May 04, 2007

Vow of poverty in danger

The last day of my three years of service at the parish was Monday. The rectory was very large. The pastor assigned me a suite that has a living room, two bedrooms and two bathrooms. I used one of the bedrooms as an office. Over the course of the three years, the number of material things in the apartment slowly grew.

I am in the midst of sorting through everything to determine what goes to the monastery for other monks to use, what goes to the poor, what goes to the trash, and what I continue to use myself.

On top of that, I am also going through the things that I left in my cell at the monastery before I went to the parish assignment.

My cell was simply locked for three years. No one touched it. Some of my fellow monks dusted and vacuumed my cell before I returned. One of them left a note on my door. "We vacuumed the first 23 layers."

Because of the vow of "stability" (again, explained at, monks belong to one single monastery for life. Non-monastic orders, like the Franciscans (who are FRIARS, NOT monks) belong to an entire geographical province, and may be transferred from place to place within the province throughout the course of their lives. So, as a monk, I received my own cell.

"Pack-rat in a black habit" = oxymoron
"Pack-rat in a black habit" = oxymoron
"Pack-rat in a black habit" = oxymoron
"Pack-rat in a black habit" = oxymoron

May 03, 2007

On the third day . . .

. . . back in the monastery, that is.

Being able to go the the abbey church early for Mass, and enjoy PRAYERFUL SILENCE.

Being able to enjoy time after Mass IN PRAYERFUL SILENCE.

It's a breath of fresh air.

The monastery is on a hill two miles from the Pacific Ocean, and we get a good ocean breeze.

Walking between my monastic cell, the abbey church (several times a day for prayers and Mass), the refectory (monks' dining room) and other places on the grounds, I'm getting a lot of exercise.

Today at Mass, we had a guest priest concelebrate with us: Fr. Joseph Langford, M.C. (Missionaries of Charity). He was one of the two priests who helped Blessed Teresa of Calcutta start up the priestly branch of the Missionaries of Charity. They opened their "first" seminary less right next door across the Mexican border. My monastery has developed a good relationship with them over the years.

While Blessed Teresa was still alive, one of the Missionaries of Charity gave me a hair of Blessed Teresa as a way of thanking me for some consultative information I provided. A FIRST CLASS RELIC while she was still alive! And now it's STILL a first class relic while she's now in heaven!

May 02, 2007

The monastery's internet connection is slow dial-up.

Also, I must compete with several monks and employees for time online.

My blogging pattern will have to change.

I'll figure something out.

May 01, 2007

May 1: me monk meandering back to monastery today

The whirlwind of farewells and "closing shop" at the parish is practically over. The last day of my assignment at St. Therese Catholic Church was Monday, April 30.

Probably no blogging from me for a few days.

Click HERE to read "One Monk's Monastery."

Click HERE to visit "The Monastery's Own Place."

We have about 130 acres, of which our buildings occupy only a small part.

Our abbey church is under the blue square or diamond shaped roof at the bottom of the following photograph. Our rectangular abbey library and the buildings housing our rooms line up going north-northwest of our church (that is, from the church towards the upper left corner of the photograph).

My room is in the second building down from the top left of the following photograph.

The buildings housing our rooms each have six rooms, and each room has a partially walled garden. In the following photograph, my garden and room are the fifth from the top of the photograph.

What does the Church teach about immigrants?

THIS (click on it) is happening on May 1.

That is why I am re-posting the following.

- - - -

Point 2241 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church has four sentences. Here they are with my comments in red following each one.
The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin.
For whatever reason, some of the more prosperous nations may have less or little ability to offer such a welcome. Their obligation to offer that welcome diminishes accordingly. Furthermore, this sentence is about the foreigner who is “in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin.” A nation has no such obligation toward any foreigner who is merely in search of pleasure or material comfort beyond the necessities of life.

Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.
A guest in a foreign country is not the same as an illegal immigrant. A guest is one who is openly and willingly received by another country. A guest has a natural right to be protected by his hosts.

Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants' duties toward their country of adoption.
Political authorities are responsible for the common good. In the exercise of that responsibility, political authorities may impose juridical conditions on those who wish to immigrate. Immigrants have duties toward their host country.

Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.
Note the obligations of immigrants:
“to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage” of their host country;
to obey the laws of that country;
"to assist in carrying civic burdens" which may include the payment of taxes.

April 30, 2007

Finally! Thanks to you, this monk's blog is now ahead of an atheistic, anti-religion blog...

... in the category of BEST RELIGION BLOG.
An atheistic, anti-religion blog as "BEST Religion Blog"?
Yeah. Go figure!

