A Catholic Blog for Lovers

A celebration of beauty, truth, and goodness, and, of course, love...and perhaps a little nastiness

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Saturday, October 30, 2004

Prayer as communion

2565 In the New Covenant, prayer is the living relationship of the children of God with their Father who is good beyond measure, with his Son Jesus Christ and with the Holy Spirit. The grace of the Kingdom is "the union of the entire holy and royal Trinity . . . with the whole human spirit." [12] Thus, the life of prayer is the habit of being in the presence of the thrice-holy God and in communion with him. This communion of life is always possible because, through Baptism, we have already been united with Christ. [13] Prayer is Christian insofar as it is communion with Christ and extends throughout the Church, which is his Body. Its dimensions are those of Christ's love. [14]

12 St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Oratio, 16,9:PG 35,945.
13 Cf. Rom 6:5.
14 Cf. Eph 3:18-21.

Today in Christian history

October 30, 1451: Christopher Columbus, who sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, in part, to spread the gospel, is born.

October 30, 1536: Thirteen years after Lutheran ministers came to bring "spiritual renewal" to its people, Denmark adopted Lutheranism as its official state religion.

October 30, 1821: Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoievski, whose works (including "Crime and Punishment" and "The Brothers Karamozov") reflect his deep Russian Orthodox faith, is born.

Friday, October 29, 2004
John Allen's Word from Rome weekly column

As usual a nice hodge podge of news and opinions; I am still amazed to see John's mellowing over the years.

And it is nice to read of his own interest in Amy Welborn's Open Book and the comment section. Amy usually refers to sections of John's weekly column.

A voice from the bush

"Les Murray is Australia's leading poet - a man who delights in confounding the urban cultural elite with his unfashionable themes and Catholic faith

"..Characteristically, Murray is infuriated by the media's "unashamed bias" against Christianity. He was received into the Catholic Church, embracing the "stone opposite" of his parents' religion, when he married his Catholic wife Valerie in 1962. But trying to draw from Murray something of why he was drawn to the Church is difficult. From such a fluent, trenchant, confrontational wordsmith, this is curious. Finally, he says: "I joined the Catholic Church because it is the best poem." And later he adds: "You can never exhaust it. It was the mysticism, the mystery that appealed to me..."

Saint Bernard: the Dogs and Monks

A cute piece of fluff. And speaking of fluff, check out the St Bernard pup on page 2 of the article. Adorable!


Prayer as covenant

2562 Where does prayer come from? Whether prayer is expressed in words or gestures, it is the whole man who prays. But in naming the source of prayer, Scripture speaks sometimes of the soul or the spirit, but most often of the heart (more than a thousand times). According to Scripture, it is the heart that prays. If our heart is far from God, the words of prayer are in vain.

2563 The heart is the dwelling-place where I am, where I live; according to the Semitic or Biblical expression, the heart is the place "to which I withdraw." The heart is our hidden center, beyond the grasp of our reason and of others; only the Spirit of God can fathom the human heart and know it fully. The heart is the place of decision, deeper than our psychic drives. It is the place of truth, where we choose life or death. It is the place of encounter, because as image of God we live in relation: it is the place of covenant.

2564 Christian prayer is a covenant relationship between God and man in Christ. It is the action of God and of man, springing forth from both the Holy Spirit and ourselves, wholly directed to the Father, in union with the human will of the Son of God made man.

Thursday, October 28, 2004
Requiescat in pace

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Jay Moore. Jay died suddenly today; passed out at work and was dead before getting to the hospital. No details yet. Jay's a beautiful soul, one of the pioneer members of Holy Cross Orthodox church, where Father Gregory Mathewes-Green is pastor and his wife Frederica perhaps the best known member. Jay has a lovely wife, Heidi, and any number of children, including one who is autistic. A while back, they lost a house to fire and just got back for a housewarming within the past few weeks. They've known their share of troubles. But faith and hope and love abided always.

I am so sorry to get this news. I ask you to pray for the repose of his soul and for God's richest blessings on Heidi and the family at this dark time. Let Jay's faith, hope, and love inspire us all. MEMORY ETERNAL!

Ecumenical Patriarch to Travel to Vatican

ISTANBUL, Turkey - Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I will travel to the Vatican next month to retrieve the relics of two saints seized by Crusaders 800 years ago, a move seen by Orthodox Church officials as a historic step toward reconciliation between the two churches.

The decision to travel to the Vatican was made by Bartholomew's Holy Synod, or governing council, during a meeting Wednesday, a Patriarchate official said on condition of anonymity.

Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, will travel to Rome on Nov. 26 and Pope John Paul II will hand over the relics of patriarchs Saints John Chrysostom and Gregory Nazianzen at a ceremony the following day in St. Peter's Basilica, officials at the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate said. Vatican officials are expected to accompany the relics during their return to Istanbul, the Patriarchate officials added.

The relics disappeared from Constantinople, today's Istanbul, when Crusaders sacked the city in 1204. They have been kept in St. Peter's Basilica until Vatican officials recently announced that they would be returned to the Orthodox Church.

"This is a high point of friendship between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches," the Patriarchate official said. "This is truly historic."....

Everett church is 6th to have parishioner sit-in

EVERETT -- Angry parishioners at St. Therese Catholic Church yesterday became the sixth group in the Archdiocese of Boston to stage a round-the-clock sit-in to protest the closing of their parish.

The archdiocese officially closed the church yesterday, but an all-night prayer vigil started by four parishioners after the closing Mass on Tuesday night quickly gained momentum. More than a dozen parishioners refused to leave the church and parish hall when the archdiocese tried to change the locks shortly before 1 p.m. yesterday..."


Prayer as God's gift

2559 "Prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God."[2] But when we pray, do we speak from the height of our pride and will, or "out of the depths" of a humble and contrite heart? [3] He who humbles himself will be exalted; [4] humility is the foundation of prayer, Only when we humbly acknowledge that "we do not know how to pray as we ought," [5] are we ready to receive freely the gift of prayer. "Man is a beggar before God." [6]

2560 "If you knew the gift of God!" [7] The wonder of prayer is revealed beside the well where we come seeking water: there, Christ comes to meet every human being. It is he who first seeks us and asks us for a drink. Jesus thirsts; his asking arises from the depths of God's desire for us. Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God's thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him. [8]

2561 "You would have asked him, and he would have given you living water." [9] Paradoxically our prayer of petition is a response to the plea of the living God: "They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water!" [10] Prayer is the response of faith to the free promise of salvation and also a response of love to the thirst of the only Son of God. [11]

2 St. John Damascene, De fide orth. 3,24:PG 94,1089C.
3 Ps 130:1.
4 Cf. Lk 18:9-14.
5 Rom 8:26.
6 St. Augustine, Sermo 56,6,9:PL 38,381.
7 Jn 4:10.
8 Cf. St. Augustine, De diversis quaestionibus octoginta tribus 64,4:PL 40,56.
9 Jn 4:10.
10 Jer 2:13.
11 Cf. Jn 7:37-39; 19:28; Isa 12:3; 51:1; Zech 12:10; 13:1.

Today in Christian history

October 28, 312: According to tradition, on this date the 32-year-old Roman emperor Constantine defeated Maxentius at Milvian Bridge. Before the battle, Constantine had seen the symbol of Jesus, chi-rho, in a vision, accompanied with the words "By this sign conquer." He is considered Rome's first Christian emperor.

October 28, 1949: Jim Elliot, missionary to Ecuador's Auca Indians, writes in his journal the most famous of his sayings: "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."

October 28, 1958: The Roman Catholic patriarch of Venice, Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, is unexpectedly elected pope, taking the name John XXIII. Expected to be a mere caretaker in office, he became one of the Catholic Church's most activist popes, convening the Second Vatican Council in 1962. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Welcome to St Blog's!

Notes - Leo Wong
Bloglines - Mike Hurkum
Living Catholicism - Jay
Voice from Eden
On the Road to Emmaus - Daniel Fearn
Ticonderoga Sailor - Jonathan Carpenter
Insight Scoop - Ignatius Press authors and staff
Jamesaubrey - James Aubrey
Pat's Online Journal - Pat Mulcahy (a student at Munderlein Seminary, Chicago) reactivated
CatholicLand! - SWP
The Seventh Age - semaas
Moniales - Dominican Nun
A Penitent Blogger
Purcell's Chicken Voluntary - LYL (Louise)
Progressive American - Don Swift

An All's Well moment

For me, when I awake, say a prayer or two, make coffee, wash up a bit, and finally sit at my desk with my freshly brewed coffee - to wrap both hands around the mug and feel the warmth and smell the coffee - well, all is well. Something about that that makes me feel good and even forget any troubles or pains for the moment, however brief.

I suspect some of you may feel that too?


Perhaps the most important section of The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the last part on PRAYER. I will begin posting sections of this on a daily basis. I am doing it, in part, for myself, sensing I am in great need of a renewed prayer life. Maybe some will find it helpful too.



