Knowing Jesus

“Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” So said Pope Francis as part of a papal audience. But it is not original to Pope Francis; he is quoting St. Jerome, the great biblical scholar and translator from the late 4th and early 5th century. What about you? What is your comfort level with Sacred Scripture? Where would you place yourself on the scale? Continue reading

Athanasius and the Holy Trinity

Great-CommissionThe Solemnity of the Holy Trinity is a celebration of the revelation of God as three-persons-in-One: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The origins of the celebration of Trinity Sunday can be traced the time of the Arian heresy of the early fourth century. Arius believed that Christ was a created being, and in denying the full divinity of Jesus, he denied that there are three Persons in God – essentially arguing that Jesus was as though a “lesser god.” Arius’ chief opponent, St. Athanasius, upheld the orthodox doctrine that there are three Persons in one God, and the orthodox view prevailed at the Council of Nicaea, from which we get the Nicene Creed, recited in most Christian churches every Sunday.

For many centuries, the Athanasian Creed, traditionally ascribed to St. Athanasius, was recited at Mass on Trinity Sunday. While seldom read today it is a testimony to the mystery of the Holy Trinity.

The Athanasian Creed

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled; without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons; nor dividing the Essence. For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one; the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is; such is the Son; and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreated; the Son uncreated; and the Holy Ghost uncreated. The Father unlimited; the Son unlimited; and the Holy Ghost unlimited. The Father eternal; the Son eternal; and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet they are not three eternals; but one eternal. As also there are not three uncreated; nor three infinites, but one uncreated; and one infinite. So likewise the Father is Almighty; the Son Almighty; and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties; but one Almighty. So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods; but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord; the Son Lord; and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three Lords; but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity; to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord; So are we forbidden by the catholic religion; to say, There are three Gods, or three Lords. The Father is made of none; neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created; but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten; but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is before, or after another; none is greater, or less than another. But the whole three Persons are coeternal, and coequal. So that in all things, as aforesaid; the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity, is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved, let him thus think of the Trinity.

Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation; that he also believe faithfully the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess; that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; God, of the Essence of the Father; begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the Essence of his Mother, born in the world. Perfect God; and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; and inferior to the Father as touching his Manhood. Who although he is God and Man; yet he is not two, but one Christ. One; not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh; but by assumption of the Manhood by God. One altogether; not by confusion of Essence; but by unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man; so God and Man is one Christ; Who suffered for our salvation; descended into hell; rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into heaven, he sitteth on the right hand of the God the Father Almighty, from whence he will come to judge the living and the dead. At whose coming all men will rise again with their bodies; And shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire. This is the catholic faith; which except a man believe truly and firmly, he cannot be saved. Amen

To further stress the doctrine of the Trinity, other Fathers of the Church, such as St. Ephrem the Syrian, composed prayers and hymns that were recited in the Church’s liturgies and on Sundays as part of the Divine Office, the official prayer of the Church. A special (votive) Mass text in honor of the Holy Trinity was introduced and incorporated in the Roman liturgical books. This Mass was not assigned for a definite day but could be used on certain Sundays according to the private devotion of each priest. During the first thousand years of Christianity there was no special feast day celebrated in honor of this mystery, but, as Pope Alexander II (1073) declared, every day of the liturgical year was devoted to the honor and adoration of the Sacred Trinity.

It was however in the ninth century on, various bishops of the Frankish kingdoms promoted in their own dioceses a special feast of the Holy Trinity, usually celebrated on the Sunday after Pentecost. Eventually, a special version of this office began to be celebrated on the Sunday after Pentecost, and the Church in the England isles, at the request of St. Thomas à Becket (1118-1170), was granted permission to celebrate Trinity Sunday. The celebration of Trinity Sunday was made universal by Pope John XXII in 1334.

Trinity – what is revealed

Holy Trinity Sunday is celebrated on the first Sunday following Pentecost in most of the liturgical churches in Western Christianity. It is a solemn celebration of the belief in the revelation of one God, yet three divine persons. It was not uniquely celebrated in the early church, but as with many things the advent of new, sometime heretical, thinking often gives the Church a moment in which to explain and celebrate its own traditions; things it already believes and holds dear. In the early 4th century when the Arian heresy was spreading, the early church, recognizing the inherent Christological and Trinitarian implications, prepared an Office of Prayer with canticles, responses, a preface, and hymns, to be recited on Sundays to proclaim the Holy Trinity. Pope John XXII (14th century) instituted the celebration for the entire Church as a feast; the celebration became a solemnity after the liturgical reforms of Vatican II. Continue reading

You will receive power!

Today’s post is a “guest column” from parish Director of Faith Formation, Barbara Ferreris


One of my favorite worship songs is from John Michael Talbot, “You Will Receive Power” and I would sing it at the top of my lungs in the minivan hauling kids, in the living room, anywhere I could play music! The words are drawn from the Book of Acts: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth.”( Acts 1:8) If you ask any of my three adult children if there is one song, one phrase they remember from their childhood, it would be this one! Continue reading

He is Risen

Art Linkletter used to have a radio and then a TV show (1945-1965) called Art Linkletter’s House Party. One of the segments on the show was “Kids say the darnedest things .” A lot of the best one-liners would show up in Reader’s Digest (…. yes, I know I am dating myself…).  Kids still say the darnedest things – and sometime the most profound. Continue reading

Holy Relics and Marvel Comics

For those of you who are fans of the Marvel Comic movies – most notably the final two movies of the Avengers series (Infinity Wars and Endgame) –  you certainly know all about Thanos and the Gauntlet . If you are not a fan, no worries, here is synopsis:

  • Thanos – universal bad guy. Thinks the universe is overcrowded, half the populations of the universe has to be gone, so he collects all the Infinity Stones, mounts them in a “glove” called the gauntlet, snaps his fingers (literally) and half of the universe’s population vanishes.
  • Avengers – the good guys who only have a 1-in-1,400,604 chance in defeating Thanos. They need to get the gauntlet to save the universe.
  • …and… well, long odds indeed, but I don’t want to spoil any endings.

Continue reading

Ascension and Mystery

The Ascension of the Lord is a great celebration of the Church. It commemorates the bodily ascension of Jesus into heaven. According to St. Luke it occurred 40 days after the Resurrection (Acts 1:3). It is a feast of great antiquity with liturgies and art of the 4th century already addressing it as a norm of the Church. In the Eastern Church this feast is known in Greek as Analepsis, the “taking up,” and also as the Episozomene, the “salvation from on high,” indicating that by ascending into his glory Christ completed the work of our redemption.

Especially in Western Europe, the Feast of the Ascension, falling on Thursday, traditionally has been a public holiday, allowing the faithful to participate in the holy day of obligation. In modern times, there are no mid-week public holidays in most places, and so, celebration of the feast diminished. There are many Christian traditions that do not celebrate the Ascension. In the early 1990s the Vatican gave permission for the local bishop to move the observance of the Feast of the Ascension from the traditional Thursday to the following Sunday, the Sunday before Pentecost. The permission to move was given so that the faithful might maintain contact with the importance of the feast. Continue reading

A fraternity in mission

Occasionally, people will ask me “What order are you?” and other questions that eventually lead to the inquiry, “Where are y’all from?” I have noticed that people not native to the South have picked up that Southern expression. But it leaves me in a dilemma. I wonder if the one I am speaking with understands there is a difference between “y’all” and “all y’all”. So, I am not sure if they are asking where I am from (y’all having, in some cases, a singular use) or they are asking where all we friars are from (all y’all would have been clearer in use and intention). The answer to the question “Where are all y’all from?” might well be “Holy Name Province.” Continue reading