Category Archives: religion

Quote for the Week

Lenten fasting is not the same thing in those lands where people eat well as is a Lent among our third-world peoples, undernourished as they are, living in a perpetual Lent, always fasting….

Let us observe our Lent thus, giving our sufferings, our bloodshed, our sorrow the same value that Christ gave to his own condition of poverty, oppression, abandonment, and injustice. Let us change all that into the cross of salvation that redeems the world and our people. And with hatred for none, let us be converted and share both joys and material aids, in our poverty, with those who may be even needier.

–Óscar A. Romero, in Let Us Be Today’s Christians”: The Words of Óscar Romero (2 MARCH1980); courtesy of Wikiquote.

Quote for the Week

A person of high virtue is not conscious of virtue and therefore possesses Virtue.A person of little virtue tries to be virtuous and therefore lacks Virtue.A person of high virtue does not make a fuss and is not seen.A person of little virtue always makes a fuss and is always seen.A truly good person functions without ulterior motive.A moralist acts out of private desires.A ritualist acts and, when no one responds, rolls up a sleeve and marches.When we lose the Tao, we turn to Virtue.When we lose Virtue, we turn to kindness.When we lose kindness, we turn to morality.  When we lose morality, we turn to ritual.Ritual is the mere husk of good faith and loyalty and the beginning of disorder.Knowledge of what is to come may be a flower of the Tao, but it is the beginning of folly.Hence, the well-formed person relies on what is solid and not on what is flimsy,on the fruit and not the flower.Therefore, such a person lets go of that without and is content with this within.

–Laozi, Dao De Qing (Tao Te Ching), chapter 38; courtesy of here.

A Prayer for Candlemas

Lord Jesus Christ,
You are the true Light
enlightening every soul born into this world.
Today we celebrate the feast of Candlemas.
Before Holy Mass,
the priest blesses the candles,
whose wax is the humming summer’s work of countless bees.
The flames of these candles
will shed their light upon the altar at the Holy Sacrifice.
Help us to realize,
this day and every day,
that our own humdrum daily work,
if it is done for love of You,
and in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass,
will be a supernatural work,
and will shine brightly before You for all eternity.
Help us realize, too,
each time we see the blessed candles at Holy Mass,
or at the bedside of the sick,
that they are a symbol of Yourself,
the Light shining in the darkness of this world.
Help us to live in that Light,
to make it our own,
and to kindle it in the souls of others,
increasing the area Of light
and lessening the darkness in the World This,
dear Lord, help us do,
through the merits of Your own dear mother, Mary,
who did everything for love of
You, from the moment she brought You into this world
till the day she joined You in the realms of light at her death.
Then we, too, working for You,
shall be light-bearers who will help to spread Your kingdom on earth,
and increase the number of those who dwell in heaven,
the city of eternal light.

Amen.

Courtesy of here.

Today is the Feast of the Presentation, also known as Candlemas.

A Prayer to St. Brigid of Kildare

Prayers

Hearth Keeper Prayer

Brigid of the Mantle, encompass us, Lady of the Lambs, protect us, Keeper of the Hearth, kindle us. Beneath your mantle, gather us, And restore us to memory. Mothers of our mother, Foremothers strong. Guide our hands in yours, Remind us how to kindle the hearth. To keep it bright, to preserve the flame. Your hands upon ours, Our hands within yours, To kindle the light, Both day and night. The Mantle of Brigid about us, The Memory of Brigid within us, The Protection of Brigid keeping us From harm, from ignorance, from heartlessness. This day and night, From dawn till dark, From dark till dawn.

hearth fire

Traditional Catholic Prayer to Saint Brigid

Saint Brigid.
You were a woman of peace.
You brought harmony where there was conflict.
You brought light to the darkness.
You brought hope to the downcast.
May the mantle of your peace cover those who are troubled and anxious, and may peace be firmly rooted in our hearts and in our world.
Inspire us to act justly and to reverence all God has made.
Brigid you were a voice for the wounded and the weary.
Strengthen what is weak within us.
Calm us into a quietness that heals and listens.
May we grow each day into greater wholeness in mind, body and spirit.

