Friday, October 31, 2008
As the first virgin to represent all virgins for Mary’s title as Queen of Virgins is Maria Goretti. She wears both white, the symbol of innocence and the red of a martyr. In her hand is a bouquet of lilies for purity and palms which alludes to her victory over death. She was martyred when her attacker stabbed her in the neck with a knife. She lived for several days after ultimately forgiving her attacker. The angles guide her to heaven into the hands of her loving, heavenly Father who is represented by the hands extending from the heavens at top.
Agnes too was a young when she was proposed to by a pagan. She had already decided to give herself completely to Jesus who is represented by the chi rho whose rays descend upon her, and so she declined the suitor’s offer. He reported her to the authorities and had her sent to a brothel. In the upper left hand corner we see that God protected her from lewd advances and so she was able to preserve her innocence as symbolized, again, by the lilies. The sword tells us that she was beheaded. “Agnes” means lamb (Agnus Dei – Lamb of God) and we see the Lamb on the Gospel book to the lower left.
Answers to yesterday’s quiz:
There should be silence in the church and all ancillary rooms before Mass begins. This is actually a recent proclamation in the new General Instruction of the Roman Missal.
Popular devotions are to be highly endorsed. Vatican II all the way: Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy 13.
The liturgy is the source and summit of our lives. Part of the heart of Vatican II – CSL 10.
The priest should face the people. Actually this was a practice even before Vatican II. Case in point is Saint Peter’s. The objective was to face east. It was not until after Vatican II that this was a common practice. But it was not a mandate of Vatican II
Gregorian chant must be given a place of pride in liturgical services. Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (CSL) 116,117.
The practice of having sacred images in Church is to be maintained. The full paragraph in the CSL can be found in number 125.
The priest should face the people. Ooops. Said this one twice.
Latin should be preserved in the Latin rites. CSL 31 but it does also call for the vernacular to be used to a greater extent in addition to the Latin.
All Latin Rite Catholics should be able to sing or say their parts of the Mass in Latin. CSL 54.
The pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, other instruments permitted by permission. CSL 120.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
To get this point across, here are ten positions that float around today. Some are from Vatican II, some are not. Can you tell which are which?
There should be silence in the church and all ancillary rooms before Mass begins.
Popular devotions are to be highly endorsed.
The liturgy is the source and summit of our lives.
The priest should face the people.
Gregorian chant must be given a place of pride in liturgical services.
The practice of having sacred images in Church is to be maintained.
The priest should face the people.
Latin should be preserved in the Latin rites.
All Latin Rite Catholics should be able to sing or say their parts of the Mass in Latin.
The pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, other instruments permitted by permission.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Dr. Andrew Trew, a bioethicist that we are fortunate to have living in the Diocese of Cleveland points out that the reason life issues are so difficult to discuss is that we are starting with two completely different sets of assumptions. The beginning point is not the baby or the man on death row or what (or rather who) have you, but with an understanding of what life is. Here are two common points of view.
The first is the Christian, particularly Catholic point of view. Life comes from God and is therefore a gift entrusted to us. We are not only matter but also spirit made in the image and likeness of the God who fashioned us and we are to grow to become more like him. Because there is a God who created us purposefully and that there is a purpose to life, and goal to be achieved, there is therefore a universal order of absolutes and truth which can be reached through faith and reason. Thus all life is to be treated with dignity and respect and so the taking of life can only be done in the most dire and strictest set of circumstances.
The secular view, which runs counter to the Christian/Catholic point of outlook, begins from these presumptions: Life evolved by random consequence and therefore exists for itself so that the person who “has” life therefore owns it. We are material (animal) and, if we so choose, we are to develop the image we have of ourselves. Because life began by random chance there is no more meaning to life than what we declare it to have and therefore truth is subjective and open to opinion except that which can be proven through science and reason. Because of this life acquires the value which we assign to it and can be done away with morally through human legislation for scientific, safety, convenient, therapeutic, environmental, or other reason deemed beneficial by those in a position (have the power) to make such decisions.
This is part of the reason we have difficulty carrying on the debate. We are running two different races, running in two different directions with two different starting points, each yelling at the other as we pass, “Hey! You’re running the wrong way!” No we’re not. We are, each of us, running the right way to two different finish lines. In essence there are two different religions at work and both carry some mighty presumptions. Because of these presuppositions the beginning standpoint for the Catholic is the obligation of service and care for the other while the secular starting place is “my rights.” “Can’t we all just get along” is not a great option. It is like putting two teenagers in a room and telling one they have the right to paint the room green and listen to acid rock and the other can paint the room white and blast their Mozart – the positions are antithetical.
