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There was a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.
A friend of mine sent me an e-mail… and ex-girlfriend no less… about a new television show that was going to be on that weekend: God or the Girl. The show is a four part series about four young men going through the discernment process for the priesthood, and at the end of the series they would each come to a decision. Gerry, knowing that discerning had been a big part of my life a few years ago sent me a link to the web site with the subject line, “Are you going to watch?”
Discerning religious life had been a big part of my life for over ten years, but two years before I had finally come to the conclusion that it was not for me; the idea of not having a family was too hard for me, emotionally or intellectually, to comprehend. So when I looked at the web site for the show and read about the stories of the four guys on the show I thought, “Yeah, I remember when I was thinking about that… Man that really sucked.” I turned off my computer and headed upstairs for bed.
Except that I couldn’t get to sleep… all night. Thoughts about the priesthood kept rolling around my head, emotions I thought I had put aside two years ago started coming back, and realizations about my life suddenly pushed through my conscious. Half way through the night, despite whatever things I wanted to do in life, despite the fact that I was still in love with Marie, despite very real reservations I have about the current state of the Church, and despite the fact that this would be totally up-ending my life, God was telling me...
Lord, if it be your will, allow this situation to resolve itself tomorrow. May our family trust in your love and care for us and through the intercession of all the saints and holy people that I have come to love and regard as partners in prayer (Fr Isaac Hecker, St. Ignatius, St Dymphna, St. Joseph, and St Paul the Apostle) may you help us through this difficult time for our family. For those who read this blog, I only ask that you hear their prayers and give to them what they truly need in their lives. We ask all this in the name of Jesus the Lord who can do all things for those who ask for His assistance. Amen.
"[The pope] was down for about 30 seconds total, and he appeared to be just fine when he got up. A guy yelled "Viva il Papa!" and everybody started cheering and clapping, and the Holy Father continued up to the altar and proceeded with Mass. Some of the people near us seemed a little shaken, but the Pope sure didn't."
Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields
and keeping the night watch over their flock.
The angel of the Lord appeared to them
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were struck with great fear.
The angel said to them,
“Do not be afraid;
for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people.
For today in the city of David
a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.
And this will be a sign for you:
you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes
and lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel,
praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Schilllebeeckx was one of the most influential theologians during and after the Second Vatican Council, interpreting the meaning of the council to Catholics throughout the world. He was a major supporter of the reforms that came out of the council. His books were translated into many languages.
After being educated by the Jesuits, Schillebeeckx entered the Dominican Order in 1934. He studied theology and philosophy at the University of Louvain. In 1941 he was ordained to the priesthood.
During the Second Vatican Council, Schillebeeckx was one of its most active theologians. He drafted various council interventions for Dutch bishops such as Cardinal Bernard Jan Alfrink. Because he had been a "ghost writer" for the Dutch bishops' pastoral Letter leading up to the council in 1961, he was rendered suspect with the Congregation of the Holy Office, led at the time by Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani.
... that most young Catholics are “choosing their own vision of Christianity.” He said he feared the institutional church did not “have enough movement toward Jesus Christ.” And he spoke about his soon-to-be-published book, a collection of 60 of his homilies, with a title still being fine-tuned: something like Weren’t Our Hearts Burning Within Us: Theology as a Model for Proclamation.
As for the future, Schillebeeckx is optimistic, “always optimistic.”
“I believe in God and in Jesus Christ,” he said, as if to ask: “And what else would one need?”
(Here) you see a photograph taken on the afternoon of Tues, Dec 22, of what remains of our beautiful studio.
At 3 o'clock, just as we were set to start taping the show, the anchors and I were chatting in the studio, going over copy, when we heard a loud "thump" on the roof. Must be reindeer, someone joked. Ha ha. We got ready to start and we heard a louder THUMP, and the lighting grid began to tremble and groan, and it looked for all the world like the roof was about to cave in. "Get out!," one of the technical directors yelled. We scrambled, grabbed our things, and streamed out into the parking lot. No one could figure out what was going on. Someone called 911 and the fire crew went in and looked around. The rest of the grid had started to come down right after we fled the building. Part of the interview set was damaged. Fortunately no camera equipment was hit. It was a miracle no one was hurt.
Long story short: the studio is out of commission for about three months. Maybe longer.
