Rich and I went to see John Michael Talbot and Terry last year here in Omaha. Nice to see Barry's still kickin' and pluckin'....
Friday, August 31, 2007
WOW what memories~ BARRY YOU LOST YER HAIR! Wha??? Barry McGuire and I went to the same dentist in Fresno CA. I saw him pay his bill when I came in for a check up. Saw him a few times, in CA in concert and then in Omaha way back in 1975...I'm older than dirt for real! But I still have hair!
When I play this song, I think of Our Blessed Mother, Mary, who's our "Candle on the water" for she is Star of the Sea...can you just hear her singing this to us, her children? I think this is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard...and now that I've put the "Catholic twist" on it, it's even more lovely...like Our Lady!
Thursday, August 30, 2007
The Development of Doctrine
It is, as always, a great joy to be here at the Church Teaches Forum, and to be able to greet everyone who is here and participating. In a very special way, I want to greet again the many wonderful friends that, over these last several years, I have had the opportunity to meet at this Forum, and I want to salute in a particular way, Mr. Smith, whose generosity and Catholic zeal is so largely responsible for a great deal of this forum's activities. I also want to say a word of gratitude to His Excellency, the Most Reverend Archbishop of Louisville, and to the retired Auxiliary Bishop Charles Maloney, for their kindness and hospitality and for their permission which allows me to address you today.
In this year, dedicated by our Holy Father to the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Blessed Trinity, in preparation for the great jubilee of the year 2000, which ends two millennia and a century, and begins another century in the third millennium of Christianity, I thought it would be most appropriate to reflect for a few moments together on the important theological aspect of doctrine called "Development of Doctrine" and to see in particular how the Holy Spirit assists the Magisterium of the Church in its important, and indeed, essential and vital place in such development.
It is, first of all, necessary to remember that development of doctrine does not mean "new revelation." Public revelation has ended with the echo of the Christ-event, the death of the last apostle, and, as the Second Vatican Council teaches, and as the Catholic Church has always taught, we now await no further revelation until the coming of Christ at the end of the world and at the end of time. Revelation has been closed. There were many centuries in both the Old and New Testament, when revelation was constitutive, that is to say, that revelation was ongoing. But in Jesus Christ, God has spoken His final, definitive, complete, inexhaustive Word. There is nothing more that God says because Christ is the Totality of God given to us. He is God's mercy, God's forgiveness, God's love, God's pardon, and God's goodness in Person. The incarnation which was brought about by the work of the Holy Spirit is very final, and there is a once-and-for-allness about this revelation which Saint Jude says has been "delivered once and for all to the saints."
It is the duty of the Catholic Church, and, indeed, the abiding Presence of the Holy Spirit within the Church as the Soul of the Mystical Body makes this obligation possible and able to be fulfilled by the Church, to preserve unmutilated, undiluted, unchanged the message of Christ. The entirety of Divine Revelation has been entrusted to the Catholic Church, and in its fullness, its integrity and its beauty, it is possessed by that Church in the founts of revelation which is to say, Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture.
If there is such a thing as the development of doctrine, the question then arises, "How can what is unchangeable and what must be remain unchanged, such as the dogmas and the doctrines of the Catholic Church, ever actually develop? In what sense can what is unchangeable be legitimately changed?"
It is important, I think, before we discuss any further, this important aspect of Catholic theology, to remind ourselves that there are false, incorrect, and indeed, heretical ways in which the development of doctrine can be understood. Various heresies throughout history, including in this century the heresy of Modernism, understood development of doctrine in a totally incorrect way. Doctrinal development which is in accord with Catholic truth must be correct, and not corrupt and erroneous. We must keep in mind the references that Jesus made to the development of doctrine in His teaching. In the Gospel according to Saint John, for example, we read: "When He comes, however, being the Spirit of Truth, He will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on His own, but will speak only what He hears. He will announce to you the things to come. In doing this, He will give glory to Me because He will have received from Me what He will announce to you." Just before this Jesus said, "I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now." Jesus is also recorded as saying, "When the Paraclete comes, the Spirit of Truth Who comes from the Father, and Who I Myself will send from the Father, He will bear witness on My behalf." He also said, "The Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name will instruct you in everything, and remind you of all that I told you." The Second Vatican Council, reflecting what our Lord taught us, said that the Holy Spirit, uninterruptedly, converses with the Church through Jesus Who is the divine Bridegroom of His Bride and Body, the Catholic Church.Theologians generally indicate that the development of doctrine must be looked at basically in four ways: The first is what is called the objective development of doctrine. This means that doctrine does not expand or contract in the absolute and ultimate sense, but what it does mean is that there is a way in which what is contained in the fonts of revelation, which is to say, Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, is expressed in a way which is catechetical, affective, and unscientific or even pre-scientific, is re-expressed in formulas which are clear and more scientifically specific. Furthermore, these formulas are often stated in such a way that they constitute answers to entirely new questions. For example, in the fourth century, when the heretic Arius, in Alexandria in Egypt asked the question--the Logos, the Word of God, is this Word of God creature or Creator--it was an entirely new question in many ways. This question, of course, was answered incorrectly by Arius, who said the that Logos, the Word of God, is a creature. It was the ecumenical Council of Nicea, which formulated in a very special and particular way the response to Arius that the Logos, or the Word of God, is identical with God Himself. Although this is expressed in one way in thePrologue of the Gospel according to Saint John, it was open to a certain measure of ambiguity. This is why on Sunday, we say, "Jesus is God from God and Light from Light, and true God from true God" and we say, "consubstantial with the Father", reiterating in the credal words what is said in Scripture and Tradition in a particular and special kind of way.
