Friday, November 16, 2007

Go see "Bella"!

I received this via email and decided to post it here rather than forwarding it...
Go see Bella! It is a fine movie with a strong family, pro-life message. When studios produce quality movies that do not rely on the typical Hollywood gutter conventions, we have to go out an support them. This is a way of "voting" for the kind of media culture that you want--a culture of love and life, or one of lust/sin/death. I will post a review of Bella (saw it last Sat.) shortly...

check out the film's website (and locate theatres that are showing the film):
From Eduardo Verastegui,
lead actor and Producer of film "Bella"

URGENT!!---- Bella is the #1 Top Rated Movie in the US but If the movie "Bella" does not have high box office scores this weekend

Because of your help the distributor is doubling the number of theaters showing Bella
We can do it again and make it to the #1 busiest box office weekend of the year....Thanksgiving weekend.

It is "do or die" for this film to succeed.
We need to mobilize everyone we know to watch this film Fri-Sunday (Nov 16-18). Why?
This is what we need from you to do today, in the next 48 hours.
How You Can Help Bella:
Email this to everyone you know!

Click on the link below to see all the ways you can help

Together we can make a difference!-Eduardo Verastegui

Labels: , ,

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Poetry Break (The Victor Lives in Me)

It has been a while since our last one...

The Victor Lives in Me

What confidence we have
in laying claim to the Blood of the Lamb
A foolish boldness
A wreckless audacity
Almost a holy arrogance
That is born of abandoning myself
To the one who humbled himself

To call it confidence is far too little
Hope can sound too much like a concept
To a simple man
Left face down in the muck
Body bruised and barely breathing
Yet gasping in joy and exaltation
To hear the accuser finally cast out!

Choir of angels and saints in awe of this upset
The triumph of the
Victor who fought for me!

A mercenary of light
Hired by the Father
His wage the Father’s Glory
And the hearts of those the Father gives Him
Dumb and hard-hearted I hardly know Him
Though he comes to me often

He won not only this cosmic battle
He won my life as well
And so I live no longer I
But the Victor lives in me!

Labels: , ,

Friday, November 09, 2007

an interesting film: saints counsel a young boy on how to deal with found money

Just watched an interesting British movie entitled "Millions" (2005) available on Netflix:

Netflix description:

Acclaimed director Danny Boyle posits a tantalizing question in this engaging film: What happens when two boys stumble upon a cache of cash? Damian (Alex Etel) and his brother, Anthony (Lewis McGibbon), find a satchel filled with British pounds, but with the country just days away from switching to the Euro, they must quickly find a way to spend and share the wealth. Trouble is, Damian wants to give to the poor, while Anthony aims to live it up. Rated PG; 1 hr, 38 min., 2005

My remarks:
This is a decent film with an interesting premise: saints appear to a boy to give him advice in what to do with a moral problem (how to spend found money). The youngest son, Damian, who knows and loves the saints the same way many boys can spit out the stats off of the baseball cards of their favorite players (Damian identifies the saints who appears to them and states the years they lived or their patronage). St. Clare of Assisi, St. Francis, St. Joseph, and St. Nicholas all appear to Damian in some funny scenes (though it is odd to here St. Clare with a British accent, just as it is odd to see her casually smoking a cigarette--in heaven, would such run-of-the-mill vices be the mark of our joy, peace, and freedom?).
Actually, I think that the scenes with the saints could have been more developed--there is a lot of clever things they could have done.
Still, this is an interesting take on how money can seem at first like the answer to prayers only to cause greed, division, and further conflict. Damian's character finds the money (bound to be destroyed by the government as they make the switch to Euro) when a burglar throws the bag of British pounds off of a train. The money falls into Damian's play fort and he assumes that it came from God. Damian feels that his mission is to give the money to the poor--which, as he finds out, is not as easy to do as one would think. Damian's brother Anthony uses the money to buy expesive gifts and impress his school friends. Finally, the father finds the money and must conquer his own demons, and decide between greed or doing the right thing.
One caveat: St. Peter has a conversation with Damian about how much of an impact one person's well-intentioned actions can cause. He then recounted the story of the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves. He actually spewed out the tired old historical-critical interpretation: Jesus did not ACTUALLY multiply the loaves. Rather, he encouraged all those around him to shed their selfish hoarding and share the bread they had hidden under their cloaks. THAT, he pleads, was the REAL miracle. And I roll my eyes.
All in all, some good themes, and, if select highlight scenes are shown, could be good for classroom catechesis.
The movie is PG and is free from foul language (to my recollection), and excessive violence. There is one short scene where the boys see a coumputer add for bras that makes visible a woman's breast. Lastly, there is a scene where the widower father is in bed with a woman that he meets who befriends him and the boys (no visible nudity, just the implication of a pre-marital fornication).

