As I’ve mentioned before, I live under a Rock (I really like the Syrian Orthodox interpretation of this). I was rather confused where the idea of the Pope’s unique new crossgaurd lightsaber crosier came from.
05 December 2014
07 November 2014
In the conclave that began on 12 March 2013, I had two hopes for the future papacy. I hoped that our future pope would be very Marian and I hoped that he would be very Franciscan. Although I believed these hopes were important for a number of reasons, there were two reasons that were of particular importance as I believe much of all the others would flow from them. I hope for the solemn papal definition of the Fifth Marian Dogma of Our Lady as Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix of All Graces, and Advocate. I also hope for the canonization of Blessed John Duns Scotus.
03 November 2014
What would you do, assuming you’re a Christian, if you enrolled in your first philosophy course as a freshman in college, and on the first day, your professor demands that you write “God is dead” on a piece of paper, sign your name, and hand it in? I know what I would do, particularly now that I’ve seen the movie God’s Not Dead. This is what I would write:
“Dead are all the Gods” (cf. Wisdom of Solomon 13:10)
— Russell Jonas Grigaitis, O.F.S.
01 November 2014
This is a letter I wrote to the pope over six years ago. Less than three years later, on the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua, all the symptoms that facilitated me receiving the diagnoses of schizoaffective disorder went away. It was rather confusing and even disturbing, but in another three years, I began to understand why these symptoms developed in the first place and why they went away. (What happened to me should be the norm, but it's not in most "modern" societies.) Part of the journey in discovering this information involved flying to Toronto for the Psychosis 2.0 conference, which happened to be on June 13th, the third anniversary of all of my psychotic symptoms going away. (It also happened to be a Friday the 13th and a full moon.)That Friday the 13th in June was also the day I started working on a new book. It is sort of a rewrite of my book Bricks & Barbwire, but it is so vastly different that it's actually a new book unto itself. The book Bricks & Barbwire was quite problematic as I had accepted the biogenetic models of psychopathology, which a growing body of unbiased (i.e. not funded by the pharmaceutical industry) research is discrediting.
21 October 2014
An important book went on sale today: My Battle Against Hitler: Faith, Truth, and Defiance in the Shadow of the Third Reich by Dietrich von Hildebrand. It is actually a translation of part of the memoirs he wrote in German during the last decade of his life at the request of his wife, Lady Alice. Amazon says my copy is “In transit” as I pre-ordered it on October 12th, which just happened to be his birthday.
09 October 2014
Last month, I decided to do something I had never done before and submit a paper to a philosophical conference. As a trained computer programmer that has only taken one course in philosophy, this was a rather assuming thing to do. However, I do consider myself a theologian, though only as Evagrius of Pontus so succinctly described this discipline: “If you are a theologian, you will pray truly. And if you pray truly, you are a theologian.” Unfortunately, almost two weeks after submitting my abstract, just as I finished my paper, I received an email saying that they had received an unexpectedly large amount of response and could not accept all of them, including mine. Thus, I have decided to post it here.
At the risk of being penalized by the management of LinkedIn Corporation, I would like to voice my displeasure with this website. In attempting to configure LinkedIn as a potentially useful professional tool last spring (or late winter), I unexpectedly and accidentally gave LinkedIn my entire gmail address book, to my great embarrassment. I was not particularly happy about this, and as a professional computer programmer, I attribute this to incompetence (for sake of charity, I will not attribute it to malice) on the part of the developers of the LinkedIn website. Given a number of contacts in my address book for which a LinkedIn invitation from me would seem quite unprofessional, it seems my use of this website as a useful professional tool failed in this respect.
27 August 2014
Yesterday, the following homily by Fr. Matthias gave me the impression that the Franciscan Crown had been “updated.” However, it seems that the Franciscans of the Immaculate have modified the Franciscan Crown and combined it with the Chaplet of Seven Sorrows introduced by the Servites while “creating” seven corresponding Glories. While the indulgences for the Franciscan Crown were abrogated by Pope Paul VI, a plenary indulgence has been granted for piously reciting the Three Crowns in a church or oratory under the care of the Franciscans of the Immaculate.