Doctrine also develops objectively when one word sums up what is contained in varying ways in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. An example of this would be the word "Bible" which does not occur in the Bible or in Sacred Tradition, or the word "purgatory" which does not occur in the Bible or in Sacred Tradition, but the reality of which is very clearly contained in Divine Revelation. Words like Immaculate Conception, Assumption, Ascension, and so on, are also particular words which are not found specifically in the fonts of revelation, but which contain and encapsule in themselves, truths which are stated in the fonts of revelation.
The second way in which doctrine develops is called subjectively, and this means that what is stated implicitly in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition is made more explicit. Furthermore our human intellect which was created by God, Who cannot contradict Himself, has a tendency to want to know more and more about truth which has been revealed and to extract from culturally conditioned expressions of truth, those truths which are perennial, which can be embodied in more perennial and universally understood language. Just a week ago, our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, issued two wonderful apostolic letters. One is called Dies Domini, the Day of the Lord, and has to do with the proper observance of Sunday; the other is called Ad Tuendam Fidem, which means To Defend the Faith, and this brief letter of four pages added some words to the Code of Canon Law, and also was accompanied by an explanatory exposition by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, signed by Cardinal Ratzinger and Archbishop Bertone. Both of these apostolic letters deserve our reading and study. For purposes, however, of this talk and our discussion of the development of doctrine, what is highly important would be the letter Ad Tuendam Fidem, as well as the commentary by Cardinal Ratzinger. The commentary which explains and is the key to understanding correctly the letter of the Pope Ad Tuendam Fidem, is based on the three areas of the common profession of faith, which has to be made by seminary professors, pastors, and the like.
The first area concerns things which are directly and clearly revealed by God. These would be the statements normally contained in the creed and clearly defined doctrines of the faith. Cardinal Ratzinger says that these doctrines are those which are contained in the word of God, written or handed down, and defined with a solemn judgment as divinely revealed either by the Roman Pontiff when he speaks ex cathedra, or by the college of Bishops gathered in council, or infallibly proposed for belief by the ordinary and universal Magisterium of the Church.
The second group of truths are those to which every believer must give assent. As the Cardinal says, "Every believer is required to give firm and definitive assent to these truths based on faith in the Holy Spirit's assistance to the Church's Magisterium, and on the Catholic doctrine of the infallibility of the Magisterium in these matters. Whoever denies these truths would be in a position of rejecting a truth of Catholic doctrine and would therefore, no longer be in full communion with the Catholic Church."
The Cardinal goes on to say, "The truths in this second group of truths can be of various natures given their different qualities to the relationship of revelation. There are the truths which are necessarily connected with revelation by virtue of an historical relationship, while other truths evince a logical connection that expresses a stage in the maturation of understanding of revelation which the Church is called to undertake. The fact that these doctrines may not be proposed as formally revealed, no way diminished their definitive character which is required at least by their intrinsic connection with revealed truths. Moreover," (and this is the phrase of the Cardinal which is most significant for our purposes in this talk) "it cannot be excluded that at a certain point in dogmatic development, the understanding of the realities of the words of the Deposit of Faith can progress in the life of the Church, and the Magisterium may proclaim some of these doctrines also as dogmas of divine and Catholic faith, which is to say, being divinely revealed."The first group of truths, of course, would be the various Christological dogmas, the Marian dogmas, the doctrine of the Institution of the Sacraments by Christ, their efficacy in regard to grace, the doctrine of the real and substantial Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the sacrificial nature of the Eucharistic celebration, the foundation of the Church by the will of Jesus Christ, the doctrine of the primacy and infallibility of the Roman Pontiff, the doctrine on the existence of original sin, and on the immortality of the soul, and the immediate recompense after death, and so on. Also included in this first group of divinely revealed truths would be the doctrine on the grave immorality of direct and voluntary killing of innocent human beings.
The second group of truths which must be assented to internally or externally by Catholics or they are no longer in full communion with the Catholic Church, would include such things as: the illicitness of euthanasia, the wickedness of prostitution and fornication, the doctrine that the priesthood is reserved exclusively to males, and the Cardinal goes on to mention these as matters which must be held because they are taught infallibly and irrevocably by the Church in irreformable dogmatic address. He cites as an example of doctrinal development how before the definitive and infallible pronouncement of the First Vatican Council, the primacy of the successor of Saint Peter was always believed as a revealed fact, but the question as to whether the infallibility which rested in the successor of Saint Peter was revealed directly by God or was simply a logical consequence of Divine Revelation was open to discussion. After the First Vatican Council, however, the matter is no longer open for discussion since it has been solemnly defined as a revealed doctrine by God Himself, that the Pope, speaking on faith and morals, ex cathedra acts and speaks in an infallible way, and his primacy is enhanced by this special charism of infallibility which, in addition to restingon the Church, rests also on his person.
As a matter of interest, it might be good to point out that there is a third category of beliefs which all Catholics must accept, and definitively hold to, or they place themselves in opposition to the infallible and clear teaching of the Church. These would be truths connected to revelation by historical necessity, and which must be held by Catholics definitively, but are not able to be declared as divinely revealed. These truths would be, for example, the legitimacy of the election of the Supreme Pontiff, or Pope, or the legitimacy of the celebration of an ecumenical council. It would also include the canonization of Saints, and declarations such as that of Leo XIII in the apostolic letter Apostolicae Curae, on the perpetual invalidity of Angelican Orders. It is interesting that the letter Ad Tuendam Fidem and the corresponding commentary on the same, are so contemporary and modern, and point out the various aspects of the theological development of doctrine, particularly in the subjective mode that we are speaking about today.
