Monday, February 27, 2006

The Jesus Prayer...

In English, Greek, Russian and Latin, courtesy of Edward:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Κύριε Ιησού Χριστέ, Υιέ του Θεού, ελέησόν με τον αμαρτωλόν.
Господи Исусе Христе, Сыне Божий, помилуй мя грешнаго.
Domine Iesu Christe, Fili Dei, miserere mei, peccatoris.

A few days ago, I’ve found its Arabic translation:

ربي يسوع المسيح،يا ابن الله،ارحمنا نحن الخطأة

Now, I know there are a substantial number of readers who are able to read Greek and Cyrillic characters, so there is no need for transliteration, I think.

As for Arabic, it’s roughly pronounced “ya rabi yasoo almassieh, ya ebne ellah, arhamana nahno el khata”, which, I believe translates ‘a sinner’ as ‘the sinner’.

[Tip of the hat to Shaghayegh for the Arabic transliteration]

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Communion in the hand ...

... No way for me.

Check out Fr Z's comments on communion on the hand/tongue

Just sit/kneel at the first row pew beside the aisle. It's shocking. Some people walk up as though they were heading to the bar to get a drink. I've seen the host drop on two occasions, due to lack of a communion-plate. If my parish priest needs more servers, I'll volunteer to hold the communion-plate!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

come to me, all you who labour

From writings of St John of the Cross

The soul that carries within itself the least appetite for worldly things bears more unseemliness and impurity in its journey to God than if it were troubled by all the hideous and annoying temptations and darknesses describable; for, so long as it does not consent to these temptations, a soul thus tried can approach God confidently, by doing the will of His Majesty, who proclaims: Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will refresh you [Mt. 11:28].

Thursday, February 16, 2006

on the Liturgy

There are very many enlightening posts from Brother Lawrence Lew, O.P. at Threshold of Hope here and here.

I think we have to find the right questions to ask. No, It is not "Does (insert instrument) here help us to experience God at the Mass?". The questions, I feel are

1.What does the Church teach about the Liturgy?
2.What does the Church want in the Liturgy? (Note. Its not what we want.)
3.How do we go about serving the Church based on 1 and 2?

Very simple. If I want to remember only one thing from Brother Lawrence's remarks, it will be

The only real purpose of the Liturgy is the glorification of God and the sanctification of His people

That's all.

You can also see that the discussion got a bit messy at one point. Conducting a proper discussion is actually a skill that comes with practice. An online discussion lacks the element of body language, facial expressions and tone, and so words have to be chosen very very carefully.

Since we come into contact with the Liturgy every Sunday, it is hard to avoid discussions about it. Many points of implementation in the Liturgy. eg. choice of hymns, language, rite etc etc have very wide-reaching implications, especially if the three questions above are not answered correctly.

Of course, we must not be preoccupied about these issues and forget about our calling to Holiness and Love, which a correspondent (more than one, actually) mentioned to me about. (See Pope Benedict's remarks also). In view of this, it is a challenge to remain calm after a Mass where the hymns are ambiguous and disrupt your prayer, and the words get changed all over the place. But we must try. (of course try to avoid that particular Mass timing also)

I think there comes a point when we have to find ways of answering question 3 above and carrying them out - instead of engaging in polemics that lead us to nowhere. You can call it channeling the frustration to somewhere else, I guess.

every flower created by Him is beautiful

From Story of a soul by St Teresa of Lisieux

I often asked myself why God had preferences, why all souls did not receive an equal measure of grace. I was filled with wonder when I saw extraordinary favours showered on great sinners like St. Paul, St. Augustine, St. Mary Magdalen, and many others, whom He forced, so to speak, to receive His grace. In reading the lives of the Saints I was surprised to see that there were certain privileged souls, whom Our Lord favoured from the cradle to the grave, allowing no obstacle in their path which might keep them from mounting towards Him, permitting no sin to soil the spotless brightness of their baptismal robe. And again it puzzled me why so many poor savages should die without having even heard the name of God.