Labels: , , , ,

Pharmacists told to check their conscience at the door

Whatever happened to "do no harm" in the medical profession?

Via American Papist blog again:

"New Jersey Forces Pharmacists to Dispense Abortifacient Drugs Regardless of Conscience"

"Another domino falls:

The state of New Jersey has passed a law denying the conscientious objection right of pharmacists, won in other states through lengthy court battles, to refrain from dispensing abortifacient and contraceptive drugs.“Discussions of morals and matters of conscience are admirable, but should not come into play when subjective beliefs conflict with objective medical decisions,” said state Sen. Joseph Vitale, D-Middlesex, a bill sponsor.

The decision comes just days after Pope Benedict XVI gave his support to pharmacists worldwide who reject the culture of death in their profession. “Pharmacists must seek to raise people's awareness so that all human beings are protected from conception to natural death, and so that medicines truly play a therapeutic role,” the pope said on Monday.

He called the right of conscientious objection, “a right that must be recognized for people exercising this profession, so as to enable them not to collaborate directly or indirectly in supplying products that have clearly immoral purposes such as, for example, abortion or euthanasia.”

The New Jersey law was passed in the context of numerous battles in courts and legislatures between pro-abortion governors and pharmacists fighting for conscience rights currently raging across the US. - LifeSiteNews

Once again, I reiterate. "

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Time Magazine and Christianity Today Rethink the Bible on Divorce, Separation, and Remarriage

The American Papist blog has an interesting review of an article in the recent issue of Time magazine regarding a growing flexibility among evangelicals when it comes to interpreting the Bible on the subject of divorce. Check it out:

Time Magazine Rethinks Scripture on Divorce, Separation and Remarriage

The fact-pattern: Christianity Today publishes an article entitled "When to Separate What God has Joined: A Closer Reading on the Bible on Divorce" which attempted to revise the biblical teaching on these questions so that it could be reconciled to the modern prevalence of divorce in secular societies well as Evangelical circles.

David Van Biema covers the story for Time magazine, and it has become one of the most popular articles being read on the Internet.My take:A false assumption plagues this piece from the outset (all underlining mine):

Last month, the cover story of the monthly Christianity Today was titled "When to Separate What God has Joined: A Closer Reading on the Bible on Divorce." The heated controversy provoked by the story showed how Biblically flexible some Evangelicals can be — especially when God's word seems at odds not just with modern American behavior, but also with simple human kindness. Catch that? Jesus' teaching on marriage doesn't seem to square even with "simple human kindness." Jesus' historical teaching that husbands cannot put away their wives and thereby marginalize their subsistence was actually contrary not only to "modern American behavior" (the new normative guide to morality?), but also to "simple human kindness." You know, the stuff that's just darn evident to everyone. Cruel Jesus, making husbands keep their wives.

From the beginning the author operated upon the false premise that Jesus' teaching on marriage required all spouses to remain with their husbands no matter what. This false premise appears again in the second paragraph:
Finally, Instone-Brewer tallies four grounds for divorce he finds affirmed in both Old and New Testaments: adultery, emotional and sexual neglect, abandonment (by anyone) and abuse.

