Saturday, August 30, 2014

Trinity trip-up

I've noticed that priests tend to get tripped up when they are reciting Trinitarian prayers. These malaprops is usually unintentional. For instance, the formula for baptism does not have an "amen" at the end of it, but some priests feel compelled to add one anyway. Also, they tend to say "In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit," rather than, "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."  Now, the shortened version isn't exactly heretical, but it is more ambiguous, I think. And then there is the Final Blessing at Mass, when the priest says, "May almighty God bless you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."  There is no "in the name of" in the text.

There is one instance where the mischief is intentional--that is the Doxology at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer.  I've probably mentioned this one before.  In order to avoid so-called "exclusive" language, they will say something like, "Through God, with God, and in God,...." Which wrecks the Trinitarian form of the prayer.

Just noticing.

Friday, August 29, 2014

St. John died for truth and justice-

The collect for today mentions that St. John the Baptist died for the sake of truth and justice. I think it interesting that the truth and justice he died for was about marriage. It might be helpful to keep that in mind in our present climate.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

silence, kneeling, candles

Back in my youth there is one thing you could count on; old people would keep silent when they were in Church, kneel when they prayed, and light votive candles for particular intentions. My association of those practices with the elderly is so strong, that it is a little disconcerting when I attend daily Mass nowadays where there are a lot of old people who are chatting in the chapel, and who only kneel when it is prescribed in the Liturgy. Otherwise they sit to pray. To top it off, only one or two votive candles is lit at at time.  It used to be the rack was almost all lit up.

Of course, this is a generation of old people that were in their 30s and 40s when I was a kid, so they were thoroughly formed by the "new" piety. As for kneeling, I know that many have knee problems that make kneeling problematic. Besides, there are no kneelers in the chapel and the main Church did not have kneelers for many years, so they probably got out of the habit. Heck, I don't always kneel when I pray. I think the silence would be encouraged if there were no buzzing florescent lights and if the chapel weren't carpeted. And if the priest would say something about it or put up a sign.

I've taken to lighting a vigil candle every time I go into the chapel just because--to give Glory to God and honor to the blessed Mother. Votive candles are evidence that one believes in "mediation" of God's Grace -- of sacramentality. It is a way to transform our work into prayer. When we pay for the candle our work becomes the candle, so to speak, which then is offered to God. And, of course, our prayer continues after we've left because it is our work that has become the prayer.

I think these three practices are important enough that I'd like to encourage any priest who reads this blog (hahahahahahaha) to talk to his congregation about it. Or put up signs.  Or something. Also, I hope that when I become the old generation, I'll be an good example.

[Shhhhhh. Light a candle!]

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A quiz

Heard on the radio this morning. "Ladies and gentlemen, THERE. IS. YOUR. DAGGER!"

1) Who said it?
2) What radio station?
3) What is the significance?

My kids are excluded from this contest.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Home school scripture class

This fall and spring I will be teaching two online high school scripture classes for Homeschool Connections. In the fall I will be teaching Introduction to the Old Testament. In the spring I will continue with Introduction to the New Testament. Here is a link to a description and registration information.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Family, Marriage, Religion, social problems stats

Here is a link to the Marriage and Religion Research Institute page called Mapping America. It contains statistics about the relationship between marriage, religion, education, charity, psychological health, and just about every social problem you could think of, including drinking, drugs, abortion, and being paid or paying for sex. For instance, here is the chart about "Divorce or Separation: Religious Attendance and Family Structure in Adolescence."
According to the General Social Surveys (GSS), 17 percent of adults who attended religious services at least monthly and lived in an intact family through adolescence have ever been divorced or separated, compared to 27 percent of those who attended religious services less than monthly and lived in a non-intact family as adolescents. In between were those who attended religious services at least monthly but lived in a non-intact family (25 percent) and those who lived in an intact family but worshiped less than monthly (20 percent).
Here's one about "Religious Attendance and Shoplifting."

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Doubting Thomas?

It is a common belief that in the scene in John 20 in which Jesus shows his wounds to Thomas, Jesus is chiding Thomas when he says, "Blessed are they who have not seen and yet believe." I've come to the conclusion that this is false. Thomas is an apostle, that is, an eyewitness. He has to see in order to be an Apostle. Our faith is based on the witness of the Apostles, so if they aren't witnesses, then how can we base our belief on their witness?

This passage is, in fact, establishing the bona fide of the apostolic witness by highlighting that Thomas and the other Apostles did see. Even Paul is an eyewitness of the resurrected Jesus, and hence an Apostle, though not one of the Twelve. And, of course, Matthias was selected because he was an eyewitness.

I wonder if anyone has done a study exploring why St. Thomas is so important in the Gospel of John.  He appears several times.  In the scene when Jesus starts towards Bethany to heal Lazarus, he says, "Let us also go, that we may die with him."  At the Last Supper he asks, "Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?" To which Jesus says "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him."  And, of course, Thomas is the one who calls Jesus "My Lord and my God" directly. Finally, he appears on the shore of the sea with Peter, Nathaniel, the Sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples in the "coda" in Chapter 21.