Now, let's see if Catholics can get the atheist blog knocked down off the second page as well. To do that we'll need to vote for the other Catholic blogs running behind the atheist on page two.

You may vote for as many blogs as you want, but only once for each blog.

If you have not voted at all, please do so. I'd appreciate more distance between my blog and that of the atheist.

Sign up for free, and vote for Catholic blogs, especially the ones on the first two pages at least.

May 22 is the last day of voting.
Click HERE for it.

Going into effect today, April 30: ENGLAND OUTLAWS CATHOLIC TEACHING

I am posting here some excerpts from the complete article.
-- Fr. Stephanos, O.S.B.

April 8-14, 2007 Issue

Catholic teachers in Britain won’t be able to present Catholic dogma in Catholic schools anymore because of a new non-discrimination law.

By Joanna Bogle
Register Correspondent

LONDON — Britain has a new law banning Catholic schools from teaching Catholic morals [...].

Under the new Sexual Orientation Regulations, it will be illegal for a teacher in any school, including a Catholic school, to state that homosexual activity is morally wrong, and that this is a teaching that should be accepted as true. A teacher could be prosecuted if a pupil were able to claim that, by teaching the sinfulness of homosexual activity, the teacher had discriminated against him and caused him to feel hurt or humiliated.


The legislation also affects a whole range of other activities, and will force Catholic adoption agencies to offer children for adoption by homosexual couples. A plea by the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales that Catholic adoption societies be exempt from the new laws was rejected by Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Also affected are all private businesses that offer goods and services of any kind. Thus, a photographer or wedding caterer who declined to do business with a lesbian or homosexual couple’s planned “wedding” could also be prosecuted, as could the owner of a bed-and-breakfast business who declined to offer a double bed to two homosexuals.

[...] the legislation was passed and will take effect April 30. Catholic adoption agencies have been given two years in which to make arrangements to comply with the new laws. It could mean that they are forced to close.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, archbishop of Westminster, has accused the government of abusing Parliamentary democracy.

“During the House of Commons committee meeting, opportunity for serious debate was denied,” he said. He issued a statement after the House of Commons was not given an opportunity to have a full debate on the regulations but only a single vote late one night when few members of Parliament were able to be present. “Profound public concern about aspects of these regulations has not been heard,” he said.

[....] ... a law, which will have the effect of making it illegal for a Catholic teacher in a Catholic school to present the Catholic teaching as true, and of forcing businesses and organizations to accept a homosexual civil union as equivalent to a male/female marriage. [....]

[....] Debate in the upper chamber focused on how the law would curtail freedom of religion. [....]

Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic exhortation on the Eucharist, published March 13, specifically deals with the position of Catholics in politics who support legislation of this type.

The Pope states in Sacramentum Caritatis that: “Worship pleasing to God can never be a purely private matter, without consequences for our relationships with others: It demands a public witness to our faith. Evidently, this is true for all the baptized, yet it is especially incumbent upon those who, by virtue of their social or political position, must make decisions regarding fundamental values, such as respect for human life, its defense from conception to natural death, the family built upon marriage between a man and a woman, the freedom to educate one’s children and the promotion of the common good in all its forms. These values are not negotiable. Consequently, Catholic politicians and legislators, conscious of their grave responsibility before society, must feel particularly bound, on the basis of a properly formed conscience, to introduce and support laws grounded in human nature. There is an objective connection here with the Eucharist (1 Corinthians 11:27-29). Bishops are bound to reaffirm constantly these values as part of their responsibility to the flock entrusted to them.”

The original text is even stronger, since it says that “Bishops are bound to affrim constantly these precepts…”


Like Hunting Laws?

The Catholic Education Office has not issued any formal statement on the way in which the new laws will be handled by schools. It affects both those schools that receive support from public funds, and those for which parents pay fees and are wholly independent.

A Catholic member of a pro-life group who regularly visits Catholic schools to speak on issues of faith and morals said, “I think people are just hoping that it will be like the laws banning hunting — which effectively have been ignored. You will see huntsmen in their traditional costumes, and packs of hounds, regularly out and about, and it all seems to be just as popular as ever. But it would be foolish to imagine that the massive homosexual lobby — which is well-funded and enjoys influential support — will let this happen with regard to the sexual orientation regulations.”

The person did not want her name used for fear that her being involved in this controversy might lead to her not being invited to speak in schools.


All schools, including Catholic schools, already receive much official material on homosexuality and denouncing “homophobia.” [....] Catholic teachers, fearing prosecution, will be likely to obey the new laws unless they receive direction from the bishops’ conference.

