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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Love Over a Bunsen Burner (Or...how I met my husband)

Love over a Bunsen burner      

Maybe it was just the chemicals
Sodium flashing orange
Copper flashing green
The unforgettable smell of sulfur
Your low slung sports car
Creating colors of its own
As you sped off each evening
To your roommates
In the little house
Next door to
Titchuba and the buried refrigerator
Neighbors
Still just chemicals
Everything can be boiled down
To its elemental nature
Except perhaps love
For who truly understands
Why we fell for each other
Concocting chemical cocktails
Under Father Lambert’s
Watchful eye
Little did he know
We were creating a new
Compound
Generating our own heat
Without even touching
Only our eyes
And our hearts
Joining in an unbreakable
Bond
For isn’t that what
Chemistry is all about
Anyway?

Just One Step (in progress)

Just one step…

That’s all I ask.
The first one would be best,
Then the rest will follow.
Or even if they don’t
It’s ok,
Because just taking one
Will change everything.
Even as a child I know this
To be true.
For you can’t move forward
Without that first step.
Sitting still
You only move backward
Into less.
Admit your vulnerability.
Share your errors and your failings.
No one has to know
Who you really are.
But to stay in your life
As it is now
Will force all who love you
To move
To protect themselves.
So now even if it hurts
All of us for a little while,
We want what’s best.
For you to do for yourself
What your parents never did for you.
So please, for me,
Take just one step.

Foster Child (poem in progress)

Foster Child

You called her “Mother”,
Your foster mother
Who adopted your elder brother
And took in you and your sisters
Into her home
I only knew it as a scary place
Which smelled of cats
And rotting food
A big woman
And you loved her
The only one of your siblings
Who wouldn’t forgive the birth mother
Who couldn’t raise her family
I have so many questions
Which you won’t answer
Pushing all those memories away
As you drown yourself in the company
Of Jack Daniels
The sweet smell that I remember well
Every day you came home from work
And we knew to retreat to our bedrooms
Until supper
And hope your day wasn’t bad
Filling that empty spot in your heart
With what some call
Liquid courage
But which I only called weakness
Maybe I was too harsh
Maybe I was wrong
I know now you tried your best
But you still left us
Wishing someone else had raised us
Too.

Monday, July 14, 2014

June 30, 2014 Faith Formation (2 weeks of material)


June 30, 2014  St. Francis Faith Formation

V:  O God, come to my assistance.
R:  Lord, make haste to help me.
V:  Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
R:  As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.  Amen.
V:  Lord, be with me as night falls,
R:  And I will rest in your Sprit always.

AH 601 Alleluia! Sing to Jesus
AH 579 I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say

Examination of Your Consecrated Day (Philip Neri Powell, OP:  Treasures Old & New)

The Reformation in a Nutshell

v  16th Century (1517), Martin Luther and John Calvin
 
v  Complex:  over the centuries, the Church/Papacy had become very involved in the politics of Western Europe, had become very wealthy and powerful – charges of corruption (sale of indulgences ….)

v  By and large, most people were still loyal to the Church, but political authorities increasingly sought to curtail the public role of the church and thereby triggered tension.

v  “Reformations” had occurred before:  St. Francis of Assisi, John Wycliffe….

v  In the 16th century Erasmus of Rotterdam, a great humanist scholar, was the chief proponent of liberal Catholic reform that attacked popular superstitions in the church and urged the imitation of Christ as the supreme moral teacher.

v  Martin Luther considered the Church’s doctrine of redemption and grace to be perverted (he believed in sola scriptura and sola fide), but it was not his intention to break with the Catholic Church – he was excommunicated in 1521.

v  Luther also rejected the doctrine of Transubstantiation, claiming instead that the body of Christ was physically present in the elements because Christ is present everywhere. 

v  Also Anabaptists.

v  John Calvin:  stressed the doctrine of predestination and interpreted Holy Communion as a spiritual partaking of the body and blood of Christ.

v  By mid century, Lutheranism dominated northern Europe. Eastern Europe offered a seedbed for even more radical varieties of Protestantism, because kings were weak, nobles strong, and cities few, and because religious pluralism had long existed. Spain and Italy were to be the great centres of the Counter-Reformation, and Protestantism never gained a strong foothold there.

