Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Apostolic Fathers

Just ordered my copy of this new DVD for Steve Ray.

We're doing a study on the Church Fathers in our Men's Group this Fall (via Mike Aquilina book "The Fathers of the Church"
B16 used his Wednesday Audience to share the teachings of St. Gregory of Nyssa, a 4th century Early Church Father.
I'm looking forward to exploring these early teachers of the Church.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Dark Night of the Soul...

I've been reading the reaction to the Mother Teresa story in Time Magazine for a few days now. I've read both shock at this supposedly new revelation and I've also read everything from some down right rude comments and thoughts to some very compassionate and enlightening explanations about this mystery of faith described as the "dark night of the soul"

Most of us have felt this in ever so brief moments. I know I experienced a sliver of it at different times in my life. When I lost my job and woke up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, wondering how I was going to support my family. Or when my wife was in the hospital and all kinds of thoughts ran through my mind. that feeling of "...where is God, please don't leave me now."

But those thoughts never lasted more than a few days and, thank God for his goodness, everything turned out just fine.

Now to have that feeling for the length of time Mother Teresa had it, and still have the strength to go forward with her work, well I'm just in awe.

To me, it makes me realize that knowing Jesus isn't just when I'm feeling happy and joyous. It's knowing that He's present when I'm not happy or joyous. That when all seems at their darkest, God is still there and I'm not abandoned, even if I don't feel it.

I don't know if that makes sense. When I contemplate on the sacrifice of our Lord and try to understand the pain he endured for me; maybe Mother Teresa came closer to understanding that than most of us. The time in the Garden of Gethsemane with Jesus in prayer; maybe Mother Teresa came to know that loneliness in prayer that Jesus felt.

While reading the various posts online I found Carl Olsen (InsightScoop) had a good posting so I recommend going there for some good insight.

UPDATE: Just found this on Jimmy Akin's site (The Arctic Night of the Soul).

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Anne Rice Vote

Not that I really care whom she votes for. Everyone will vote his/her way according to their personal beliefs as to what they see in the next President of the United States.

What I do care about is when one professes to be Christian (Catholic) and Pro-Life and use that as a justification to vote for a 100% Pro-Death (For Abortion Candidate).

... Just doesn't make sense to me. Some where the wires got crossed.

"I'm pro-life and that's why I'm voting for Hillary Clinton"... Boy I just don't know about that one.

Okay, I know about her resent conversion to Catholicism so I can kind of (... and I'm really trying hard here) to understand she might not know about the Catholic Churches ( and all Christians should) stand on Abortion, but to go public on your "Official Website" with this.

I have heard many anti-abortion statements made by people who are not Democrats, but many of these statements do not strike me as constructive or convincing. I feel we can stop the horror of abortion. But I do not feel it can be done by rolling back Roe vs. Wade, or packing the Supreme Court with judges committed to doing this. As a student of history, I do not think that Americans will give up the legal right to abortion. Should Roe vs Wade be rolled back, Americans will pass other laws to support abortion, or they will find ways to have abortions using new legal and medical terms.

And much as I am horrified by abortion, I am not sure -- as a student of history – that Americans should give up the right to abortion.

I am also not convinced that all of those advocating anti-abortion positions in the public sphere are necessarily practical or sincere. I have not heard convincing arguments put forth by anti-abortion politicians as to how Americans could be forced to give birth to children that Americans do not want to bear. And more to the point, I have not heard convincing arguments from these anti-abortion politicians as to how we can prevent the horror of abortion right now, given the social situations we have.

Again, I believe the Democratic Party is the party that is most likely to help Americans make a transition away from the abortion crisis that we face today. Its values and its programs --- on a whole variety of issues --- most clearly reflect my values. Hillary Clinton is the candidate whom I most admire.


Will someone close to her please sit down and have a nice charitable conversation?

China Bans Reincarnation....?

Here's a one I've never heard before...

"The Chinese Communist dictatorship has now reached into the afterlife – authorities have banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission."

I guess if you’re a buddhist monk and you've reincarned into a grasshopper, dog or cat and you didn't ask permission from the Chinese Govermenet first, you could find yourself in insect prison or worse..... the pound. :-)


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Out with the Old and in with the New...

