I have a new Kindle resource that’s specifically designed for Holy Week, although it can be used any time of the year, since it focuses on the Triduum in its Jewish context, and the Triduum contains so many of the fundamental mysteries of our faith (priesthood, Eucharist, Confession, baptism, etc.). This volume is entitled, From Passover to Eucharist: Reflection for Holy Week & Throughout the Year. It emerged out of a number or retreats I have given for RCIA programs preparing candidates for Holy Week, and especially the Sacred Triduum. I delve into the Jewish background, going through the Passover Seder, the Last Supper, and the liturgies of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil. There are also links to a number of resources that are available online, but not easily accessed by those who don’t know what to look for. This text can be used for spiritual reading, for study into the Jewish roots of the Catholic faith, or as notes for a talk or series of talks (or a retreat) dealing with the Eucharist, the Mass, Holy Week, or the Triduum. It could be a good resource for an RCIA program, but is not limited to that. Amazon will be having a special, giving this text away for FREE from tomorrow, Tuesday March 15 through this Weds., March 16th, 2016, in anticipation of Holy Week which will be begin this Sunday, March 20.
A few days ago we celebrated the optional memorial of St. John of God. Our pastor gave a marvelous homily that day, which inspired this post. One of the key connection points the pastor made was the connection St. John of God had with other Saints with whom I was more familiar. To be quite honest, I knew next to nothing about St. John of God. So I began to investigate his life, and what an amazing man of God, St. John of God was! I thought his life–as well as his spiritual connection to other Saints–made this a very appropriate topic for a post during Lent….especially as we approach the end of Lent.
St. John of God is best known for his many followers who eventually founded the Hospitallers, a religious institution focused on aiding the sick, suffering, and dying, among other services they now provide. They are still in existence today.
What I didn’t know was St. John of God’s late conversion in life. In many ways he was a prodigal of the Church. A baptized Catholic, like virtually all his family and friends, he was a public sinner, who sinned in countless ways. He wasn’t just known for one particular sin, but many. He was a soldier, but was particularly known for leading a life best described as completely “wild.” He was around 40 years old, or so, when he had his conversion. He found mercy rather late in life.
One of the most important but neglected spiritual practices is the daily general examination of conscience. No business would last very long without taking stock daily, calculating how much profit was made, etc., and there is no business more important than our soul. Socrates famously said that, “the unexamined life is not worth living.” We could say that an unexamined life is dangerous. It’s important to examine how we are doing fairly regularly in order to improve. When our goal is off in the distance, a little misdirection early in the journey–if it is not corrected–can spell disaster, landing us far off the mark.
My latest book just came out, Three Skeptics and the Bible: La Peyrère, Hobbes, Spinoza, and the Reception of Modern Biblical Criticism, and is now available from Amazon.com for those interested. It details an important part of the history of modern biblical criticism, showing the political and historical developments that began to lead to a more skeptical treatment of biblical interpretation, like that found so often on t.v. today and in university classrooms across the globe. I’m currently working on a much broader work of the same topic, bringing it into the 20th century.
Debates over music in the Mass dig deep in the dirt of our deepest feelings. So often such disagreements are not grounded in the Church’s doctrine about what liturgical music is and what its purpose is. Here are just a few reflections on the necessity of connecting what is sung with the liturgical text. I often think that if we at least could agree that the liturgical text itself should be sung our disagreements could at least begin at the same point.
Primacy of the Text
Sacred music unites “sacred song…to the words” (SC 112) of Christ’s divine liturgy wherein “God is perfectly glorified and men are sanctified” (SC 7). Sacred music, by its nature, is music that has been “created for the celebration of divine worship,” (MS 4) and therefore not just with the sacred text in mind, but primarily for the sacred text. Though singing is itself important (as in the adage about the one who sings well praying twice), the main place is to be given to “singing the liturgical text” (VL 40). Truly, many liturgical texts were “composed with the intention of their being sung” (LA 60). Sacred music is the servant of the liturgy, not vice versa (see TLS 22–23). Tra le Sollecitudini makes clear that the “principal office” of sacred music is to
Just published my newest e-book on Amazon.com through Kindle, this one deals with the historical reliability of the Old Testament, in particular the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) in light of the archaeological evidence from ancient Egypt. The book is entitled, Egypt and the Old Testament: Notes on the Historical Reliability of the Old Testament, and walks through the scholarly discussions concerning such matters as the Egyptian background to the creation account in Genesis, the historical reliability of the Joseph narrative, as well as the exodus (and questions surrounding the date of the exodus), etc.
If you wait a few weeks, Amazon is having a special deal. This book will be available for only 99 cents from Saturday November 21 through Sunday November 22 (2015). It will then be offered for only $1.99 from Monday November 23 through Weds. November 25 (2015), before that, and after which time (for the immediate future), it will be at its regular price, which is only $2.99.
Another temporary discount is my E-Article on liturgical biblical interpretation in light of the work of Pope Benedict XVI and Scott Hahn, “Scott Hahn and Benedict XVI on Scripture and Liturgy,” which will be only 99 cents from Thurs. October 22 through Thurs. October 29th (2015).
People are making a big deal about the apparent contrast between Pope Francis’ comment back in July of 2013 where he said in reference gay persons: “If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, well who am I to judge them?” and the priest who revealed that he has same-sex attraction and has a male partner and was subsequently fired.
Is there really a conflict here? There may be conflicts elsewhere, but certainly not between what just happened and what Pope Francis said.
In July of 2013 Pope Francis was answering a question with reference to a supposed “gay lobby” in the Vatican: “I think that when you encounter a person like this, you must make a distinction between the fact of a person being gay from the fact of being a lobby, because lobbies are not good.” By definition, lobbies are trying to push an agenda. In the case with a gay lobby, an agenda toward changing the Church’s teaching. Pope Francis was saying that as long as such a gay person “seeks the Lord and has good will,” then there’s no problem.