May 052018
 

From then-Cardinal Ratzinger “On The Way To Jesus Christ

“Exodus, clearly pointed to Christ, the refusal to allow him to see and the restriction that he could only glimpse “the back of God” could not likewise be applied to Jesus. In the first instance, the figure of Moses accordingly represented both the mystery of Christ and the way of Jesus’ disciples; the second text, then, must point to them, that is, to all of us who believe in Christ. This is the basic thought in the patristic commentaries on Exodus 33; naturally their interpretations of this difficult text about seeing God’s back, about standing in the cleft of the rock beneath God’s hands, which cover our eyes, vary greatly as to the details. Personally, I always find particularly moving the commentary on this passage that Gregory of Nyssa gives. Being able to see God only from the back—what else does that mean, he says, but that we can only encounter God by walking after Jesus; that the only way we can see him is by following Jesus, which means walking behind him and thus going along behind God’s back.”

I copied a lot from this book into my quote journal.

May 022018
 

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This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 20 April 2018 to 2 May 2018.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s blog.

General Audiences

Homilies

Regina Coeli

Speeches

Papal Tweets

  • “God alone can give us true happiness. It’s useless wasting time looking for it elsewhere: in wealth, pleasure, and power.” @Pontifex 26 April 2018
  • “When we are open to God’s grace, even the impossible becomes possible.” @Pontifex 27 April 2018
  • “The Lord Jesus communicates His love for us, so that we can love God and our neighbor as He has loved us, by giving His life for us.” @Pontifex 28 April 2018
  • “I am deeply moved by the death of little Alfie. Today I pray especially for his parents, as God the Father receives him in his tender embrace.” @Pontifex 28 April 2018
  • “Do we really want peace? Then let’s ban all weapons so we don’t have to live in fear of war.” @Pontifex 29 April 2018
  • “Be one with Christ when you pray, take care of your most vulnerable brothers and sisters, and work for peace.” @Pontifex 30 April 2018
  • “We celebrate St Joseph the Worker, never forgetting that work is a fundamental aspect of human dignity.” @Pontifex 1 May 2018
  • “Today, at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Divine Love, as we recite the Rosary, we pray especially for peace in Syria and throughout the world. I invite you to pray the Rosary for peace during the entire month of May.” @Pontifex 1 May 2018
  • “Praying means being with God, experiencing God, loving God.” @Pontifex 2 May 2018
  • “Praying means being with God, experiencing God, loving God.” @Pontifex 2 May 2018

Papal Instagram

Apr 262018
 

In which I start with a caveat from Fr. Dwight Longenecker.

I’ve held back from commenting on the Alfie Evans case so far because everybody else and his brother seem to be weighing in, and to be truthful, these cases are extraordinarily complex and I’m not a medical professional.

This whole story reminds me so much of the Terri Schiavo story. Again we have doctors on both sides saying different things. One side of the divide will quote some doctors and the other side different doctors.

Still like the Terri Schiavo story this is not fundamentally what the story is about. The doctors at the hospital where he is being treated might have the correct prognosis. Still whether this is true or not does not effect how Alfie is currently not being treated. Withdrawing nutrition and hydration is purposeful execution in this seeming circumstance. There is no indication that Alfie can’t process either or that they do him harm.

Still it is not surprising that many doctors don’t have the same understanding as Catholics in regard to withholding nutrition and hydration. Still neither are extraordinary means to maintain life. As Pope Saint John Paul II wrote this “always represents a natural means of preserving life, not a medical act.”

Unfortunately there is another aspect of this case that mirrors the Terri Schiavo story.

Archbishop of Liverpool backs Alder Hey hospital in Alfie Evans case. Reminds me of the awful Bishop Robert Lynch in regards to Terri Schiavo.

So when I read this linked story I wondered what the heck Archbishop Mahon was thinking.

Father Longenecker puts it succinctly.

The fact that the Archbishop of Liverpool has taken the side of the hospital in this case is shocking. Does he not know the Catholic principles for end of life matters? Does he not stand up for them? Why on earth hasn’t Archbishop McMahon spoken clearly about the Catholic principles on end of life issues? This is not only for the sake of Alfie and his family, but it is a powerful teaching opportunity while the world’s media is watching.