Thus the argument will not be won through simple rhetoric for we are speaking different languages. It will be won through the winning of hearts to the noble and well lived out cause.
Monday, October 27, 2008
QUOTE II: "Instead, when you give a banquet, make your habit to invite the poor, the cripple, the lame, and the blind. Then you will be blessed because they can't repay you." Luke 14:13,14
IN OTHER NEWS:
How ripping! Jay sends a wire to say that Catholic Carnival 195 is up!
You might know that I have a special place in my heart for the Sisters of Life in New York. Kay sent this note along that Roman Catholic Vocations has a post on them.
November, which is quickly encroaching upon us, is the month of Poor Souls. Just in time for it Kay started this blog where we can add names of our loved ones to pray for. You might also remember all the other names in your prayers.
Now for some fun! If you can, read G. K. Chesterton's essay on juries entitled "The Twelve Men" before you try this. I tried to find a link for you to this but can't get my computer to go there. Maybe you can find it. This video clip is quite an interesting experiment. Give it a go, perhaps you will be as surprised as I was.
When I was little my mother bought me a cylinder recording of Under the Double Eagle March as a novelty to have on my dresser. The cylinder is the precursor to the modern - well - not so modern record. Fr. Ott sent this site that is trying to preserve these recordings so that they do not disappear for ever. I found them kind of fun to listen to and thought you might also. Thanks O!
The Diocese of Cleveland Enewsletter is featuring Bishop Lennon's talk on evangelization of our Diocesan Web T.V.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
One particular ploy that older, wiser priests warned me about is the Sunday morning rush. “You will find,” they told me, “that people will come up to you just a bit before Mass counting on you being busy and hit you up for money in the hope that you will just throw money at them since you cannot attend to them at that moment. By Jove it is true.
So Sunday I was in a rush to get over to the Church when the secretary stopped me and said, “There is a man out in the lobby who needs to speak to you something about money.” My heart sank. Was this another hit? Would I have to listen to the story of how they need money and have a deadline that cannot be met if I go to Mass without handing over ready cash? Gosh I hate that.
Stepping out into the lobby I met a gentleman and immediately apologized that I did not have much time and asked what I could do for him. “That’s alright Father, I’ll make this quick,” he said. “I grew up in this neighborhood and went to Church here.” This is not an unusual line for someone to start out with when asking for cash. “About thirty years ago I was driving my friend around and pulled up in front of the Church. He ran in and stole a microphone, jumped in my car and we took off. I’ve felt poorly about that for over three decades. I go to Mass and try to be a good Christian but I have to settle this. Here is (and he gave a substantial donation) to help cover the cost to the parish so many years ago.” (To be quite frank, we can use the donation more now than they did back then.)
Needless to say I was quite struck by this gesture. I do not think that I have ever encountered this before. I thanked him and encouraged him to take it confession (which is really the more important part) and commended him for his thoughtfulness. I hope he knows what encouragement he gave me. God is so cool he take even this act and bring good from it if we entrust it to him.
Monday, October 20, 2008
IN OTHER NEWS:
Let the joyous news be spread, Jay announces Catholic Carnival 194!
Friday, October 17, 2008
St. Hillary was born into a noble family. A pagan, he was eventually baptized and finally became bishop of Arles, hence the miter that he wears and the crosier or bishop’s staff to his side. The Church was going through some persecution at the time and perhaps that is the meaning of the snake wrapped around his crosier. I can find no other explanation in my books. If you have more insight it would be appreciated. Because of this persecution he wrote his first of many books entitled, “First Book to Constantius” begging him to restore peace to the Church. He went on to write quite extensively (he is a doctor of the Church) such as his most important work, “De Trinitate”, explaining the symbol for the Trinity in the upper left hand corner the aura of which which flows down to the book and pen with which he writes.
In the lower left hand corner is a child. My first reaction is that this is not the Christ child because of the distinct lack of a halo, yet alone Christ’s special halo which this artist does employ elsewhere. One of my symbolism books says that he is sometimes pictured with a child, “sometimes in a cradle at his feet, raised to life by him.” It fails to explain any further. He was married and had a daughter when he was elected bishop. Some will attribute this baby as the Christ child and is thus a reference to his treatise on the nature of Christ. Once again, I cannot say. If you have reference to show who this child is more definitively it would be appreciated.