What is in fact allowed in these cases is separation (which no one would argue, if the grounds for separation are legitimate). Remarriage is an entirely different question, but don't expect Van Biema to present that consideration.Errors quickly compound as Van Biema's inability to distinguish separation from "divorce" play-out:

... the Instone-Brewer essay appeared to be its editors' attempt to offer Evangelicals an escape from a classic dilemma. The "plain sense" of Jesus's words without quotes seems clear enough, but also inhumane: how could a loving God forbid divorce, even by omission, in cases of wife-beating, or of abandonment by a Christian spouse?

See above. Jesus isn't teaching that women should stay in an abusive marriage. Perhaps the "plain sense" of scripture mentioned here isn't enough. That's no surprise. But it's wrong to conclude that a holistic reading of the biblical accounts contradicts the "plain sense" teaching of Jesus against divorce, when accurately understood.

Next it really gets good (by which I mean, of course, bad):

Each branch of Christianity deals with divorce in its own way: Catholicism bans it entirely, but many divorced and remarried couples nonetheless find that their conscience permits them to take Communion.

Error count rising. "Catholicism bans [divorce] entirely." False. Legal divorce which results in the de facto separation of spouses is allowed, and even suggested to spouses in an abusive relationship. Van Biema happily constructs a straw-man of the Church's teaching. And it's easy to destroy a straw-man. And it's rare to find anything but straw-men in this treatment.

Second error: "Many divorced and remarried couples nonetheless find that their conscience permits them to take Communion." Well, receiving Communion isn't only a matter of "finding oneself permitted." If one has remarried after a divorce, and has not received an annulment from their marriage, the Church presumes that they are committing fornication, which as a mortal sin, bars the communicant from receiving until they have confessed.

Amazingly, the article even quotes someone who brings up the significance of remarriage:

If a split itself is inescapable, notes Christianity Today editor Andy Crouch, "remarriage is where the rubber meets the road," and many remarried couples find themselves denied church membership.

It remains inextricable to me why Van Biema didn't claim something along the lines of "nonetheless, many Evangelicals find that their conscience permits them to remain part of their church." Such flawed ecclesiology evidently applies to Catholics - why don't Evangelicals get the same (false) primacy of conscience option?

Van Biema seems to have encountered at least one person who realized that he wasn't going to understand the problem, but incredibly, Van Biema takes this reticence to discuss the issue as some sort of "gotcha!":

Asked if he does [believe that an abused woman should leave the marriage], Moore demurred: "Let me think about that for a little bit. I could answer in a way that would be very easily misunderstood."

I don't think the interviewee was demurring because he thought his answer was incorrect, I think it is more likely the case that he didn't want his words twisted. Well, they were anyway.

Van Biema wraps it all up for us:

Still, the controversy suggests that even the country's most rule-bound Christians will search for a fresh understanding of scripture when it seems unjust to them. The implications? Flexibility on divorce may mean that evangelicals could also rethink their position on such things as gay marriage, as a generation of Christians far more accepting of homosexuality begins to move into power....It could also give heart to a certain twice-divorced former New York mayor who is running for President and seeking the conservative vote. But that may be pushing things a bit.

The message: when scripture doesn't square with a) your pre-conceived categories of justice, or b) the practice of individuals or c) could get in the way of your presidential-hopefuls candidacy then...Rethink scripture.

Oh! And hey, while we're at it, we can revise what the scriptures teach about homosexuality and "gay marriage". Isn't it amazing what new vistas of human self-fulfillment are available to those who ...Revise scripture.

(A note to Christianity Today: when Time Magazine starts agreeing with you, that's a warning sign.)

Update: And of course, if we want to be cynical about it (not saying we don't), this article is handily presented by Time just as Rudy Giuliani begins to take increasing flack for his multiple remarriages (this claim is supported by the fact that the Christianity Today article is evidently over a month old already) . And who, you might ask, is dishing out the Giuliani criticism? *drum roll* ... that's right: evangelicals and social conservatives! So what better time than the present to paint them as hypocrites? And hey, if we can call into doubt the teaching of Scripture on homosexuality, then all the better. Forget rethinking or revising, let's just forget it."


