Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Advent Calendar

Looking for an Advent Calendar to print or carry with you? Loyola Press has a .pdf one, which allows both. Denise Gorss tweeted the link to it last week.
Wiki-image by Tim ‘Avatar’ Bartel of an advent calendar is used according to CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

In Europe, About Europe

Analysis from afar differs from its nearby cousin. Europe and its economy have received much analysis-time lately. A thoughtful, on-the-ground critique comes from Jürgen
Habermas. The 82-year old philosopher “is no malcontent, no pessimist, no prophet of doom—he’s a virtually unshakable optimist, and this is what makes him such a rare phenomenon in Germany,” wrote Georg Diez of Der Spiegel.
Habermas seeks to free Europe from the politicians’ stranglehold.
“I’m speaking here as a citizen,” he says. “I would rather be sitting back home at my desk, believe me. But this is too important. Everyone has to understand that we have critical decisions facing us. That’s why I’m so involved in this debate.”
Mr. Habermas is an optimist. However, his observations pack sobering jolts.
Wiki-image of the Flag of Europe is in the public domain.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Closer Look at "With Your Spirit"

First Sunday of Advent marked the advent of the latest edition of the Roman Missal. One of the responses, And with your spirit, can be remembered by some. The missal itself is one
long memory.
Enter Jesuit Fr. Jack Mahoney. He “looks closely at the response, ‘And with your spirit’ and directs our attention to one aspect of its meaning that we might otherwise neglect.”
Appreciating its meaning may ease the transition in using it.
Wiki-image by Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1985-0819-018 of looking closely at a mass book of the Middle Ages is used according to the CC-BY-SA (Germany).

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday word, 27 Nov 2011

Advent Sunday 1 (27 Nov 2011)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Toward Not Away

As you know, Christians live between two Advents: the first arrival in time and history of Messiah Jesus, son of God, born of Mary; and our Messiah’s glorious return at the end of time and history. We remember how Jesus was with us: how he proclaimed the reign of God, and how he urged his disciples then and us disciples now, Be watchful! Be alert!

Christian remembering is no mere recall of ancient relics or even to savor them if others don’t. Christian remembering, like its Jewish cousin, reaches into the past, fills the present moment and shapes the future. Christian remembering lives now because its power comes, not from us, but from Jesus’ Spirit. As Jesus said, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name...will be in you...will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you [and] will guide you to all truth.Christian remembering keeps us on target as we live between the two advents of our Messiah Jesus.
Now 21st-Century Catholics begin this Advent with a third advent of sorts, the arrival of the latest translation of the Roman Missal, the book of prayers used to celebrate mass. The closer translation of the prayers reminds us that scripture is the source of our worship. I’d like us to consider one line from today’s opening prayer because it focuses us when the hustle and bustle of the next month distracts us: Grant [us], we pray, almighty God, the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ with righteous deeds at his coming, so that, gathered at his right hand, [we] may be worthy to possess the heavenly kingdom.
Running to meet the Messiah of God is about the future and how we prepare each present moment for our future. We are already in our Messiah, united to him by his Spirit. To meet the Messiah of God echoes what many in scripture desired and did: Zacchaeus wanted to meet Jesus but thought he would only get to see him at a distance;2 some who didn’t speak Jesus’ language asked his disciple, Philip, to introduce them to Jesus;3 disciples of John the Baptizer wanted to spend time with Jesus;4 Jesus’ parable about the ten maidens who went out to meet the bridegroom.5 The church early applied the title of bridegroom to Jesus, so to ready ourselves to meet the bridegroom is wise for all Christians.
Running was a favored image of St. Paul.6 Sprinters and cross-country runners as well as joggers of all varieties know that running takes effort, discipline and regular practice. Our Christian practice is to desire to meet Jesus and to be alert when Jesus meets
us in a person or in an event. Our Christian practice exterior as well as interior: we aim to live our faith, hope and love with righteous deeds, that is, virtuous, upright, faithful, compassionate actions. Scripture described God with a word we translate as righteous. To run forth with...righteous deeds is to behave in ways which will allow Jesus to recognize us as his disciples. 
While the prize of eternal redemption7 awaits us faithful disciples in our future with God, our present is equally important. Our godly, com-passionate, Christian actions awaken others to Jesus meeting them; allow others to meet Jesus for the first time; school us to depend on Jesus in our daily living; and our godly, compassionate, Christian actions enlarge the church, the community of God-with-us, which proclaims God is faithful, for us and for the sake of our world in each present moment as well in the future, when time will be no more, and God will be all in all.8
So give Jesus 15 minutes each day this week.
  • Pause and be aware that you take each breath because Trinity faithfully creates you each moment.
  • Ask the disciples, the first to meet Jesus, to present you to him.
  • Praise Jesus for embodying God in human flesh, bone and emotion.
  • Ask Jesus for the grace to run the Christian life in an eager, self-effacing way: that is, to walk the gospel way.
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus gave us his words as our guide to be alert, ready to welcome him when he returns in glory.

