Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Back to Thursdays

I've made a slight change to our description, and a fairly significant change to our meeting time. We're back to meeting on Thursday nights. Hopefully, the change is a fruitful one.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

ANS: Psychedelic Sacred Six

Question: What awesome new Christian rock band has recently topped the charts?

ANS: see title.

Really?!?!? No, but ain't photoshop fun?

It's actually a group of us at the top of Mt. Monadnock during a recent hike. It's not always Bible Study. ;-)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Zygote Jesus

In the beginning...

In the movie Talladega Nights, there is a scene where Ricky Bobby says grace with his family...
Ricky Bobby: "Dear tiny infant Jesus... "
Carley Bobby: "Hey, um... you know sweetie, Jesus did grow up. You don't always have to call him baby. It's a bit odd and off-puttin' to pray to a baby."
Ricky Bobby: "Well look, I like the Christmas Jesus best, and I'm sayin' grace. When you say grace, you can say it to grown up Jesus, or teenage Jesus, or bearded Jesus, or whatever you want."
Ricky Bobby has point.

... was the Word,

On March 25th, the Catholic Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Annunciation. It celebrates the meeting of the angel Gabriel sent to Mary, "Hail, full of grace (favored one), the Lord is with you!" Gabriel passes on the message that the world hoped to hear,
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.
And this Jesus would be the Son of God,

and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.

And this is the mystery of the Incarnation: that God who so loved the world, gave us his only Son. But the Son, the eternal Word, did not walk upon the world as God. Indeed no,
though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.
And he began his life according to His human nature, right at the beginning. Before 1973, there was no confusion as to the beginning of an individual's human life. Fortunately, one can look at books as old as the nineteenth century and find references that an individual human life began at the moment a sperm fertilized an ovum, that is, conception. Was there a scientific advance which introduced confusion over the beginning of life? No, it was rather a political development.

Jesus began His life, like other human beings, at the beginning. It is a mystery how God brought himself into His own creation, but we do know according to science that He began as a single cell zygote, and He drifted, to be implanted into His mother's womb. He became as a slave, completely and totally dependent on His human mother according to His human nature.

And when His mother Mary visits Elizabeth, the baby John the Baptist within Elizabeth's womb leaps for joy at the presence of his Lord and the voice of the Lord's mother Mary.

Those who perform the consecration according to St. Louis de Montfort know that the Feast of the Annunciation (and Incarnation) is the moment of great joy! For is then that the Lord enters His creation. We prepare by praying to "Jesus living in Mary." As did Jesus, we place our trust in Mary and depend on Mary. Following Jesus, we become a slave of Mary. "Behold your mother."

And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us

Literally, "made his dwelling" translates as "pitched his tent/tabernacle." The first place in which Jesus pitched His tent was in Mary's womb; Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant, a living tabernacle. Yet we also can follow Mary as God bearers (if only for a short time).
Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.
This is a hard teaching. "Do you also want to leave?"

Where would we go?

God, who can become incarnate, Who came into His creation, can come under the appearance of bread and wine. To accept the one makes it easier to accept the other. Can the Incarnate God-Man come into the world, transforming the bread and wine into Himself by the action of His Holy Spirit (the same Holy Spirit who overshadowed Mary)?

There is a better model. We can say yes to His teachings. "Let it be done unto me according to thy Word."

FIAT! A prayer to zygote Jesus.

Update: Cross posted to AGAPAS ME.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sesame Street and Who's on First

It's been quite some time since I've updated the Our Lady of Grace blog, so I thought I might give some news on recent events.

Halloween was a fun night. We traveled to Boston to participate in the archdiocese's Night of the Living at St. Leonard's in Boston's North End. Before Mass, there was adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and confessions. During Mass, the reader for the first reading did an outstanding job ;-). After Mass, there was a social. We got to meet old friends, and find new friends.

After they kicked us out of center (again, like the year before), we roamed about on Hanover Street to view some of the imaginative (and the leave no room for imagination) costumes of the night. And thanks to Paulus, who found Sesame Street again. It just wouldn't be right not to speak to Bert and Ernie or Oscar and Big Bird. Speaking of Sesame Street, the show is celebrating its fortieth anniversary.

