Coffee & Canticles
Part of this title…
1. There is no Chik Fil A near my home. The nearest one was 67 miles away in Erie, PA. Luckily, today was a perfect day for a beach trip, and the beaches of Lake Erie are lovely. Find a spot where you can’t see the opposite shore, and there you are, enjoying an ocean horizon, with much warmer water, little or no smell of decaying seaweed, and a shallow sandy shelf with gentle waves.There’s no safer seaside for families . So we threw a pile of towels and a blanket in the trunk and were off…
2. …to 7160 Peach St., Erie, to preface our beach trip with a stand for religious freedom and traditional marriage. Not by marching, fasting, or praying, but –au contraire–by stuffing ourselves with fast food. Waffle Fries! Peach milk shakes! Fried chicken breast on a bun! Let me tell ya’, this is way easier than persecution, prison, or even the March for Life. I expect to be involved in lots of direct action in the coming year. God grant that lots of it takes this particular form.
3. The most frequent comments made/heard: a. “Oh, I”m Sorry! Ecxuse me! b. Oh no–that’s okay, you couldn’t help it!”,always accompanied by smiles, as we sardine-packed customers kept involutarily bumping into one another.
4. Next most frequent comments made/heard: :a.”Isn’t this wonderful?”b. ”Do you suppose it’s like this at other Chik Fil A’s? c. “Yes, I’ve seen photos on Facebook–its like this everywhere.”
Had to share my favorite painting of St. Anne by my favorite artist.
And also, the official hymn for today’s feast, according to the Roman breviary. …
Daytime Prayer for this feast of St. Anne & Joachim had a seasonally appropriate image that I’d like to share:
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream:
It fears not the heat when it comes,its leaves stay green;
In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit.…
Watching the leaves on my trees folding up to conserve their moisture, and my potted porch plants wilting in our current Northeast heatwave, it’s easy to appreciate Jeremiah’s analogy for doubt and fear vs. trust in God. We all have times when we doubt God’s goodness, or providence, or even His existence. Or we see the Church under assault from within and without and wonder…will the Church really last to the end as Jesus promised? Is it possible we’ve all been fooled into believing myths spun around a Galiliean teacher who was just that, but no more?
And then, in times of pain, there’s always…”how can a loving God permit etc,,etc.?”
We all feel that way now and then. Sometimes for only a fleeting moment. Other times, for a longer period. We don’t exactly lose faith.But we do start to wilt a bit.
The thing to do is stretch out our roots a bit closer to that stream. Acts of Faith. An extra rosary. Fortifying spiritual reading.
Welcome, new blog followers “Encourager”, Timothy, and Terri. And welcome …
He had failed as a bishop. Hard to admit, but there it was. Less than three years on the job in his diocese, and it was obviously hopeless. Despite hours of prayer. Despite his skill as a preacher. Despite a gift for winning friends and influencing people that had opened doors for all of his priestly career. Up until now.
After some years as auxiliary in a large diocese, Bishop Peter had finally been given one of his own. True, it wasn’t quite the plum diocese he might have expected given his qualifications, but no matter. “Go where you’re sent” is the motto for every good priest, and Bishop Peter certainly hoped he was that. This was the years just following the Second Vatican Council. Bishop Peter wanted his diocese to be a model of implementing church reforms while maintaining complete fidelity to church doctrine and discipline. Since he himself had participated during the Council sessions, he felt qualified to do this.
It didn’t turn out that way. Quite the opposite. This would not be the first time that a holy man, filled with evangelizing zeal and gifted at theology, didn’t fare too well as a bishop. Whatever his other gifts, Bishop Peter was not the most gifted administrator. The tenor of the times didn’t make things any easier, what with dissenting theologians, a mass exodus from the priesthood and religious life, and one very confused laity. So rather than bring progressives and traditionalists together, Bishop Peter managed to displease both sides.…
This was a question that was seriously discussed in high school through college through seminary catholic theology classes during the seventies. Seriously. It was. I was there.
And the answer the teachers led us to was generally ”No”. Or–get ready for the subtle nuance, here– not at first. Not when he was an infant. Nor as a child, or a young man. He (probably) figured it out eventually sometime between his baptism by John and the resurrection. But like the rest of us earnest and angsty adolescents of the boomer generation, it took a while for Jesus to find himself.
