Monday, February 27, 2006

Pope...The Marriage of Christ

I was there....(Joseph spent the time picking at grass between the rock pavement of the Vatican)

From Pope Benedict's Angelus message;

"With these words, Christ reveals His identity as the Messiah, Bridegroom of Israel, Who has come for the wedding with His people. Those who recognize Him and welcome Him with faith celebrate. However, He must be rejected and killed by His own people: at that moment, during His passion and His death, will come the time of mourning and fasting."

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Can You See Me?

Off to Roma (in imitation of NBC) Vatican City Web Cam

Indiana nun moves closer to sainthood

From the Journal Gazette :

The 19th century foundress of a community of nuns in western Indiana has edged closer to Roman Catholic sainthood with the Vatican’s approval of a second miracle – the reputed curing of a man’s damaged eyesight.

Mother Theodore Guerin, who founded the Sisters of Providence community near Terre Haute, is credited with helping restore the eyesight of Phil McCord, an employee at the order’s mother house, Sister Ann Margaret O’Hara, the community’s general superior, said Wednesday.

“The Sisters of Providence have received the joyous news from the Vatican that the way is now open for the canonization of our foundress,” O’Hara said at a news conference. Guerin started the order in 1840.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

New Cardinals Named by Pope Benedict

You may notice that my "source" was wrong...

"The List" from WBSB:

Pope Benedict XVI named 15 new cardinals on Wednesday, 12 of whom are under the age of 80 and thus eligible to vote in a conclave to elect his successor. Here are the names of the new cardinals who will be elevated at a Vatican ceremony March 24:

_Monsignor William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

_Monsignor Franc Rode, prefect of the Congregation for the Institutes for Consecrated Life.

_Monsignor Agostino Vallini, prefect of the Vatican's Supreme Tribunal for the Apostolic Signatura.

_Monsignor Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino, archbishop of Caracas, Venezuela.

_Monsignor Gaudencio B. Rosales, archbishop of Manila, Philippines.

_Monsignor Jean-Pierre Ricard, archbishop of Bordeaux, France.

_Monsignor Antonio Canizares Llovera, archbishop of Toledo, Spain.

_Monsignor Nicolas Cheong-Jin-Suk, archbishop of Seoul, Korea.

_Monsignor Sean Patrick O'Malley, archbishop of Boston.

_Monsignor Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, Poland.

_Monsignor Carlo Caffarra, archbishop of Bologna, Italy.

_Monsignor Joseph Zen, bishop of Hong Kong.

The three cardinals who are over 80 are:

_Monsignor Andrea Cordero Lanza Di Montezemolo, archpriest of the Basilica of St. Paul's Outside the Walls, in Rome.

_Monsignor Peter Poreku Dery, archbishop emeritus of Tamale, Ghana.

_Rev. Albert Vanhoye, the former Jesuit rector of the Pontifical Biblical Institute and secretary of the Pontifical Biblical Commission.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Say "Cheese"

Help Build a Catholic Boarding School for Girls

in Kenya...see Because of Elizabeth and read how the death of a child has sparked a movement.

New Cardinals, What to Watch For

Tomorrow, Pope Benedict XVI is expected to name a list of new cardinals for a consistory to be held on March 25th, the Feast of the Annunciation. Much speculation on who will be on this list and it may be a telling point as to where the pope is headed with reference to the curia.

What if no one on the curia is named a Cardinal?

The pope has shown that he is an enemy of careerism and this would be seen as a concrete way of taking away the carot from the center of careerism.

Expect to be surprised by this pope.

Update (2/21/06, 13:55): Hearing the only American will be Archbishop Levada, no for Boston.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Rachel Weeping for Her Children

The Joyful Mysteries of the rosary and the horrible experience of a bad marriage and an abortion detailed in the life of Jennifer here. Amy had blogged earlier last week a link to Jennifer's other experiences on her way back to her Catholic Faith.

Fr. Benedict with the Trappists

In Genesee, NY...