 
Prayers which were added to the Roman Mass after St Gregory the Great (590 – 604 Papacy) were among the first to be abolished by the Reformers (prayers at foot of altar, the Judica me, the Confiteor, the Offertory prayers). 

 A drastic reform of the liturgical rites.  Fr. Fortescue (The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy): 

            The Protestant reformers naturally played havoc with the old liturgy.

            It was throughout the expression of the very ideas (the Real Presence,

            Eucharistic Sacrifice, and so on) they rejected.  So they substituted for

            it new communion services that expressed their principles, but, of

            course , broke away utterly from all historic liturgical evolution.  The

            Council of Trent (1545 – 1563), in opposition to the anarchy of these

            new services, wished the Roman Mass to be celebrated uniformly

            everywhere.  The medieval local uses had lasted long enough.  They

            had become very florid and exuberant; and their variety caused

            confusion.

 
Michael Davies (The Catholic Sanctuary):

             The line of demarcation between Catholic and Protestant worship was laid down clearly at the Reformation.  The most striking differences were as follows:

             The Catholic Mass                                          The Protestant Lord’s Supper

 

            Latin                                                                English

 

            Much inaudible                                               audible throughout

 

            Began with psalm Judica Me                          abolished

            (going to the altar of God)

            Ended with Last Gospel

 

            Sacrificial altar facing East                             table facing the people

 

            Holy Communion placed on tongue               placed in hand

            by anointed hand of priest

 

            HC given laity under one kind                        both kinds

 
 Council of Trent:  codify Eucharistic teaching; anathema was pronounced upon anyone who rejected this teaching, and the Fathers insisted that what they had taught must remain unmodified until the End of Time.  The Council appointed a commission to examine, revise and restore the Missal “according to the custom and rite of the Holy Fathers:”  The goal being not to make a new Missal, but to restore the existing one (using best manuscripts/documents available).  The Missal not simply a personal decree of St. Pope Pius V, but an act of the Council of Trent:  1570 – “The Roman Missal Restored According to the Decrees of the Holy Council of Trent.”

 
(from A New Song for the Lord, Pope Benedict XVI)

             Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever’(Heb. 13:8).  This was the profession of those who had known Jesus on earth and had seen the Risen One.  This means that we can see Jesus Christ correctly today only if we understand him in union with the Christ of ‘yesterday’ and see in the Christ of yesterday and today the eternal Christ.  The three dimensions of time as well as going beyond time into that which is simultaneously its origin and future are always a part of the encounter with Christ.  If we are looking for the real Jesus, we must be prepared for this suspenseful tension.  We usually encounter him in the present first:  in the way he reveals himself now, in how people see and understand him, in how people live focused on him or against him, and in the way his words and deeds affect people today.  But if this is not to remain simply second-hand knowledge, but is to become real knowledge, then we must go back and ask:  Where does all this come from?  Who was Jesus really at the time he lived as a man among other men and women?

….

            The Enlightenment then treats this thought quite systematically and radically:  Only the Christ of yesterday, the historical Christ, is in fact the real Christ; everything else is later fantasy.  Christ is only what he was.  The search for the historical Jesus clearly locks Christ into the past.  It denies him the today and the forever. . . But the more authentic this Jesus was supposed to be, the more fictitious he became through this rigid confinement to the past.  Whoever wants to see Christ only yesterday does not find him; likewise, whoever would like to have him only today does not encounter him.  Right from the beginning it is of his essence that he was, is and will come again.  Even as the living one, he has also always been the coming one.  The message of his coming and staying belongs in a fundamental way to the image of himself.  It turn, this claim to all the dimensions of time is based on his own understanding of his earthly life:  he perceived it as a going forth from the Father and simultaneously as a remaining with him; thus he brought eternity into play with and connected it to time.  If we deny ourselves an existence that can span these dimensions, we cannot comprehend him.  One who understands time merely as a moment that irrevocably passes away and who lives accordingly thereby turns away in principle from what really makes up the figure of Jesus and what it seeks to convey.  Knowledge is always a path.  Those who reject the possibility of such an existence extended in time have in fact thereby denied themselves access to the sources that invite us to embark on this journey of being, which becomes a journey of discernment. . . . “