Looks like a couple of my daily blog visits have new blog locations:

Katerina of Evangelical Catholicism - NEW BLOG: Civilization of Love

Amy of Open Book - NEW BLOG: Charlotte was Both

Make a visit...

The Assumption

Today is the Solemnity of the Assumption of The Blessed Virgin Mary. A holy day of obligation.

I found this article at the Catholic Exchange website: The Spirit and the Assumption : Deificaton and Vatican II

The Second Vatican Council only promulgated two dogmatic constitutions: Dei Verbum (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation) and Lumen Gentium (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church). Stating this is not meant to downplay the other constitutions and documents of the council. Rather, it is to highlight key opening passages found in a dogmatic context. Certain repeated passages at the start of these dogmatic constitutions beckon the faithful to renew their evangelical pronouncements and catechetical methods by incorporating a recovery of the biblical and patristic understanding of deification (in Greek: theosis) into the New Evangelization.

Byzantine (Greek Catholic and Orthodox) theology, spirituality, and catechetical tradition has always centered on the near-symmetry that "God became man so that man might become God" (cf. CCC#460). The pronouncement balances and encompasses the wider meaning of "salvation" and the purpose of the Incarnation as defended by Saint Athanasius against the Arians. In the East, catechetical reiteration upon "participation in the divine nature" (2 Pet 1:4) and "becoming God" by grace was always standard fare. In the West, the symmetry was never lost but the doctrine seemingly waned catechetically from the time of the 14th Century until the 20th Century. Nevertheless, the heart of the matter was always maintained in Western mystical theology, especially in Saint John of the Cross, and known implicitly in Marian devotion and study. Liturgically, at the Offertory, we still hear, "By the mingling of this water and wine, may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity."

See ya at Mass...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Church Father's

I've been studying up on the Church Father's in preparation for our upcoming Men's Fellowship fall session at our parish.

I've been reading a book by Mike Aquilina I hope to use. "The Fathers of the Church - An Introduction to the First Christian Teachers"

The book is great, not too heady and easy to read... right up my ally. The Church Fathers bring so much depth and insight to how the early church formed. Boy, talk about standing on the shoulders of giants, those first eight centuries were so crucial.

With the guidance of the Holy Spirit and Jesus' promise to protect his church "and no evil shall prevail over it", these men of God kept the gospel true.

Another source that's come to my attention is the new video/study guide by Steve Ray " The Apostolic Fathers".

(Steve Ray's Blog)

It's still hot in my hand - right off the press, well, right out of the DVD burner! The Apostolic Fathers, Handing on the Faith is done and I am on my way to Ignatius Press to show it to them and get their final approval before we make copies for everyone else! Here is what the cover will look like.
I showed this DVD to family and friends last night. They all praised it as our best one yet. My daughter is a philosopher and her husband a theologian. They both said it was great. It is 93 minutes long, very fast-paced, full of information, humor, good music, interesting effects and bloody martyrdoms.
The Study Guide will be finished this week and I expect to have this DVD ready for delivery no later that October 1. I think it is our best documentary yet and my prayer and expectation is that it will make many Catholics confident and excited about the Catholic Church and it will also bring many others home. It will be a great gift for Protestants to help them understand their roots and why it is the Catholic Church that has the continuity all the way back to the Apostles. I am very anxious to get this one out there.

Update 8/4/07: Ignatius Press loved it! It is approved and going to captioning, printing and replication. I just finished writing the Study Guide - 28 pages!! Watch for this one some time in September 2007.

Sounds promising. Hope to pick this up when it comes out. The Book is good though. Pick up a copy. Over at you can read an excerpt...


Thank you so much for your prayers for my friend who pasted away last week.

... I also took my Father in for surgery on Thrusday and on Friday my wife's grandfather pasted away as well.

... that's the reason for the spotty blogging.

thank you

WestCoastCatholic +<><


I found this nifty sacraments chart over at Steve Ray's blog. It's pretty cool, check it out...


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Bridge Tragedy

Prayer's for the victims of the Bridge tragedy...
...I ask for your prayers for a friend of mine that will pass away anytime now.

WCC +<><

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Priest Arrested in China..

More persecution in China..