From the CFR Homepage:

I recently spent a beautiful week at Our Lady of the Genesee Abbey in Piffard, New York giving a retreat to the Trappist Community there. It was a beautiful experience. The chanting of the office, the silence of the monastery and the good cheer of the monks were all a shot in the arm, which I very much needed.

Of course this particular monastery was known for years for producing Monk’s bread. This used to be sold in the New York area, but the demand was so great in their own area that it’s no longer available in ours. One morning we were given a tour of the baking plant, which is clearly quite remarkable. It produces almost fifty thousand loaves of bread every week, all of them sealed in a beautiful plastic bag. There were complicated machines and huge caldrons of dough rising all over the place. Both the retired Abbott and the present Abbott could be seen working in the bakery. It is very encouraging to know that the Trappist life, which we all admire from a distance, is really going on and being lived in these difficult times. I asked the monks to pray fervently for the church, the bishops, the priests, deacons and seminarians and for religious orders. Some of the monks are on in years and are obviously great prayers. One of the monks, Father Thomas, is just approaching his hundredth year.

Read more

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Daytona 505

Somehow this race is getting screwier and screwier!

Where exactly is the finish line now?

  1. The race ending under caution use to revert back to the last completed lap, now we have to wait while scoring loops and video are reviewed to match exactly when the caution flag is thrown--which ultimately is up to NASCAR. If fans thought in the past certian drivers were being favored, this may ultimately prove to be a disaster for the sport.
  2. Why throw the caution flag when the accident is on the back stretch or anywhere in the last five hundred feet of the race? Just let the drivers come to the finish line and finish the race. The Busch race yesterday was a total disaster on this count. Today wasn't much better. The flag was thrown when the car spinning was all by itself.
  3. Good thing Tony Stewart thought aloud last week that someone might get killed, little did anyone suspect that he was the one who planned on doing the killing. I like Stewart, but I agree with Matt Kenseth that putting a driver to the back of the back on a restrictor plate race isn't punishment enough. Tony's drive below the yellow line to put Kenseth off the track should have got him parked for the day.
  4. I've watched football games played in the fog, first time I've watched a NASCAR race on television that was almost impossible to see at times. Reminded me of the early 60's when a snowy picture set was the norm. Wonder what this looked like in high definition?
  5. I used to like restrictor plate racing but it has gotten to the point with the endless rule changes that what you have now is not racing at all...they had that at one point and they lost it. Hopefully they'll go back to it at some point.
  6. So in the end the car that cheated and had the crew chief suspended won the race. Why not suspend the car--who cares if the crew chief isn't there. Obviously didn't hurt them none, they went from last to first. Hope they were able to get the window fixed before it goes back through post race tech.

Fallen State of Man Requres a Savior

Pope Benedict's Angelus today...

From :

"Sin prevents humanity from “advancing swiftly” in brotherhood, justice, peace and holistic development. Even if all these values are upheld in “solemn statements”, there is something which “blocks the… journey”. In today’s Angelus, taking his queue from the gospel of today’s Mass (VII Sunday of Year B), which narrates how a paralytic was healed by Jesus, Benedict XVI said “only Jesus can truly heal” the sick man. “Man, paralysed by sin, needs God’s mercy, which Christ came to give him, so that healed in the heart, his entire existence can blossom once again,” said the pontiff.

“The paralytic is an image of each human being who is prevented by sin from moving freely, from walking in the path of righteousness, from giving his best. In effect, evil, nestling in the heart, ties man with straps of deceit, anger, envy and other sins, and little by little, paralyses him.”"

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Good Day for Amy and Moi on Amazon's Top 100 Catholic Bestsellers

As of Saturday Evening (2/18/2006):

#5 The How-To Book of the Mass: Everything You Need to Know but No One Ever Taught You

#21 The Power of the Cross: Applying the Passion of Christ to Your Life

#41 Here. Now. A Catholic Guide to the Good Life.

#65 Loyola Kids Book of Saints (Loyola Kids)

#66 How To Get The Most Out Of The Eucharist

By the way #21 The Power of the Cross: Applying the Passion of Christ to Your Life is a Lenten Devotional (you can search inside the book, for a sample read "Day 14", Ash Wednesday is only a week and a half away!