2558 "Great is the mystery of the faith!" The Church professes this mystery in the Apostles' Creed (Part One) and celebrates it in the sacramental liturgy (Part Two), so that the life of the faithful may be conformed to Christ in the Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father (Part Three). This mystery, then, requires that the faithful believe in it, that they celebrate it, and that they live from it in a vital and personal relationship with the living and true God. This relationship is prayer.


For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy. - St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Manuscrits autobiographiques, C 25r.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Sorrow and Joy

Yesterday I discovered two realities: one sad the other joyful. I was so saddened to hear of the death of a fellow webmaster, David Melling. David had worked for years on a wonderful, spiritually rich website, aramathea. We made contact years ago and we hit it off very well and considered each other as a dear brother in Christ. David was a convert to Orthodoxy - and a very open-minded and open-hearted Orthodoxy. David was just about my own age and having come close myself three years ago I am not totally surprised, of course. But I am saddened and pray for the repose of this gentle, kind, good, God-intoxicated soul. Memory eternal!

Then I read about a former pastor of a large and dynamic congregation, The Bishop Cummins Memorial Reformed Episcopal Church, in Catonsville (the home parish of the well known paraplegic artist, Joni Eareckson Tada). Paul Schenck was pastor there (it is no longer a Reformed Episcopal Church as far as I can tell from signs outside the building), and was very active in the Pro-Life movement. Paul has since become Catholic to my surprise and delight. Another convert instructed by Father J McClosky in Washington DC. Ad multos annos!

As with life itself, the discoveries a mix of sorrow and joy. And even with the sorrow of David's passing there is the hope of the resurrection and the joyful anticipation of the final reunion, God willing.

Today in Christian history

October 26, 1466: According to some accounts, Dutch scholar Desiderius Erasmus was born on this date. The first editor of the Greek New Testament, he also wrote "In Praise of Folly" (a satire of monastic and ecclesiastical corruption) and many other works.

October 26, 1529: Thomas More becomes Lord Chancellor of England. Though he defended religious freedom in his book "Utopia," he strongly opposed the Reformation and wrote against Luther, Tyndale, and others. Because he also opposed Henry VIII's claim to be the supreme head of the English church, as well as the king's divorce, he was executed.

October 26, 1950: Mother Teresa founds the first Mission of Charity in Calcutta, India.

October 26, 1966: The first World Congress on Evangelism opens in West Berlin, attracting approximately 600 delegates from about 100 countries.

Monday, October 25, 2004
Cardinal James Hickey dies

"Cardinal James Aloysius Hickey, 84, a champion of orthodoxy in church dogma and passionate provider of services to the poor during his 20 years as head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, died yesterday at a Northeast nursing home after several years of declining health.."

Another Sign of Hope

The Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne

"An American community, founded on December 8, 1900. We live in community, strive to grow in a deep prayer life, and rely on and radically trust in God's providence.

Our apostolate is to nurse and shelter incurable cancer patients who cannot afford care elsewhere. All care is free. No payments are accepted either from patients or their families, nor from Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance.

Traditions of the Dominican Order ... love of the Church and the Holy Father, wearing the habit, devotion to the Passion of Christ and Our Blessed Mother ... are a major focus of the community's life."

God bless this wonderful community founded by Nathaniel Hawthorne's daughter, Rose.

Today in Christian history

October 25, 431: The Council of Ephesus replaces Nestorius with a new patriarch of Constantinople. Nestorius was anathematized for holding the belief that two separate persons indwelled the incarnate Christ.

October 25, 1147: Because of bickering and ineffective leadership, the German armies of the Second Crusade (1147-49) are destroyed by the Saracens at Dorylaeum in modern Turkey.

October 25, 1400: English poet Geoffrey Chaucer dies in London, having abruptly stopped writing his famous Canterbury Tales some time before. Though not a religious writer, his characters aptly illustrate the best and worst of the church in his day. Chaucer was buried in Westminster Abbey, a high honor for a commoner, and became the first of those entombed in what is now called Poets' Corner.

Sunday, October 24, 2004
Today's Gospel

Two Went Up Into The Temple To Pray

Two went to pray? Oh rather say,
One went to brag, the other to pray.
One stands up close, and treads on high,
Where the other dares not lend his eye.
One nearer to God's altar trod;
The other to the altar's God.

- Richard Crashaw

Today in Christian history

October 24, 1260: Under Pope Alexander IV, Chartres Cathedral in France was consecrated. Completed in less than 30 years, the structure represents high Gothic architecture at its purest.

October 24, 1790: English founder of Methodism, Anglican priest John Wesley, 87, made the last entry in his 55-year-long journal, written after preaching a sermon: “I hope many even then resolved to choose the better part.” (Wesley died the following March.)

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