The Child at Play

As an image of the Trinity, this one is hard to top. Is it the Holy Spirit? The Son? Well, the correct answer is "Yes" though we have to make some elaborate clarifications so as not to tip into heresy.

Thus says the wisdom of God:
"The LORD possessed me, the beginning of his ways,
the forerunner of his prodigies of long ago;
from of old I was poured forth,
at the first, before the earth.
When there were no depths I was brought forth,
when there were no fountains or springs of water;
before the mountains were settled into place,
before the hills, I was brought forth;
while as yet the earth and fields were not made,
nor the first clods of the world.

"When the Lord established the heavens I was there,
when he marked out the vault over the face of the deep;
when he made firm the skies above,
when he fixed fast the foundations of the earth;
when he set for the sea its limit,
so that the waters should not transgress his command;
then was I beside him as his craftsman,
and I was his delight day by day,
playing before him all the while,
playing on the surface of his earth;
and I found delight in the human race."

Brant Pitre from the Sacred Page unpacks this:

What do we say about Jesus? The Gospel of John says that he is the only begotten son (monogen─ôs). It never calls him the “created” Son. And secondly, in the creed, the Church takes that language and says about the Son:
“we believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of God, begotten of the Father from all ages (so notice, “begotten from all ages”, so he’s eternally begotten), God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten (that’s the Catholic faith), not made (that’s the Arian heresy).
So why do we say that every Sunday? Because we’re confessing one thing and rejecting something else. So if he was made (or created), then there was a time when he didn’t exist and he’s just a creature, which means he’s not true God. But if he’s begotten from all eternity, before all ages, what does that mean? That means he is eternally being begotten of the Father. In other words, he’s eternally (so-to-speak) “coming from the Father as a Son”. So the Father is always Father and the Son is always Son, and they’re both true God because they’re both eternal, divine persons. That’s what we’re confessing in the creed. So, on further reflection, I actually love that the Church picks Proverbs 8 for the 1st reading for this Feast of the Trinity, because it gives us an opportunity to explain who Jesus is as the eternal wisdom, as the eternal Son, who is eternally begotten of the Father, that never began. Although in our experience a son is begotten in time (he has a beginning), in the triune God, that “begetting” takes place from all eternity. Now, can we wrap our brain around that? No, because we can’t wrap our brain around eternity. But we can confess the truth of it, that there was never a time when he was not...https://catholicproductions.com/blogs/mass-readings-explained-year-c/the-solemnity-of-the-most-holy-trinity-year-c

Here it's clear that the child at play, or the master craftsman is the Only Begotten Son. Yet, I can't help going to this as a perfect image of the Holy Spirit, the action verb of the Trinity (Lover LOVING the Beloved), who is always depicted in motion: a dove in flight, a flame burning, a wind breathing, etc.

When we think of the child at play, taking delight in the creation all around, this is also an image of movement and action consistent with all the others depictions of the Holy Spirit in scripture.

When I teach it to children this way, not only do we eschew the whole explanation of Arianism, which is not at grade level, but they also gain an image of the Trinity that seems more relatable and more complete somehow: they know what it feels like to take delight in the world around them, and when they have those moments,  I hope they think of God.

The NRSVCE translation and its footnotes offer another way to chew on this infamous passage from Proverbs (taken from BibleGateway), especially footnote d:

22 The Lord created me at the beginning[a] of his work,[b]
    the first of his acts of long ago.
23 Ages ago I was set up,
    at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
24 When there were no depths I was brought forth,
    when there were no springs abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains had been shaped,
    before the hills, I was brought forth—
26 when he had not yet made earth and fields,[c]
    or the world’s first bits of soil.
27 When he established the heavens, I was there,
    when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
28 when he made firm the skies above,
    when he established the fountains of the deep,
29 when he assigned to the sea its limit,
    so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
30     then I was beside him, like a master worker;[d]
and I was daily his[e] delight,
    rejoicing before him always,
31 rejoicing in his inhabited world
    and delighting in the human race.

a.Proverbs 8:22 Or me as the beginning
b. Proverbs 8:22 Heb way
c. Proverbs 8:26 Meaning of Heb uncertain
d. Proverbs 8:30 Another reading is little child
e. Proverbs 8:30 Gk: Heb lacks his


Piety Explained

The active ministry of the Church – that is, building up the kingdom of God in the world – has a dark side to it. Martha complained to Jesus about the apparent laziness of her sister. Hence, we should not be surprised that those consumed by their ministry may speak ill of those who embrace works that appear “less active” than their own; namely, practices that may not appear to “help” anyone overtly. When the spirit of Martha is allowed to dominate, an unhealthy activism becomes the focus of the soul. Activism nurtures pride because it gives the impression that the activist is a kind of savior. Again, activism is always a serious issue in any life, which is why regular prayer (the spirit of Mary) is necessary for every minister in the Church. A remedy for activism is to never doubt the power of prayer and to meditate upon the words of Christ that “man does not live by bread alone” (Matthew 4:4).

Read the whole thing here--https://www.catholicstand.com/piety-the-heavenly-gaze-that-guides-our-earthly-journey/


Still Ascension Thursday

in my heart.

I wish the provinces hadn't decided to move it. It's a novena. Nine days.