Cardinal Karl Lehmann

From Yahoo News:

Cardinal Karl Lehmann delivers a speech during the traditional carnival award ceremony 'Wider den tierischen Ernst' (Against Deadly Seriousness) in the western German city of Aachen February 11, 2006. Friedrich Merz, former financial spokesman of the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU), received this year's decoration 'Wider den tierischen Ernst', which is awarded every year to persons in public life showing humanity and a good sense of humour.

Friday, February 17, 2006

On 6/6/06-The Beast is Released?

Movie called The Beast is being released with great hoopla on 666...the premise of which is that a Christian high school student investigates the disappearance of her scripture scholar father who has "discovered" that Jesus never existed--no small feat, I might add. Christian fundamentalists are the enemy in this film. As someone has said it is the antitheseis of The Passion of the Christ.

You might want to arm your people with Amy's Prove It! Jesus (Prove It!).

For others I would suggest opening your Bible to John 6:66 and reading and reflecting on who the beast might really be.

On a side note, I remember a scripture scholar saying some years ago that the shroud of Turin couldn't be the true shroud of Jesus because (and I think you'll enjoy this) it matched the Gospel accounts to closely--anyone who has studied the bible at the graduate level will appreciate that and anyone who maintained their faith through the process won't agree with it.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

How To Focus More on Lent... this Lent

Ash Wednesday is just a week and half away!

Daily Meditations based on the Gospel Reading of the day from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday…

  • For Use as a private Lenten Devotional
  • For Use as in a Group Bible Study

    National Catholic Register
    Weekly Book Pick February 2005

For launching into Lent, Clare Siobhan recommends "The Power of the Cross: Applying the Passion of Christ to Your Life" by Michael Dubruiel.

And from those who've used it and plan to use it:

We just finished studying your book "The Power of the Cross" – ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL!!!!!!!.
It was soooo Catholic and thank you for speaking the truth. We have a lot of Catholics out there (including myself) who missed these lessons over the last 20 years. We have made Catholicism what we wanted it to be. Not how is really is. I believe your book opened the eyes of a lot of the ladies in the group.
Vickie Loftis, Women's Bible Study, San Juan Del Rio Catholic Church, Switzerland, FL

“The Power of the Cross” will be our text for adult education classes during Lent. Keep on writing!

Pastor, Saint Patrick Catholic Church, Sarasota, FL

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Ferder and Heagle

Interesting tale of a nun and priest who have been at the center of much silliness in the Catholic Church and may even be responsible for sowing some of the chaff amidst the wheat...yet joyfully continue along the path.

From The Seattle Weekly:

As they turn to walk toward their offices from the lobby, Heagle gently sends Ferder forward by putting his hand on the small of her back. It is an intimate gesture, born of a relationship that spans some 30 years. The twoare so obviously close that some have observed they seem like husband and wife. Ferder says the relationship is celibate but acknowledges their "deep, deep friendship." They live and work in the same house, teach together, and write books together. Together they belong to what they call a "support group" of friends who socialize and take trips, composed of three priests and three nuns. It seems as close to marriage as a nun and priest in good standing can get.

Pope Concludes Catechesis of John Paul

After almost a year, Pope Benedict today concluded the catechesis of his predecessor:

At the beginning of the general audience Benedict XVI recalled that today's catechesis was the last "of the long cycle begun years ago by my beloved predecessor, the unforgettable John Paul II," who wished to cover "the entire sequence of Psalms and Canticles that constitute the basic fabric of the Liturgy of the Hours and of Vespers.

"Having reached the end of this textual pilgrimage - like a journey through a flower garden of praise, invocation, prayer and contemplation - we now come to the canticle that closes the celebration of Vespers: the Magnificat."

The Pope went on: "It is a canticle that reveals ... the spirituality ... of those faithful who recognized themselves as 'poor,' not only in detaching themselves from all forms of idolatry of wealth and power, but also in profound humility of heart, free from the temptation to pride and open to the irruption of divine saving grace."

