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Showing posts from November, 2017

Mystagogy Reading: The Cross: Word and Sacrament

Reading The Cross: Word and Sacrament is a continuation of my reading the Bibliography from Stratford Caldecott's The Seven Sacraments: Entering the Mysteries of God as personal mystagogy.

Adrienne von Speyr's The Cross: Word and Sacrament (Ignatius Press 1983) is a profound reflection on Jesus’ Last Words after he is Crucified. She connects each saying from the depths of his suffering sacrifice to one of the Sevens Sacraments. These reflections connect the Paschal Mystery to the sacramental life and mission of the Church bringing new fruit to meditation on both.

The book is very short (63 pages) and could be read in a single sitting, but each chapter deserves at least a day of reflection and prayer each. I see myself returning to this time and time again in the week leading up to Good Friday, devoting each day to the sacramental fruits of these mysteries. With an RCIA group sufficiently Catechized, I would also consider using this as the primary guiding text for a Holy Saturda…

The Daily Examen

The Daily Examen, bringing the events and encounters of your day to prayer, is an ancient practice exhorted nigh universally among the Catholic spiritual writers I've read. Those who write about the Examen consider it an indispensable tool of growth in the spiritual life, and so all should strive to make it a part of their spiritual exercises. As such, it is one of the spiritual practices to be done by Servants of the Secret Fire.

The examen is sometimes also referred to as the Examination of Conscience, but I tend to avoid that term when talking about the Daily Examen, for the Examination of Conscience is a term I associate with preparation for Sacramental Reconciliation. One should make a thorough examination of one's conscience, especially with regard to one's sins before Reconciliation, and reflecting on one's sins is a part of the Daily Examen, but it is not limited to that, while the Examination of Conscience before Reconciliation would not include all that the …

Ah, Hell!

When Jesus is asked  “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He answers “Strive to enter through the narrow door" nicely dodging the question for those who love precision about such things. (Lk 13:23 & 24) John in his vision strives to see how many have been saved while granted a glimpse of heaven, but is likewise thwarted a census when the number is that "which no one could count." (Rev 7:9) Was it a small fraction of the seething multitude of the total human population over time? Was it everybody? No straight answers are offered.

Stuck in our desire to be in the know about who and how many will be saved, we're often presented with two viewpoints well illustrated by two early theologians. Origen erred on the side of Universalism, that in the long run EVERYBODY gets saved (apokatastasis), even the fallen angels, including Satan. So powerful is God's mercy and the saving power of the Cross that no creature can resist it. This opinion was condemned by the Ch…

Catechism philology

Terms or phrases from the Catechism of the Catholic Church the editors wanted to make sure you knew in Hebrew [Hb], Greek [Gk] or Latin [Lt]. Aeiparthenos - [Gk] the "Ever-virgin", title of Mary (CCC 499) Akathist - [Gk] hymn of praise in the Eastern Liturgies (CCC 2678) animi cruciatus - [Lt] (affliction of spirit) and compunctio cordis (repentance of heart) (CCC 1431) auriga virtutum - [Lt] "the charioteer of the virtues"; i.e. Prudence (CCC 1806) bara - [Hb] the verb "create" - always has God for its subject (CCC 290) basileia - [Gk] can be translated by "kingship" but often translated Kingdom, as in "Kingdom [basileia] of God" (CCC 2816) Dominicus character - [Lt] "the seal of the Lord" (on us) (CCC 1274) Ecclesia domestica - [Lt] "the domestic church" i.e. the family (CCC 1656) epiousios - [Gk] (epi-ousios) "super-essential"; translated as "daily" in the Lord's Prayer. The Catechism points out i…

Prayer in Benson's Lord of the World

Fascinated by Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson's description of Fr Percy's prayer in The Lord of the World. [H]e hid his face in his hands, drew a couple of breaths, and set to work.  He began, as his custom was in mental prayer, by a deliberate act of self-exclusion from the world of sense. Under the image of sinking beneath a surface he forced himself downwards and inwards, till the peal of the organ, the shuffle of footsteps, the rigidity of the chair-back beneath his wrists--all seemed apart and external, and he was left a single person with a beating heart, an intellect that suggested image after image, and emotions that were too languid to stir themselves. Then he made his second descent, renounced all that he possessed and was, and became conscious that even the body was left behind, and that his mind and heart, awed by the Presence in which they found themselves, clung close and obedient to the will which was their lord and protector. He drew another long breath, or two, …