Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Archbishop

Like his predecessor the present Archbishop of Atlanta seems to have a special place in his heart for Catholic youth.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


The gifts of the Spirit. First illuminated in Isaiah:

The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him:
a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, A spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD, and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.
Isaiah 11:2-3
This passage is in the section most often related to the rule of Immanuel, God with us. The Septuagint and the Vulgate read “piety” for fear of the Lord and so lists the Seven Gifts of the Spirit.
As can be seen the Gifts can be divided into two groups. Those which apply to the mind or intellect and those which apply to the will.
In the minds of most American Catholics the gifts are associated, in some respect, with maturity of faith, which is why in many dioceses the Sacrament of Confirmation, which bestows these gifts, is seen as a "right of passage" or affirmation of Christian adulthood. This is a mis-reading of the sacrament which in other rites and overseas is often given to very young children.
One benefit of waiting to Confirm until late high school, at least in the United States at this time, is that so many parents were badly catechized, and so few children attend parochial schools that the preparation for Confirmation at least allows a structured opportunity for catechisis which is often missing in the home. We spend so much time in high school catechism teaching social justice that we often don't get enough time to teach doctrine and tradition on an advanced level.
Not that items like Just War Theory, Abortion and charity aren't subjects that need to be taught, but when you consider that the parts of the Liturgy is usually taught to a cradle Catholic before First Communion when they are all of seven years old, it is easy to see why some adults have a seven year old understanding of the Liturgy, as opposed to an adult understanding. This holds for many other Church teachings, conveyed in elementary catechism, but never expanded on later, at least not until Confirmation preparation.
Of course n mature acceptance of the gifts can go a long way toward inspiring a desire to increase one's depth of knowledge of Christian teaching, no matter the age.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

An Archbishop teaches.

From the Disciples Now DN Daily:
Many of the stories recorded in scripture were about young people. David was a youth when he slew Goliath. Mary, Mother of God, was a youth when she said yes to the angel Gabriel. Jesus was young when he met with the priests in the temple and amazed them with his knowledge of scripture and wisdom.

Many of you are heroes in the face of violence, drugs, turf-holding, status-seeking, and other ugly things. It is a sign of God's favor that so many of you stand up against this! - Bishop James P. Lyke, OFM

Bishop Lyke was the Fourth Archbishop of Atlanta and at the time of his death in 1992 the highest ranking African American in the hierarchy of the American Catholic Church. A member of the Franciscan Order he was an untiring supporter of civil rights and defender of human dignity.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


Excellent middle school retreat this weekend. Primarily run by our high school Edge core members, who did an outstanding job.
Followed up by an equally great Life Teen '50s sockhop based session.
Amazing revelations by the teens. Some of them so much seem to get it. Of course it's always the few who don't that keep you praying they will find the way back when they fall.
Very nice that so many of our young women and men seem determined to practice chastity until they are older (hopefully unto marriage.) Unfortunately I always fear there are some for who this conversation is too late.
We need to do a night aimed at them, without turning off those who haven't fallen, and requiring those that have to call themselves out. It so hard to do something like that. I'm hoping Life Teen or someone way smarter that me has found a way to do it that we can steal.
Deep in conversation one young lady mentioned inappropriate dress. Another complained about how she regarded the use of the word "sexy" by a male to describe her as demeaning. I asked which part of her did she want her boy friend to be looking at and was not surprised at her answer.
Years ago, while wooing my wife I was asked by her a question that was certainly a go-no go for the continuance of our relationship. The question? "What color are my eyes?"
The window of the soul, they are sometimes called. So guys if you don't know her eye color then you are probably not concentrating on her most important part, her soul. Because that's the part which is closest to God and which will fulfill the need your soul really craves. All else is fleeting.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


