Archive for June 2009

On the blood of martyrs…

June 30, 2009

From the Annals of Tacitus (56-125 A.D.)

Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.

Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man’s cruelty, that they were being destroyed.

The Torches of Nero, by Henryk Siemiradzki

The Torches of Nero, by Henryk Siemiradzki

For more, read on and click the picture to get a more detailed version.

Chagrined

June 30, 2009

I read Psalm 26 this evening and got stopped cold in my tracks:

“Search me, O Lord, and try me; test my soul and my heart.”

I immediately thought, “Please, don’t.  I already know what you will find.”

Saint Shemp

June 30, 2009

I heard about this recently and didn’t realize it was tongue in cheek.  You won’t find him in Butler’s lives of the saints.

Shemp was born in the 19th century, circa 1895 AD in the region called Brooklyn.  Not much is known about his early years, but with his brothers, he grew in faith in his God-given talents to amuse others.  He regaled many thousands over many years in ministering to God’s people through his gift of comedy.  In an age of mass transportation he combatted his fear of flying in flying machines and self-propelled vehicles, yet travelled far and wide to entertain.  He died suddenly of an ailment of the heart, and his remains are interred in a cemetery in the vincinity of Our Lady, Queen of the Angels Portiuncula.  He is often depicted in iconography with a comic face, his fingers in the typical “two-finger eyepoke” pose.  He is the patron of those with a fear of planes, automobiles, and dogs.

Saint Shemp

Saint Shemp

Courtesy, The SaintCast

Gettin’ into the Word

June 27, 2009

I spent some time this evening doing some lectio divina on Sunday’s Gospel reading.  If you’re interested, make the jump to read my thoughts.

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Caption Call

June 26, 2009

Saw this at American Papist and I couldn’t Resist

What captions can you come up with?  I like Am. Papist’s “Free Ingulgences at the Vaticay today!”

Apatheia = ??

June 24, 2009

I was listening to Fr. Maximos of Holy Resurrection Byzantine Monastery recently, and I thought I’d pass on some of the Lumen Orientale:

It says a lot about our culture in that we have no word that can properly translate one of the most important terms for the Holy Fathers of the early church.  The word in greek “Apatheia”.  That attitude we should have toward everything and everyone.  The closest we can come in english is “passionlessness” or “indifference” or “apathy”; but none of these come close to expressing what was for the Holy Fathers an essential condition to our Theosis — to our becoming saved.

The only way we can do it in English is coming at the word Apatheia from its opposites.  And English has an embarrasing wealth of options in this regard.  Instead of looking at things with apatheia, we can use them — consume them – acquire them — hoard them — exploit them — manipulate them.  We do all these things to people, to their bodies, and to their personalities; to animals, to things, to everything in our experience in this world.  We have no word for how to treat things as God commands us to, in English.  We have no word for Apatheia because we have forgotten how to see things as God does.  Not in so far as we can use them; but as they are in themselves.  We have forgotten how to love.

That’s why He comes to us in His church, in His church services, in His sacraments.  Through prayer, through acts of mercy, through fasting, through love — by all these God trains us and retrains us to see everything as He does;  so that we can live with Him, like Him, unto the ages of ages.

Especially for parents of teens

June 24, 2009

It’s always interesting to hear the advice of reasonable Christian parents who have ‘finished’ raising their teenagers.  On Father’s Day, one such parent, the Internet Monk, who also works with teens on a daily basis, posted such advice.

Amy Welborn, who blogs at Via Media, has a gift for nailing the ‘money quote’ in anything she reads, and did just that:

Wake up and start living a life that can’t be explained except for the fact that Jesus is your Lord and you follow him.