It’s that time again….

I will mostly be offline for 10 days or so… there might be some posts that are scheduled for publishing – so something may pop up. My own good self is taking time off to see friends, go hiking and read. Enjoy your week, be grateful and know the blessings of God.

Holy Ground

dover-afb-mortuary“This is the place where spouses wailed, where mothers buckled to the tarmac in grief and where children lifted their teddy bears to see a parent carried off in a flag-covered box.” So wrote Matt Sedensky as the war in Afghanistan comes to it’s end. Perhaps now Dover Air Force Base will no longer be a place where Presidents stand and generals salute as our nation’s military fallen are returned home.  It is holy ground, but only a stop on their final passage home.

A Guide to Finding Faith

finding-faith-universeRoss Douthat, NY Times columnist and a committed Catholic, writes some interesting op-ed pieces – but are often religious essays about faith’s intersection with life lived in an ever secularizing world. In his Sunday essay, he writes:

The resilience of religious theories is matched by the resilience of religious experience. The disenchantment of the modern world is a myth of the intelligentsia: In reality it never happened. Instead, through the whole multicentury process of secularization, the decline of religion’s political power and cultural prestige, people kept right on having near-death experiences and demonic visitations and wild divine encounters. They just lost the religious structures through which those experiences used to be interpreted.

It is a long read, but completely worth your investment of time and thought.

The Wisdom of Generosity

In the well known parable of today’s gospel, the landowner goes out to secure laborers for the harvest. At the end of the day, all laborers are paid the same regardless of the time of day at which their labor began. Some complain that they worked from sunrise, while the ones who only began day’s end are paid the same. This has been a week of teachings on wisdom and riches…. what is today’s lesson?

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Eye of the Needle

In today’s gospel we have the famous expression: “Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God” It is a continuation of the encounter with the rich young man of yesterday’s gospel.   In other form, the expression also appears in the Jewish Talmud and in Qur’an 7:40: “Indeed, those who deny Our verses and are arrogant toward them – the gates of Heaven will not be opened for them, nor will they enter Paradise until a camel enters into the eye of a needle.” Continue reading

The Wisdom of Riches

Today’s gospel is a familiar one: “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?” Jesus answers him, citing familiar words from the Commandments. “All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?”  Jesus responds: “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor,…” And the young rich man goes away sad as he had many possessions.

If you wish to be “perfect” – something that echos Matthew 5:48: “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  The underlying word translated as “perfect” is the Greek teleios. I am not sure that is the best translation for modern-day English. I would suggest a better understanding would be to use the word “complete.”

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Mary of Portraits, Mary of Life

Carracci-Assumption_of_the_Virgin_MaryMuch of our religious consciousness is affected by art; we have inherited specific images that are more artistic than biblical.  For example, we always imagine St. Paul being knocked from a horse on the Damascus Road.  There is no mention of the horse in scripture.  Is that a big deal? Perhaps not.  But when Caravaggio placed Paul on the horse, a sign of royalty, he removed Paul from the midst of Corinth, the hard-scrabbled seaport town, from among the drunks, slackards, ne’er-do-wells, and people who sorely needed salvation. Continue reading

Freeways

Tamp InterstatesThere are a couple of “feeds” that come across my computer, email, mobile, etc. Some are more interesting than others. Some I read “religiously” others I will take a peek if the title is interesting. Some are topically interesting all by themselves. It is an eclectic sets of “feeds.” One came across this morning that my niece Julie would be interested in. She graduated from Georgia Tech in urban planning and did Master’s level work at UNC Chapel Hill. She has continued her career and works out west in urban traffic planning. So, because it is off interest to my niece and my own lifetime experience of interstates/freeways/etc., when “Freeways Without a Future” appeared, it made it onto my must read list. Continue reading

Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary

The Assumption was defined as dogma only in the 1950.  In our Catholic Church ‘dogma” is defined as a truth revealed by God, which the magisterium of the Church declared as binding upon all Catholics. The term Dogma Catholicum was first used by Vincent of Lérins (450), referring to “what all, everywhere and always believed” – with the emphasis on katholica meaning universal. The term dogma derived from the Greek dogma (δόγμα) meaning literally “that which one thinks is true” and the verb dokein, “to seem good.” Continue reading