From the Saint Sebastian Parish Directory, “St. Augustine was the fifth century Bishop of Hippo and many regard him as the greatest Christian writer. His mother, St. Monica, is shown praying for his conversion, and he was finally baptized by Saint Ambrose. The church represents his labors on behalf of God’s people. Veritas refers to the truth of God’s word. The book and quill symbolize his writings. The heart reflects his deep burning love for God and willingness to suffer in serving Christ.”
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Well, be that as it may, it occurred without a hitch, at least not an earthly hitch, and the man is experiencing his eternal consequences whatever they may be. There are two comments in Tuesday’s paper about this death that are deserving of comment. The first concerns his parting words in an article entitled, “Cursing onlookers, Cooey executed.” When the warden asked him if he had anything to say he replied, “ You **** haven’t paid any attention to what I’ve had to say in the past 22 and half years, why are you going to pay attention to what I have to say now?”
Of course, maybe they tried. Who knows? But that lingering comment reminds me of one of the primary reason we are, in general, opposed to the death penalty. As horrible as this man may be, forever now he has lost the chance to redeem his soul. And worse than that is that somebody is responsible for his loss of opportunity. The scriptures said today about others who prevent God’s children from the chance of entering heaven, “This generation will be charged with their blood! Woe to you . . . you have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter.” Heavy stuff.
Just as disturbing is the way that it was reported. Painting the man in the most vile terms possible (and arguably justifiably so) it then went to describe the almost pleasant way that he died. “Died peacefully . . . needles inserted gently . . . inserted without difficulty . . . he exhaled with a faint noise . . . and he was dead.” All very clean. All done. We’ve cleaned up the spot on the floor. I find it creepy that there was very little solemnity or notice that a man’s life was taken – even if you believe it was justifiable. Very every life taken lightly the next life is less valuable. I want Cooey’s death to be respected because I want your and my life to be held in high esteem.
Please do not assume because I may be cautious on capitol punishment that I am soft on crime. If someone stole from the parish I would be the first to call the police and persecute (I mean prosecute) to the fullest extent of the law. But (and this may actually sound cruel too I realize) I have always been disappointed in movies where the “bad guys” died in the end. If they die, that’s it. No more punishment. No more consequences (at least in this world). One of the best movies to counter this was “The Shawshank Redemption” where one of the villains who was tormenting our protagonist was so badly injured that he would be in a wheel chair eating his lunch through a straw for the rest of his miserable life. That is punishment. But it would also give him a chance to have a change of heart and soul.
Thanks for reading. This was bothering me and I needed to share. I’m sure not all of you will agree but that is why there is a comment section and a little button above that says, “Start your own blog.” ;)
IN OTHER NEWS:
Here are the answers to yesterday’s quiz. (Good job Katherine!)
CPPS Society of the Precious Blood
CSC Congregation of the Holy Cross
CSJ Congregation of Saint Joseph
CSSP Holy Ghost Fathers
MM Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers
O de M Mercedarians
OFM Order of Friars Minor (Fransicans)
OSB Order of Saint Benedict (Benedictans)
SJ Society of Jesus (Jesuits)
SM Society of Mary (Marianists)
SSS Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament
FDC Daughters of Divine Charity
HM Sisters of the Humilty of Mary
HMSS Mercidarian Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament
IHM Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
OCD Discalced Carmelite Nuns
OP Sisters of Saint Dominic (Order of Preachers)
OSST Sisters of the Most Holy Trinity
OSU Ursuline Sisters
PCC Poor Clare Nuns
PCPA Poor Cares of Perpetual Adoration
PSDP Little Sisters of the Poor
SC Sisters of Charity
SJSM Sisters of Saint Joseph of Saint Mark
SND Sisters of Notre Dame
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
IN OTHER NEWS:
Straight out of the oven: Catholic Carnival 193.
Gentlemen! Are you looking for a group of guys to be with who will help bolster your faith! Think about joining the Knights of Columbus!