Amen.

Prayer courtesy of here.

Today is St. Brigid’s feast day.

Long Distance Eucharist?

As the coronavirus pandemic that has raged across the world for the last eight months continues with no clear end in sight, massive changes have been wrought in our society.  Not least among these has been the complete or partial closure of many churches.  Some have suspended services altogether; others have shifted to services streamed over the Internet; and others have provided drive-in services.  Many churches have been reopened for public services with restrictions (social distancing and use of masks) since the beginning of June; but many continue broadcasts of services for the benefit of those who prefer not to risk in-person attendance.

This unprecedented situation has been the source of much discussion, much of it political, but some theological.  I’m not interested in the political aspects of the situation at all.  On the other hand, in a discussion in the comments section of a blog I frequent, a very interesting theological issue came up.  This was in the specific context of Catholic services, to wit, the Eucharist at Sunday Mass.  The question was this:  When the priest says the words of consecration of the bread and wine to make them the Body and Blood of Christ, why would it not be possible for those watching at home to have their own portions of bread and wine, and for the priest to include the bread and wine of all home-bound parishioners in his prayers?  Could not everyone then receive Communion, even without having to come to Church?

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Quote for the Week

For all of the creeds are false, and all of the creeds are true;
And low at the shrines where my brothers bow, there will I bow too;
For no form of a god, and no fashion
Man has made in his desperate passion,
But is worthy some worship of mine;
Not too hot with a gross belief,
Nor yet too cold with pride,
I will bow me down where my brothers bow,
Humble, but open eyed.

–Don Marquis, The God-Maker, Man; courtesy of Wikiquote.

Angels, Devils, or None of the Above?

Having talked about angels and demons, I want to see if those beings exhaust all the non-corporeal beings that exist.  Typically, the Abrahamic religions tend to categorize all immaterial, incorporeal beings–what we’d tend to call “spirits”–as ultimately either angelic or demonic.  With the partial exception of Islamic jinn, there are no other categories envisioned.

Pagan religions, both ancient and modern, by contrast, have a bewildering variety of spirit-beings that cover the entire spectrum of morality from good to evil and everywhere in between.  As Jeffrey Burton Russel points out in The Devil:  Perceptions of Evil from Antiquity to Primitive Christianity, in most ancient religions, God (in this context, Russell uses the term “the god” in referring to the monotheistic deity) and the gods are morally ambivalent.  Gods and spirits might be helpful or harmful, good or bad.  Any given god might in fact be harmful or helpful, depending on the context.  The fickle behavior of the Greek pantheon is a perfect example of this, with even beloved and noble deities such as Athena being capable of spiteful and vindictive actions, as in the myth of Arachne.

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Quote for the Week

Everything abstract is ultimately part of the concrete. Everything inanimate finally serves the living. That is why every activity dealing in abstraction stands in ultimate service to a living whole.

–Edith Stein (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross), Essays on Women; courtesy of Wikiquote.

Quote for the Week

We men have one book in common which points to God. Each has it within himself, which is the priceless Name of God. Its letters are the flames of His love, which He out of His heart in the priceless Name of Jesus has revealed in us. Read these letters in your hearts and spirits and you have books enough. All the writings of the children of God direct you unto that one book, for therein lie all the treasures of wisdom. … This book is Christ in you.

–Jacob Boehme, Explaining his symbol of the Tetragrammaton within the human heart, in Libri Apologetici (1730), Book I, as quoted in The Secret Teachings of All Ages (1928) by Manly P. Hall, “The Human Body in Symbolism”; courtesy of Wikiquote.

Quote for the Week

When you come down to it, has there ever been a genuine polytheism? Even Homer supposes a sort of fundamental unity of the divine that permits the gods to identify themselves as gods, even when they dwell far from one another (Odyssey 5.79ff). What the [monotheistic] revelations bring is, rather, the end of a “cosmotheism” that makes no radical distinction between the divine and the physical.

–Rémi Brague, interviewed by Christophe Cervellon and Kristell Trego, from Rémi Brague, The Legend of the Middle Ages, University of Chicago Press, 2009, pp. 1–22; courtesy of Wikiquote.