Isaiah 6:2; Hebrews 12:22.
The Cherubim: Genesis 3:24; Hebrews 12:22
The Thrones: Colossians 1:16
The Dominations or Dominions: Colossians 1:16
The Virtues: Ephesians 1:21
The Powers: Ephesians 1:21 and Colossians 1:16
The Principalities: Colossians 1:16-17
The Archangels: Tobit 12:15; John 5:4; Revelation 12:7-9
The Angels: (Including Guardian or Personal Angels): Daniel 3:28, Daniel 6:22; Matthew 18:10
Additional Reading (and credit for sources):
The Nine Choirs of Angels: https://whoislikegodblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/23/the-nine-choirs-of-angels/
The Nine Choir Hierarchy of the Angels in Scripture and Tradition: https://taylormarshall.com/2014/10/nine-choir-hierarchy-angels-scripture-tradition.html
What are the categories of Angels (archangels, thrones, dominions, seraphim)? https://catholicstraightanswers.com/categories-angels-archangels-thrones-dominions-seraphim/
Explanation and Hierarchy of the 9 Choirs of Angels: https://soulpainter.com/2015/09/explanation-and-hierarchy-of-the-9-choirs-of-angels-infographic/ (source of the image below):
Tuesday, February 02, 2021
Candlemas - February 2
Christmas IS Over!
Green rushes then, and sweetest bents,
Sunday, January 31, 2021
So, what is this funny word? Septuagesima literally translates to 70, as in 70 days before Easter and is actually the ninth Sunday before Easter. The purpose behind Septuagesima is for the faithful to begin thinking about Lent and what your penance for Lent might be. Septuagesima is not a time of fasting and penance, it is a time of preparation. Lent starts in two and a half weeks, on Ash Wednesday.
So why do we fast during Lent? The Season of Lent, forty days, represents the forty days Jesus spent in fasting and prayer in the desert before entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. For Lent, we offer up something, and it does not have to be huge - but it should be something you would normally do or partake in every day. By offering up something you do all the time - it provides you an opportunity to think of WHY you are offering it up. You offer it up in union with Christ's sufferings, not only in remembrance of his forty days of fasting but also of His Passion and death on the Cross. So, if you give up chocolate, or coffee, or sodas, or desserts, or whatever you choose - so long as it is something you would participate in regularly and will give you that moment of meditation on Christ's suffering which was FOR YOU.
Why is Septuagesima not in the Ordinary Rite of the Catholic Church?
We'll answer that in the next posting!
Sunday, January 17, 2021
How many times have you been in church and during the sermon or during consecration or, well anytime during Mass and you hear someone's cell phone go off? It can probably be well asserted that most of the time a cell phone in church is wholly unnecessary. Most times because there can be incidents that require individuals to have their cell phones on them. As an example, a doctor who is on-call. Another example could be support personnel for a medical facility or someone awaiting emergency information from or about a loved one. That said, there is no reason the phones cannot be in silent mode. For anyone else, leave your cell phone at home or at least in your vehicle.
Now, if someone forgets to leave their phone outside or forgets to put it into silent mode and it goes off, one can sense the frustration in others. Is it really any more distracting than a child crying? Is it something we could just accept and not take offense to? It seems that some are overly annoyed by cell phones. We can all agree that any methods to avoid distracting others at church should be observed, but can we also make it our responsibility to refocus our attention as necessary when someone messed up and forgot to silence their phone? Consider the feelings of that person too - who now has the focus of many in their pews now on them - they are likely quite embarrassed and well aware of the distraction.
Another valid possibility of cell phones in church is the use of a smartphone app that contains the readings or even a full missal with rubrics to follow the Mass. Some will still frown upon someone using a "screen" in church, but in reality, what is the real difference between an electronic missal and a traditional book or booklet form? Still, if one wishes to use a smartphone app in church, they should do their best not to be distractive to others.
Wednesday, January 06, 2021
Just a reminder! Christmastide BEGAN on Christmas Day in celebration of the Christ Mass and continues even after Epiphany through February 2nd - Candlemas Day!
Epiphany, the celebration of the arrival of the "Three Wise Men" from the East. They came bearing gifts for the Christchild. In many Catholic traditions, gifts are given on this day instead of (or on top of) December 25th. It is also a time of reflecting not only on the Infant Jesus, but also upon the baptism of Jesus - when He is revealed by God - and the Trinity is physically present as the Father announces His Son, and the Holy Ghost descends upon Him as a dove.