Some more background to the question of DIVORE & REMARRIAGE:

Jesus revealed that Moses allowed divorce in Dueteronomy 24:1-4 as a temporary provision because of "hardness of... heart" (Matt 19:7-9). But Jesus restored God's original plan of indissoluble marriage (Matt 19:3-9); therefore, the Catholic Church continues to teach that a valid marriage between a baptized man and woman cannot be dissolved for any reason except death. It can't be ended by a civil divorce (or even by an annulment, which is not "Catholic divorce" but rather the determination a marriage was not valid in the first place.) Some Protestants claim that Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9 allow exceptions to Jesus' teaching on indissolubility: 'whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity [porneia in original Greek], and marries another, commits adultery" [Revised Standard Version]. Here, porneia is used in a technical senes to forbid incestuous marriages among close relatives (as in Acts 15:20 and 1 Cor 5:1). Those illicit unions are not valid marriages in the first place. Note that not a single Greek-speaking Church Father ever saw in Matthew 5 and 19 exceptions to Christ's law of indissolubility. Until Martin Luther declared that marriage was only a civil union in 1520, all Christians unanimously held that marriage is indissoluble and that divorce from a legitimate marriage cannot be followed by remarriage.

-Taken from The Bible Thumper - Vol. 2: Sacrament, Morality, Afterlife [pamphlet on the Scriptural basis for Catholic beliefs; Jim Burnham, Brian Butler, and Matthew Pinto authors; Ascension Press; - ]

Labels: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Meeting the Monk Within

An article from America Magazine [ ] passed on to me...
Like a Cedar of Lebanon
Meeting the monk within
Michael G. Rizk OCTOBER 29, 2007

E lias’s room contains not much more than old prayer books with frayed pages, statues, bread wrappers and a hat—remnants of his simple life here. I’m sitting at Brother Elias’s desk in his damp, abandoned hermitage. It’s a 15-minute walk through the woods to the monastery where he lived as a Trappist monk for 16 years. Elias was given permission to move here, where he lived as a hermit for the next 15 years until his death in 1985. I prayed upon my arrival, read some, and with the wind blowing gently, dozed a few minutes on the floor. A summer breeze cools me from the warm noonday sun.

This hermitage is where my spiritual journey began. In the summer of 1973, I had just been made promotion director for United Artists Records and was living life in the fast lane of rock ’n’ roll. Music, drugs and free love were everywhere. I stopped going to church and was running spiritually on empty. I felt independent, important and successful, yet inwardly aching.

One day, after working a late evening rock concert the day before, it occurred to me that the monk in my family was only an hour’s drive away. I took out a map and headed south, the radio blasting. Pulling off the exit toward the monastery, I suddenly turned off the radio and absorbed the silence—as I do now in this abandoned hermitage.

Just who was this monk? Born in 1922 to Lebanese immigrants, George Morad grew up on the west side of Cleveland and attended St. Elias Church. In his large family, George was the most popular of all the cousins. After finishing high school he held many different jobs, including a stint as an amateur prizefighter. Well respected and known to be a gentleman, he was also a very worldly man about town. If there was a party, George would be at the center of it, drinking the whiskey he could consume in huge quantities and charming the women who gravitated toward his warm personality.

When World War II erupted, George became a marine. Though his cousin, my uncle, lost a leg to shrapnel, George returned from the war unscathed, ready to resume his life of whiskey and women. George and his cousin were swimming at the Y.M.C.A., when George, complaining of chest pain, was rushed to the V.A. hospital. The doctors didn’t expect him to survive his heart attack, so a priest was called to give George the last rites. He was 29 years old.

