Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ut unum sint!

Huge news today from the Vatican:
With the preparation of an Apostolic Constitution, the Catholic Church is responding to the many requests that have been submitted to the Holy See from groups of Anglican clergy and faithful in different parts of the world who wish to enter into full visible communion.
Or as John Allen reports at New Advent:
In a move with potentially sweeping implications for relations between the Catholic church and some 80 million Anglicans worldwide, the Vatican has announced the creation of new ecclesiastical structures to absorb disaffected Anglicans wishing to become Catholics. The structures will allow those Anglicans to hold onto their distinctive spiritual practices, including the ordination of married former Anglican clergy as Catholic priests.
Yes the Catholic Church is setting up structures to accept not just individual Anglican converts, but whole parishes, diocese, and communions.

Inside Catholic
Get Religion
Whispers in the Loggia
The Anchoress

I hesitate to call it the most important move in true ecumenism since the reformation until I see its fruits. Still even at at its worst it positively dwarfs John Paul's amazing largess in creating the Anglican Use pastoral provision. That is saying no small thing.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

"Grant that in your glory..."

In today's reading the Sons of Thunder, James and John asked Jesus for a special favor. They request that Jesus "Grant that in your glory
we may sit one at your right and the other at your left."
Jesus answers:
You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?
They assure Him that they can and He continues,
The cup that I drink, you will drink,
and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared.
Now we know what the Sons of Zebedee did not know. That Jesus would enter into his glory on Calvary, nailed to a cross. Those destined by God to be at his right and left hand, revolutionaries against the Roman government, thieves at the very least, probably much worse. One destined for Heaven, the other most likely for Hell.
But we know much more. Of the two brothers both would face the possibility of martyrdom, but only one would do so on the day of Jesus' death. James, like all of the other Apostles, even loyal Peter, would abandon Jesus on that day. Eventually he would, like all the other Apostles but one, return to see the risen Christ. And eventually he would face death and drink from the cup of which Jesus drank on Calvary. As did all his brother Apostles, but one.
John, however would stand at the foot of the cross, with the two Marys, one the Mother of God, the other the holy woman from whom Jesus cast out demons. Can anyone believe that was a safe place to stand on that day? Peter feared to be linked to Christ, so much that he denied Him three times. The others ran away, one so in a hurry that he left his tunic behind.
John stood at the cross in sight of all the Romans. Likely mere feet from the centurion who pierced Our Lord with a lance. If a sword pierced the heart of Our Lady that day what fear, and pain and sorrow must have cut into his heart?
It appears that God must have taken note, because by his willingness to take up the cup of pain from which Jesus drank, John received into his care the vessel of Christs entrance to Earth, his Blessed Mother. And John was blessed with long life, and a peaceful death. The only Apostle not called to taste the cup of martyrdom.
Was this because he was the Apostle whom Jesus loved? Or was it because he was the Apostle who loved Jesus enough to face death even before Pentecost?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


We are at the very beginning of a Scriptural study which is based on Salvation History. Catholics do not, generally know Scripture as well as our Protestant brothers and sisters. This is even true of those who are well catechized, themselves a small minority.
One of the interesting thing about Scripture is that it has many layers. I have in the past compared it to an Onion (and an Ogre, for you Shrek fans.) This property is called Compenetration. Compenetration refers to the fact that biblical prophecy frequently has an immediate fulfillment while simultaneously having a more ultimate meaning as well. It is valid for the time in which it was written and for the here and now, often also having a part in the description of Salvation History.
Don't you just love learning a new word?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The song remains the same

Lately I have been reading The Mystical City of God by the Venerable María de Jesús de Ágred. Now sister Maria lived over 400 years ago. It is amazing to me that she could have written something so timely as this:
The order which religious souls should maintain in their desires should be: that they strive to be punctual in fulfilling the obligations of their vows and all the virtues, which are connected with them. Afterwards and secondarily they may engage in voluntary practices, such as are called supererogatory. This order some of the souls, who are misled by the devil to entertain an indiscreet zeal for perfection are wont to invert; thus, while they fail seriously in the obligations of their state. they are eager to add other voluntary exercises and practices, which are usually of small use or benefit, or arise from a spirit of presumption and singularity. They secretly desire to be looked upon as distinguished in zeal and perfection, while in truth they are very far even from the beginning of perfection. I do not wish to see in thee a fault so reprehensible: but first fulfill all the duties of thy vows and of community life, and then thou mayest add what thou canst, according to thy ability and the inspiration of divine grace. This together will beautify thy soul and will make it perfect and agreeable in the eyes of God

Now this brought to my mind the the response to the Holy See's Visitation to the Women Religious orders of the United States by some members of these orders. Seeing some of the things that some women religious are involved in one might wonder if the Venerable Maria, herself a member of a religious order might not have some insight.
I'm just saying.