01 August 2014
Today, I’m going to reveal something rather intimate. Actually, I’m going to reveal a number of intimate things that are intrinsically connected. The two main things that may seem most evident are: the reason for my unusual and uncontrollable sense of humour; and, the reason for my unusual and uncontrollable compulsion to, as some have told me, “think too much.” However, I will warn you from the start that if you believe that what I write is a definitive definition of these reasons, you would be in serious error. They are an attempt to define something that cannot be defined; and yet, they are the closest definition I can conceptualize at this moment. Perhaps later, even immediately after I’ve publicly publish this blog post, I may understand it much better. Nonetheless, I will resist the urge to correct it as that may result in me continually rewriting this simple blog post for the rest of my life.
08 July 2014
As I was driving to church this morning, I noticed on a truck in front of me as I a was few blocks from the cathedral, a fish with feet, one of which held a wrench, and the word “evolve” in the body. I often wonder if the persons that have such things on their vehicles have any idea what the meaning of the fish is. I know from experience that the vast majority of Christians don’t seem to have any idea.
The Greek word for fish is ἰχθύς or ΙΧΘΥΣ (ichthus) and the early Christians used it as an acronym as follows:
03 July 2014
A little over a year ago, I first heard about Fr. Yozefu-B Ssemakula and his book The Healing of Families due a seminar he was giving in Edmonton. I was a bit leery, but after a third person suggested it to me, I decided to buy the book and go to the seminar. The book store was out of his book so I bought a CD and prayer card. Personal events on the weekend of the seminar prevented me from going, so that was the end of it.
The reason I was leery was because the whole idea of healing family trees seems quite odd to me. There is nothing in Scripture to suggest that this is necessary, no saints have ever taught it or suggested it, including those that came from very troubled families, and no Church documents endorses it. In short, if an idea is “new” regarding catholic doctrine, it is almost guaranteed to be heretical. The idea of “generational bondage” is not really new, but seems to stem primarily from Voodoo, which is a syncretizing of Catholicism with incompatible beliefs originating form indigenous African religions.
24 June 2014
like none other could weave,
the tunic of our human nature
wedded to the Divinity.
I sometimes take this Seamless Tunic
from the Virgin Church,
then beg for clemency.
This Seamless Tunic is to me
a profound mystery,
too much for me to comprehend
in my pain and misery.
Only in the life to come
will I begin to see
how this Seamless Tunic that I took,
my Mother was clothing me.
My Mother has shown such clemency towards me. My Mother loves me. My Mother is so sweet.
My Mother beheld me as I tied Her Son to the pillar, made bare His back, and tore deep furrows in His Flesh.
My Mother beheld me as I mocked Her Son with a crown of thorns, arrayed Him in a garment of purple, and struck Him with blows.
My Mother beheld me as I placed the beam on Her Son’s shoulder and made Him walk. She beheld me as I drove nails into His hands and into His feet. She beheld me as I raised Him up and as I waited for Him to die.
22 June 2014
I was hoping to visit the church I was baptized in today, but since I am 2000 miles away, that is impossible. Last year, there was a plenary indulgence granted for visiting the church you were baptized in during the Year of Faith. My friends thought it was pretty funning after the Tridentine Mass last year when I said I couldn’t go out with them for brunch because I was going to the church I was baptized in to gain a plenary indulgence. The reason they found this humorous was because it is a Lutheran Church. If you do not understand the humour in this, Google “Marin Luther” and “indulgences.”
IndulgencesMost people do not understand indulgences, including many Catholics. Many think that indulgences are a thing of the past, and even a doctrinal error that has been done away with. This is too bad because many grace filled opportunities are lost due to this ignorance.
Before I explain what an indulgence is, let me explain what an indulgence is not. It is not a permission to commit sin, nor is it a pardon of future sin. It does not prevent temptation or remove the possibility of future sin. It is not an exemption from any law or duty. It does not redeem someone who merits damnation (the damned go to Hell, and the redeemed go to Heaven, or, if they need purification, to Purgatory). Most of all, an indulgence is not the purchase of a pardon which secures the buyer's salvation or releases the soul of another from Purgatory.