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

No Greater Love--St. Valentine

At least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, are mentioned in the early martyrologies under date of 14 February. One is described as a priest at Rome, another as bishop of Interamna (modern Terni), and these two seem both to have suffered in the second half of the third century and to have been buried on the Flaminian Way, but at different distances from the city. In William of Malmesbury's time what was known to the ancients as the Flaminian Gate of Rome and is now the Porta del Popolo, was called the Gate of St. Valentine. The name seems to have been taken from a small church dedicated to the saint which was in the immediate neighborhood. Of both these St. Valentines some sort of Acta are preserved but they are of relatively late date and of no historical value. Of the third Saint Valentine, who suffered in Africa with a number of companions, nothing further is known.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Opus Dei Turns the Tables

Take the interest created by the Code to explain who they really are...
"It's very sad that Opus Dei and the Catholic Church were portrayed unfairly in the novel," said Opus Dei spokesman Brian Finnerty. "What we're trying to do is take advantage of the interest to explain what the real Opus Dei is all about."....
...Finnerty's job these days is to promote the group and give reporters tours of the building, a $69 million corner edifice in midtown Manhattan housing a luxurious conference center on five floors as well as accommodations and offices for around 65 members.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Catholicism in America--Sad News

Thanks to Amy for pointing this sad news out to me. I made a thirty day retreat here, so you could say that I lived here for a month! Beautiful, majestic building. The price seems like a steal--the land itself I would think would have gone for that...a sad tale of the ruins of Catholicism in this country. Pray for the new day that is coming!

From Fitness unit buys Auriesville Retreat House:

"The American Sports Committee Inc. paid $600,000 in cash for the 63,000-square-foot building and surrounding 76 acres.

The Jesuits will retain the rest of the acreage and the shrine will remain open, said the Rev. Walter Modrys, treasurer for the New York Province of the Society of Jesuits, the shrine's New York City-based parent organization.

Modrys said money from the sale will fund improvements to other buildings and to support continuing programs at the shrine."

Pope: Christ Heals the Human Condition


"Today, the gospel passage tells of the healing of a leper and expresses, with great effectiveness, the intensity of the rapport between God and man, summed up in a stupendous dialogue: ‘If you want, you can heal me!’ says the leper. ‘I do want, be healed’, responds Jesus, touching him with his hand and healing him from his leprosy (Mk 1:40-42). Here we see condensed all the history of salvation: that gesture of Jesus, who stretches out his hand and touches the sore body of the person who invokes him, perfectly manifests the will of God to restore his fallen creation, restoring it to life ‘in abundance’ (Jn 10:10), eternal life, full, happy. Christ is the ‘hand’ of God stretching out to humanity, so that it may emerge from the mobile sands of sickness and death, and get back on its feet on the steady rock of divine love (cfr Ps 39:2-3)”.

The pope added: “Today I would like to entrust to Mary ‘Salus infirmorum’ all the sick, especially those who, in every part of the world, suffer from solitude, misery and marginalization as well as deficiency of health. I also bear particularly in mind those who attend to the sick and engage themselves for their healing. May the Holy Virgin help each one to find comfort in body and spirit, thanks to adequate health assistance and brotherly charity capable of transforming itself into concrete and supportive attention.” And when giving a greeting in Polish, he asked that “considerate love boost the strength of those who bring help to the sick”."

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

Also a day designated for special prayers for the infirmed.

Official web sites of lourdes

Cardinal George Issues Ultimatum to Priests

From Letter from Cardinal George asks priests to come forward:

"And then, the Archbishop of Chicago delivered a direct demand of all who wear the collar.

'There is so much I remain unaware of, yet I am, in the end, responsible for it all. I want to say now that if there is any priest that is leading a double life, he should for the sake of the Church come forward.'"

Friday, February 10, 2006

Before and After



South Dakota House Passes Bill to Ban Abortions

If it makes it through the process, may end up in Supreme Court.


The South Dakota House has passed a bill that would nearly ban all abortions in the state, ushering the issue to the state Senate.

