Daily Archives: May 1, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI's Homily for Beatification of John Paul II

In his Testament, the new Blessed wrote: “When, on 16 October 1978, the Conclave of Cardinals chose John Paul II, the Primate of Poland, Cardinal Stefan WyszyÅ„ski, said to me: ”˜The task of the new Pope will be to lead the Church into the Third Millennium’”. And the Pope added: “I would like once again to express my gratitude to the Holy Spirit for the great gift of the Second Vatican Council, to which, together with the whole Church ”“ and especially with the whole episcopate ”“ I feel indebted. I am convinced that it will long be granted to the new generations to draw from the treasures that this Council of the twentieth century has lavished upon us. As a Bishop who took part in the Council from the first to the last day, I desire to entrust this great patrimony to all who are and will be called in the future to put it into practice. For my part, I thank the Eternal Shepherd, who has enabled me to serve this very great cause in the course of all the years of my Pontificate”. And what is this “cause”? It is the same one that John Paul II presented during his first solemn Mass in Saint Peter’s Square in the unforgettable words: “Do not be afraid! Open, open wide the doors to Christ!” What the newly-elected Pope asked of everyone, he was himself the first to do: society, culture, political and economic systems he opened up to Christ, turning back with the strength of a titan ”“ a strength which came to him from God ”“ a tide which appeared irreversible. By his witness of faith, love and apostolic courage, accompanied by great human charisma, this exemplary son of Poland helped believers throughout the world not to be afraid to be called Christian, to belong to the Church, to speak of the Gospel. In a word: he helped us not to fear the truth, because truth is the guarantee of liberty. To put it even more succinctly: he gave us the strength to believe in Christ, because Christ is Redemptor hominis, the Redeemer of man. This was the theme of his first encyclical, and the thread which runs though all the others.

When Karol WojtyÅ‚a ascended to the throne of Peter, he brought with him a deep understanding of the difference between Marxism and Christianity, based on their respective visions of man. This was his message: man is the way of the Church, and Christ is the way of man. With this message, which is the great legacy of the Second Vatican Council and of its “helmsman”, the Servant of God Pope Paul VI, John Paul II led the People of God across the threshold of the Third Millennium, which thanks to Christ he was able to call “the threshold of hope”….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Preaching / Homiletics, Roman Catholic

(Dem. Gazette Ed.) Funerals and weddings And a book for all seasons-and all time

[This] is that book for all occasions, that word for all seasons called the Book of Common Prayer. It may be none too common now, and was exceptional even when first recited, yet it still speaks to each of us when each of us most needs to be spoken to. Amen.

So what was your favorite part of the royal wedding?

Yes, we know, we weren’t going to watch all that royal folderol, either. Not us. Not us republicans, revolutionaries, no longer fighting for the rights of Englishmen but striding like a new, liberated and liberating breed on the face of the Earth: Americans. What has all that pomp and circumstance got to do with us any more?

And yet, from the first blare of the bugles and the click-clack of horses pulling the royal carriage, from the first view of Westminster Abbey and Big Ben, something stirred throughout thewhole English-speaking world-wherever Shakespeare and the King James Bible and, yes, the Book of Common Prayer are still read. And wherever the old words can still break through the cloudbank called modernity. And all eyes turned once again to that sceptered isle, that royal throne of kings. The sun shone again.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Book of Common Prayer, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Poetry & Literature, Religion & Culture

A NBC Video Piece on the Tuscaloose Tornado Featuring Reginald Eppes among others

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Religion & Culture

Notable and Quotable III–Reginald Eppes on his experience in the Tuscaloosa Tornado

[MICHELE] NORRIS: So when you described this, the wall came down, and you said your boy just zoom.

Mr. [REGINALD] EPPES: Yes. When…

NORRIS: Just was pulled out of the opening created by the wall. What happened?

Mr. EPPES: It was like somebody just had a slingshot on him, a rope or a rubber band and had traction on that rubber band and pulled him away. It was just that quick. And you could see nothing. You just feel I got – I think I got hit by the washing machine because that’s what I could see beside me because I got fractured ribs and a deflated lung from it….
[Later] We – when I got on the ambulance and came in to the hospital, my wife, she went back out and surveyed the place. And there’s nothing on the -there’s nothing on our concrete. There’s nothing.

