Archive for November 2010

Hearing the Word

November 26, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI devotes Section Nos. 86 & 87 of his recently released Verbum Domini to the topic of lectio divina, usually translated “divine reading” or “sacred reading.”  In “The Love of Learning and the Desire for God,” Dom Jean LeClercq OSB teaches a bit about the history of the lectio part of lectio divina:

What does this consist of?  How is this reading done?….in the Middle Ages, as in antiquity, they read usually, not as today, principally with the eyes, but with the lips, pronouncing what they saw, and with the ears, listening to the words pronounced, hearing what is called the “voices of the pages.”  It is a real acoustical reading….When Peter the Venerable was suffering from catarrh, not only was he no longer able to speak in public, but he could no longer perform his lectio….This proves how true it was that the act of verbalizing was not divorced from the visual.  The latter was accompanied spontaneously by the movement of the lips, and the lectio divina was necessarily an active reading.

More recently, this was taught by Fr Mark Kirby in his instructions for lectio divina:

Lectio…is the sacred text read aloud in order to become the Word heard.
(…)
Read the appointed text audibly.  Text becomes Word when you hear it.

I suppose that the next best thing to reading the Scriptures yourself would be having them read to you by someone else.  When I facilitated a parish bible study, rather than having one of the participants read the chapter aloud, I would have us listen to it read eloquently by Alexander Scourby, employing my 25-year-old cassette tape set of him reading the Scripture.   Now, I have the opportunity to upgrade from my old tapes to this recently released CD set:

RSV-CE !  And dramatized by famous actors!  Can’t wait!!

Fr McKernan to speak at prayer meeting

November 22, 2010

One week from today, on Monday, Nov 29th, the local prayer groups of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal will unite to hold their quarterly Regional Prayer meeting at St Mary’s School auditorium, Hawthorne & Spring Sts, in Avoca.  The prayer meeting, which begins at 7:30pm, will include songs of praise, personal testimony, and a teaching by Guardian of the Redeemer CMF Chaplain, Fr Leo McKernan, based on his recent experience of preaching a retreat for the Missionaries of Charity at their Motherhouse in Calcutta.  Following the prayer meeting, refreshments will be available for a time of fellowship.  All are welcome.

Website vs Facebook

November 19, 2010

That’s the choice that biz guru Guy Kawasaki addresses in this article.  Very interesting.

Albert the Great

November 15, 2010

Today the Church remembers St Albert the Great.  Back in March, Pope Benedict devoted one of his General Audience teachings to St Albert.  Albert was extremely gifted intellectually, and did not allow his gifts to go to waste.

Prior to his detailed account of St Albert’s life, our Holy Father highlighted some reasons why Albert was able to achieve excellence in the different areas of his life:

God often speaks to us in the years of our youth and points out to us the project of our life. As it was for Albert, so also for all of us, personal prayer, nourished by the Lord’s word, frequent reception of the Sacraments and the spiritual guidance of enlightened people are the means to discover and follow God’s voice.

New initiative for liturgical formation

November 13, 2010

Zenit has announced a new, biweekly series of articles entitled “Spirit of the Liturgy” to help us better understand the Church’s liturgy:

Having received various requests, we have decided to experiment this year with a piece that is more accessible, as will be noted by the greater brevity of the articles and of the further reduction of the number of references and notes. This choice sacrifices, on one hand, the just desire of the columnists to furnish more details and references on the topics treated; but, on the other, we hope that it can favor a wider diffusion of our reflections, so as to be able to reach a larger number of readers.

A better understanding of the liturgy enhances our ability to have a personal encounter with our Lord during our participation in it.  Well-done liturgy also helps to teach the faith.

Sanctity

November 10, 2010

I was trying to pray this evening, but kept nodding off.  So I decided to catch up on some internet reading.  (Can’t stay awake one hour with Jesus, but I have no problem on the worldwide web…what does that say about me?!)  Here are a few things that caught my attention:

In his All Saints Day homily, Pope Benedict dropped this brief definition of holiness on us:

Sanctity, to imprint Christ in oneself, is the objective of a Christian’s life.

Clear.  Direct.  Succinct.  “To imprint Christ in oneself.”

His teaching on St Bridget of Sweden a couple weeks ago contained this line about St Bridget’s husband:

Together with his wife, Ulf learned to improve his character and to advance in the Christian life.

I know he was speaking generally and summarizing, but it somehow implies an all-too-easy graceful ascent to sanctity.  So does this line that the monks of Christ in the Desert monastery heard from Abbott Jerome Kodell OSB who is leading their annual retreat this week:

One of the statements of Abbot Jerome during our retreat struck me very much. The statement is something that probably all of us already know at one or the other level in our lives, but to which we don’t always give much attention. He said simply that all of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures can probably be summed up with these words of God:  “I am with you. I love you. Trust me.”

True, of course.  Yet, while sounding incredibly simple, it is extremely difficult to keep in mind and to live.  We are so prone to put ourselves at the center and take control.

So just how do we “imprint Christ” in ourselves?

When Pope Benedict was fielding questions from some youth recently, he gave them this advice:

Dear children, dear young people:  being “big” means loving Jesus very much, listening to him and talking to him in prayer, meeting him in the sacraments, in Holy Mass, in confession; it means getting to know him more and more and also letting others know about him, it means standing with our friends, the poorest ones too, the sick ones, to grow together.

Ahhh, we begin to see that there’s some hard work involved, and grace to be begged.  We can’t just run ourselves through some kind of spiritual copier to have Christ imprinted in us.  From that same group of youth, one of their teachers solicited instruction from our Holy Father, and was told:

I would say that being educators means having a joy in your heart and communicating it to all to make life beautiful and good; it means offering reasons and objectives for the journey of life, offering the beauty of the person of Jesus and making others fall in love with him, his way of life, his freedom, his great love full of confidence in God the Father. It means above all always keeping the goal of every existence high toward that “more” that comes from God. This demands a personal knowledge of Jesus, a personal, daily, loving contact with him in prayer, in meditation on God’s Word, in fidelity to the sacraments, to the Eucharist, to confession; it demands communicating the joy of being in the Church, of having friends to share not only problems but also the beautiful things and surprises of the life of faith.

So, let’s get to the task of imprinting Christ in ourselves!

On parish closings

November 9, 2010

Msgr Pope’s post this past Sunday on church closings was very relevant to what’s currently happening in our diocese.  Some of the comments were very insightful, too.