Immersed in Christ’s passion

April 1, 2011

Every year on Good Friday, the Pope presides over the Way of the Cross at the Colosseum.  Each year, our Holy Father assigns someone different to write meditations for these Stations of the Cross.  This year, the meditations will be written by an Augustinian nun.

During Lent this year, I’ve been doing some lectio divina with these meditations as part of my devotions during Lent.  Some have proved to be exceptionally fertile for reflection and prayer.  They provide an excellent setting in which to contemplate the Face of Christ, to understand his sufferings in a deeper way, and to become more aware of the connections of his passion and death to the rest of Sacred Scripture, Church teaching, and God’s plan for our salvation.

In case you’d like to investigate this resource, I’ve provided links below, listed in order of most favored by me:

2006 = Archbishop Angelo Comastri

2003 = Pope John Paul II (written in 1976 before he was Pope)

2005 = Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

2007 = Msgr Gianfranco Ravasi

2010 = Cardinal Camillo Ruini

2004 = Father André Louf OCSO

2008 = Cardinal Joseph Zen

2009 = Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil

Update 4/22/2011:
2011 = Sr Maria Rita Piccione



New Scripture blog

March 23, 2011

Speaking of Scripture is a fairly new Catholic blog offering insights into God’s written word.  One of the contributors is Dr Mary Healy, who previously served as Coordinator of the Mother of God Community, now a member community of the Catholic Fraternity.  Lately, Dr Healy has been living in the Detroit area while she teaches at Sacred Heart Major Seminary.  I look forward to being inspired by Dr Healy and the other contributors to this new Catholic blog.

A better understanding of the Annunciation

March 23, 2011

Mary had already made a vow of virginity (together with St. Joseph), even before the Annunciation.

Yes, this is Catholic teaching, and is explained briefly but well here.

The New Testament on the new testament

March 6, 2011

In the interest of authentic ecumenism, we should encourage all of our Protestant friends to listen to Scott Hahn’s 15-minute discussion of the New Testament during his appearance on “EWTN Live” this past Wednesday (02-March-2011)[Note:  Time-sensitive!!  EWTN will be updating this link to the next program after it airs on 09-March-2011]

The subject for the program was Pope Benedict XVI’s recent Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini.  In discussing the middle section of the Pope’s document, Verbum in ecclesia (the Word and the Church), Dr Hahn was revealing how Pope Benedict teaches that the Bible belongs to the Church; that the Bible is a part of the Church’s liturgy; that the Bible is a Sacramental document.

The professor reminded us that the collection of books/documents that we know as the New Testament never calls itself the “New Testament,” but refers to itself as a Sacrament!

Reminding us that the words “testament” and “covenant” mean the same thing in Scripture, Hahn illustrates his point by first citing Luke 22:19-20

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”  And likewise the cup after supper, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood

Note that Jesus doesn’t say “write this in memory of me” or “read this in memory of me.”  He instructs his Apostles to “DO THIS in memory of me”!!  The “this” to which Jesus refers is the Eucharist.  Thus, the Eucharist is the new testament, according to the New Testament!  The New Testament speaks of the new testament as a Sacrament, first and foremost.

Dr Hahn confirms this by citing the fact that St Paul’s New Testament teaching on the new testament (covenant) in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 uses the same words as St Luke

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you.  Do this in remembrance of me.”  In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”  For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

When someone uses the phrase New Testament, they are usually referring to the ‘document,’ to the portion of the Bible known by that name.  But when we actually study that ‘document,’ we discover that the document is pointing beyond itself to something that existed long before the ‘document’ – the Eucharist!

The first books of the New Testament were written decades after the new testament was instituted by Jesus.  The final book of the New Testament (Revelation) was not even completed until near the end of the first century.  It’s a historical fact that the collection of books/documents that we now know as the New Testament was not even referred to as the “New Testament” until the second half of the second century.

This stands in stark contrast to the fact that it is the Eucharist that was being called the new testament (covenant) by the first-century writers.

That begs the question:  Why did this collection of books/documents ever become known as the New Testament?  Precisely because of their liturgical proximity to the Eucharist!  These are the books/documents that the Church brought out for the Lord’s Day to be read in the liturgical assembly – what we would now call the Mass – what they called the Eucharist.  They would never have been referred to as such if they did not have these connections to the Eucharist.

This summary is no substitute for hearing Scott Hahn himself present this material with his usual ardor.  Click here to listen to the program.  The beef of this discussion begins around the 9:00-minute mark of the program and continues for about 15 minutes. [Note:  Time-sensitive!!  EWTN will be updating this link to the next program after it airs on 09-March-2011]

“…rouse one another…”

January 30, 2011

This past Thursday evening during our Mass at the Holy Family Center, the First Reading included Hebrews 10:24:

We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works.

Father didn’t refer to this verse at all in his homily, but it really grabbed my attention that evening, and I’ve been allowing it to steep in my heart for the past few days.

I appreciate the use of the word “rouse.”  The RSV uses “stir up” and the KJV uses “provoke.”

My reflection on this verse has led me first of all to personal repentance.  I am not always open to being ‘roused’ by someone else.  I’ll surely hear the Holy Spirit rousing me when necessary, right?…Wrong!  I’m already doing plenty of loving and good works, so they should be rousing those who are really slacking, right?…Wrong!  Those attitudes indicate an immaturity regarding community relationships.  I need to be more receptive.

I’ve also been led to a thankfulness for those who have the courage to do the rousing.  I appreciate their willingness to respond to the Holy Spirit in this way.  This rousing is a charismatic gift (a type of exhortation, or possibly even prophecy), and I should be grateful that someone is exercising that gift to build up the Body of Christ.  When I have been roused by a sister or brother, I should express my gratitude to them.

If I have been roused to some deeper love or good work, and it has produced good fruit in some tangible way, I should be eager to give testimony.  I need to recall these instances to build my own faith, and share them to help build the faith of others.

This Scripture verse encourages us to “consider HOW to rouse one another…”  Perhaps this is something that could be discussed or taught in a Community setting.

I’d enjoy hearing your ideas on this topic.  Feel free to leave a Comment to this post.