Here are some good articles on the subject:

Mark Shea must have read my lesson plans this year-- https://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2019/05/ascension.html

This one is captivating on so many levels--https://www.crisismagazine.com/2019/science-and-the-ascension-of-christ

My favorite blogger-- http://blog.adw.org/2019/06/ascension-accomplish-us-homily-feast-ascension/


Semantics matters

How to mention your devotions to non-Catholics:

I pray the Divine Office:
I pray the Psalms at some points during the day just like Jesus and the Apostles did.

I pray the Rosary:
I meditate on the life of Jesus by praying the Angelic salutation in Luke’s Gospel.

I pray for the souls in Purgatory:
I invoke the redemptive power of the cross to help transform the departed for their union with God.

I pray a novena:
I put forth my petition before the “cloud of witnesses” who will help us finish the race (Hebrews 12:1).

I pray the Divine Mercy chaplet:
I invoke the cross for the outpouring of God’s mercy upon the world.

-according to Dr. Chandra 


Showing his cards

So, based on this exchange, is Pope Francis just a poorly formed theology student? Did he not read the correct textbooks? Did he fail to listen during the pontificates that preceded him? Will his pontificate be the last dying gasp of the "Spirit of Vatican II" or the beginning of the malformation of a whole new generation of poorly formed theologians?

“The way of understanding the faith today, after Vatican II, is different than the way of understanding the faith before Vatican II,” said Francis. “Because there was a development of understanding.”
The awareness of faith, the pope said, “grows with the years.”
“It is in continual growth,” he said. “Not change. It grows. It gets wider with time. It is understood better.”
“If I see that this, what we think now, is in connection with revelation, good,” said Francis. “But if it is a strange thing that is not according to revelation … it doesn’t work.”
“In the case of the diaconate, we have to see what was there at the beginning of revelation,” said the pope. “If there was something, let it grow, let it live. If there was not something … it doesn’t work.”
“We cannot go beyond revelation and dogmatic expressions,” he said. “We are Catholics. If someone wants to make another church, they are free to do so.”


Hope is a thing with feathers

that does, contra Emily, ask a crumb and whose origin is not unknown:

Since man always remains free and since his freedom is always fragile, the kingdom of good will never be definitively established in this world. Anyone who promises the better world that is guaranteed to last for ever is making a false promise; he is overlooking human freedom. Freedom must constantly be won over for the cause of good. Free assent to the good never exists simply by itself. If there were structures which could irrevocably guarantee a determined—good—state of the world, man's freedom would be denied, and hence they would not be good structures at all...
This great hope can only be God, who encompasses the whole of reality and who can bestow upon us what we, by ourselves, cannot attain. The fact that it comes to us as a gift is actually part of hope. God is the foundation of hope: not any god, but the God who has a human face and who has loved us to the end, each one of us and humanity in its entirety. His Kingdom is not an imaginary hereafter, situated in a future that will never arrive; his Kingdom is present wherever he is loved and wherever his love reaches us. His love alone gives us the possibility of soberly persevering day by day, without ceasing to be spurred on by hope, in a world which by its very nature is imperfect. His love is at the same time our guarantee of the existence of what we only vaguely sense and which nevertheless, in our deepest self, we await: a life that is “truly” life.  http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben-xvi_enc_20071130_spe-salvi.html

"It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view. 

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent
enterprise that is God's work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of
saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.

No prayer fully expresses our faith.

No confession brings perfection.

No pastoral visit brings wholeness.

No program accomplishes the Church's mission.

No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.

We plant the seeds that one day will grow.

We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development.

We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.

This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.

It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an
opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master
builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.

We are prophets of a future not our own." 


Divine Mercy

and the Fear of the Lord.

The greater the sinner, the greater the right he has to My mercy. 
Happy is the soul that during its lifetime immersed itself in the Fountain of Mercy, because justice will have no hold on it.
He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice.

How tenderly the Lord rebukes!


Darn tootin

The Stream makes a fascinating observation:

Third, the Motion Picture Association of America gave Unplanned an R rating. This strikes me as curious. After all, movies get an R rating for four reasons: sex, nudity, foul language, and violence. Of these four, Unplanned has only violence, which is an abortion scene depicted through an ultrasound.

But here’s the oddity. According to Hollywood, abortion does not involve the destruction of a human life, but merely the removal of tissue. Thus, if abortion is merely a surgical procedure, why would it be considered an act of violence? But on the other hand, if it is an act of violence, then the unborn cannot be considered merely a blob of tissue.

Here’s the bottom line: Either the unborn are human, and the movie deserves an R rating for violence. Or the unborn are not human, and so deserves a PG rating. The choice of an R rating suggests the MPAA knows abortion really is the destruction of a human life.

Read the rest.


Happy Catholic*: Not just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue

Happy Catholic*: Not just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue: When you sell a man a book you don't sell just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue - you sell him a whole new life. Love and friend...


St. Vincent Ferrer

who powerfully detailed five virtues revealed in Scripture that distinguish the sheep:

“simple innocence,
ample mercy,
steadfast patience,
true obedience,
and worthy penance.”


Also this:



All you need is

"Love is the only way we are going to win the war against abortion."
-Abby Johnson, in this interview with Crux

Blog Archive