The fact that you don’t hear of clergy floating this idea very often any more tells me that the Catholic Church really has made progress in leaving post-conciliar silliness behind.
But gather ’round, children, while I ease my creaking back into my rocker and tell you a true story. Seems like only yesterday I heard a cassette tape recording of a seminary prof–later to become a bishop–lecturing on the text, Who do men say that I am? According to this teacher, Jesus was asking the question not in order to give his disciples a chance to profess their faith. He asked them because he hadn’t quite figured it out himself and was looking for information! So when Peter made his response–you are the Christ–Jesus was hugely relieved.
And this prof’s commentary on Blessed are you, Simon son of John ?…
My pastor, Father Skip Davis, gave his “Fortnight for Freedom” sermon this weekend. It deserves to be shared far beyond the confines of our rural Pennsylvania parish. I begged Father for his notes and did a little summarizing and editing, but hope this conveys the power of this message.
Father began by mentioning the expression, “Christmas in July”, and letting us know we were going to observe that today, and that in his opinion, no Christmas observance would be complete without at least a little bit of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. He then described the scene with the ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, quoting the text to describe the terror-inspiring appearance of the third spirit. Next, he reviewed the conversations Scrooge overheard: all the hints that Scrooge refused to see for what they were, so that at last, when the moonlight in the cemetery reveals his own name on a tombstone, Scrooge found it utterly shocking and unexpected.
At this point, Father stopped to assure us, that yes, all this was a hook to get our attention, but not to worry—it really was going somewhere. He went on:
“In 1962, a law was passed in this country. Engel vs. Vitale. It’s the law which removed pubic prayer from the public school system. Basing its position on a perhaps misinterpretation of the first half of the First Amendment to the US Constitution– that the federal government should have no law respecting the establishment of religion– it pushed for and succeeded in having publicly led school prayers declared illegal.…
The liturgical hours for the Nativity of John the Baptist–starting with tonight’s evening prayer I–contain a string of antiphons which, read straight through, provide in themselves an excellent devotional on the conception, birth, and mission of the “greatest man born of woman”. Reading ahead to the antiphons for tomorrow’s vespers reminded me of why there is a traditional custom of lighting bonfires on this night: John was like a brilliantly shining light, says the third antiphon. Not to mention the daily repeated Benedictus where Zechariah, the prophet of the prophet, calls his little baby a light to reveal You to the nations.
Of course, the bonfires predate the Baptist. It’s one of those pagan customs co-opted by the Church when she co-opted Midsummer Night, exorcising its demons and baptizing whatever was harmless merriment. Now that the mighty prophet John owns June 24th, we can safely laugh at demons, fairies, leprechauns, and the other assorted lower classes of fallen angels thought to inhabit forests, rivers, meadows, and underground caves. Hence the fitness of Shakespeare’s comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. …In this story, fairies take advantage of the power they have on this night to inflict magical love spells on hapless mortals who fall into the crossfire of a dispute between the King and Queen of the fairy kingdom. The redeemed can safely laugh at such things, since they have no reason to fear them.
Weather and zoning law permitting, light a bonfire tonight or tomorrow nght in honor of St.
“Nothing can come but what God wills. And I am very sure that whatever that may be, however bad it may seem, it shall indeed be the best.” -from a letter written in prison to his daughter, Office of Readings
St. Thomas More is the patron of the Fortnight for Freedom, therefore it is fitting to use his office today (everything in the proper of saints and Common of Martyrs) rather than the weekday. Fitting both for us in the United States as well as our brethren in Canada, whose bishops have also begun to stir in defense or badly eroded religious liberty
If you neglected More today and did the regular office, at least go back to the Office of Readings and see his letter to his daughter, Margaret, quoted above. Thinking of St. Thomas today, and asking his intercession in regard to our troubles, will help us put things in perspective: at this point in the United States, we are still only at the level of experiencing what a popular meme would call “first world Catholic problems.” Yes, we should work hard and fight, with all the tools that a free people have, against what the government is doing. At the same time, realize that we don’t have it so bad compared to what happens to many Christians around the world this very day. This is not China. This is not Egypt. This is not Mexico in 1920. …