XIWANZI, China, JULY 29, 2007 ( Four priests have been arrested and detained for refusing to join the Patriotic Association, the government body that oversees religious practice in the country.

Three of the priests were arrested July 24, at the home of Catholic faithful in the Ximeng region of Inner Mongolia, the Cardinal Kung Foundation reported.

Father Liang Aijun, 35, Father Wang Zhong, 41, and Father Gao Jinbao, 34, were hiding in order to avoid arrest, but were finally caught by eight plainclothes men.

During the initial phase of the arrest, the priests were locked up in a cage, prohibited from talking to anyone and refused water. They have now been transferred to an undisclosed location.

The fourth priest, Father Cui Tai, 50, of Shuangshu Village, Zhuolu County, was detained after a minor motorcycle accident in early July. He has been detained at the public security and religious bureau since the accident.

Father Cui, of the Diocese of Xuanhua, Hebei, has also refused to register with the Patriotic Association.

According to the Cardinal Kung Foundation, at least five bishops are in jail and others are under house arrest and surveillance. About 15 priests and an unknown number of laypeople are also jailed.

My parents use to live in a city 25 miles outside of Los Angeles up until 2 years ago. I lived their with them as I grew up from third grade until I got married.

As I would visit them I was often asked to go down to the corner store to refill their 5 gallon water container for the week.

There was this purified water store there run by an elderly North Korean man. A Christian man. It was his own business which he started and ran mostly by himself. He had these giant metal canisters set up behind this glass walled partition, with various pipes and hoses resembling some sort of purification system. How purified was the water, only God knows, but my parents swore their allegiance to this gentleman. The point seemed to them that his purified water was just as good if not better than the bottled water we could buy in the store. They could actually see the filtration system behind the window.

He would take your empty water container. Rinse it and clean it before refilling it with fresh water.

Parents are wise that way sometimes. What seemed to me as being a bit naive at that time seems all the wisdom today in light of just what was revealed by the "Aquafina" bottled water fiasco reported in the news last week.


My parents to me are wiser than I gave them credit for..... boy I'm I ashamed.

Anyway, I think the interaction between them and the 'water man' was more about relationships than it was about purified water. That's a lesson they taught me too.

They befriended him and would often converse with him on many visits about his country back home and the family he still had there.

On one occasion as I picked up water for them, the elderly man and I managed a conversation, he in is broken English and I in my attempted sign language. Looking back I don't know why I tried to use sign language. It seems rather dumb now but he didn't let on how dumb I must have really looked. He taught me a lesson in kindness that day as well.

Anyway, he told me how he planned to get back to his country at the end of the month to visit his congregation.


It ends up he was a pastor of a local church in the area of his old home. He was going back to bring bibles and various gift. He was going back to pray with them. This is illegal in North Korea as you know.

He knew the dangers of sneaking back into North Korea and especially dangerous if caught with bibles in ones possession. He had a comfortable life he in the U.S. , however he was determined to go back with his gifts to visit his congregation. He was their pastor and he knew they were waiting for him.

I never found out how that elderly man made out with his journey. My parents have since moved out of that city and closer to me.

I don't know what prompted me to remember this story, but I felt compelled to share.

This persecution in China, Iraq, North Korea and elsewhere. Even in our own news media.

We must not be afraid to be that Light in World our Lord needs us to be.

Let us pray for those being persecuted for the faith..

May the Lord protect them and guide them

Iraqi Christians...

This article from The National Catholic Register.

Carrying the Cross in Iraq:
Christians in Iraq are today facing serious persecution, as detailed in a number of recent reports, including in this publication.

Predictably, some of these accounts are filed by sources that were against the war in Iraq, dislike President Bush at a level bordering on hatred, and are more than happy to revel in another example of where they believe the White House has failed in Iraq.

On the other hand, to be sure, many of the accounts come from fair-minded observers with no political agenda — such as this publication — not to mention the actual victims of the repression.

It's easy to forget that there are Christians in Iraq. We may have the impression that everyone in Iraq is Muslim and that Muslims are just killing other Muslims.

Not true. The violence is also being directed toward our Christian brothers and sisters. How much of that violence happened before the war during Saddam's rule?

What will happen to them if we leave?