NORRIS: Just a concrete slab.

Mr. EPPES: Just a concrete slab, you know, and then, I tell you, I’ll tell you this. I felt really bad for a lot of people who lost lives. I have my son, and I lost all my material stuff, all that’s gone. But, dude, I feel great, you know, with my kids and my wife are still here. And I do know that my wife I nor I would have lost any of our faith behind the incident if we lost any of our children.

–From an NPR story posted on Friday and quoted by yours truly in this morning’s sermon

Posted in Uncategorized

Notable and Quotable (II)–Aristides on the Early Christians

But the Christians, O King, while they went about and made search, have found the truth; and as we learned from their writings, they have come nearer to truth and genuine knowledge than the rest of the nations. For they know and trust in God, the Creator of heaven and of earth, in whom and from whom are all things, to whom there is no other god as companion, from whom they received commandments which they engraved upon their minds and observe in hope and expectation of the world which is to come. Wherefore they do not commit adultery nor fornication, nor bear false witness, nor embezzle what is held in pledge, nor covet what is not theirs. They honour father and mother, and show kindness to those near to them; and whenever they are judges, they judge uprightly. They do not worship idols (made) in the image of man; and whatsoever they would not that others should do unto them, they do not to others; and of the food which is consecrated to idols they do not eat, for they are pure. And their oppressors they appease (lit: comfort) and make them their friends; they do good to their enemies; and their women, O King, are pure as virgins, and their daughters are modest; and their men keep themselves from every unlawful union and from all uncleanness, in the hope of a recompense to come in the other world.
Further, if one or other of them have bondmen and bondwomen or children, through love towards them they persuade them to become Christians, and when they have done so, they call them brethren without distinction. They do not worship strange gods, and they go their way in all modesty and cheerfulness. Falsehood is not found among them; and they love one another, and from widows they do not turn away their esteem; and they deliver the orphan from him who treats him harshly. And he, who has, gives to him who has not, without boasting. And when they see a stranger, they take him in to their homes and rejoice over him as a very brother; for they do not call them brethren after the flesh, but brethren after the spirit and in God. And whenever one of their poor passes from the world, each one of them according to his ability gives heed to him and carefully sees to his burial. And if they hear that one of their number is imprisoned or afflicted on account of the name of their Messiah, all of them anxiously minister to his necessity, and if it is possible to redeem him they set him free. And if there is among them any that is poor and needy, and if they have no spare food, they fast two or three days in order to supply to the needy their lack of food. They observe the precepts of their Messiah with much care, living justly and soberly as the Lord their God commanded them. Every morning and every hour they give thanks and praise to God for His loving-kindnesses toward them; and for their food and their drink they offer thanksgiving to Him. And if any righteous man among them passes from the world, they rejoice and offer thanks to God; and they escort his body as if he were setting out from one place to another near. And when a child has been born to one of them, they give thanks to God; and if moreover it happen to die in childhood, they give thanks to God the more, as for one who has passed through the world without sins. And further if they see that any one of them dies in his ungodliness or in his sins, for him they grieve bitterly, and sorrow as for one who goes to meet his doom.

Such, O King, is the commandment of the law of the Christians, and such is their manner of life. As men who know God, they ask from Him petitions which are fitting for Him to grant and for them to receive. And thus they employ their whole lifetime. And since they know the loving-kindnesses of God toward them, behold! for their sake the glorious things which are in the world flow forth to view. And verily, they are those who found the truth when they went about and made search for it; and from what we considered, we learned that they alone come near to a knowledge of the truth. And they do not proclaim in the ears of the multitude the kind deeds they do, but are careful that no one should notice them; and they conceal their giving just as he who finds a treasure and conceals it. And they strive to be righteous as those who expect to behold their Messiah, and to receive from Him with great glory the promises made concerning them. And as for their words and their precepts, O King, and their glorying in their worship, and the hope of earning according to the work of each one of them their recompense which they look for in another world,-you may learn about these from their writings. It is enough for us to have shortly informed your Majesty concerning the conduct and the truth of the Christians. For great indeed, and wonderful is their doctrine to him who will search into it and reflect upon it. And verily, this is a new people, and there is something divine (lit: “a divine admixture”) in the midst of them.