  1. John 14.17, 26; 16.13.
  2. Luke 19.1-10.
  3. John 12.21.
  4. John 1.37-39.
  5. Matthew 25.1-13, the gospel selection early this month.
  6. 1Corinthians 9:24-26; Galatians 2:2; 5:7; Philippians 2.16; 3.14. Paul also knew it did not depend solely on us; see Romans 9:16.
  7. Today’s Prayer Over the Offerings.
  8. 1Corinthians 15.28.
Wiki-image of an advent wreath is in the public domain. Wiki-image of an illustration accompanying Mark 13 is used according to the Free Art License.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Appreciating Formal Equivalence

Beginning in the style of the I’m a PC/I’m a Mac ads, two teens converse about the new translation of the Roman Missal. Eavesdropping on their conversation illuminates what’s behind the translation of the missal to debut this weekend.

(Parents may want to pass this along to their children.)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

This day in the United States has long evoked family and home. Yet, homelessness and poverty prevent many from enjoying this holiday.

This year others with jobs in retail are being deprived of the holiday in order to sell merchandise today and for extended hours on Friday. Word is that retail workers are pushing back.
Wiki-image of Currier and Ives print is in the public domain.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

“Anticipating the Future”

A priest-scientist discussed the intersection of science and faith. 

Jesuit Fr. Kevin FitzGerald noted in a video-interview that while “specifics” can’t be predicted we can “learn to anticipate upcoming ethical questions.”
Wiki-image of spinning device is in the public domain.

If Twitter Were Older

What if Twitter had existed when past, history-making moments happened?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

JFK Presidential Library and Museum Remembers

The JFK Presidential Library and Museum offers a variety of ways of remembering this
date in 1963: print, photo, audio and video. The two inset videos on the right hand side of webpage stand above links to their full versions. Remember here.

Wiki-image of the eternal flame at the grave of President Kennedy is in the public domain.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Word on the Street in Egypt

Aljazeera blog posted a cartoon-commentary on the latest events in Tahrir. The post links to a
Facebook page called “Translating the Arab Revolutions” can help you gain insight into the latest debates and jokes.

To Help Everyone, Especially the Poor

Kirk Semple of the New York Times reports that leaders of labor, faiths and communities in that city are working to together in support of the “Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act.”
Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities, is scheduled to speak at a rally on Monday organized by a coalition of religious, labor and community leaders to urge the passage of [of a bill that would raise wages], originally introduced last year by two City Council members from the Bronx.
The NYT article offers more details of the hotly contended bill.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday word, 20 Nov 2011

Christ the King (20 Nov 2011)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Two Things At Once

Is it possible in our democratic day and age to profit from the Solemnity of Christ Jesus our King, which closes a year of celebrating the many ways he abides with us and saves us? We can profit from it, and I suggest an approach for your reflection this week and beyond.

First, God communicates to us through the writings of 1st-century, Mediterranean authors. Those authors clothed God’s communication in their particular human language, shaped by their circumstances, culture and experience.