About ten years ago I traveled to Binga, Zimbabwe with Catholic Relief Services to see what kind of work we were doing over there. There were a few voices that angrily cried out, “Why are you going all the way over there when there are people here without food in their refrigerator?!” But the poverty we were to experience there was nothing like what we call poverty here. There were no refrigerators. There would be no place to put a refrigerator if they had one. And if they miraculously had the space and a refrigerator, there was no electricity. There was no plant to make the electricity to get to the places where there might some day be a refrigerator to plug into the system. Looking every direction there was nothing. Maybe a broken down school bus that would not even be allowed on the road in the U.S. would come by offering public transportation now and then, maybe not. Or your return trip may be late at night dropping you off *somewhere* and there would not be so much as a night light to guide you to your hut. These are people who look at poverty in the U.S. as a major – MAJOR – step up. “Nothing is great or small . . .”
Something similar to that is happening to me this week. The rectory in which I live is fabulous in many ways, but there is no living room. Because of a lack of space the living room was turned into the pastor’s office (administrator). This makes it difficult to have anyone over to visit who is not a priest or family member, people you can take to your room. If somebody comes by for a friendly visit it entails sitting around my desk or at the dinning room table. (Yes, I hear the tiny violins in the background.) So I’ve decided to turn half of my office back into living room, desk at one end, comfortable chairs at the other. It is being done well, somewhat modestly, but not out of keeping with the city in which I live.
But there will be a house guest this week. He is a priest in a diocese with people who are as poor as the people of Binga mentioned above. I was thinking that I did not have the right chair for guests in the living room and he is sorry that he does not have a chair to sit in. The change over of the office will happen in the middle of his visit. It is a prick of the conscience. I don’t know that it would call me to give the project up if I were aware how this would all pan out, but it does remind me that I need to be charitable and at least keep in mind that when I am doing “without”, most of the people who live in the world today or the majority of humanity who ever lived on the face of the earth would be ecstatic with the abundance of my “with.”
Friday, October 10, 2008
The stones also mimic the vision of the Trinity which he had at the time of his death. Stephen was the first recorded person to pray to the resurrected Christ. In calling out to him he had a vision of the Trinity and here we see the Father holding an orb and imparting a blessing, Jesus in a red martyr’s mantle and holding His Cross at His right hand, and the Holy Spirit descending as both a dove and a tongue of fire.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
To be quite frank this year has me a bit spooked – between the economy and the rising cost of fuels, what kind of beating are parish schools going to take and what kind of tuition will we need to charge next year to cover these costs? Of course if you charge more for tuition you get less students which means you need to charge more tuition but then you get less students which means . . .
Solar energy would be such a boon. Having that terrible burden off of our shoulders would aid the school tremendously. The vast expanse of roofline with a wonderful gunwale around it would allow our school to go green without ruining the architecture. This part of Ohio is rated “good” (on a scale that goes up to great) for solar energy.
My question is: Does anybody know if there is a way for a church/school to get in on this deal without having to have six million dollars to install???
Just something that I think about before falling asleep at night. Busy day so sorry for the short and uninteresting post.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
So this friend of mine is garnering rather the reputation. “How does he know when to say the right words?” another person asked me. All I can think of is that it is a gift and, further, he knows how to use it.
There was an interesting response in the question and answer section of This Rock magazine recently and I was rather surprised at the answer though, after thinking of it, it made sense. A person asked if it was all right (morally and in keeping with the doctrines of the Church) for police departments to use information to solve a crime if the information came from a person who gained it through clairvoyance. The answer was that it was perfectly alright as long as the information was used for a just cause and that it was not actively sought out by use of the occult. Law enforcement officials could then rightfully use the information that came to a person unsolicited, but could not hire such a person who searches out this information to solve the crime.
So do you feel the nudge to pray for someone or to make contact? Do it! Who knows why (or how) you might have received this thought. One way it works for me is with vocations. Something will nag me about asking a man if he ever considered the priesthood. I am shocked at how many eyes light up and they say, “Yes, I’ve been thinking a little about it lately!”
This is said with a caution. All such intuitions are classified under private revelation. Nothing received in this way is binding on somebody else. At one point there was a group of people I knew who were a bit too “in” on receiving revelations. They were usually transmitted thusly, “God told me to tell you . . .” which means if you did not listen to what the person was telling you, you were not only not following what they said, but that you were disobeying Almighty God. That is also a terrible, horrendous abuse. The fun part was watching competitions between revelations “from God,” “Oh yeah? Well God told ME to tell YOU . . .” (And certainly if your intuition is telling you to go against Scripture or Tradition, as in spray painting your neighbor’s SUV purple – it is not from God.) But if you are moved to pray privately for a person, or contact them and say, “I was thinking of you today and thought to pray for you, how is it going?” or perhaps in the middle of a conversation feel moved to share part of your faith journey, consider listening to the hunch and discovering if there is any fruit to be harvested there.