Moving closer to the present, Our Lady of Good Counsel, our patron parish, held a variety show this past Saturday. Fr. Ken and crew did a fantastic job. Really. I'm not just being nice. And that's not just because some members of our group participated, because all the acts were good. Special mention goes to Erin who did a hilarious send up of Julia Child. I'll never think about pig bladders the same way again. Paul sang a couple of songs, and then Eric joined him on stage for a comedy routine. The skit was based on Who's on First, but instead of the baseball player's names, the confusion was created by the names of rock bands. It's the opinion of this writer that Paul and Eric bested Abott and Costello. For those who haven't heard Who's on First, you've missed a real classic.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Good Friday

For this Good Friday, the young adults group will be attending the Good Friday service at Our Lady of Good Counsel at 7pm.

After the service, we'll head downstairs to watch The Passion of the Christ. Since Good Friday is both a day of fasting and abstinence and because the film is probably going to suppress our appetites, I do not plan on providing any food. I will provide some bottled water to drink, but if you want some other beverage, then you'll have supply it yourself. There is a store across the street, which will be convenient in case you forget to bring something.

May everyone have a happy and blessed Easter.


One of the difficult points for modern day Christians is the association of Holy Communion or the Eucharist with the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. At the Last Supper, Jesus is seen to be offering Himself up, body and blood, under the appearance of bread and wine, __before__ His death on the cross.

In the liturgy, however, the Triduum is offered as one. On Holy Thursday, the Last Supper is remembered. Interestingly enough, the Holy Thursday Mass is offered during the evening. The breviary or Liturgy of Hours says that the evening prayers are skipped if one participates in the Mass of of Lord's Supper. As far as I know, this is unique. Another interesting point -- which is a bit jarring for people who are used to the rhythm of the Mass -- at the "end" of the liturgy of the Holy Thursday Mass, we don't hear the priest say, "The Mass is ended, go in peace..."

On Friday, there is no Mass, but there is a service. Traditionally, this service is offered at 3pm, the hour of Mercy, but as a compromise with our pagan work-worshipping culture, the Good Friday service is often offered during the evenings on Friday. Our modern calendar and conventions separate the two days of Holy Thursday and Good Friday, but the Jewish way of reckoning days has both coming up on the same day. The start of the Jewish day begins at sunset and ends on the next day's sunset. The Last Supper, a passover meal is held at the beginning of the new day (in the evening). Our Lord spends the night in the Garden of Gethsemane in prayer, and He asks the Father if it is possible that the __cup__ might pass from Him. Of course, the Son will do the Father's will. Jesus is arrested, sent to the Sanhedrin and passed on to Pilate for sentencing in morning. After being scourged, Jesus is to carry His cross to Golgotha. At noon, the skies darken, and at 3pm, Jesus says, "it is finished." The passover meal is finished, and completed in the same day.

Jesus is placed in the tomb before the start of the Sabbath. Jesus has died before the Sabbath, the first of three days by Jewish reckoning. The Sabbath passes, the second day, and evening comes. Some time during the night of the third day, Jesus has resurrected and left the tomb. Easter Vigil, the highest point of the Catholic liturgy is celebrated on that third day, on Saturday evening, and this completes the Triduum.

This reference to liturgy is not the only way to show the unity of the Last Supper with the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I've alluded to another way by placing emphasis on the __cup__. However, in this case, someone else has done the hard work, and so I have the pleasure of providing a link to

Saturday, January 03, 2009

A Happy New Year, and the Epiphany

It was hard not to notice last night. Not to keep y'all in suspense, for those who weren't there, it was the group of people. For one thing, it was probably the largest group to show up since we've began our meetings at Our Lady of Good Counsel. It was a sweet sixteen, a fine group of young people who braved the cold on a Friday evening to talk about God and his revelation. In a sense, we followed the three wise men, the three magi, the three kings, to encounter the Word. Like the next Sunday's Mass readings we were reading and discussing, we were participating in the Epiphany. Kinda. Sorta. If you squint your eyes.