I haven't been blogging much lately. Mostly waiting for the Holy Father's new book to be released in English, and for the Moto Proprio on the Latin Mass.
Today our confirmation candidates received the Holy Spirit. The bishop was wonderful, the church was too hot and the Mass was at a neighboring parish, as four local parishes sent their candidates.
Besides problems with the air conditioning there were little inconsistencies which I hope the bishop noted and will act upon. Though I've gone to events at this parish, this was the first Mass I've attended there, for a variety of reasons.
The music was good. They have a very nice modern pipe organ, which remained unused. But as this was a youth event I have no problem with the modern instruments.
The lack of kneelers did bother me. The pews are set so close together as to make kneeling difficult even without kneelers.
I also noted a glass chalice used. I will have to check but am under the impression that glass is not considered a suitable material for the Holy Blood.
They also make their own unleavened bread, as opposed to the more standard wafer host. Licit as far as I know, but I feared it would become caught between my teeth, since it does not quickly melt as does a wafer host.
The alter was also "dressed" at the offertory, a practice which I am not familiar with.
While I am not crazy about the modern design of my own parish church, from a liturgical architecture point of view, this parish church was of a design I particularly don't like, with pews on each side facing each other and the alter in the middle perpendicular to the pews. So the celebrant sits facing not the people, but looking down the aisle between them. This is also the way he faces at the alter.
In my local parish church the tabernacle is in the back in a chapel contiguous with the church, though a partition can be placed between the church and the chapel. At this church the tabernacle is in a separate room down the hall.
There is no doubt in my mind that the original designer did every thing possible to ensure that a Mass which follows the Tridentine rite could never easily be said there. Even saying the NO according to the proper form is difficult, due to the lack of kneelers, and since the celebrant can face neither ad orientem nor ad populum, but only thataway.
Sorry to be so negative. Maybe the heat made me less tolerant than I should be?

Thursday, May 3, 2007

In God's Name

As a divinely inspired document the Bible is in its totality the word of God, but it was not composed by a single human author, at a single sitting, but rather collected over eons from the inspired writings of man.
The Old Testament is considered by biblical scholars to be collections of books from both the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah. Knowing this it is not so unusual that God might be referred to by different names in books written in either the north or south.
The name of God that appears most often in the bible is the Tetragrammaton, that is the word with four letters יהוה translated as YHWH or more commonly seen as Yahweh. A modern corruption of this is Jehovah.
Another name that appears quite often is Elohim, which is related to the concept of divinity and divine power. Elohim is not used uniquely for God, but also is used to refer to other gods, such as "You shall have no other gods before me."
Now the Israelites did not say the name of God. Indeed YHWH contains no vowels, and so is technically unpronounceable, so when reading Scripture aloud the reader would instead say "Lord", that is Adonai.
Modern Christians have different names for God. He is called the Three-In-One, The Father, Son and Holy Ghost, Deus which is Latin for Lord. Abba is how Jesus himself referred to God. It means quite aptly "Father." Jesus himself is often called by many names. Iesus, Joshua (which is the same a Jesus), the Lamb of God. The Way, the Truth and the Light. The Living Water. The Vine. The Apostles called him Rabbi, which is teacher, and Master.
The Holy Father has said the most appropriate name for God is אהיה אשר אהיה that is ehyeh-asher-ehyeh or in English "I AM that I AM." That is because it encompasses the concept of the eternalness of God.
There's an old joke told by and about St. Augustine. A man walks up to St. Augustine and asks "What did God do before he created the World?" Augustine answered, "Nothing, He didn't have the time."
Okay, Okay. Geek joke.
But what the philosopher meant was that before the world existed there was no time. Modern physicists recognize this as a scientific concept. In order for time to exist space must exists. The two are linked. If there is no space there is no time. So when God created the Heavens and the Earth he also created time. So in a real sense God existed before there was existence, before there was time. So he is not bound by time.
This opens up all kinds of interesting concepts.
We pray to God to ask for something for tomorrow and to thanks him for yesterday. But we can just as validly pray to ask for something in the past. This is most commonly done when we do not know the outcome of something, say the state of a soul at death and its disposition in the afterlife.
Since God is not bound by time, yesterday, today and tomorrow are all the same to him. Easy to see why and how he would know the future. It is the same to God as the past. And since the way we mark time is by the changes that occur, the moving of a hand, the growth of a tree, if God is unbound by time he will never change.
So HE IS, always. He will be as unchanged at the end of the world as he was at its beginning, and beyond. For though we know that there was no time before existence began, was also believe that there will be a time after the end of the world, where we will live in a new Heaven and a new Earth for eternity. So time, now that it exists will go on forever to the future, a future during which God will always exist.