Instead we get a bland, sentimental statement that the hospital has done all it possibly can. No. The medical staff are clearly contravening Catholic end of life issues. They are withholding nutrition and hydration from the child and they are therefore taking steps to intentionally end life.

The Archbishop could have backed the hospital in some aspects of the case and denounced them in others.

One of the most maddening parts of the story is that the parents are not allowed to take their child elsewhere. From the hospital to judges it makes no real sense. Maybe seeking treatment is futile, but what is to be lost by letting them try? I won’t speak about their motives – since I don’t know them and what I might conject is beyond my charitable imagination at the moment.

Still praying for Alfie and his parents, along with others has occupied some of my prayer time. Unfortunately I feel that this will just become another train of similar stories as in the Charlie Gard case.

Apr 252018
 

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This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 28 April 2016 to 25 April 2018.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s blog.

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

General Audiences

Homilies

Letters

Messages

Regina Coeli

Speeches

Papal Tweets

  • “Mercy opens the doors of the heart because it makes us feel like we are all children of one Father.” @Pontifex 19 April 2018
  • “Today we recall the words of Don Tonino Bello: ”Works of charity are not enough, unless those works are done with charity“.” @Pontifex 20 April 2018
  • “All it takes to encounter God is to acknowledge that we are needy. And the key to that encounter lies in humbling ourselves.” @Pontifex 20 April 2018
  • “When we are full of self-importance, we leave no space for God. So let us ask the Lord for a conversion of heart.” @Pontifex 21 April 2018
  • “God calls each one of us, and each call is a gift that should fill us with joy.” @Pontifex 22 April 2018
  • “Let us follow the example of St Francis of Assisi and take care of our common Home.” @Pontifex 22 April 2018
  • “The Word of God is the lamp with which we look to the future: its light allows us to read the signs of the times.” @Pontifex 23 April 2018
  • “Moved by the prayers and immense solidarity shown little Alfie Evans, I renew my appeal that the suffering of his parents may be heard and that their desire to seek new forms of treatment may be granted.” @Pontifex 23 April 2018
  • “Life only fully makes sense when it is given as a gift. It becomes tasteless when it is lived for itself alone.” @Pontifex 24 April 2018
  • “Authentic Christians are not afraid of opening up to others, of sharing their living spaces and transforming them into places of solidarity.” @Pontifex 25 April 2018

Papal Instagram

Apr 242018
 

The phrase “No Bible, No Breakfast! No Bible, No Bed!” is one coined by Father Larry Richards. I thinks I heard him mention it a couple of time on his radio show, but didn’t think much about it. When I saw him at our Eucharistic Congress this year the phrase sunk in a little bit more for me.

At first my reaction was “Well this is a good idea for other people, after all I read the Liturgy of the Hours, listen to homiletic podcasts, and have read through the Bible a couple of times.” Surely that’s enough. The more I thought about this the more lame this excuse sounded to me. So I started to take up daily scripture reading again.

“…If you look at a thing nine hundred and ninety-nine times, you are perfectly safe; if you look at it the thousandth time, you are in frightful danger of seeing it for the first time.” – The Napoleon of Notting Hill (1904)

Chesterton is exactly right (as usual) and it is amazing that when you think you know something you start to see it for the first time. What I thought familiar had nuances I realized I only glimpsed at the surface. Intellectually I knew to some extent how polyvalent scripture was. I just needed to relearn that lesson.

I remember sometimes thinking while watching the Journey Home show on EWTN, former Protestant pastors talking about not really noticing a passage before. I was thinking DOH!, but then having to double-DOH! myself.

Apr 162018
 

As a pessimistic-optimist I was pretty skeptical about the Christ Renews His Parish Men’s Retreat. Thought it would be rather gimmicky team building.

Glad I was wrong. The witnessing by people telling their life stories was pretty powerful and the camaraderie was excellent. Pretty much impressed by this 36 hour retreat.

The range in ages of people there really ran the gamut. From 17 on up. Regardless of age it was men trying to take the next step in their faith lives. Just super impressed by the people I met.

I’m the type of introvert that does fine in group settings – especially as the class clown or jester in my case.

I mainly went to this retreat since I am trying to step out of my self-imposed isolation. Mostly I am fine just sitting at home reading. I keep myself amused. Not exactly the recipe for stepping out with the Gospel acclamation. So becoming active in my parish beyond attending Mass was my goal. I knew I needed community life because keeping to myself I have a fool as a companion.