July 7, 2014 Faith Formation


July 7, 2014    St. Francis Parish Adult Faith Formation Group
V:  God, come to my assistance.
R:  Lord, make haste to help me.
V:  Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
R:  As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.  Amen.
V:  Lord, set aflame my heart and my entire being with the fire of the Holy Spirit, that I may serve you with chaste body and pure mind.  Through Christ our Lord.
R:  Amen.
V:  Let us pray for our Sovereign Pontiff Francis.
R:  The Lord preserve him and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not to the will of his enemies.

AH 517  O Jesus We Adore Thee
AH 623  Be Thou My Vision

Continue with last week’s quotes:

(from A New Song for the Lord, Pope Benedict XVI)

            Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever’(Heb. 13:8).  This was the profession of those who had known Jesus on earth and had seen the Risen One.  This means that we can see Jesus Christ correctly today only if we understand him in union with the Christ of ‘yesterday’ and see in the Christ of yesterday and today the eternal Christ.  The three dimensions of time as well as going beyond time into that which is simultaneously its origin and future are always a part of the encounter with Christ.  If we are looking for the real Jesus, we must be prepared for this suspenseful tension.  We usually encounter him in the present first:  in the way he reveals himself now, in how people see and understand him, in how people live focused on him or against him, and in the way his words and deeds affect people today.  But if this is not to remain simply second-hand knowledge, but is to become real knowledge, then we must go back and ask:  Where does all this come from?  Who was Jesus really at the time he lived as a man among other men and women?

….

            The Enlightenment then treats this thought quite systematically and radically:  Only the Christ of yesterday, the historical Christ, is in fact the real Christ; everything else is later fantasy.  Christ is only what he was.  The search for the historical Jesus clearly locks Christ into the past.  It denies him the today and the forever. . . But the more authentic this Jesus was supposed to be, the more fictitious he became through this rigid confinement to the past.  Whoever wants to see Christ only yesterday does not find him; likewise, whoever would like to have him only today does not encounter him.  Right from the beginning it is of his essence that he was, is and will come again.  Even as the living one, he has also always been the coming one.  The message of his coming and staying belongs in a fundamental way to the image of himself.  It turn, this claim to all the dimensions of time is based on his own understanding of his earthly life:  he perceived it as a going forth from the Father and simultaneously as a remaining with him; thus he brought eternity into play with and connected it to time.  If we deny ourselves an existence that can span these dimensions, we cannot comprehend him.  One who understands time merely as a moment that irrevocably passes away and who lives accordingly thereby turns away in principle from what really makes up the figure of Jesus and what it seeks to convey.  Knowledge is always a path.  Those who reject the possibility of such an existence extended in time have in fact thereby denied themselves access to the sources that invite us to embark on this journey of being, which becomes a journey of discernment. . . . “



1.       When does the Mass begin?
2.      What is the purpose of the “fore-Mass?”
3.      Preparation done by the priest: inner and outer.

July 14, 2014 Faith Formation


July 14, 2014  St. Francis Parish Adult Faith Formation Group
V:  God, come to my assistance.
R:  Lord, make haste to help me.
V:  Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
R:  As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.  Amen.
V:  Lord, set aflame my heart and my entire being with the fire of the Holy Spirit, that I may serve you with chaste body and pure mind.  Through Christ our Lord.
R:  Amen.
V:  Let us pray for our Sovereign Pontiff Francis.
R:  The Lord preserve him and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not to the will of his enemies.