The Apology of Aristides, XV-XVI, read by yours truly in Adult Sunday School class this morning

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History

Notable and Quotable (I)–Viktor Frankl

“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how.”

–Viktor Frankl (1905-1997), quoted by yours truly in this morning’s sermon

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Pastoral Theology, Philosophy, Psychology, Theology

(CNS) Pope Benedict beatifies Pope John Paul 'because of his faith'

“John Paul II is blessed because of his faith — a strong, generous and apostolic faith,” Pope Benedict XVI said May 1 just minutes after formally beatifying his predecessor.

Italian police said that for the Mass more than 1 million people were gathered in and around the Vatican and in front of large video screens in several parts of the city.

Many in the crowd had personal stories about seeing Pope John Paul or even meeting him, and Pope Benedict ended his homily at the Mass sharing his own personal story.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, History, Other Churches, Poland, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

In Tornado Zone, Many Ask, ”˜How Can We Help?’

Although emergency officials have cautioned people to not simply show up with trucks or cars filled with donations, Elisabeth Omilami, executive director of the Hosea Feed The Hungry and Homeless program in Atlanta, already had a couple of truckloads of water and toiletries ready to take to churches in Alabama.

“Why would you say don’t send stuff?” she asked. “How much can you hurt another family by giving them clothes when they don’t have any?”

Other people are doing what they can. Grocery stores set up trucks in parking lots to hand out free water. Amy Audette, a special effects makeup artist in Los Angeles who grew up in Alabama, started soliciting donations of food and clothing via her Twitter account. She said she would send whatever she gets to family in the state to distribute.

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Posted in * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Almighty God, who broughtest again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the glorious Prince of Salvation, with everlasting victory over sin and the grave: Grant us power, we beseech thee, to rise with him to newness of life, that we may overcome the world with the victory of faith, and have part at last in the resurrection of the just; through the merits of the same risen Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.

–The Book of Common Order

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.Once you were no people but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy but now you have received mercy.

–1 Peter 2:9-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CNS) For many, Pope John Paul's humanity made him a more accessible saint

During public ceremonies, Pope John Paul put people at their ease, often with a sense of humor. When he held hands and danced onstage with young people in Australia in 1986, one of the girls began to cry. The smiling pope hugged her and said simply, “Don’t worry.”

Carl Anderson, the supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, was impressed with the way Pope John Paul patiently greeted the sick and disabled at his public events, chatting with them one by one and blessing them. He was not going through the motions; he was interested in them.

“These were small actions that were not necessary and not expected. It was something he was doing that was different, personal and made that person feel very special with the encounter,” Anderson said.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, History, Other Churches, Poland, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(LA Times) Syrian forces told to use 'any means necessary' to crush rebellion in Dara

Syrian security forces besieging the flashpoint city of Dara have been ordered to use “any means necessary” to crush the rebellion that sparked the weeks-long uprising against the regime of President Bashar Assad, a Syrian military source said Saturday.

The claim by the military official, who has provided accurate information in the past, could explain the violent response of Syrian security forces in Dara over the last two days, which resembles the take-no-prisoners strategy used by Assad’s father, Hafez Assad, to put down a 1982 rebellion in the central city of Hama.

“There have been commands to attend to the situation in Dara as soon as possible and with any means necessary,” the military source told The Times in a brief conversation conducted over the Internet. “Even if this means that the city is to be burned down.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Foreign Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Politics in General, Syria, Violence

The Verger Does Cartwheels at the Royal Wedding

Watch it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Church/State Matters, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Laity, Parish Ministry

Christopher Clift Chimes in on the Royal Wedding

Sir, I have just watched the royal wedding on television, and I can only hope that those politicians, of whichever party, who were either at the ceremony or watched the televised coverage, appreciate the contribution of music to the entire occasion. Military bandsmen, fanfare trumpeters, choristers, orchestral musicians and organists, all worked to make the occasion such a splendid event. Imagine it without a single note of music.

From a letter to the editor in today’s (London) Times [subscription required] (emphasis mine).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Church/State Matters, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Music, Parish Ministry