The third way in which doctrine develops is hermeneutically. This means that things are received to a certain extent according to the way in which the receiver is formed, trained, educated and prepared to receive them. When water is poured into a glass it assumes the shape of the glass. Divine Revelation is something like that. God speaks to us in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition; internally He speaks to us through the Holy Spirit. This Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition mediated through the Magisterium of the Church, and the Holy Spirit speaking internally to us as we are receiving in any way what God has revealed, in a certain sense is formed by our own circumstances and arrangements. There is an objectivity to Divine Revelation. Nevertheless, when we receive this Divine Revelation, the objectivity touches our subjectivity. Now let me give you an example: When the Book of Genesis speaks about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life, which are situated in the Garden of Eden, all of those words have resonance in the minds of people who have seen or have experienced trees, and also, who have experienced a garden. If one were born, let us say, an Eskimo in the regions of frozen north where one has never seen a tree, it would be extremely difficult to understand Divine Revelation in its fullness and its integrity because of the knowledge or lack of it which one would have. Presumably, in our day, Eskimos would know something about trees and what they are at least through the use of pictures, and movie screens and television screens. However, it is important to know that doctrine develops, that is to say, our understanding of what God has revealed is improved, as we hermeneutically improve various aspects of our own disposition. Collectively, the entire Church, the entire human race for that matter, and individually, we can grow, for example in our knowledge of archeology, of religious sociology, which is phenomenology, and religious anthropology and similar sciences. We can learn more about linguistics, about languages, and about ancient languages. In all of these studies, including aspects of paleontology, we can come to a greater and more profound perfection of our own dispositions, intellectual and otherwise, and this enables us to receive Divine Revelation in a more full and complete way. We must continue to point out that we are not necessarily improving our faith by improving our hermeneutical dispositions. A little child who receives first Holy Communion at six years old does not necessarily have less faith than the very learned professor, who might know a great deal about Hebrew verb forms and about Greek syntax, and consequently, has a greater grasp and knowledge about the New Testament, and of the Bible than the little first Communicant. Nonetheless, the faith can be as rich or richer in the first Communicant than in the learned professor.Finally, we should remember it is possible to reflect on our own growth in our knowledge of Catholic doctrine. When we were 6 or 7 and made our first Holy Communion, we were obviously quite different in many ways, intellectually and otherwise, than when we are 50 or 60 years of age. Certainly, we are the same persons, yet the cells in our bodies and a great deal of other aspects of our lives are completely and totally different. We can sit here looking back on five or six decades of life and reflect on how we have grown in our understanding of Catholic doctrine, and in this reflection, we can actually have some control over future growth and learning in Catholic doctrine. This can be done, not only as individuals, but the Church can do this as a collective entity, as the living organism, the Body of Christ.
Let me sum up with some crude examples. There is a little sapling tree which can be planted. We plant it in some land that we know of, and we watch this tree grow over years, and over decades, and perhaps, even over centuries. This tree is basically and substantially and fundamentally the same tree is always is. It doesn't change from an oak tree, let us say, to a pine tree or to a maple tree. It keeps its nature and it grows in a homogenous and consistent way. And yet, the tree after 30, or 40, or 100 years is somewhat different than the tree was when it was a tiny seedling or sapling. Similarly, we are the very same person we were at our birth. There is very clear identity, and yet, there are some very great and significant changes in us as the years and the decades go on, until we reach the consummation of our existence in leaving this world and entering another and better world which God has prepared for us. Even if we would like to, we really cannot go back, when we are adults, to our adolescence or to our childhood, and, consequently, it is a mistake to live in a sense of reaction to dogmatic development. It is crucial and, indeed, important that we understand that dogmatic development is undertaken by God Himself, and by the Holy Spirit. Repeating again, that this development to be authentic and correct must be homogenous with what has gone before.
God is the God of Truth, and cannot contradict Himself. Therefore, what is true today is true tomorrow. There cannot be philosophical relativism introduced into the idea of dogmatic development. Nevertheless, the fact that such development occurs, and occurs by God's will, is quite clear not only from passages of Jesus which I have cited, (that is to say, His promise of the Holy Spirit and His promise of what the Holy Spirit's work would be in the Church) but also from the fact that the Church herself, as a living and dynamic organism, would not find it possible to answer new questions as they arise and to clothe the beautiful, unchangeable and ever true doctrine of the unchanging God in clothes of contemporary society, so that it would be comprehensible, and understandable to human beings of every age and every time. The Church that Christ founded is catholic or universal, which is to say, that she is not restricted to one nation, one race, one culture, one language, but she was meant for the entirety of the human race. This Catholic Church which desires to gather the entirety of humanity into her embrace, must be able to bring the doctrine of Christ, in the proper garb to this humanity, without compromise, without change, and yet, in an appropriate way. This accounts for the formal way in which doctrine develops, which is to say, objectively, subjectively, hermeneutically, and we might call this fourth method, reflexively or estimatively.