AH 470  Love Divine, All Loves Excelling (different music)
AH 616  I sing the Mighty Power of God

The Priest’s Preparation (what does this say about Liturgy – importance of signs and symbols, etc….?)

Vesting Prayers:

 1.       Washing of hands:  Give virtue to my hands, O Lord, that being cleansed from all stain I might serve you with purity of mind and body”

2.      Amice:  Place upon me, O Lord, the helmet of salvation, that I may overcome the assaults of the devil.”

3.      Alb:  “Make me white, O Lord, and cleanse my heart; that being made white in the Blood of the Lamb I may deserve an eternal reward”

4.      Cincture:  “Gird me, O Lord, with the cincture of purity, and quench in my heart the fire of concupiscence, that the virtue of continence and chastity may abide in me.”

5.      Stole:  “Lord, restore the stole of immortality, which I lost through the collusion of our first parents, and, unworthy as I am to approach Thy sacred mysteries, may I yet gain eternal joy.”

6.      Chasuble:  “O Lord, who has said, "My yoke is sweet and My burden light," grant that I may so carry it as to merit Thy grace.”

 
 Laurence Paul Hemming, Worship as a  Revelation:

             “A further part of this textual character of the liturgy as a whole is the vestments the furnishing and ordering of the church interior, the shape and character of the sacred vessels, the materials from which all is made, its exact placing and so forth.  Everything in a church intends a meaning, so that the whole of liturgy, its chant, what is performed, by whom, and how, where, and when, form a whole textual complex with intricate significance.”  (pg. 11)

 Video Part 1:  A Biblical Walk-Through the Mass  (Edward Sri)

Homework for next week:

1.        Read the Prayers for the Introductory Rites, 17th Week Ordinary Time (Entrance Antiphon through the Collect)  If you don’t have a Missal or a Magnificat (or similar), check out “Laudate” which is an app on Apple products and also available as a download for PC – It’s FREE!!

2.       Bring your Bible (and Missal if you have one)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

My Discussion with an Atheist (on "There is no salvation outside the Church")

Monday evening, the husband of one of the Faith Formation group members came along for the ride - he professes to be an atheist.  Jumping into this group without a background in Catholicism (which I have systematically given to this already Catholic group over the past two years) is a bit like landing in a Calculus class after only having learned basic arithmetic.  Last week we discussed the Reformation - this week we moved on to the Enlightenment, but remembering that all these discussions have as their goal understanding better the Mass and why we do what we do versus what Protestants do.  This week, we looked at these two quotes from Pope Benedict XVI's A New Song for the Lord:


Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever’(Heb. 13:8).  This was the profession of those who had known Jesus on earth and had seen the Risen One.  This means that we can see Jesus Christ correctly today only if we understand him in union with the Christ of ‘yesterday’ and see in the Christ of yesterday and today the eternal Christ.  The three dimensions of time as well as going beyond time into that which is simultaneously its origin and future are always a part of the encounter with Christ.  If we are looking for the real Jesus, we must be prepared for this suspenseful tension.  We usually encounter him in the present first:  in the way he reveals himself now, in how people see and understand him, in how people live focused on him or against him, and in the way his words and deeds affect people today.  But if this is not to remain simply second-hand knowledge, but is to become real knowledge, then we must go back and ask:  Where does all this come from?  Who was Jesus really at the time he lived as a man among other men and women?

….