Apr 112018
 

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This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 21 January 2018 to 11 April 2018.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s blog.

Angelus/Regina Coeli

Apostolic Exhortation

General Audiences

Homilies

Speeches

Papal Tweets

  • “Let us go forward with the joy of Jesus’ Resurrection, knowing He is always by our side!” @Pontifex 5 April 2018
  • “The Word of God is a light in the darkness: it helps us face our difficulties without fear.” @Pontifex 6 April 2018
  • “Like the Good Samaritan, let us take care of those who are sick and suffering! #WorldHealthDay” @Pontifex 7 April 2018
  • “God covers us with His mercy, He enfolds us in Christ, so that we can become instruments of His goodness.” @Pontifex 8 April 2018
  • “Today God is still searching for hearts like Mary’s, hearts that are ready to trust in Him completely.” @Pontifex 9 April 2018
  • “I wish to repropose the call to holiness: “Rejoice and be glad”. #GaudeteetExsultate https://t.co/cZxmUGpMW7” @Pontifex 9 April 2018
  • “The Lord calls each of us to holiness, you too. #Holiness” @Pontifex 9 April 2018
  • “Are you called to the consecrated life? Be holy by living out your commitment with joy. #SaintsToday” @Pontifex 9 April 2018
  • “Are you married? Be holy by loving and caring for your husband or wife, as Christ does for the Church. #GaudeteetExsultate” @Pontifex 9 April 2018
  • “Do you work for a living? Be holy by labouring with integrity and skill in the service of your brothers and sisters. #Holiness” @Pontifex 9 April 2018
  • “Are you a parent or grandparent? Be holy by patiently teaching the little ones how to follow Jesus. #SaintsToday” @Pontifex 9 April 2018
  • “Are you in a position of authority? Be holy by working for the common good and renouncing personal gain. #GaudeteetExsultate” @Pontifex 9 April 2018
  • “Being poor of heart, reacting with meekness and humility, knowing how to mourn with others, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, seeing and acting with mercy: that is holiness. #SaintsToday” @Pontifex 10 April 2018
  • “Keeping a heart free of all that tarnishes love, sowing peace all around us, accepting daily the path of the Gospel, even though it may cause us problems: that is holiness. #SaintsToday” @Pontifex 10 April 2018
  • “The word ”happy“ or ”blessed“ becomes a synonym for ”holy“, because those faithful to God, by their self-giving, gain true happiness. #GaudeteetExsultate” @Pontifex 11 April 2018
  • “Holiness is the most attractive face of the Church. #SaintsToday” @Pontifex 11 April 2018

Papal Instagram

Apr 052018
 

During Mass on Holy Thursday during the elevation instead of bells I heard a more wooden sound. I was wondering what was going on?

The Fascinating Story Behind the Rarest of Liturgical Devices: the Crotalus.

In the Roman Rite, altar bells are not supposed to be rung after the Gloria in the liturgy on the evening of Holy Thursday, and are supposed to remain unused until the Gloria on Holy Saturday. This is supposed to make things more somber as we remember the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ.

But, during this short period of time, is anything supposed to take its place? That’s where the crotalus comes in. The Church’s liturgical rubrics don’t prescribe a replacement for altar bells, but there is a long-standing tradition of using a wooden clapper or noise-maker in its place. This serves to both mark the same events as the altar bells, but in a less “sweet” way and thus maintain the somber tone.

More specifically in Paschale Solemnitatis from the Congregation for Divine Worship.

  1. During the singing of the hymn “Gloria in excelsis,” in accordance with local custom, the bells may be rung but should thereafter remain silent until the “Gloria in excelsis” of the Easter Vigil, unless the conference of bishops or the local ordinary, for a suitable reason, has decided otherwise. [56] During the same period, the organ and other musical instruments may be used only for the purpose of supporting the singing. [57]

Or maybe the continuous ringing of the altar bell during the Gloria leaves the bell ringer too tired to do it during the consecration. Well not really.

Apr 052018
 

When I went to the Diocese of St. Augustine Eucharist Congress, I heard a couple excellent talks from Fr. Larry Richards.