Years later, George told me that the priest would not give him absolution because he was not truly sorry for his sins. That’s when George received his wake-up call from God. Though not fully recovered, he was released from the hospital. Armed with heart pills and a newfound fear of the Lord, he promptly broke off his engagement with a woman, left his job and family and traveled to Lebanon. For six months he traversed the country on foot, visiting the villages outside Beirut, where his parents were born. He returned from this odyssey to Cleveland and, telling no one but his priest and his mother, boarded a bus early one morning for the Abbey of the Genesee in western New York State.

At the monastery George immersed himself in the simple, austere life of a novice monk. While he worked as a cook and a carpenter and prayed regularly, his soul was reborn and his spirit renewed. His heart was strengthened. George threw away the pills and grew in the knowledge of God. He also took the religious name of Elias, the fiery prophet in the Old Testament. For many years only his mother came to see him. The rest of the family felt he had abandoned them. As the years passed, however, more and more people from Cleveland joined his mother in her yearly three-day visit. George had shown by his perseverance that he was serious about this monk business.

I pulled into the abbey drive, parked the car and walked slowly up to the reception area, where a man in black-and-white robes greeted me. When I asked where I could find Brother Elias, he promptly told me that he was a hermit and was allowed no visitors. But I explained that I hadn’t seen George since I was six years old and that my father and he were cousins. I had driven here out of my way and might not have this time again. That was enough for this monk, who motioned me closer and whispered to me while looking over his shoulder. “Don’t tell the abbot I told you, but go up this dirt road to a path that will lead you into the woods; at the crest of the hill turn right; when you see a green bench keep walking till you see a small hermitage; there you’ll find Brother Elias.” I smiled and chuckled to myself as I slowly proceeded up the road, “Don’t tell the abbot....” I wouldn’t know one if I saw one.

My mind started to race as I proceeded deeper into the woods. What should I say? How should I act? What am I doing in these woods? Then I grew quiet. At a distance there appeared what seemed to be a hut set back on a hilltop. I slowed down, taking it all in. But everywhere I turned, no monk.

I began rustling the leaves, making noise just in case he was around. I did not want to startle a hermit. I finally made it to the crest of the hill, my heart pumping faster, and walked around behind the dwelling. I stopped short; 12 feet ahead I saw the back of a man in long black-and-white robes. The sun reflected off his shaved head. He stood erect with his arms and hands apparently moving. I assumed he was praying.

The image of a monk in continual prayer—was I hallucinating? I stood and stared, frozen in my tracks for what seemed an eternity. Finally, he turned and spat. So much for visions. He had been eating an orange! Our eyes locked in silence. I spoke, introducing myself, and saying my father’s name. When his bearded face broke into a wide grin, he called my name, “Michael, Michael,” as he came toward me, arms outstretched for a magnificent bear hug.
He said we must say a prayer so that the Holy Spirit would join us in this reunion feast. I had never prayed spontaneously with another person; my prayer had always been ritualized with formulas and books. But this was as natural as talking.

I found Elias, at 50 years of age, to be the happiest of men, his face radiating youth and timelessness. Compared with all the rock stars I had been around, Elias, with his great black forest of a beard, shaved head, flowing robes and sparkling eyes, was authentic, the real thing! I was struck. Many of the people I had been working with appeared to be happy and full of joy, but most of the time that energy was drug-induced. By contrast, this monk’s joy came from a place deep within. It was contagious.

Brother Elias showed me his home. I followed him down a short path filled with the summer’s wildflowers and came to a small front porch with a chair and table with books and a writing pad on it. He opened a screen door, and I entered one large room partitioned into three sections. His prayer room had a small altar with a crucifix and icons on either side of the Blessed Mother and Jesus. He showed me his sleeping room. Because of his back trouble, the abbot had supplied him with a small mattress to soften the flat board on which he had grown accustomed to sleeping. There was a statue of the Virgin above a mat he used for yoga and exercise. His garden produced vegetables; his water came from the rain gathered into a barrel from the roof. His toilet was a pit outside.