Their core values were honor and shame. We continue to see both values operate in the Mediterranean world. News from there confuses because we don’t measure honor and shame with their categories. Regarding honor: scripture measures it as glory: all the angels with [the Son of Man, who] will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him—is far different from any human notions we have. Regarding shame: we tend to measure it as doing something wrong or illegal rather than measuring it by the failure to put our faith into action, including with and for people with whom we have loose or no bonds. 
Bonds, especially of kinship to family, to leader or to the clan, figured large and still do in the Mediterranean world. Ours is a culture of the individual and of the market, good reasons why Mediterranean values confuse us.
Yet, we know that the market—and the money and possessions which accrue from the market—cannot satisfy our thirst for meaning. We also know that as lone individuals we are unable to satisfy that thirst. Years ago a teacher of the interior life bluntly said “real” people engage others:
The isolated individual is not a real person. A real person is one who lives in and for others. ...the more personal relationships we form with others, the more we truly realize ourselves as persons.1
Real meaning and other faces of honor depend on others engagingreceiving and acceptingus for who we are. 
When we accept close friends and family members as they are, we show them kindness and we help them grow. The bonds linking us as family shape how we treat them: it is expected. Showing kindness at home helps children learn, and us to keep learning, to show hospitality to others not tightly bonded to us. 
Hospitality—not merely offering space to another but welcoming people with respect, treating them as human companions in life—hospitality is the action by which our risen Lord measures our lives.

Christian hospitality does two things at once: first, by it we treat others, with whom we have no bond other than our shared humanity, as we desire to be treated; second, by extending
hospitality we welcome and offer food, drink, clothing and care to our risen Lord. When we withhold hospitality we deny welcome, food, drink, clothing and care to our risen Lord. To use the core values of Jesus’ time and culture, we serve our risen Lord to our honor, or, we snub our risen Lord to our shame.
Christian hospitality begins at home, although many of us think of it as done outside or shown to outsiders who visit us. Keeping alive the desire to extend Christian hospitality in every way possible keeps our hearts supple and prepares us to enjoy the future glory our risen King and Lord desires to extend to us: Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Pause in the presence of the Trinity to relish that the Trinity creates you to extend Christian hospitality.
  • Ask the communion of saints to present you to Jesus.
  • Speak with Jesus about your desire to serve him.
  • Ask Jesus to deepen that grace in you. 
  • Close your prayer by saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus’ prayer guides us to extend Christian hospitality and shapes daily living to be a prelude to the honor and glory our risen Lord desires to extend to us.

Link to this homilys Spiritual Exercise

  1. Bishop Kallistos Ware, in Lorraine Lisly, Ordinary Graces: Christian Teachings on the Interior Life. Bell Tower; 2001, p. 28.
Wiki-image by Andreas F. Borchert of Wexford Friary window is used according to the CC Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license. Wiki-image of an icon depicting the Second Coming is in the public domain

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Papal Screen Test

The church gets portrayed unevenly on the screen. Movies about the church run risks of error, exaggeration and caricature in varying degrees and combinations. The movie, “We Have a Pope,” was featured at this year’s London Film Festival (a brief history of the festival, with awarded films).
Ged Clapson saw it and reviewed for the Jesuit e-zine, Thinking Faith.
We Have A Pope is sympathetic and in many ways spectacular. The sets are awesome: it really is difficult to spot where the real Vatican ends and the studios begin! Moretti is a self-confessed atheist, which makes the warmth with which he regards the papacy quite amazing. It is not hard to imagine a Catholic writer or director doing something similar with much less sympathy and verve. Is it a great film? No, it is not. But it is a very kind film, an interesting film – indeed, a powerful film.
Not a “great movie,” and it has “caricatures.” Yet this review suggests it is a “kind...interesting...powerful” window on us all. Mr. Clapson’s review contains a trailer.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Social Returns Wanted

Name who has
gone toe-to-toe with Kroger, the grocery store chain, over farm worker rights; with McDonald’s, over childhood obesity; and with Wells Fargo, over lending practices. They have tried, with mixed success, to exert some moral suasion over Fortune 500 executives, a group not always known for its piety.
Here’s the answer from the NYT post containing the above quote.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Getting Closer. . .