16 June 2014
I began writing a new book on Friday. Actually, it’s not exactly a “new” book, but a complete rewrite of my book Bricks & Barbwire. I’ve been thinking about how I should rewrite this book for the past few years, and I even began working on it last February, but didn’t get very far. After the conference I attended on Friday, I saw the direction this book should take; however, after today, I realized how much effort I will have to make so that this book is not misunderstood.
Today, I shared a story about G. K. Chesterton with someone. I find this story very meaningful and quite profound; however, from the perspective of the person I was telling the story to, it was horrible, depressing, and disappearing. Why would I find this story inspiring, and the other person have the completely opposite response?
02 June 2014
01 June 2014
This year my birthday falls on a Sunday, which is nice because I was born on a Sunday, but the Sunday this year is of particular significance to me. Today is the Seventh Sunday of Pascha (Easter) for both Catholics and Orthodox, which in the East commemorates the Fathers of the Council of Nicea (325). This was the first of the three ecumenical councils in which there was complete unity between East and West. This unity being ruptured after the Fourth Ecumenical Council in Chalcedon (451), and further ruptured after the Great Schism of 1054. This disunity in the Church weighs heavy on my heart.
As of today, I’ve got five years to go before Jews would traditionally say I’ve reached the age of wisdom. Last year, I was able to celebrate the Feast of the Visitation on my birthday because it was a Saturday and, the day before, the Carmelite Monastery, where I went for Mass both days, celebrated its 20th anniversary. Today is also an anniversary for another religious community: the Sisters of Life.
31 May 2014
“Faith then cometh by hearing; and hearing by the word of Christ.”
The argument is that if faith must precede baptism and faith comes by hearing the Word of Christ, an infant that cannot understand the Word of Christ cannot be baptized. Such an argument reveals ignorance of what faith is and what hearing the Word of Christ is. Such things are taught by example in the Bible if one reads with the eyes of faith; this faith being the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Faith.
30 May 2014
Now that we’ve established the true objective of such a poll (rebellion against God), lets take a look at whether there is any honesty in this poll, or does it simply present the usual straw man fallacy to encourage uninformed rebellion against God and His Church.
23 May 2014
Someone asked me the other day, “Do Catholics still believe in purgatory?” While this may seem like a direct question, the implied question is much more important: “Do Catholic beliefs change?” This is a very important question because if a single Catholic belief changed, the Catholic Church would no longer exist. The word catholic is just one marker of the Catholic Church. The four markers are: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. Remove one of these markers, and the Church no longer exists. The marker that would be removed if a Catholic belief were to changed is apostolic.
Every belief of the Catholic Church is apostolic. If it were not, it would not be a Christian belief. It is impossible for a single Christian belief to change; however, change is commonplace in Protestantism. This is why there are so many different types of Protestantism with so many different beliefs. Of course, the two essential Christian beliefs remain: Jesus Christ is God Incarnate; and, God is made up of Three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Without these two beliefs, one is not Christian. However, take away any of the other Christian beliefs, and one is not Catholic.
WARNING: Some of the ideas in this article can be misinterpreted as heresy. This article must be read very carefully, and its ideas can only be correctly understood in the context in which they are presented.
The existence of evil in the world has been a major stumbling block for many, both Christians and non-Christians. How can a God who is good create evil? If God did create evil, then He cannot be entirely good. If God didn't create evil, then He didn't create everything. There seems to be no third alternative.
This story struck a chord in me and I thought back before I began a family and was planning to make a living playing drums as a professional musician. After two months of music school, I realized that I didn’t want to spend my Friday and Saturday nights in a smoke filled room encouraging everyone to drink as much as possible so that I could take home a decent amount of the liquor sales. However, during one of my classes in those two months, we had to, in turn, play a particular rhythm with a small ensemble. After the class, a couple of my classmate approached me to find out what it was that I played because it sounded so much better than everyone else. I simply said that I played the rhythm that everyone else played.