- - - -

Joanna Bogle, the author of this article, also discusses this turn of events on her blog.
Click HERE for it.

A powerfully masculine identity statement: ALL THAT THE FATHER HAS IS MINE

At the Last Supper:
The Father, the Son, the Spirit, the Disciple

As Jesus begins his final discourse to his apostles at his Last Supper, he speaks as their father.
John 13:31-33
Now is the Son of man glorified, and in him God is glorified; if God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once.
LITTLE CHILDREN, yet a little while I am with you....
He continues to speak to them at length.
John 14:16,17
And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you,
and will BE IN YOU.
Jesus continues at length.
John 16:13-15
The Spirit of truth [....] will glorify me,
for he will take what is mine
and declare it to you.
therefore I said that the Spirit will take what is mine
and declare it to you.
Jesus continues to speak to his men, his apostles, until he begins to pray aloud to his Father.
John 17:22,23,26
The glory which you, Father, have given me
I have given to them,
that they may be one even as we are one,
AND YOU IN ME [....]
I made known to them your name,
and I will make it known,
that the love with which you have loved me may be in them,
and I IN THEM.
The Father is in Jesus,
Jesus— as a father— is in us,
and the Spirit is in us:

April 29, 2007

The last synod was about the Eucharist, and the next one will be about the Sacred Scriptures, the Word of God

[I have included a highlighted excerpt from the Preface, then the outline of the Introduction, Chapters, and Conclusion. ]

Guidelines for the next Assembly of the Synod of Bishops
October 5 to 26, A.D. 2008



The Word of God is active, as demonstrated in the personal lives of the patriarchs and prophets and seen throughout the history of the Elect of the Old and New Testaments. Jesus Christ bears witness to this in a totally unique way. The WORD of God became FLESH “and dwelt among us” (Jn 1:14). Through his Church, he carries on the proclamation of the Kingdom of God and the healing of the sick (cf. Lk 9:2). THE CHURCH CONTINUES TO ACCOMPLISH THESE SALVIFIC WORKS THROUGH THE WORD AND THE SACRAMENTS, ESPECIALLY THE EUCHARIST, THE SOURCE AND SUMMIT OF THE LIFE AND MISSION OF THE CHURCH, where the WORDS of consecration produce THROUGH THE GRACE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT their effect of transforming bread into THE LORD'S BODY and wine into HIS BLOOD (cf. Mt 26:26-28; Mk 14: 22-23; Lk 22: 19-20). The Word of God is therefore the source of communion not only between humankind and God but also among people, one with another, all of whom are the Lord’s beloved.

THIS CLOSE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE EUCHARIST AND THE WORD OF GOD was a factor in the choice of topic for the next Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, fulfilling a long-held desire to treat the Word of God in a synodal assembly. Consequently, after the Synod of Bishops on “The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church,” which took place from 2 to 23 October 2005, thoughts naturally turned to giving attention to “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church,” in order to examine more thoroughly the meaning of THE ONE TABLE OF THE BREAD AND WORD. [....]


God Takes the Initiative: Divine Revelation by the Word of God
The Human Person Needs Revelation
The Word of God is Intimately a Part of Human History and Guides It
Jesus Christ is the Word of God Made Man, the Fullness of Revelation
The Word of God as a Symphony
Personal Faith Responds to the Word of God, a Faith Manifested in Listening
Mary, Every Believer's Model of How to Welcome the Word
The Word of God, Entrusted to the Church, Is Transmitted to Every Generation
Divine Tradition and Sacred Scripture in the Church: A Single Sacred Deposit of the Word of God
Sacred Scripture, the Inspired Word of God
A Necessary, Demanding Task: Interpreting the Word of God in the Church
Old and New Testaments: A Single Economy of Salvation
The Church Is Born and Lives by the Word of God
The Word of God Sustains the Church throughout Her History
Through the Power of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God Permeates and Animates Every Aspect of the Church's Life
The Church is Nourished on the Word in Various Ways
a - In the Liturgy and Prayer
b - in Evangelization and Catechesis
c - In Exegesis and Theology
d - In the Life of the Believer
The Church's Mission Is to Proclaim Christ, the Word of God Made Man
The Word of God Is to be Accessible to All, in Every Age
The Word of God: The Grace of Communion Among Christians
The Word of God: A Light for Interreligious Dialogue
a - With the Jewish people
b - With other religions
The Word of God: The Leaven in Modern Culture
The Word of God and Human History