Saturday, March 31, 2007

Book Review

My Struggle With Faith, by Joseph Girzone.

Girzone, the author of the Joshua series of novels, tells his own life story in this book. This spiritual memori tells Girzone's story of his call to the priesthood, his time in the priesthood, and his retirement from the active priesthood, when he embarked upon his fiction career.

God deals with us as individuals, and nobody's faith walk is the same as anyone else's. But I thoroughly enjoy honest recountings of the journey, and Girzone does that well here. There is faith, pain, joy, sorrow, triumph, and tragedy in this book, as there has been in my life -- and yours, I suspect.

This is a neat telling of one man's journey, and how he has answered the questions that we each individually face.

Monday, March 26, 2007

A day late . . .

We know it's probably not historically accurate, but we have selected December 25 as the day to celebrate Christ's birth. Given that, if you do the math, you'll see that yesterday (March 25) was the day to celebrate the Incarnation. What follows is a 7th century (Latin) hymn that speaks strongly to me of Mary's role (I love Mary), but keeps her and her Son in proper persepective.

The Hymn of the Virgin

The Word whom earth and sea and sky
adore and laud and magnify,
whose might they show, whose praise they tell,
in Mary's body deigned to dwell.

Blessed is the message Gabriel brought,
blessed in the work the Spirit wrought,
most blessed to bring to human birth
the long-desired of all the earth.

Lord Jesus, Virgin born, to thee
eternal praise and glory be,
whom with the Father we adore
and Holy Spirit evermore.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Now and the Not Yet

I am thinkng about Cana again. In John 2:4, Jesus seems to rebuke His mother for pointing out the lack of wine, by saying "what have I to do with thee? My time is not yet come."

I think that this talk of "time" relates to the "now and the not yet" of the Kingdom of God. We have the opportunity to witness small parts of the Kingdom, such as the miracle at Cana and other wonder-working moments in Scripture and since the days of Scripture, but we don't have it all yet. We don't get it all until the end. The Kingdom in it's fullness is "not yet," but we get to see glimpses of "now" -- as if we reach into eternity and bring a bit of it into our realm.

So in some strange way, even though His time is not yet come, and still has not yet come, the Kingdom of God is nonetheless here and we can experience it's presence in our lives.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

More About Cana

The way Jesus answers Mary at the wedding in Cana fascinates me. His answer is not "no," it is instead "wait." God is so like this. There are some of our prayers that he answers "not ever," things that are not appropriate for us, good for us, beneficial to us, etc . . . But there are so many things that he answers "not yet," and wants us to patiently wait on Him. The challenge is to remain faithful in the midst of the "not yet" and wait for Him to answer. I too often lack this patience, and mistake the "not yet" for the "not ever." This takes patience and a healthy dose of discernment.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Thank you, Lord, for St. Cyril

Today is the feast day of St. Cyril, a 4th Century man who served Bishop of Jerusalem for more nearly forty years. My church does not honor or celebrate the Saint's days specifically, but I have felt a leading to learn about those giants of the faith that came before (waaaay before) me. And St. Cyril is one of those giants.

Cyril was named one of the three Doctors of the Eastern Church for his great contributions to what we know of today as orthodox theology. He was a major force in the Nicene faction, in the fight against Arianism, the heresy that denied the divinity of Christ. The description of the Lord as being "of one substance with the Father" in the Nicene Creed is a result of the theological battles over this issue. Cyril was an important teacher of the orthodox faith that came from the Council of Nicaea.

In addition to this, St. Cyril introduced the liturgical innovation of celebrating Holy Week and Easter.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Real Saint Patrick

From his Confessions:

It was the over-powering grace of God at work in me, and no virtue of my own, which enabled all these things. I have had to endure insults from unbelievers; I have heard my mission ridiculed; I have experienced persecutions to the point of imprisonment; I have given up my free-born status for the good of others. Should I be worthy, I am even ready to surrender my life, promptly and gladly, for his name; and it is here in Ireland that I wish to spend my remaining days, if the Lord permits me.

In all this I am in debt to God who has given me an abundance of grace with the result tht through me many people have been born again in God, and later confirmed, and that clergy have been ordained everywhere.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

At Cana

Jesus' first miracle contains a fascinating exchange between the Lord and his mother. There are so many ways of reading this passage, wherein Jesus rebukes his mother for trying to control Him, then seemingly honoring her request. Maybe this is the way prayer works -- we can not control the Lord (As C.S. Lewis points out, Aslan is not a tame lion), but he loves to meet our requests when they align with His work and His will.