What my classmates didn’t understand, and what I just barely grasped, was that there is a difference between playing a rhythm (counting) and being a part of the music (not counting). It could be possible to analyze every note to discover what made the difference, but perhaps the human mind could not comprehend all of the subtle nuances. However, it is possible for the finite human mind to be engulfed in the infinite. With the chancellor’s story, I realized I had a burning desire to experience theology this way, particularly Eastern theology; to be engulfed by the infinite richness and beauty of Eastern spirituality; to not count.
(Incidentally, St. Evagrius of Pontus said: “The one who prays is a theologian; the one who is a theologian, prays.”)
This morning, during Divine Liturgy at St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral, I began to not count. I felt as if I were approaching the infinite; like I was between χρόνος (chronos) and καιρός (kairos). I could not describe it in words, but I knew the presence of God in the tabernacle. I knew God hovering over the gifts during the the Holy Anaphora. And I knew God on the altar after the consecration. I approached to receive the Eucharist like never before; and when I had received, I sensed… only bread soaked in wine.
The supernatural that I sensed before was only a thin taste of what awaits in the Heavenly Divine Liturgy, and my natural senses detected nothing but what is natural. I then realized the much truer meaning to what St. Paul was describing to the Corinthians in the 13th chapter of his first letter to them, particularly verse 12: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.”
What we know only in part now has the appearances of bread and wine; then we shall have full knowledge of the Eucharist, spending eternity contemplating the Infinite. The closest we can come now with our natural senses is in marriage. The Greek word for know in the 1 Corinthians 13:12 is γινώσκω (ginosko), which is also found in some translations of Genesis 4:1: “Now Adam knew Eve his wife…”
22 May 2014
On May 22, 1994, the Solemnity of Pentecost, Pope John Paul II released an apostolic letter titled Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. The objective of this letter was to put to rest the debate regarding the priestly ordination of women, and to affirm that the reservation of priestly ordination for men alone is not merely a custom upheld by disciplinary force, but in fact a part of Sacred Tradition and to be held by all the Church's faithful. This letter leaves no doubt that woman cannot be ordained to the priesthood; however, many believe that this document does not contain infallible teaching, and therefore does not close the discussion of priestly ordination of women. The question, then, is this: was the pope speaking ex cathedra in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis?
09 May 2014
I've taken up the hobby of rosary making. Although I've made the popular rosary promoted by the Dominicans, I like to make and promote the Seraphic Rosary, also known as the Franciscan Crown or Rosary of the Seven Joys of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Franciscan Crown is a seven decade rosary that was given by Our Lady to a young Franciscan novice named Friar James in 1422. It may not be as popular and it may no longer have any indulgences attached to it, but it is still a prayer that is pleasing to God and to Our Lady.
To help teach and promote this venerable Marian devotion, I made this pamphlet. If you find it useful, please do make use of it:
08 May 2014
I was very disappointed that I wasn’t able to go to the March for Life today because I was feeling a bit under the weather. In lieu of going, I offer this blog post regarding an uninspiring attitude some Catholics have concerning life issues.
I’ve come to expect comments from secular culture to disregard life issues as not all that important or even to have a negative opinion inline with the culture of death. Such comments don’t bother me too terribly much as they are of the world; however, when I hear comments like this from Catholics, I find it very disturbing.
18 April 2014
03 April 2014
Pray for Ukraine and for all the Slavic nations.
31 March 2014
President Barack Obama has done more than any other president in the struggle to eliminate poverty, particularly with his Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). He has made it one of his highest priorities to guarantee funding to the one organization that is most dedicated to the anti-poverty cause. He was even willing to cut off all Medicaid funding for family planning to the state of Texas if they discriminated against this and any other such anti-poverty organizations.
30 March 2014
It is common knowledge that people tailgate because they are idiots. (I have looked into the etymology of the word idiot, so I can assure you that this is the correct term.) Tailgating is seemingly an attempt to make the person in front drive faster. If the person in front is already driving the speed limit or even 10 km/h (6.2 mph) over, this is an attempt to coerce this person to do something immoral (see: 2290 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church). Obviously, the person tailgating very much wants to exceed the speed limit and “endanger their own and others’ safety on the road.”
25 March 2014
If you compare the Canadian Lectionary with the U.S. Lectionary, you will notice a major difference today.