Supporters are pushing the measure in hopes of drawing a legal challenge that will cause the US Supreme Court to reverse its 1973 decision legalizing abortion.

The bill banning all abortions in South Dakota was passed 47-to-22 in the House.

Amendments aimed at carving out exemptions for rape, incest and the health of women were rejected.

The bill does contain a loophole that allows abortions if women are in danger of dying. Doctors who do those abortions could not be prosecuted.

MercySong Ministries of Healing

Vinnie Flynn and his lovely family. You've seen them on EWTN singing the Chaplet of Divine Mercy:

St. Scholastica-Twin Sister of St. Benedict

From the Office of Readings:

Scholastica, the sister of Saint Benedict, had been consecrated to God from her earliest years. She was accustomed to visiting her brother once a year. He would come down to meet her at a place on the monastery property, not far outside the gate.
One day she came as usual and her saintly brother went with some of his disciples; they spent the whole day praising God and talking of sacred things. As night fell they had supper together.

Their spiritual conversation went on and the hour grew late. The holy nun said to her brother: “Please do not leave me tonight; let us go on until morning talking about the delights of the spiritual life”. “Sister”, he replied, “what are you saying? I simply cannot stay outside my cell”.

When she heard her brother refuse her request, the holy woman joined her hands on the table, laid her head on them and began to pray. As she raised her head from the table, there were such brilliant flashes of lightning, such great peals of thunder and such a heavy downpour of rain that neither Benedict nor his brethren could stir across the threshold of the place where they had been seated. Sadly he began to complain: “May God forgive you, sister. What have you done?” “Well”, she answered, “I asked you and you would not listen; so I asked my God and he did listen. So now go off, if you can, leave me and return to your monastery”.

Reluctant as he was to stay of his own will, he remained against his will. So it came about that they stayed awake the whole night, engrossed in their conversation about the spiritual life.

It is not surprising that she was more effective than he, since as John says, God is love, it was absolutely right that she could do more, as she loved more.

Three days later, Benedict was in his cell. Looking up to the sky, he saw his sister’s soul leave her body in the form of a dove, and fly up to the secret places of heaven. Rejoicing in her great glory, he thanked almighty God with hymns and words of praise. He then sent his brethren to bring her body to the monastery and lay it in the tomb he had prepared for himself.

Their minds had always been united in God; their bodies were to share a common grave.

She is the patron: Against rain; convulsive children; nuns; storms.

Turkey, Moslems and Catholics

I lived in Turkey for a year when I was in my early twenties. We were stationed at an outpost, about 50 km outside of Istanbul and used to travel by bus every Sunday to the Italian consulate for Mass in English said by a Salesian priest. We always sang the same three songs in English Immaculate Mary, Come Holy Ghost and Holy God, We Praise Thy Name. Besides the four Americans from the base, the rest were all workers in the American and Canadian consulates.

Two stories about Turkey in the news today:

First a Friar is threatened, this on the heals of the priest who was murdered:

A group of Turkish youths threatened to kill a Catholic friar, grabbing him by the throat and shouting "God is Greatest", just days after a Catholic priest was shot dead in Turkey, the friar said on Friday.

Martin Kmetec, a Franciscan friar from Slovenia, opened the door of his house on Thursday to find seven or eight angry men in their twenties.

"He took me by the throat and pulled me inside and said 'we're going to finish you off' ... he also said Allahu Akbar (Arabic for God is Greatest)," Kmetec told Reuters by telephone from his church in the province of Izmir.

Kmetec closed the door on the youths, who said they were nationalists and the group, after trying to break the door down, left.

Next, Pope Benedict will travel to Turkey in November:

Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer's formal invitation to Pope Benedict XVI was conveyed to the Vatican on Thursday. Sources said that the Pope's visit to Turkey was scheduled to take place between November 28th-December 1st, 2006.
After his election, the Pope stated that he wanted to participate in the feast day of St. Andrew in 2005 and meet Fener-Greek Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul, and the Fener-Greek Patriarchate invited the Pope to Turkey.

However, following arguments on this invitation, the Vatican officials said that they expected formal invitation from Ankara. Then, President Sezer formally invited the Pope to Turkey in 2006.