Monday, October 6, 2008
IN OTHER NEWS:
You might remember the hawk mentioned in last week's post. As it turns out the second grade boys have named him (and aptly so) Sebastian and have had sport watching him crash into trees after game. Out parish photographer Stephen S. captured this shot of this beautiful bird. You may want to avoid look at his talons however. That was Jimmy the squirrel.
N.B.: If you are sending Emails to my StSebastian address - the servers had been down for several days. You might want to send it through the address attached to this site.
Kay sent this video in quite a spell ago but I did not (and still do not) have sound on my computer and so was able to listen to it for the first time the other day at a friend's house. Enjoy.
"Oui," says Jay, "Eet Ees time for Carnival Catholique 192!"
ON CELIBACY: I generally dislike getting inspirational notes and such jamming up my mailbox, but this one from F. S. seemed good enough to share: "Celibacy can be a choice in life, or a condition imposed by circumstances. While attending a Marriage Encounter weekend, Ray and his wife Charlotte listened to the instructor declare, 'It is essential that husbands and wives know the things that are important to each other.' He addressed the men,'Can you name and describe your wife's favorite flower?' Ray leaned over, touched Charlotte's arm gently and whispered, 'It's Pillsbury All-Purpose, isn't it?'And thus began Ray's life of celibacy."
The Diocese of Cleveland Enewsletter suggests reading "Abortion and Faithful Citizenship" put out by the USCCB.
Here is a new site to me: Students for Life. They are college students taking a strong role the struggle for the dignity of human life.
Lastly, here are some pictures of the great oak coming down after being badly damaged in the last storm. it is quite a feat and interesting to watch - though sad.
Akron was under similar curse that day but boxes were carted into 476 Mull Avenue wet but not much worse for the wear. And then the most miraculous thing happened. When the last box had been set down and the Knights sat around the dinning room table to have some pizza (the usual agreed upon wage for helping someone move) the skies cleared, the sun came out, and the curse had been lifted.
Moving into a new room like this not so much as having seen it before for longer than a handful of minutes was like staying in a hotel. It was set up to feel homey but nothing is yours, your things being all in boxes. The next day was the first day “on the job” and it started at 7:00AM with a finance council meeting. Things have not slowed down much since. But I love it.
And that was pretty much it for the process of being assigned to a new place though there are different means by which this happens also. This was just a description for this particular situation. It seems not so different than what many people go through with their jobs save the help of the Knights of Columbus. And thus brings to an end of this series. The diary will resume its normal recording of an interesting event from the past week on Monday.
Friday, October 3, 2008
At the upper right hand corner is the "chi rho" reported here earlier. It is the monogram of Christ and the yellow glass shows Christ's anointing falling on Paul and guiding his ministry directly.
To the left we see the story of his conversion in Damascus where he was "knocked off his high horse." Here is another example of tradition working in our lives. The Scriptures do not mention a horse at all yet (Acts 9:4) we all know the story and the saying. The ribbon extending from this scene scrolls around the rest of the picture marking the other cities through which Paul traveled and the people he met while spreading the Good News. The objects in the upper left hand corner are scrolls representing the letters Paul wrote.
Saint Peter's window is anchored around a portrayal of him as a "Fisher of Men." The net also calls to mind the encounters he had with Jesus when he was instructed to cast the net over the other side of the boat. As with Saint Paul, notice the yellow glass cascading down from the hands extending from the heavens (God) holding the keys to the kingdom. Peter also stands in a boat which is often called "the Bark of Peter." The bark mean boat and the boat is the Church which he led and is thus recognized by the Universal Church as the first pope.
At lower right is the rooster which Jesus predicted would crow after Peter had denied him three times. The upper left corner shows Peter's crucifixion. Not feeling worthy to be crucified in the same manner as Our Lord, he requested to be crucified upside down. When you see an upside down cross then it may mean no disrespect but may be the symbol of Saint Peter.
Just below this and a bit difficult to see in this picture is a depiction of Saint Peter Basilica in Rome. It was over his grave that the great Saint Peter's was built, the altar being located directly over his grave.