. . .t

o using the new Roman Missal

Although many [Latin texts of the Roman liturgy] have already been translated, the work of translation is not drawing to a close. New texts have been edited or prepared for the renewal of the liturgy. Above all, after sufficient experiment and passage of time, all translations will need review. (Comme le Prevoit [On the translation of liturgical texts for celebrations with a congregation], paragraph 1, 1969).
Dioceses and parishes in the United States have catechized in a variety of ways all year. The purpose: to help Catholics worship when the long-planned third-edition of the missal begins to be used at masses in Advent.
Father Robert Barron offers helpful insights, for example, the new version of the missal maintains the “poetry and the scriptural quality of the Latin” in which the prayers were written. That and other aspects of the new translation can, with repeated hearing and prayerful enunciation by priests, “be very beneficial to your prayer.”

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Deadline Approaching

National Geographic hosts an annual photo contest. Photographers may submit photos to one of three categories, People, Places, and Nature. The contest closes this month.
Alan Taylor of The Atlantic chose and posted 45 entries “with captions written by the individual photographers.” After viewing these, judging will not be easy.
Wiki-image of camera lens is in the public domain.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

At the 92nd Street Y

Archbishop Timothy Dolan and Rabbi Naomi Levy had a conversation at that famed New York venue last Tuesday. John L. Allen Jr. was its moderator. As he wrote in his All Things Catholic

At first blush, Dolan and Levy make an odd couple. She’s a pioneer female leader in Judaism, part of the first class
of women to enter the Jewish Theological Seminary’s rabbinical school, while Dolan represents a church that doesn’t permit women clergy. Levy is a married mother of two; Dolan, a celibate male. Although Levy lives in Los Angeles, she grew up in New York, while Dolan hails from St. Louis. Based on the sound of their voices, you would swear Levy, not Dolan, is the gritty, street-wise pastor from the Big Apple.
Yet beyond those surface contrasts, there’s a vast stretch of common ground, not only between Levy and Dolan, but the traditions they represent.
Mr. Allen’s states in his post the occasion for being with them.
Wiki-image of the 92nd Street Y has been dedicated to the public domain.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Advances in a Now-Common Therapy

Last Friday Rebecca J. Rosen of The Atlantic wrote that artificial blood was first given to humans.

Today transfusions are not the cumbersome procedures that they were. To illustrate Ms. Rosen offered a slide-show at her post

[It’s O.K. Hers is a retrospective not a medical lesson.]
Wiki-image of the official emblem of the IFRC is in the public domain.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday word, 13 Nov 2011

33d Sunday of the Year (13 Nov 2011)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Our Primary Colors

“The way they make it sound, it scares you half to death.” Some conversations never fade into the background. My mother wasn’t talking about the return of our Lord Jesus. Jesus described his second coming like a thief in the night to emphasize that no one knew when; and like labor pains upon a pregnant woman to emphasize his return is inevitable. St. Paul handed on this teaching of Jesus to the Thessalonians and to his other churches.

When she said, “The way they make it sound, it scares you half to death,” mom spoke about the Homeland Security alerts, which are not in the foreground as they were. Remember them? Those alerts, you recall, had their colors: green for Low; blue for Guarded; yellow for Elevated; orange for High; and red for Severe. My mother wasn’t alone. AOL had an online vote after an alert back then: “Do these warnings do more harm than good? Yes, they create too much panic; No, we need to know.”
In its own words: “The Department of Homeland Security would translate analysis into action in the shortest possible time,”1 actions for the safety of the largest numbers of citizens. Those alerts urged our vigilance with language, not just colors. One I recall used dire language:
Sources suggest al-Qaida may favor spectacular attacks [with] High symbolic value, mass casualties, severe damage to the U.S. economy and maximum psychological trauma.
That and other security alerts told us to be vigilant, but did they tell us how? The alerts warned something may happen yet remained vague. Recalling them helped me notice that Jesus was not vague; he was concrete. Let’s consider how.