We sat and talked. His warmth and receptivity made me feel safe. I opened my heart and shared with him my love of music and the spirit of freedom it now gave me. In conversing with this heart-centered monk, I found myself speaking and retelling my story from a new perspective, an honesty about my life that had been missing. I felt good. When I told him about the Beatles and their effect on my generation, a quizzical look came upon his face. He was unaware of them. I explained that these four young men from Liverpool, England, were even bigger than Elvis. He stopped me—Elvis? Wondering how far back I had to go, I mentioned the sensation Frank Sinatra had caused in the ’40s. That struck a chord and Elias understood my idol worship.

Then it was time for lunch: tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers from Elias’s garden, with bread, cheese and a tasty peach for dessert. I had not realized how famished I was. After a lifetime of striving to have more, how satisfied I was now with less.

After lunch, we walked. Elias paused many times to praise God and his abundant creation. He invited me to stay at the guesthouse. I told him with regret that I could not. Something deep inside me knew I would be coming back here. Soon it was time to leave. The spirit of hospitality and welcoming that Elias had shared enveloped me, and I knew I had found something new and deep within myself that I didn’t have to let go of ever again.

As I sit now in Elias’s hermitage, this memory has become my strength. Silence and quiet times in prayer help me to stop talking and start listening to God instead.

During my last visit with Elias, he told me that he, a man who had turned away from the world to be with God alone, living a good and simple life, was now facing death. He was suffering from lung cancer. As my tears welled up, I tried to be light, saying that since he would soon be in the cemetery I would not have to come back to the monastery to visit him. He smiled, but pierced me with his eyes, “You’ve not been coming here to visit me; you know why you come to the monastery.”

I have concluded that a potential monk lives inside each of us, inspiring and listening and praying with us to God. Brother Elias, a hermit of the Genesee, enlightened me to the monk within, and I encountered the deepest part of myself—the self that wants to love unconditionally, the self that wants to forgive and show compassion to all people, the self that is aware that every person is a mysterious part of God, that we all form the mystical body of Christ. To meet that self, one inevitably must meet many false selves; like an onion, the person we think we are now will be peeled away, sometimes with tears of pain and other times with tears of joy.

If silence and solitude take you deeper into yourself, if a monastery is the place that will allow this…then go…do it. But if you cannot get to a monastery, then “go to your room, close the door and pray to your Father who is unseen. And your Father who sees what you do in private, will reward you…” (Mt 6:6).

Michael G. Rizk, a lector and eucharistic minister at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church in Boca Grande, Fla., makes yearly retreats at the Abbey of the Genesee, in Piffard, N.Y.

Labels: , ,

Monday, November 05, 2007

'Turn to the Fathers', suggests theologian

courtesy of news

A Turn to the Fathers: Interview With Father Robert Dodaro

ROME, OCT. 28, 2007 - There is a need to bridge a gap between the Fathers of the Church and the modern developments in theology, says a patristics scholar.

Father Robert Dodaro, director of the Augustinian Patristic Institute at the Pontifical Lateran University, sees cause for optimism in this field, as he detects a trend toward more scholarly attention on the Church Fathers.

Father Dodaro says that the study of the Fathers is the way to discover the answers to the problems the Church faces today.

Q: What are the difficulties limiting the number of students at the Augustinian Institute?

Father Dodaro: The greatest problem is the insufficient knowledge of Greek and Latin, and the lack of familiarity with classical studies. To prepare the students to take on the texts of the Fathers in their original languages, we began a prerequisite course of intensive Latin and Greek three years ago.
This year there are also supplementary classes on ancient Roman history, classical literature and ancient philosophy. As you can imagine, students do not study these subjects adequately in institutes and universities. Thus, the low levels in classical studies are for us the greatest challenge.

Q: What do you think about the relationship between patristic and modern theology?

Father Dodaro: During Vatican II it was decided that the updating of theology and Church praxis demanded a turning toward the wise patrimony of the Fathers of the Church. For this reason, the Servant of God Pope Paul VI wanted an institute of patristic studies in Rome. But today's theology seems to have set out on another path distinct from the ever-more-distant gate of tradition and, therefore, while the scholars of the Church Fathers investigate the historical context of the theology of the Fathers, today's theology withdraws from its origins. The Church today needs to confront the question of the relationship between patristic and dogmatic theology.

