21 March 2015

Funeral Requests

A couple of weeks ago I was planning to go to Divine Liturgy, but was feeling too ill in the morning to make it to any, so I went to a noon Mass. I don’t remember why but the older lady who sat in front of me began talking to me as we were leaving the Church. When she realized I was a Secular Franciscan, she said, “Oh, that will be nice when you die.”

I smiled because I know that may sound odd to most persons, but I knew what she was referring to. Although the Secular Franciscan Order does not wear a habit, even though the Tau Cross is sometimes referred to as our habit (we’ve been told not to do this anymore to avoid any confusion), there is the tradition that Secular Franciscans can be buried in the habit of the Religious Franciscans. This is what this nice lady was referring to when she made that easily misinterpret-able comment.

09 February 2015

Natural Woman

A few days ago was a feastday I wanted to commemorate in someway, but wasn’t quite sure what to do: Saint Photius the Great, Patriarch of Constantinople. The Eastern Orthodox considered him one of the greatest patriarchs of Constantinople. Right now, perhaps some Roman Catholics are saying, “What is this traitor about to say about the One, Holy, Catholic, and Roman Church! Next he’ll be praising the enemy of unity, Mark of Ephesus!” While at the same time some Eastern Orthodox are saying, “What is that schismatic about to say about the One, Holy, Catholic, and Orthodox Church! Next he’ll be slandering the courageous defender of Orthodoxy, Saint Mark Evgenikos, Archbishop of Ephesus!” Perhaps some Eastern Catholics are saying, “Man! I wish he wouldn’t bring them up. Next he’ll start talking about Saint Gregory Palamas.” You know, this sounds just like a very dysfunctional marriage, doesn’t it?

03 February 2015

Synaxis of Sts. Simeon and Anna

Total emersion into the Eastern Liturgy has been much more enlightening than all my reading and “dabbling” in Eastern Christian spirituality over the last 20+ years. Only once did I reply “в річці Йордані!” to “Христос Рождається!” (“Christ is born! in the Jordan!”) during the octave of Theophany. I got “Слава навіки!” happening pretty good this last summer, so now I’ve got to work on saying “Слава Ісусу Христу!” right off the bat. (I almost tried saying it to some guys on the street speaking what I thought was a slavic language (I later noticed they had Russian flags on their coats), but I chickened out. I think they were part of a hockey team.)

I think today was the first time in 21 years that I didn’t have my throat blessed. There may have been one other day, but I was quite sick that year, so I don’t remember if I was able to celebrate Mass for the Feast of St. Blaise. Rather than St. Blaise, today I celebrated the Synaxis of Sts. Simeon and Anna. The word synaxis (Greek: σύναξις) can mean a few different things, but in this context it is referring to the liturgical celebration of the saints involved in the primary celebration for the major feast on the preceding day. For example, the day after the Nativity of Christ (i.e. Christmas) is the Synaxis of the Theotokos (i.e. the Mother of God). This seems to explain why the West celebrates St. Stephen on December 26th, while the East celebrates him on the 27th. Although, I celebrated St. Stephen on both days this last December plus the Synaxis of the Theotokos. (I also had a lot of fun looking into various aspects of the song Good King Wenceslas after Liturgy on the 27th.) I am trying to cut down on my multiple use of liturgical calendars; thus, I didn’t get my throat blessed today. However, I would like to tell you (particularly any westerners) about something I learned today. But first, I have to give some background to this story.

24 January 2015

15 Phrases Catholic Don’t Want to Hear

I came across an article on CatholicLink called 15 Typical Catholic Reactions to 15 Typical Phrases that We Typically Don’t Want to Hear. For the most part, I don’t mind hearing these phrases. However, if the person is making them in a particularly nasty way, there is a possibility I won’t sugar coat my answer.  Actually, most likely I will sugar coat it, but these are the underlying ideas that may not be apparent in my words:

22 January 2015

How to Shut an Idiot Up

I’ve noticed that when a topic is emotionally charged, people often lose the faculties of logic and reason. Topics of morality and religion are always emotionally charged. This is because they are the most important topics there are. If you doubt me, try debating a person on whether on not these are the most important topics there are. But be careful, there’s a good chance this person will lose the faculties of logic and reason. (You may laugh now, or at least smile.)

Religious Freedom

Religious Freedom is the most important human right. Forcing religious views on anyone is a grave violation of a person’s dignity. In truth, the imposition of religious views does not inspire devotion and love, but either resentment and hatred or fanaticism and hatred. Even the rejection of all religions is itself a religious belief that all must be given the freedom to believe. Only when all have such freedom and this freedom of others is respected, true dialogue and friendship can exists between those of different religious beliefs.

20 January 2015

Theophany 2015

I was beginning to switch from various liturgical calendars quite regularly. While switching between the Ordinary Form of the Roman Liturgies and the Extraordinary Form does become a bit too much, once you throw in an Eastern liturgical calendar or two and then switch between the Old (i.e. Julian) and New (i.e. Gregorian) calendars, it becomes even more "too much." Although this will allow you to celebrate a feast two or three (or even four) times, it is easier to maintain a less chaotic prayer life by just following one calendar. Thus, my New Year's resolution for 2015 was to only follow the liturgical calendar of my home parish.

Well... January is not even over, and I've already broken my New Year's resolution. I celebrated the Great Feast of Theophany on a calendar other than that of my home parish.