There is an old saying that King David and King Solomon led very merry lives, with very many lady friends and very many wives. But when old age came over them with very many qualms, King Solomon wrote the Proverbs, and King David wrote the Psalms. The point is that we all change, and living and dynamic change means that doctrine, too, changes while it ever remains the same. While we change and grow into adults and then into senior citizens, maintaining the integrity and the consistency of our very personhood, so the doctrines of Christ, as they grow in the Church, maintain their very consistent and unchangeable reality underneath the development which occurs. In the last century, one of the great intellectuals, one of the great figures who was a convert to our faith, John Henry Newman, wrote an excellent book called An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine. Later, Cardinal Newman, who at the time was a Protestant and a Don at Oxford University, was struck by the fact as he studied history that the Church of the nineteenth century was, in many ways, identical with the Church of the 5th, 3rd, and 1st centuries of Christianity, and yet, there were some significant variances and changes, and these perplexed him greatly. As he struggled through the theological and personal problem this represented for him, he was able to set down in this wonderful book, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, his thoughts. At the end of it, of course, he set down his pen, and was received into the Catholic Church. He saw that this Church maintained the doctrine of Christ in the most perfect, complete, and absolute integrity. At the same time, it permitted the dynamism of the human intellect to understand more completely, more fully, and more profoundly, as the ages go on, this doctrine.
In talking about the development of doctrine, I sometimes like to illustrate the important fact from history to which I alluded earlier, which is to say, the Council of Nicea which took place in the year 325. The Council of Nicea, as you recall, had to decide the divinity of Christ, that is to say, what exactly does Divine Revelation say about the Personhood of Jesus. The heretic Arius and his followers claimed they would recite all of the words of the New Testament and all of the words of the Apostles' Creed, the ancient baptismal creed. St. Athanasius, and those who upheld the orthodoxy of Catholic doctrine at that time said, "Yes, you recite those words, but you are putting into them an entirely different meaning at variance with what the historical meaning has been." Arius and the heretics, of course replied, "This is not true."In order to distinguish, then, the heresy of Arius from Catholic orthodoxy, the Council had to set down some very clear truths, and the truths were found in the Greek word homousios or consubstantial and this was made a criterion of orthodoxy. It was not enough to say that Jesus was God, because there were polytheists who believed there were many gods and Jesus was one of many gods. That would not have said precisely and exactly what needed to be said. It was not enough merely to say that Jesus was not the Father. This also could be said by polytheists, and, of course, would be a view that the Arians would uphold, particularly they cite Jesus' words, "the Father is greater than I" to indicate that Jesus did not mean that He was God's equal when He said also, "The Father and I are one." Of course they refused to accept the fact that Jesus speaking in terms of the Father being greater was speaking in His human nature and not in His divine nature. It was found to be necessary that the word homousios, or consubstantial be inserted into the Creed, and while I am oversimplifying the controversies involved in this issue, particularly because the very word homousios underwent an evolution and change in its meaning over several centuries, nonetheless I hope I can point out how this is a legitimate development of doctrine. Consubstantial with the Father is what the Council said basically and unchangingly was revealed by God in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. However, the word homousios or consubstantial, one in being with, was not contained in the fonts of revelation. At the time of the Council of Nicea, not only did this put off the Arians, who, of course, refused to use that term consubstantial, claiming that it wasn't part of Divine Revelation, but it also put off another group of people led by a Bishop called Eusebius of Caesaria. He was a great Church historian and a brilliant thinker, but he. too, said that it was illegitimate for this doctrinal development to take place. While he and his followers said they disagreed with Arias and the Arian teachings on the divinity of Christ, nonetheless, they said in reaction to the action of the Council of Nicea that they could not accept the necessity of saying the word consubstantial, one in being with, homousios, as a criterion of orthodoxy. Both groups were condemned by the Council of Nicea, and the condemnation, of course, of the second group particularly, was a new affirmation of the truth of doctrinal development.
Allow me to conclude by saying very clearly and precisely that it is extremely important for us, in this area of doctrinal development, as well as in our entire lives as Christians, to be linked very firmly and strongly with the See of Peter. St. Ambrose said, "Where Peter is, there is the Church, and where the Church is, there is everlasting life." We will not be able, on our own to adequately distinguish, all the time, true doctrinal development from corruption and error. It is only when we stand close to St. Peter and his legitimate successor, the Bishop of Rome, that we are allowed to reach back through the decades, the centuries of history, and to touch St. Peter himself, who made the profession of faith before our Savior that He is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and this St. Peter receiving in return, not only the commission to feed the lambs and tend the sheep, but also the promise that the gates of hell will not prevail, and that the Church, that is the Church Christ founded, would be built on solid rock and perdure until the end of time. In times of flux and uncertainty particularly, it is important for us to be in the bark, the boat of Peter, and to know that he is the one who has been promised by Jesus as Pope John Paul II cites in Ad Tuendam Fidem, the ability to have an unfailing faith which will strengthen the brothers, not only the bishops of the Church, but also the entirety of God's people. St. Patrick, the great apostle of Ireland, told his Irish converts, "As you are Christians, so you must be Romans." In a similar way, it is necessary if we are to be adequate followers of Christ, to be linked with the See of Rome, the See of Peter, and in that linkage to be able to gaze upon the one who has gazed upon the face of Christ.
As Cardinal Ratzinger notes, "Christ's promise to bestow the Holy Spirit Who guide you into all truth, constantly sustains the Church on her way. Thus, in the course of her history certain truths have been defined as having been acquired through the Holy Spirit's assistance, and are therefore, perceptible stages in the realization of the original promise. Other truths, however, have to be understood still more deeply before full possession can be obtained of what God, in His mystery of love wished to reveal to men for their salvation." The Cardinal also says, "In the course of the centuries, from the unchangeable nucleus testifying to Jesus as the Son of God and as Lord, symbols witnessing to the unity of the faith and to the communion of the churches came to be developed. In these the fundamental truths which every believer is required to know and to profess were gathered together. Thus, before receiving Baptism, the catechumen must make his profession of faith. The Fathers of the Church, too, coming together at Councils to respond to historical challenges that required a more complete presentation of the truths of the faith or a defence of the orthodoxy of these truths formulated new creeds which occupy a special place in the Church's life up to the present day. The diversity of these symbols expresses the richness of the one, true faith, and none of them is superseded or nullified by subsequent professions of faith formulated in response to later historical circumstances."