            The Enlightenment then treats this thought quite systematically and radically:  Only the Christ of yesterday, the historical Christ, is in fact the real Christ; everything else is later fantasy.  Christ is only what he was.  The search for the historical Jesus clearly locks Christ into the past.  It denies him the today and the forever. . . But the more authentic this Jesus was supposed to be, the more fictitious he became through this rigid confinement to the past.  Whoever wants to see Christ only yesterday does not find him; likewise, whoever would like to have him only today does not encounter him.  Right from the beginning it is of his essence that he was, is and will come again.  Even as the living one, he has also always been the coming one.  The message of his coming and staying belongs in a fundamental way to the image of himself.  It turn, this claim to all the dimensions of time is based on his own understanding of his earthly life:  he perceived it as a going forth from the Father and simultaneously as a remaining with him; thus he brought eternity into play with and connected it to time.  If we deny ourselves an existence that can span these dimensions, we cannot comprehend him.  One who understands time merely as a moment that irrevocably passes away and who lives accordingly thereby turns away in principle from what really makes up the figure of Jesus and what it seeks to convey.  Knowledge is always a path.  Those who reject the possibility of such an existence extended in time have in fact thereby denied themselves access to the sources that invite us to embark on this journey of being, which becomes a journey of discernment. . . . “
 
 
It was fun to take these quotes and get the group to understand what was being said.  After some discussion a question arose:  "But doesn't discernment only happen once?"  Followed not too much later by this question from the group's guest (paraphrased):  "I'm listening, and it seems that you are saying that the only way to Heaven is by being a Catholic - why can't someone who believes in this God find their own way and believe the way they want to believe, the way that works for them - why do you say they have to be Catholic?  It doesn't make sense to me."  (Great question! 
 
I have tried for the past two years to get the group to understand "Outside the Church there is no salvation."  (CCC 846-848), and so far only one person has a good grasp on it!  Others in the group tried to say no, that's not what we are saying at all!  But I stepped in and told him he was exactly right - that is what it sounds like I'm saying.  I explained to him that it is the Catholic belief that there is no salvation outside the Church, BUT that doesn't mean only Catholics are going to heaven, and even within the Catholic Church there are many "ways" along the path.  After telling him there was no way I could give him a satisfactory answer without quite a bit of background, and distinctions (I spoke briefly on the "fullness of the Truth"....), and etc.... I offered to him this analogy as an unsatisfactory answer to his question and to answer the "discerning only once" question (in brief):
 
We want to get to Seattle.  There is more than one way to get there.  We can drive, fly, boat, swim, walk, etc....  We can drive down I-5, we can take Hwy 6 (?), we could take some side trips, we could head west and go around the world eventually ending up in Seattle.  But all of us do end up in Seattle, no matter our chosen mode of transportation or the route we took.  Some of us, though, wanted to take the most direct, the most sure way - so we hopped on a jet plane who took us on a direct, nonstop flight to Seattle.  But along the way, we make many decisions (discerning) which do affect our journey, and possibly our destination.   And, sure, someone could be wandering around not even knowing where they were headed, and STILL end up in Seattle. 
 
It was the best I could do on short notice.  He still wasn't completely buying my explanation.  But though I've always said anyone is welcome to attend these meetings (because I am a glutton for punishment), I stressed to him that I am teaching assuming a certain basis of knowledge and for him to drop in without that basis would make it very difficult for him to understand some of the intricacies underneath what we are discussing.  As one person turned to him and said:  "If she were presenting this to the general population, Shelly would never start with these quotes.  People would be pulling out guns and starting a riot!"  His wife really wants him to come so he can be "converted" - I reminded her that faith is a gift.  And said that although he is welcome to come, she shouldn't push it, and that this is not the best class for seekers.  She wanted to know a book he could read, so I recommended C.S. Lewis' Surprised by Joy! as a good start.  But warned her again not to push it!  The fact that he will come into these meetings with her, as strident as I know I sound to the uninitiated, shows a curiosity and a willingness to listen and learn.  It is the Spirit at work.  Let the Spirit work.
 
As a postscript, upon arriving home, my husband asked how the meeting went, so I told him what I have already told you.  He thought my explanation was pretty good, but then he began joking:  Did people ask 'Is Seattle heaven?'  Or did anyone protest: 'I don't believe Seattle exists! I've never seen it, never been there.  It's just in your imagination!"  I really need my husband to come along to flesh out my analogies even more :-). 
 
How would you have answered his question and his wife's desire for him?  What could I have done differently and better (remembering we were there to discuss Liturgy, and there was a distinct time crunch)?