Then Isaiah said: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary the people, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel,” for God is with us.
24 February 2014
Shortly after becoming Catholic and assisting daily at Mass, I began going to weekly Confession. The first time I went to confession with Msgr. Reynolds, he asked me to make an act of contrition. I had to say, “I’m sorry father, I don’t know what that is.” He told me what it was and as an example, he recited the Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” I didn’t know it, but this was my introduction to Eastern spirituality.
22 February 2014
Let those who hate Him flee from before His face!
As smoke vanish, so let them vanish!
As wax melts before the fire,
so let sinners perish before the face of those who love God,
and sign themselves with the sign of the Cross,
and say joyfully:
Rejoice, most precious and life-creating Cross of the Lord,
which chases demons away through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ
Who was nailed to you, descended into hades and
having trampled down the power of the devil,
gave to us His precious Cross for the routing of all enemies.
Help me forever, most precious and life-creating Cross of the Lord,
with the All-Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary,
the honourable, heavenly, incorporeal Powers,
and with all the saints!
Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner!
12 February 2014
06 February 2014
02 February 2014
Lord, now you let your servant go in peace; *
your word has been fulfilled:
my own eyes have seen the salvation *
which you have prepared in the sight of every people:
a light to reveal you to the nations *
and the glory of your people Israel.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, *
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, *
and will be for ever. Amen.
31 January 2014
Most Catholics second guess what their bishop does. Few don’t. I would like to number myself among those that don’t, but I am not so fortunate. Please pray that I accept the grace from Our Lady to always assume the best from my bishop, and be more concern with the one thing that I can be certain that God wants him to do: to be a saint.
Why did Pope Venerable Paul VI begin the process that resulted in many indults to allow what he himself said was an abuse, even in places where this abuse was not in practice? We don’t know. I don’t know. Perhaps when I’m pope I’ll understand (I will never understand). Given that he now has the word “Venerable” in front of his name, there must have been a very good reason.
28 January 2014
It is true that receiving Our Lord in the Eucharist is a privilege and not a right. However, if properly disposed and not prohibited by law, sacred ministers cannot deny the Eucharist to those who seek It at appropriate times (cf. CCL 843 §1). The question is: Can a sacred minister deny the Eucharist to someone, who would otherwise be able to receive, solely on the communicants chosen mode of reception?
22 January 2014
12 January 2014
The more ugly you become.
It is only when you recognize how completely ugly you truly are,
That Christ clothes you in His Beauty,
And, you truly become Beautiful.
Not that you are Beautiful,
But that He makes you Beautiful.
The above sentence is so blatantly ignorant of the Truth that even proper capitalization and punctuation cannot even begin to come close to the Reality we will spend eternity contemplating if we are so fortunate as to persevere to the end in accepting our utter and profound lowliness.“it is a communion host that has been consecrated”
11 January 2014
We can thank Pope Saint Pius X for allowing us to receive Communion as much as twice a day, and even a third time in the form of Viaticum. This is reflected in the Code of Canon Law:
08 January 2014
06 January 2014
Pope John Paul II based this work on the work of Dietrich von Hildebrand, having most, if not all of his books, some of which were published before Karol Wojtyła (Pope John Paul II) had even been ordained a priest. Pope Venerable Pius XII informally referred to Dietrich von Hildebrand as “the 20th Century Doctor of the Church." Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said, “When the intellectual history of the Catholic Church in the twentieth century is written, the name of Dietrich von Hildebrand will be most prominent among the figures of our time.” And, Pope John Paul II said to Alice von Hildebrand in a private audience towards the beginning of his pontificate, “Your husband is one of the great ethicists of the twentieth century.”
02 January 2014
While man (male) and woman have the same dignity as persons, the woman is of higher dignity in respect to her closeness to God. This is most evident in the way she was created and in the way her children are created, particularly in the Incarnation.
A man is not physically present when conception takes place within a woman. Only God and the woman are present with the donation made by a man. The man may be close, even in physical union with the woman, but the actual act of conception still takes place beyond his physical presence. In the Incarnation, the donation of a man is not even present.