This sums up, better than I can, what I have been trying to say in these remarks about the Holy Spirit's assistance to the Magisterium of the Church in the development of doctrine.
I love going to a small rural Catholic church...St. Joseph in Colon, NE. It's like going to EWTN for Mass. So reverent, so holy, so much care taken and only altar BOYS. No girls allowed. Sorry all you up and coming progressives, but according to a friend of mine, Sarah, there's absolutely no indication that having altar girls encourages them to become sisters or enter religious life. AND for me, my opinion here, I think it should be only altar boys and for a good reason.....preparing them for priesthood! I can spot a "potential priest" right off. In the Lincoln dioceses some listen so attentively and are so captivated by the Mass, it's a real joy to observe. Some in Omaha are, too, but in Lincoln the atmosphere is just so much more reverent...and the priest is never in a hurry to do all he does. I know it's not a large congregation and that's most of the problems these days with the "rush" feel at times, but when one goes to Lincoln, especially to a small parish, you'll walk out of there with such a great and holy transformation. Not that Jesus doesn't transform us here in Omaha, of course he does, but Sarah....she knows what I mean, right kiddo? Oh wait, she's in Texas discerning religious life with Sisters there.... never mind.
Altar boys still look like this in Lincoln....not progressive, perhaps, but ...so?
A friend of mine who would like to convert asked "How do you trust the Church when there are corrupt bishops, etc.?" I put on my protestant filter and thought of an analogy regarding trusting the Bible to be the word of God.
I said, "If someone told Uriah the Hitite that the guy who was about to commit adultery with his wife, would write the Psalms that would later become The Word of God, do you think he would have believed it?" In other words, we trust that the CC is the true church not because of the fallible people who have been running it the past 2000 years but because JESUS SAID "You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it."
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.Amen
If you are able to do so, please join me in praying a 9 day novena Memorare for my friend, Fr. G. Thank you. ~ susie
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Anne Lamott has graciously accepted this invitation.
The invitation was issued after
The event will take place at the
The title of the lecture is Faith and Writing and Whatever: A Night with Anne Lamott. Ms. Lamott will sign books following the lecture.
Anne Lamott writes and speaks about subjects that begin with capital letters: Alcoholism, Motherhood, Jesus. But armed with self-effacing humor – she is laugh out-loud funny – and ruthless honesty, Lamott converts her subjects into enchantment. She doesn’t try to sugar-coat life’s sadness, frustration and disappointment, but tells her stories with honesty, compassion and a pureness of voice. She says, “I have a lot of hope and a lot of faith and I struggle to communicate that.” Anne Lamott does communicate her faith; in her books and in person, she lifts, comforts, and inspires, all the while keeping us laughing.
Anne Lamott is the author of six novels as well as five bestselling books of nonfiction. She has been honored with a Guggenheim Fellowship, and has taught at UC Davis, as well as at writing conferences across the country. Lamott’s biweekly Salon Magazine “online diary,” Word by Word, was voted The Best of the Web by TIME magazine. Anne Lamott’s latest essay collection is entitled Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith (March 2007).
The night of the lecture, cash or check donations will be received for two
Ms. Lamott accepted the invitation of Connections, a coalition of progressive Christian congregations. Connections congregations, together and separately
* Reclaim thoughtful dialogue
* Reject divisive dogmatism
* Renew spiritual vitality
* Respond with justice and mercy
* Rejoice in inclusive community
Connection’s vision is to provide opportunities for education, dialogue, community action, fun, spiritual practice and outreach to the members of our congregations and those who have dropped out of traditional Christian congregations and lost hope that there is vital and thoughtful Christian community.
The six member congregations of Connections are Augustana Lutheran Church (ELCA), Countryside Community Church UCC, First Central Congregational UCC, First United Methodist Church,
The public is invited to attend.
Anyone wishing to make a donation towards the travel/housing expenses for Anne Lamott and/or the rental of the venue, may send donations to:
Anyone wishing to make a donation towards the travel/housing expenses for Anne Lamott and/or the rental of the venue, may send donations to:
' Connections' in care of Northside Christian Church, 5555 Larimore Ave., Omaha, NE 68104
' Connections' in care of Northside Christian Church, 5555 Larimore Ave., Omaha, NE 68104
***Please indicate whether or not you wish to have your name listed in the program as a donor.
***Please indicate whether or not you wish to have your name listed in the program as a donor.
For more information contact:
PROGRESSIVE according to susie, owner of this blog, is another way to spell BULLSHITE. A better "P" word, is Prophetic...as in speaking the TRUTH, not cultural, feel good nonsense that would sooner have you in hell than heaven, cuz it's not too progressive to mention hell...is it?
I had given a small Our Lady of Sorrows medal that was blessed by Papa BXVI to a dear lady who befriended me one day when I went to St Joseph by myself on a "photo junket" one day 2 years ago, soon after our return to the Catholic Church. I've written before how I LOVE to take photos of all the Catholic Churches around Omaha. Well, just about half an hour ago, I opened a card of thanks from her that made me weep with tears of gratitude. I've been just overwhelmed at God's lavish unrelenting love for us! I asked, "Why?" and I guess the only thing that has been impressed on my heart that inner voice simply says, "Because....you're my daughter and I'm your Daddy."
This delightful and dear woman, Alice, (the name of my best childhood friend who committed suicide when she was 28) wrote me the kindest word of thanks and set my heart on fire again for Our Lord and Our Lady, our Momma, Mary.