Our Lord has deigned to explain this mystery to me. He showed me the book of nature, and I understood that every flower created by Him is beautiful, that the brilliance of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not lessen the perfume of the violet or the sweet simplicity of the daisy. I understood that if all the lowly flowers wished to be roses, nature would lose its springtide beauty, and the fields would no longer be enamelled with lovely hues. And so it is in the world of souls, Our Lord's living garden. He has been pleased to create great Saints who may be compared to the lily and the rose, but He has also created lesser ones, who must be content to be daisies or simple violets flowering at His Feet, and whose mission it is to gladden His Divine Eyes when He deigns to look down on them. And the more gladly they do His Will the greater is their perfection.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

food for thought

From Fr Z,

(emphasis mine)
I recently spoke to the pastor of a parish where the bishop permits use of the older, traditional form of Mass with the 1962MR. He told me how the auxiliary bishop used to enjoy coming there to say Mass for them, and did so regularly. He stopped coming, because every time he showed up people were at him with bitter comments and complaints. What they had was never enough and there was little sense of gratitude for what they did have. It wasn’t the message, it was the way it was delivered. Go ahead and argue, “It’s my RIGHT!”, but the priests and bishops you are picking always have the final say: they say Mass - you can’t. My experience in working in this same area confirms what that concerned pastor told me. Too many bishops have learned through bitter experience to say, “Here comes trouble!”, when “conservatives” or “traditionalists” come to him or write, even if he would tend to be on their side. How about a new approach? Were we more “conservative” or “traditional” Catholics to write frequently supportive and positive things, even to the most troubling of prelates, it might happen after a while that bishops would begin to see the “trads” as their real friends and spiritual allies and be embolden so to act in their favor. “We shouldn’t have to encourage bishops!”, you restort. “They should just do it! It’s their job and our RIGHT!” Uh huh… and how is that approach working? Goin’ pretty well, is it?

Edited. In short, let not the disappointing thoughts and feelings get in the way of expressing positive sentiments.

posted with kind permisson from Fr Z.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Indulgence Alert - Feb 11

From , both plenary indulgence and partial indulgence available for World Day of the Sick.

Plenary indulgence involves taking part in "a sacred ceremony established by the ecclesiastical authority held to beseech God for the intentions of the World Day of the Sick." If you can't go because you are providing "charitable assistance to the sick as if they were tending to Christ the Lord Himself", then you qualify also. Finally,

the faithful who through sickness, old age or similar reason, are prevented from participating in the aforementioned ceremony, may obtain the plenary indulgence if, with the soul completely removed from attachment to any form of sin and with the intention of observing, as soon as they can, the conditions required, they spiritually participate together with the Holy Father in the aforesaid ceremony, pray devotedly for the sick, and offer -- through the Virgin Mary, "Health of the Sick" -- their physical and spiritual sufferings to God.

Partial indulgence. Between Feb 9 - 11, "with a contrite heart, raise devout prayers to the merciful Lord calling for these aspirations to be met in order to help the sick."

Monday, February 06, 2006

pro-choice Catholics?

In a recent issue of the Economist, Arnold Schwarzenegger is described as being a "pro-choice Catholic".

Very amusing. It is as though the term "Catholic" is a status symbol.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Deus Caritas Est - Comments

Have finished reading it twice over since the last time I posted. Slowly each time. It is very hard for someone like me who sees numbers, equations and computer programming code everyday to digest an article with words only, but I can say I tried. However, I don't understand it well enough to summarize for you all here.

Nevertheless, if there is anything that I would read all over again, it is paragraph 18, especially this:

If I have no contact whatsoever with God in my life, then I cannot see in the other anything more than the other, and I am incapable of seeing in him the image of God. But if in my life I fail completely to heed others, solely out of a desire to be “devout” and to perform my “religious duties”, then my relationship with God will also grow arid. It becomes merely “proper”, but loveless. Only my readiness to encounter my neighbour and to show him love makes me sensitive to God as well. Only if I serve my neighbour can my eyes be opened to what God does for me and how much he loves me.

This too, from paragraph 39:

Faith, hope and charity go together. Hope is practised through the virtue of patience, which continues to do good even in the face of apparent failure, and through the virtue of humility, which accepts God's mystery and trusts him even at times of darkness. Faith tells us that God has given his Son for our sakes and gives us the victorious certainty that it is really true: God is love! It thus transforms our impatience and our doubts into the sure hope that God holds the world in his hands and that, as the dramatic imagery of the end of the Book of Revelation points out, in spite of all darkness he ultimately triumphs in glory. Faith, which sees the love of God revealed in the pierced heart of Jesus on the Cross, gives rise to love. Love is the light—and in the end, the only light—that can always illuminate a world grown dim and give us the courage needed to keep living and working. Love is possible, and we are able to practise it because we are created in the image of God. To experience love and in this way to cause the light of God to enter into the world—this is the invitation I would like to extend with the present Encyclical.

Try reading it. It will engage your heart and soul.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Love of God

O God, if I worship Thee in fear of Hell, burn me in Hell; and if I worship Thee in hope of Paradise, exclude me from Paradise; but if I worship Thee for Thine own sake, withhold not Thine evelasting beauty.