Thursday, February 9, 2006

First Lady Meets with Pope

"We share a lot of the same values"...aren't some of "we" Catholics?

"The American people are a religious people, of course all different religions. But we share a lot of the same values with the Catholic Church," Bush told Vatican Radio in an interview taped in Washington before her departure and broadcast Thursday.

Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Can's for Christ

I too witnessed what Amy had related yesterday. In our local, rather run-down convenience store is a trash can right in front of the lotto machine with a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and a title "Can's for Christ." Another sheet explains that two young girls memebers of "Challenge" are raising money for the birthday of the founder of the Legionaires, Marcial.

Rather strange. The bishop of the diocese frequents this convenience store, I wonder if he has seen it yet?

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Looking for a Lenten Devotional?

Last year a "Weekly Book Pick" from the National Catholic Register...

For $2.66? (That's cheaper than I can buy it!)

Cartoon Led to Turkish Assasination of Priest

In a world that gets crazier everyday, this from Asia News IT:

The assassination of Fr. Andrea Santoro came about in the light of the climate provoked by the publication of the Muhammad cartoon strips, but "there is a mastermind behind it all". Speaking to AsiaNews via telephone, Msgr. Antonio Lucibello, apostolic nuncio in Turkey says he is also convinced of this, commenting that "in the tense and overheated climate created in the aftermath of the publication of these cartoons, it obvious that people can also be killed. But still, I am convinced that there is a mastermind behind all of it ".

According to Turkish press, the youth arrested for the murder of Fr. Santoro confessed to having been moved to violence by the vignettes against Muhammad. The Nuncio tells of his being "struck by reaction in official circles". He cites the declarations made by the deputy minister for religious affairs, Mehmet Gormez, who condemned the killing of Fr. Andrea "a man of God". Msgr Lucibello, adds that there has been an outpouring of condolences and highlights the meaningful declarations of some young Muslims, who say that "they are ashamed by what has happened".

Monday, February 6, 2006

St. Paul Miki and Companions

From the Office of Readings:

Our brother, Paul Miki, saw himself standing now in the noblest pulpit he had ever filled. To his “congregation” he began by proclaiming himself a Japanese and a Jesuit. He was dying for the Gospel he preached. He gave thanks to God for this wonderful blessing and he ended his “sermon” with these words: “As I come to this supreme moment of my life, I am sure none of you would suppose I want to deceive you. And so I tell you plainly: there is no way to be saved except the Christian way. My religion teaches me to pardon my enemies and all who have offended me. I do gladly pardon the Emperor and all who have sought my death. I beg them to seek baptism and be Christians themselves”.
Then he looked at his comrades and began to encourage them in their final struggle. Joy glowed in all their faces, and in Louis’ most of all. When a Christian in the crowd cried out to him that he would soon be in heaven, his hands, his whole body strained upward with such joy that every eye was fixed on him.
Anthony, hanging at Louis’ side, looked toward heaven and called upon the holy names – “Jesus, Mary!” He began to sing a psalm: “Praise the Lord, you children!” (He learned it in catechism class in Nagasaki. They take care there to teach the children some psalms to help them learn their catechism).
Others kept repeating “Jesus, Mary!” Their faces were serene. Some of them even took to urging the people standing by to live worthy Christian lives. In these and other ways they showed their readiness to die.
Then, according to Japanese custom, the four executioners began to unsheathe their spears. At this dreadful sight, all the Christians cried out, “Jesus, Mary!” And the storm of anguished weeping then rose to batter the very skies. The executioners killed them one by one. One thrust of the spear, then a second blow. It was over in a very short time.

Sunday, February 5, 2006

Right to Life Sunday in Rome

From Asia News IT:

A clash of cultures is manifest in the division between who believes that human life, in the end, is at the mercy of man’s “autonomy” and who recognizes that “it is in the hands of God” motive of the Church’s essential mission: to proclaim “the God of life”. This was the heart of Pope Benedict’s message today, twice underlined : firstly during his visit this morning to the parish of St Anna and again in his midday Angelus address, delivered to a crowd of over 40 thousand.