Let me say, that with all the junk out there, the crappy news that's only gossip and sleaze, the whining and complaining about everything under the sun, the angry politicians constantly grinding axes, the rude drivers, the customer service that is woefully lacking in most places, the crabby cubicle partner, the non-stop blather, it's nice to just 'go to Mass,' be greeted warmly by another, who's gracious smile you long to see....and then to get a note. I think that's what God is calling me to do, more and more.
BE KIND! It's not hard, it just takes a concerted effort and choice on my part to say, early in the day, "Show me where to spread your love today" ..."What heart could use a lift, some wings today?" OR JUST SMILE at someone. That could lift their soul to heaven if only briefly and give them some hope...... HOPE is needed today, not more noise. Not more clanging gongs. Hope for the hopeless, that's our call. I pray to answer it today. I may not alway be obedient, but I can sure always be kind to someone at least one time in a day, and that will change me, too. I'll become more the woman God has called me to be when I become his little girl who's happy to just sit on his lap and let him love me.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
18th Annual Women and Health Lecture
After careful review of Ms. Lamott’s most recent writings (which postdated her contract agreement), we have concluded that key points are in opposition to Catholic teaching which, in our judgment, makes her an inappropriate choice for the Women and Health Lecture Series.
Creighton University is not “viewpoint neutral” as we have a religious, Catholic mission. However, as an authentic university, Creighton does respect other views and regularly has speakers, panelists and others who do not necessarily agree with all aspects of our beliefs. At a featured lecture like this, the degree to which the speaker’s views do not harmonize with our Catholic mission becomes more salient. As a Jesuit university, Creighton is a place of intellectual honesty, pluralism, and mutual respect where inquiry and open discussion characterize the environment of teaching, research and professional development.
I have a good friend who works at Creighton University in the Nursing School Admissions office. When she sent me this I just had to post it. PRAISE GOD! Things are slowly turning around for the better at this Catholic University it would seem. There's a long way to go, but this was GREAT News!
Sunday, August 26, 2007
I always liked this album cover
The Hound of Heaven
Fetched my rubber soul
That had bounced
So far away from Rome
And then the Hound of Heaven
Brought my rubber soul
In My Life
I love the
Hound of Heaven more
A Joyful Catholic
And a Forever Fab4
I pray for John
God rest their rubber souls
My favorite Beatles song
There are places i'll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends i still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life i've loved them all
But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When i think of love as something new
Though i know i'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know i'll often stop and think about them
In my life i love you more
Though i know i'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know i'll often stop and think about them
In my life i love you more
In my life i love you more
John Lennon & Paul McCartney
Left for a new destination
Worryin bout the way things might have been.
Dome of St Peter's shining
If you come down to the Tiber,
Just to dip your toes or to take the plunge
Swimmin' swimmin swimmin 'cross the river.
Swimmin swimmin swimmin 'cross the Tiber
We were out driving yesterday and realized we'd never had a picture taken of us so I set my little NIKON on the dash and voila!
Thanks Sarah, for being my "daughter" and friend.
your #2 mom
"God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December."
James M. Barrie
Friday, August 24, 2007
Bless you Giacomo!
Hey Giacomo, do you play soccer? Do you know our dear newly ordained priest, Fr. Andrew Roza from Omaha, Nebraska?
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
Byzantine Icons - A Brief Overview
An icon is a window to Heaven. It portrays a spiritual, rather than physical, reality. It is more than a holy picture; it reflects deified humanity and the Divine Light. Iconographers therefore deliberately avoid a realistic and natural look.
However, although the images may appear unnatural to us, we are reminded that through God, nature may be overthrown. Such examples are the burning bush that was never destroyed, the Red Sea that once parted but then remained impassable, and the Virgin who gave birth without staining her womb.
One technique commonly utilized to reflect the reversal of nature is inverse perspective. In normal one-point perspective the viewer is drawn to a single vanishing point to which all converging lines of the image lead. This contributes to the image’s third dimension. In iconography, however, the vanishing point is actually within the spectator, in front of the icon.
Moreover, each icon must conform to its prototype. Thus an image of the Annunciation from the 12th century, for instance, does not differ greatly from one that pertains to the 14th century. The iconographer’s imagination is not reflected in the image. Unlike most painters, the iconographer does not express himself, but rather the story he strives to communicate. After all, an icon (image) is an image of something – a copy. For this reason, iconographers are often referred to as “icon-writers.”
Another distinct feature of Byzantine iconography is the light source. Just as Christ emitted Divine Light during the Transfiguration, so do the saints depicted in iconography. The light source in icons, therefore, is internal rather than external. It is the iconographer’s challenge to communicate this in his painting. This is achieved by the absence of shadows. The hand that offers the benediction, for instance, does not cast a shadow but rather brightens the surrounding areas. In the image below, Christ’s blessing hand illuminates his garment and neck; farther from either side of His hand, the garment assumes an obscure tone. Christ’s body also seems to glow through the drapery folds in His garments, a characteristic common to Byzantine Icons. The deified individual’s presence therefore illuminates the image.
In Byzantine Churches, an icon screen, or iconostasis, is found between the altar and the nave. The clergy, representing Christ, pass through this screen during the liturgy, thereby uniting Heaven and Earth. Although many see the iconostasis as a means to separate the altar from the nave, it serves quite the opposite purpose. It is saturated with icons, windows to Heaven, and consequently connects the two.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Some Catholics seem to think the Catholic Church looks like this. One long shiny display of doctrines to choose or not choose. They think the dogma and teachings and doctrines are under a sneeze guard, lined up for their "appeal" to the eye, or rather the ear. I've heard similar statements to these over the years...shoot, I might have even said 'em at one time! Yipes. Lord Have Mercy!