In one he was asking those attending about belief in the Eucharist – going through stages asking us to affirm this belief. Then he asks – then why don’t you go to daily Mass then.

At the time I felt rather satisfied about myself since I do attend daily Mass. Still this question got me thinking more about this and what caveats and distinctions this questions entails.

For one, fully believing in the reality of the Eucharist and not going to daily Mass is certainly not necessarily proof that you “don’t actually believe”.

I remember scouring through Masstimes.org trying to find a Mass I could go to before work. My criteria being first that it is early enough that I can get to work on time in the morning. Second that the distance is somewhat reasonable.

The first criteria pretty much reduced my list to only two possibilities. All other Mass times, even living in a large city. were too late. The parishes most directly on route to work had morning Mass after I needed to get to work. Getting to work by 8:00 A.M. is probably a normal situation for many people.

So I consider myself lucky that of my two choices – one does not take me too far off my route to work. The other choice takes me more time – but is great when I want to be able to go to confession on a First Friday or other circumstances.

If these choices had not been available, my only other choice would have been a Mass after work which would have been an hour drive one way. Traffic at the time would have likely made this longer and also likely me getting their late. Still I could have seen myself trying this a couple days during the work week if I did not have my primary choices. So does this mitigate my belief in the Eucharist? Perhaps in some aspect it does as I put limits on what I am willing to do. Overall I think not as I would be happier to not be put in such a circumstance.

It does make me wonder how much consideration is done by parishes when they set their morning Mass times? Apparently not much since all the other parishes had Mass times after 8:00 A.M. Or maybe I am not taking in how much this is dependent on the availability of priests and all the demands on their time.

Even if all the parishes had earlier Mass times how much would this enable more people to be able to attend? I remember one wit on Facebook mentioning that if you want to feel young, go to daily Mass. It’s funny because it is mostly true. The mix seems to be mostly people who are likely retired. I’m no spring chicken at 59 years of age – but often am close to the youngest one there. Still no doubt there are people who work and would love to be able to attend Mass. Plus there are plenty of other situations such as those taking care of children who logistically would find it difficult to attend.

Still I would like parishes to make allowances where possible to increase access to daily Mass and to encourage people to go. I remember how the late Fr. Leon had set the time for the noon Mass to 12:10 to allow people working downtown to have time to get to Mass during lunch hour. This beside having a 7:30 A.M. Mass. The parish I attend morning Mass at actually has a 7:00 A.M. and 9:00 A.M. Mass. One parish I use to go to had a 5:00 P.M. Mass which enabled my wife and I to go together. I believe this Mass was cancelled because there was some annoyance that many of the people attending were from other parishes. I remember being quite surprised when I first heard this was considered an annoyance.

So getting back to what Fr. Larry Richards said as a challenge, no doubt he had the necessary caveats in mind. Still it was a question meant to be a challenge in that if you do truly believe do you act on this belief. I am pretty grateful that circumstances do allow me to attend daily Mass – I need all the help I can get.

Apr 042018
 

pope-francis2-300x187

This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 29 March 2018 to 4 April 2018.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s blog.

Homilies

Messages

Papal Tweets

  • “Through the Eucharist we enter Christ’s paschal mystery, allowing us to pass from death to life with Him.” @Pontifex 29 March 2018
  • “Look upon Christ Crucified: our hope for eternal life is born in Him.” @Pontifex 30 March 2018
  • “Our faith is born on Easter morning: Jesus is alive! This experience is at the heart of the Christian message.” @Pontifex 1 April 2018
  • “Today we repeat that wondrous proclamation: “The Lord is truly risen, as He said!”. A Blessed Easter to you all!” @Pontifex 1 April 2018
  • “As we contemplate Christ’s empty tomb, let us renew our belief that nothing is lost with Him!” @Pontifex 2 April 2018
  • “May Christ who conquered the darkness of sin and death, grant us peace in our days.” @Pontifex 3 April 2018
  • “Love is the only invincible weapon, because it has the power to disarm the forces of evil.” @Pontifex 4 April 2018
  • “It is my sincere hope that everything necessary may be done in order to continue compassionately accompanying little Alfie Evans, and that the deep suffering of his parents may be heard. I am praying for Alfie, for his family and for all who are involved.” @Pontifex 4 April 2018

Papal Instagram