Q: Perhaps the Fathers existed too long ago?

Father Dodaro: No, the Fathers are very current. Theirs is a beautiful spirituality, and a liturgical and theological fashion. The general public is fascinated with it, and sales of the patristics -- even with translated texts -- are high. There is a living interest. The problem is that the theologians are unconvinced about the Fathers' teachings.

Q: You confirm that, among readers, there is an interest in the Church's origins and especially in the patristic era, although many of these works are academic and little known. The challenge is, perhaps, maintaining a high academic level while making the content of the Fathers accessible?

Father Dodaro: This is another of the challenges to which we are trying to respond. The question is how we can offer the treasure of Patristic theology and spirituality to Catholics. From this point of view, I feel proud when I see many of our graduates dedicated to translating, even after earning licentiates and doctorates.

These students and alumni work with publishing houses well-known for these types of works. I'm also surprised at the blooming of patristic studies in Italy. Today, Italy is on the forefront in researching, studying and disseminating the patristic authors not only because we find in Rome the Patristic Institute, but also because there is widespread interest among the state universities, where we have friends and collaborators.

For example, Italy's Città Nuova publishes a collection of patristic books, something that doesn't exist in all Western countries, although the trend is spreading throughout the world. Some alumni are dedicated to trans lating patristic texts even into Korean. I think the spread of these works can help local Churches respond to pastoral demands.

Therefore, we need texts translated into the many languages so people can study and deepen their knowledge of the Fathers. Then, courses are needed in the various spirituality and theology institutes. Bishops should challenge seminarians and young priests to study the Fathers of the Church.

Q: If you had to persuade youth to study the Fathers, what argument would you use?

Father Dodaro: I would speak about St. Augustine. But apart from that example, I would say: Take the 10 greatest and most difficult problems in today's Church, choose whichever ones you want, and then try to compare them to those the Church Fathers develop. In the classic patristics, you will find the roots and responses to whatever controversy the Church must confront today. This is the importance of the Church Fathers.


Some websites with content from the Church fathers:

Labels: ,

Friday, November 02, 2007

Faith and Hard Work

Fr. Thomas Loya has a radio show entitled "Light of the East" which addresses issues surrounding the Eastern rite of the Catholic Church (I listen via podcast) [ ]. These broadcasts also feature a regular segment entitled "Words of Wisdom, Faith, and Mystery from the Monk's Cell". The following is my written transcript from broadcast 152, dated 8/26/07 (I also took the editorial liberty of adding relevant Scripture citations to many of Father Maximus' points--these appear in brackets [ ]):

Matins this morning was hard work. It was hot last night, humid. So much for the dry heat in the desert. I did not sleep well. Four a.m. came very early. 'Oh God,' I said, does it have to be so hot?

Well, the Fathers have something to say about this. "Perseverance" they called that virtue. Work, putting in effort. This is how we invest ourselves in what is important. It is not about earning [Eph 2:8], it is about valuing what we receive. It is not about earning, it is about owning [1 Tim 6:12]. By work, taking risks, risking perhaps that what we are doing will not bear fruit [Mt 25:24-25], at least not immediately [Mk 4:26-29]. By putting in effort we come to value what God has given us. One of the fathers of the desert described the monks' life as nothing but toil. But the same can be said for any life in this world--husband, wife, parent, employee, anyone who labors to build up the Kingdom--it's all toil [Mt 11:28-30; Eph 5:22-27; etc.]. St. Isaac the Syrian said 'toil for God's sake and sweat in his husbandry precede hope in him.' It is not enough to believe in God [James 2:19; 1 Cor 13:2; Mt 7:21]. Faith has need of labors also [James 2:14-26; Gal 5:6]. And confidence in God is the good witness of the conscience born of undergoing hardships for the virtues.
-Fr. Maximus
Holy Resurrection Monastery - Newbury, California

Labels: , ,