I like baptism, it's ok, you know, to be baptized, it's a fun time with family, but confession? Do we really "have" to do that still? I mean, there's no real Hell is there?
I dig what Jesus said back then about feeding the poor, that was cool, but do we really have to abstain from sexual relations before marriage? Like what's up with that? This is 2007 man... we have two house payments. Why should we be paying for two places when we're going to be living in one house in a few months? Why not just live together and save up that much more money? You know weddings aren't cheap...and really, this whole "no sex" till you're married stuff- it's like so ancient! I'm just not into all that "restriction stuff."
Man, the Catholic Church is so boring, too. I've been to the new cool church down the block and they have Starbucks and cool bagels and stuff to eat half way through the service, so I think that's pretty neat. I'm thinking about going there, cuz I mean, this "mortal sin" stuff is so, so oppressive and I just don't think the Catholic Church should be telling people what to do with their lives, or who to sleep with or not sleep with, I mean, it's not the Church's business.
"Enter through the narrow gate," Jesus says at the end of the Sermon on the Mount. "For the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few." (Mt. 7:13-14)
Saturday, August 18, 2007
This call of God
Has brought you here
To the most steep
And rocky path
You've ever encountered
Jagged and cruel rocks
Have cut your burdened feet
And torn your precious knees
That hold you up in
Your feet are bleeding
And even your heart
Is beating in faltering
Matching the staggering steps
Where your tender
Bruised feet fall and
Desire to linger
The weight of this cross
Has knocked you
To the ground
For what seems to be
One too many times
And my heart breaks
My tears mingle with
Yours in spirit
The sweat and tears
Of this, your struggle
That now sting your eyes
Keep you from seeing
Where to place your
Next weary step
Let me press my veil
To your face
A veil of prayers
On your trail of tears
That will reach heaven
When no words are
Found to escape your lips
Because you're exhausted
And out of breath
But I will join your friend
Beyond the cosmic veil
And unite my frail prayers
With those of one
More righteous and holy
And soon, you will see
And your burden will
Not be more than you
Just let me be
I'm only here to answer
To be your Veronica
© susie melkus
Thursday, August 16, 2007
As God's finger cuts through the night sky...a gleaming tear shows us the brilliance of heaven, but only a for a split second, for that is all of the purest glory our fleshly eyes can take, but isn't the glimpse tantalizing? Doesn't it call us to regard what's on the other side? And how we might get there? Once when we're placed in our coffin under the ground it's too late to figure it out. We need to do that here and now, for today is the day of salvation. Today if you hear His Voice, harden not your heart...don't be too proud to pray. God hears the cry of the humble but the proud he refuses. That's the way it is. That's LOVE. That brilliance beyond the veil of the night sky is ours by the shedding of the Blood of Christ, IF we want it. A prodigal son or wayward daughter will never be denied the glory of Heaven and a place among the Saints if he or she chooses Him, chooses Life. There's only 2 things when the curtain falls, Heaven or Hell. Where you go is up to you.
BTW, if you're Catholic, get our rear end to Confession, and start anew.
to be viewed while listening to BD sing Shooting Star...
For you TJ... When are you going to do a gig with Johnny?
This could be me...driving across the Nebraska prairie...I love a prairie highway... this is a great medley of songs for the road...
God roars at the ocean shore, shouts his glory from a mountain top, but he whispers on the prairie wind that bends the tall grass and I call out his name from a happy or a lonely heart, he hears me just the same
That's where I go to meet my beautiful Mother Mary, in her garden where teardrops fall.
And they've been falling profusely of late. Thanks for your prayers.
Who can enter the kingdom of God? Only the broken hearted. The ones humble enough to have their hearts broken over sin...and then go to where teardrops fall for forgiveness. That's the Confessional....the best place.
This recording isn't as clear as I'd hoped, but it's still "Bob" and I love the guy.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
|Mary's soul returns to God and her glorified body is taken up into heaven and reunited with her soul. |
If Christ Jesus wishes us to love all the members of His Mystical Body, should we not love above all others her who gave Him the very nature by which He became our Head, the same nature which He uses to communicate His grace to us? We cannot doubt but that the love which we show to his Mother is extremely pleasing to Christ.
We shall manifest our love by extolling the sublime privileges which Jesus has bestowed on His Mother, among which the Assumption is one of the most glorious. If we wish to please our Lord very much, we shall admire the wonderful gifts with which He has lovingly adorned the soul of His Mother. He wishes that we should sing the praises of the Virgin, who was chosen among all women to give the Savior to the world.
"Yes, we shall sing your praises, for you alone have delighted the heart of your God. May you be blessed, for you have believed the word of God, and in you the eternal promises have been fulfilled."
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
Jesus has a Real Fine Love...He IS REAL FINE LOVE. And I am unworthy of Him, but He calls me and makes me worthy. Me- a blood-red sinner made white by his shed blood. We love only because He has first loved us.
Thanks John Hiatt (& thanks DBS for introducing me to this guy back in '95. He never fails to impress.)