The Pope’s speeches reflected today’s celebration of Day for Life in Italy, for which numerous delegations from catholic pro life movements were present in St Peter’s square, lead by the president of the Italian Catholic Bishops Conference, Card. Camillo Ruini.

Saturday, February 4, 2006

The Marriage of Jesus

Copyright © 2006 Michael Dubruiel

"Every heresy is a forgotten truth seeking revenge."

Chapter One
The Wedding

It was 1982 and I was a student at a small Catholic College in the Midwest--the site of the first meeting of the famous Jesus Seminar. On this night everyone was gathered in the cavernous chapel, that had been gutted after the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. There was expectancy in the air that hung like the clouds of incense and fog produced by dry ice as the great drama in front of us unfolded. Over the course of the next two hours I would witness monks donning white leotards prancing in the air, angels of gloom and doom announcing plagues and terror from balconies above and then finally the appearance of the bride--the bride of Christ!

Now the great mystery leading up to this dramatic presentation of the Book of the Apocalypse or Revelation was who was going to play the bride? After all we were an all male school run by monks. There were women who worked in the cafeteria, administrative office and janitorial staff--but these were all rather serious women who didn't usually participate in school plays. Perhaps it would be someone from outside. The actress Florence Henderson had made her acting debut at this school years before when she was recruited by one of the monks who said Mass on Sundays in her parish in a nearby town. Perhaps another future Mrs. Brady would play the part!

The music and singing of the schola reached a fever pitch as more incense and dry ice fog filled the raised sanctuary, obscuring the moving figures taking their places:

"Veni, et ostendam tibi sponsam, uxorem Agni."

Latin for "Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb" a passage from the Book of Revelations found in chapter 21, verse 9.

Suddenly she emerged, at first only her leg covered in a white bridal gown breaking through the incense and fog--in unison with one of the white leotard clad monks on whom her arm rested in a courtly manor.

I looked around at my fellow students and some of the guests present for the drama. All faces were rapt toward the unfolding revelation as to who was the bride. Then she was revealed.

It was Sister Mary John the Baptist who looked everyday of her sixty-seven years, although her religious life made her truly a bride of Christ, she didn't quite fit the part. In a bridal gown as glorious as the one worn by Princess Diana wore on her wedding day she descended the steps carefully. She was a faculty member, one who liked to lead her classes in guided meditations. Up until this point the dramatic presentation had been like one of these, albeit more engaging, but now it had taken an even harsher turn in the road.

I am sure that the image of a sixty seven year old woman in that beautiful white wedding gown would haunt the dreams of many of my classmates for years to come. It reminded me of one of Sister Mary John the Baptist's first classes where after forty minutes of imagining that we were on a mountaintop, by a brook, at a beach and finally Jesus was there and we were to imagine "What do you say to him?" Amador, a young student from Texas blurted out "Take me with you!" This was quickly followed by an anonymous passing of gas by another student that was loud (when everyone is silent--everything is loud)--which caused uncontrollable laughter that quickly broke the spell we had been under. Not daring to fully open my eyes, wet with tears from the laughter, I spied a peak at Sister who was not amused.

Now this...

I heard chuckles behind me.

But who could play this role? No one person I realized for the Bride of Christ was not one person but the Church.

The Scriptures are Not Silent

To the question of whether Jesus was married the Scriptures are not silent, despite the fact that I have read and heard this claim made by many theologians. In the gospels, Paul's letters and the Book of Revelation there is a great deal said about Jesus as the bridegroom and being a bridegroom is all about getting married.

(more to come)

Friday, February 3, 2006

Feast of St. Blase

Through the intercession of St. Blaise, bishop and martyr, may you be freed of ailments of the throat and every other disease. + In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Feast of the Presentation

Something to think about the next time you come forward to receive Holy Communion:
(Simeon) took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel.

Groundhog Day

He saw his shadow (meaning six more weeks of winter or in our case meaning temperatures are about to dip back into the winter range) and waved a terrible towel (is that good or bad for the Steelers?)