As our liturgical year with the Gospel of Matthew draws to a close, we consider Jesus at the end of his earthly ministry. Nearing Jerusalem where he would be crucified, Jesus encouraged his disciples to remain vigilant. They had been seeking the Messiah, but none expected theirs to be a crucified Messiah. Jesus had particular reason to encourage vigilance and to nourish fragile hope.
From the first covenant with Abraham, God desired people and their active love. God’s desire for us was so fiercely passionate that in Jesus God died for us. People need to hear that good news.
From the first covenant and its numerous renewals urged by prophets and sages from Noah to Jesus, vigilance remained one of its most important textures.

Vigilant service continues to mark covenant love with God. God desires we put to use our skills in daily living, as the parable of the three servants put in charge of their absent master’s estate made clear. Faithful use of one’s gifts paves the way to participation in the fullness of the life of the kingdom of heaven.
Covenant-people, however, do not live for themselves, extolled the sage. Concerned with her family and their household, the ideal wife reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy. The Psalmist sang husbands, too, walk in the [the Lord’s] ways, the Lord, who is especially concerned for the outcast, the downtrodden and the poor. Children learn concerned love from their parents.
Our covenant-vigilance, urged by prophets, sages, faithful folks and, above all, Jesus, is in no way vague. St. Paul transformed an image of security from his own time:
let us be watchful, putting on the breastplate of faith and the love and the helmet that is hope for salvation.2
Faith, hope and love remain the primary colors of covenant vigilance. Faith, hope and love allow us to serve Jesus by our care for others. Faith, hope and love shape our Christian lives in specific, concrete ways.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Become aware of the Trinity faithfully keeping you alive at each moment.
  • Ask St. Paul to present you to Jesus.
  • Speak with Jesus in your words about how you are alert to Jesus and to living his gospel.
  • Ask Jesus for the grace to walk in his ways more readily and desire to do so.
  • Close, saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. It guides us to practice our faith, love and hope ever more concretely each day.

  1. From the government PDF about the purpose of Homeland Security.
  2. Verse 8 of 1Thessalonians 5 is not included in the lectionary selection. By his image (repeated in various ways in correspondence to his other churches) Paul offered Christians concrete ways of living vigilant lives.
Wiki-images of a man applauding a servant and of a door panel symbolizing the triumph of Christ Jesus and his church are in the public domain.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Meeting of Presidents

Recently, the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops [USCCB], Archbishop Timothy Dolan, met with the President of the United States.
The men discussed a range of issues related to the often complicated and recently fractious relationship between the administration and the U.S. church hierarchy. A spokesperson for the USCCB declined to confirm or deny the meeting.
The NCR post contains related links to other stories and a book of conversations with Archbishop Dolan, who praised President Obama’s ability to discuss things in a civil manner.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Play and Replay

A salute of appreciation to Veterans, past and present!


First, a play: a drama, a political thriller. The 1605 Gunpowder Plot, in which English Catholics targeted the British Parliament, remains a mystery. In 
Jesuit Father Bill Cain’s play “Equi-vocation,”... William commissioned by Robert Cecil, a power-player behind King James I, to write a play declaring the government version of the events of the plot. The King himself wrote the first draft...
The play revolves around the cost of a government lie and how politics can become personal. Presented in modern language and dress, Equivocation presents a dilemma: tell the truth and lose your head or write propaganda and lose your soul?
The accompanying National Jesuit News post contains excerpts of an interview with Fr. Cain. In it he also relates the original meaning of equivocation.
Last, Mr. John L. Allen Jr. suggests that Pope Benedicts second
African visit can be a “do-over.” 
Popes rarely get a “do-over,” an opportunity to make something right that didn’t exactly work out as planned the first time around. Yet Benedict XVI’s Nov. 18-20 trip to the West African nation of Benin, his second visit to Africa, represents just such a chance to tee the ball up again and see if this time he can avoid the rough.
The pope will visit Benin with “three motives.” Benin is significant because it “represents a microcosm of Africa’s broader ‘best of times, worst of times’ storyline.” Learn more at Friday’s NCR Global post.
Wiki-image of Old Glory is in the public domain. Wiki-image of the Union Jack is in the public domain in the U.S. Wiki-image by Marc Mongenet of the Vatican flag is used according to Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 license.