We're figuring out a Plan B for continuing to tape "Currents" in the new year.
"And so I'm offering this simple phrase...
to kids from one to ninety-NINE"
Noting the prophecies regarding the town of Judea in the Book of Micah, which foretell a "mysterious birth," the Holy Father spoke of the "divine plan that includes and explains the times and places of the coming of the Son of God into the world."
"It is a plan of peace," the Pontiff noted, adding that it makes Bethlehem a "city-symbol of peace in the Holy Land and in the whole world."
"Unfortunately," he explained, "Bethlehem does not represent an achieved and stable peace, but rather a peace that is laboriously sought and awaited.
"God, however, never resigns himself to this state of affairs. So, once again this year in Bethlehem and in the entire world, he will renew in the Church the mystery of Christmas, the prophecy of peace for all mankind."
"Christmas is not a fairytale for children," Benedict XVI continued, "but rather God's answer to the drama of humanity in search of peace."
"We are expected to throw open the doors to welcome him," the Pope said, referring to the Messiah. "Let us put ourselves at the service of God's plan with faith.
"Even if we do not fully understand it, let us entrust ourselves to his wisdom and goodness. Let us first seek the Kingdom of God and Providence will help us."
Facebook, the popular networking site, has 350 million members worldwide who, collectively, spend 10 billion minutes there every day, checking in with friends, writing on people’s electronic walls, clicking through photos and generally keeping pace with the drift of their social world.
Make that 9.9 billion and change. Recently, Halley Lamberson, 17, and Monica Reed, 16, juniors at San Francisco University High School, made a pact to help each other resist the lure of the login. Their status might as well now read, “I can’t be bothered.”
“We decided we spent way too much time obsessing over Facebook and it would be better if we took a break from it,” Halley said.
By mutual agreement, the two friends now allow themselves to log on to Facebook on the first Saturday of every month — and only on that day.
The Christmas tree -- with its journey from a dark forest to the brilliance of decorative lights -- represents every Christian, called to share the message that the Light of the world has become man.
This was a comparison made by Benedict XVI today when he addressed a delegation from Belgium, which provided the Christmas tree for St. Peter's Square this year.
"In the forest," the Holy Father said, "the trees are close together and each one of them contributes to making the forest a shadowy, sometimes dark, place."
"But here," he continued, "chosen from among this multitude, the majestic tree that you offered us is today lit up and covered with brilliant decorations that are like so many marvelous fruits."
"Leaving aside its dark garments for a brilliant explosion, it has been transfigured, becoming a beacon of light that is not its own, but rather gives testimony to the true Light that comes to this world," the Pope suggested.
"How can one remain indifferent in the face of problems such as climate change, desertification, the degradation and loss of productivity in vast agricultural areas, the pollution of rivers and aquifers, the loss of biodiversity, the increase in extreme weather, and the deforestation of equatorial and tropical areas?” he asked.
“How can one overlook the growing phenomenon of so-called ‘environmental refugees,’ meaning persons who, because of environmental degradation, have to leave – often together with their belongings – in a kind of forced movement, in order to escape the risks and the unknown? How can we not react to the conflicts already underway, as well as potential new ones, linked to access to natural resources?”
“These are all questions,” Benedict XVI said, “that have a profound impact on the exercise of human rights, such as the rights to life, to food, to health and to development.”
Buffalo" (NY) and "beauty" do not normally occur in the same sentence. We're talking about a city 'belted' with derelict factories that's been losing population for a generation. It's struggling to demolish thousands of abandoned houses. It's been known to get snowed on for 100 days in a row (I was there -- with a long driveway and no snow-blower).
But Buffalo has elements of beauty dear to a few doughty hearts (e.g., my wife's - she's a native). These include Olmsted-designed boulevards radiating from an Olmsted central park (Delaware Park); a number of early twentieth-century architectural icons; lots of big, boxy beautiful Victorian houses that can be had for a relative song; a handful of long, graceful commercial and residential avenues that make a vital urban enclave; a surprisingly vibrant arts community; and prices that make it almost like living in another country.
In recent years, too, Buffalo has become a site of the triumph of imagination over physical reality in two ways that have caught my heart.
[Posted with iBlogger from my iPhone]
"Ill-gotten treasures profit nothing,
but virtue saves from death."
"A wise son brings joy to his father,
but a foolish son grief to his mother."