And people were left wanting more. As we usually do, after the hour long discussion at Our Lady of Good Counsel, we headed on out to a local restaurant to eat, drink and talk. Of course, some people went home after the meal, but some people stayed on to continue the discussion. For those of us remaining, we only left the restaurant afterwards because it was closing. This remnant then headed to a local member's home. I've no idea when the discussion stopped, since I left at 3 am.

What might be going on here? In a sense, it's the people. We join together because enjoy each other's company. And of course, we join together because of a common interest in His Word and His Sacred Scripture. We shouldn't forget our patroness, the Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Grace, who has interceded for us, and through her intersession, God has given us many graces. And thanks be to God. It is all because of Him.

And thanks also goes to the parish of Our Lady of Good Counsel and her pastor, Fr. Ken Cardinale, for allowing us to meet at their beautiful church.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Politically Incorrect, OCP and where the rubber meets the road

Before last night's Friday meeting, I promised to choose the most politically incorrect readings for the coming Sunday, the Feast of the Holy Family. If you follow the link to the USCCB site you'll see that the readings for the first and second readings are Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14 and Colossians 3:12-21, and the optional first and second readings were Genesis 15:1-6, 21:1-3 and Hebrews 11:8, 11-12, 17-19.

When we opened the missals for the coming Sunday's readings, we found that OCP had deliberately only printed the optional readings, with only a passing mention of the other readings. From a courageous start of opposing the KKK, OCP comes to the present by deliberately choosing to be spineless.

You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the "offensive" words are in Colossians 3:18-21

Wives, be subordinate to your husbands,
as is proper in the Lord.
Husbands, love your wives,
and avoid any bitterness toward them.
Children, obey your parents in everything,
for this is pleasing to the Lord.
Fathers, do not provoke your children,
so they may not become discouraged.

The first reading in Sirach reflected the same order, that children obey and honor their parents. Although I playfully suggested that the pitchforks would come out on the line that wives be subordinate to husbands, the fact is that we really didn't dwell on this. Experience has shown that, except for the most bitter of feminists, most women think that the pair "Wives be subordinate to your husbands/ Husbands love your wives" is a fair deal if the husbands truly love their wives as Christ and the Church commands them to.

The conversation was very rich, and centered about the modern thinking of children as property that which leads to the abuse of children. Any summary I make here is not going to be fair to the actual comments made at the meeting, but I'll do my best to highlight the comments here in what I see to be a logical progression, and not how the conversation chronologically unfolded.

Seriously, this is where the rubber meets the road, and the lay people in America are starving for the Truth guarded within the Magisterium. It does no good to avoid controversial readings for the sake of those who really aren't interested in what the Church has to teach. As Jesus commanded Peter, "feed my lambs."

The Holy Family is an icon of the Holy Trinity, and as such, so are families icons of the Trinity as well. We live in a secular society where that model is broken. Catholic families are using contraceptives, they're aborting their children, and they're bringing children into the world through illicit means such IVF.

Having children (or not) is viewed as a right, and the consequence of this is that children are viewed as property, and an extension of the parents, not as individual persons. It's not a coincidence that parents demand their children be perfect, and that 80-90% of suspected Downs Syndrome children are aborted. Mother Teresa said that a society which aborts their children is a society which is abusive toward children.

Someone suggested that this couldn't be right. That today, perhaps parents love too much. Parents are now expected to fawn over their children, and no way be negative such imposing their values and rules upon their children. Give them toys and a roof, but skip the stuff which would ruin their self-esteem. But all this fawning is an abuse too. It's not love in any proper sense. Children need the love that structure and rules provide. Children yearn for that sort of love.

So we've gone full circle. Order in the family is the order of love. Liberation from that order, is a liberation from that love which is so necessary for a family to survive. If the family is the domestic church, it would be great if our local pastors would show us this love by teaching what the Church Universal teaches.