"Music, it just lifts the soul." ~ Dr. Ray
words of criticism
of a priest
or our Pope
is like biting the
that feeds you the
Bread of Heaven,
the Bread of Angels
it's biting the
bite your tongue
and offer a prayer
and thank him
for his sacrifice
his sacrifice is more
immense than you'll
Lord have mercy
Christ have mercy
Lord have mercy
Sunday, August 12, 2007
I'm posting my prayer request to you, my blogger friends, to please pray for my very good and dear friend, Fr. G He needs special graces from Our Lady, as all our priests do. They need our prayers, NOT OUR CRITICISM. They do so much for us, the least we can do for them is lift them up in prayer, as a sacrifice for when we might be tempted to complain about them instead. That goes for anyone, really. We all fall short, but we can't let our priests come under such attack and not "hold up their arms" as did Aaron for Moses when he grew weary.
I will not let anyone within earshot criticize a priest and "get away with it" without a kind but firm rebuke from me any longer. We have to defend our priests and love them, not complain about them!
My heart broke in two for Father recently when we were talking at a restaurant. He poured out his heart, his frustration and all he had to do in ONE SUNDAY that made my jaw drop. I just wanted to cry for him. We shared much laughter, but I felt his frustration so deeply, it hurt me. It still does hurt and I'm going to hurt for him and pray for him that he'll find mercy and peace with Mary's mantle draped around him each night and morning to face all he as to face every day.
If we'd not been laughing that night at dinner, then we'd have been crying, the only other option, and being where we were, well, that would have made our nacho chips soggy and too salty.
The burden our priests bear for us in unimaginable! They truly do spend and consume themselves for souls! They have to bury parishioners one hour, and then marry a couple in a couple hours. Then go on communion calls, visit the sick, anoint the dying, run to meetings, get criticized for everything they do or don't do "right" according to some hyper-sensitive souls. The gamut of emotions he had to deal with is more than I face in a year! The crap is constant, as in non-stop.
If manly men, like Fr. G. get beat down, what the heck would women do? What they should do is stop clamoring to be priests, because frankly, they'd all stink at it. There's no way our nurturant womens' hearts/and tender pscyhes could withstand the onslaught of crap that our Priests have to deal with on a daily basis. My heart breaks for priests and seminarians who at times can assuage NO ONE in town it would seem.
And the next time someone chooses to criticize a priest for whatever reason, and they're near you, tell them to shut the pie hole and pray for the man. He's a Father, and shepherd, NOT a superman. He, too, gets hurt. Get a copy of the blue Pieta Prayer book and read about criticism of priests and take your gripe to the Lord...you might wanna duck and cover, but I bet you get whacked, because when a priest is criticized and slandered, Jesus is. Yeah. BIG OUCH!
Please pray for him, and pray every day for your priest.
Mother Noella and her Bethlehem cheese
Mother Noella Marcellino, who visited Seattle this weekend for the Cheese Festival, knows the secret of life; she's seen it through a microscope. The Cheese Nun, as she's known, started milking cows 30 years ago at a cloistered Benedictine order in Connecticut. A Fulbright Fellowship took her to France to see, touch, smell and taste cheesemaking techniques. Today, having earned a PhD in microbiology, she's considered one of the foremost authorities on the precise details of lactic fermentation.
Cheesemaking evolved as a means of transforming milk proteins (the essential nourishment of all mammalian species) into something more permanent and portable. It's not terribly convenient, after all, to travel with a herd of goats. What we call the ripening of cheese is in fact its destruction by mold.
The question, once you get past the basics, is why France (for example) has so many distinctly different cheeses. The answer is in the diversity of molds; Mother Noella is particularly drawn to a particular strain:
Much is written about terroir, the sense of place conveyed by cheese and wine. Mother Noella's invaluable contribution to the discussion: terroir is not just what the animals eat, it's also the naturally occurring bacteria in the cheese caves. The cheese is alive, and Mother Noella, like the poet William Blake, marvels:
To see the world in a grain of sand, and to see heaven in a wild flower,
hold infinity in the palm of your hands, and eternity in an hour.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Two of the most blessed, holy hands in recent times.
Clasped in a love and a bond that reached out
touched, blessed, healed, so many souls.
Thank you Papa, John Paul... "JPII the Great"
for your wisdom, your deep deep love,
your poet's heart, your
faithfulness to Christ
when physical suffering and the ravages of Parkinsons
disease robbed you of your health and
your mouth could no longer utter
words without the greatest effort
and even then, they were hardly audible
Pray for us, who can't seem to control our tongues
pray that we'll ask for the grace to
do so and speak in charity
even when we "feel" like we can't
to think before we speak
for we regret so much of what we do say.
Thank you Mother Teresa...for living out the Faith when
you experienced the most loneliest of desolation
when no consolation from your God
enlightened your soul
and you walked in a "dark night"for 40 years
tirelessly helping the poorest of the poor.
Please pray for us in this wealthy, yet spiritually
impoverished country where people live almost
entirely by their feelings, their emotions
that change with the wind are
followed with abandon and faith is
tossed aside so frequently
for a "feel good" religion
that in the end robs them of
Truth. Pray for us.
Friday, August 10, 2007
Upon first reading, I laughed at this quote. But pondering a little more, it makes me realize that that is the very paradigm of this culture. A "culture of death" that doesn't want to die. I can't say I "want to die" either. I don't exactly want to be hit by a MAC truck any time soon, or be informed that I have a terminal illness. Yet, to "die in Christ" is gain. To die alone, apart from Him is........simply.............hell.
I pray for people like Woody. For people in the pop culture, Hollyweird, that they will see the light and come into the Church, in full communion with God, because... "In the end there is Heaven and there is Hell." (Fr. Corapi)
It's appointed man once to die. After that, the judgment.
Sobering, yet life giving, if we 'choose life.' We have our part to play in attaining salvation and that is working out our salvation in fear and trembling, which is what I am doing right now. The struggle is a tough one at present.