St. Andrew Dung-Lac and companions

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Here is an older post from 2014. Some background of these saints from another post is here

 

One of the things that is so memorable about Andrew Dung-Lac is that he was born a poor pagan Vietnamese. His catechesis was coupled with food and shelter, and then baptism. He was not born into Christianity, and the country he lived in was not historically Christian, and he was ethnically Vietnamese. Why do these points interest me? To start, Andrew became a priest, and taught catechism. That was a step up from the impoverished life he was born into, but does not begin to explain this person’s character. Andrews’s character and spirituality come out after the first time he went through imprisonment and persecution for his Christian faith. That persecution was under the emperor’s directive, and was wide spread; though Andrew was able at first to gain freedom with the support of his congregation. This is the part where this priest’s character and spirituality are revealed. After that persecution the priest changed his name, modified his location, and continued his mission. After imprisonment, how easy would it have been for him to simply remove his collar and blend in amongst his countrymen? He was ethnically Vietnamese, so blending in would have been easy. The persecutions going on in that country were among the most brutal in history, yet he did not remove his clerical collar, and to me that speaks volumes about the extent the Holy Spirit descended onto that priest. At his baptism he was initiated into the faith with water, at his first persecution was proof positive that he had received that Spirit. As he continued preaching and baptizing people into the faith, those persecutions continued and they were directed at Christians with unspeakable brutality. Andrew continued with his mission until he was beheaded for the faith at the age of forty-four. His story contains examples of the three types of baptism, that one of water, of the spirit, and by blood. The brutality towards Christians in that country at that time were horrendous. Andrews’s story is easy to tell because it is a brief biographical sketch of a single person. There were one hundred and seventeen martyrs, and each had their own unique story, though I am certain they all had that desire to live and die for their faith and preach the gospel of Christ. It was that faith that defined them, not their ethnicity or social standing. They were European and Vietnamese, Priests, Religious, and Lay people: all placing their faith in Christ. Their story of faith is remarkable and unforgettable.

november

Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving in Greek is εὐχαριστία , or eucharistia. It is described in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks (εὐχαριστήσας), he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me”. (1 Corinthians 11:23-24)

The term Eucharist is used as a Liturgical Rite by the end of the first century. Orthodox Churches, the Latin Rite Churches, Anglicans, Presbyterians, and Lutherans still use the term for the Liturgical Rite. Other Protestant denominations rarely use this term, preferring either “Communion”, “the Lord’s Supper”, or “the Breaking of Bread”. (that’s from Wikipedia) Odd how many Vatican II churches have the preference for “table of the Lord” over “Altar” and   “the Lord’s Supper” over “Eucharist” I am unsure what term the Pilgrims used.
If one were to research the term Iconoclast, they would find this definition:

i·con·o·clast
[īˈkänəˌklast]
NOUN
1. a person who attacks cherished beliefs or institutions.
synonyms: critic · skeptic · heretic · unbeliever · dissident ·
2. a destroyer of images used in religious worship, in particular.
• historical
a supporter of the 8th- and 9th-century movement in the Byzantine Church that sought to abolish the veneration of icons and other religious images.
• historical
a Puritan of the 16th or 17th century.

It’s that first and last line I find most interesting. Iconoclast: a person who attacks cherished beliefs or institutions, a Puritan of the 16th or 17th century.
I wonder what Catholic holiday is like the Secular-Protestant/ American Thanksgiving? Its Saint Martin’s Day.   On that day the turkey is replaced with goose There is anecdotal evidence :

Turducken is a dish consisting of a deboned chicken stuffed into a deboned duck, further stuffed into a deboned turkey. Outside of the United States and Canada, it is known as a three bird roast. Gooducken is a traditional English variant, replacing turkey with goose.

 

Saint Cecilia, patron of music

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Recycled from 2014

Today is the memorial of Saint Cecilia, an early Roman saint, virgin, and martyr of the Church. Briefly Cecilia was a vowed virgin who was married and wished to keep her virginity. She told her husband of an angel which he asked to see, and to which she replied he needed to be baptized. He did see that angel who spoke to him and gave him red roses and white lilies, as a reward for Cecilia’s love of chastity. Her husband Valerian then had his brother converted to the faith. When the prefect, Almachius, heard of the conversions he ordered them imprisoned and put to death. Cecilia’s tomb was found in 822 and her body incorrupt was transferred to a church bearing her name. The sculptor Stefano Maderno carved a sculpture of that body precisely as it was found when the cypress coffin was opened. It now adorns her tomb.

Saint Cecilia is the patron saint of composers, music, musicians, musical instrument makers, poets, and singers. She is the patron of a few others, but these are the ones of interest to me. I think about her and music especially concerning liturgical music. I think of her as I think of a small debate goes on about that sacred music, and I think about the saint and those listed that she is the patron of. One of the arguments that is taking place regards the types of musical instruments fitting for liturgy. There are those that embrace the organ as the instrument of the church, and they feel that this instrument has a special place in the churches. I cannot argue that the pipe organ is strongly associated with liturgical music, but the limiting the instrumentation of the Church to that solitary instrument leaves me a bit divided. It is a grand instrument of the Church, and much sacred music has been composed for it.

 Saint Cecilia though would have never heard music from that instrument, the organ occurs in history probably 1000 years after her death. That is the part that leaves me divided. Cecilia is frequently pictured holding a lyre, and that instrument is related to the harp, and then the violin and guitar. Lyres and tambourines were instruments of the Old Testament. Plainsong and Chant were the foundation of early Christian music. The organ actually occurred late in the Churches musical history. I think of Saint Cecilia too when I think of continents that have no equivalent to that Church organ, but instead have their own assortment of musical instruments. I wonder, what is the traditional music for the Ethiopian Orthodox Church? What are the musical instrument traditions of those devout Catholics in places like Korea, China, India, and the South Pacific?

When thinking of that patron saint of music, and instrument makers I do think of the roles of sacred and secular music, and I do think of how music should be applied to the liturgy. I also think of how it is misapplied. I wonder why it is that the popular styles of Church music are not played before and after the liturgy, and why plainsong and chant have diminished during the liturgy, and why the pipe organ fell out of favor for a time. I also wonder why the concertina, and the violin, and the renaissance recorders are used little during Mass, and why the folk guitar is so popular.

oud_frontI add the picture of the oud because it is the ancient instrument of the Middle East that eventually became the L’Oud, and then the Lute, and then the guitar. According to legend the instrument was invented by Lamech, the sixth grandson of Adam. String instruments have a long history in Middle Eastern cultures and religions. Ouds, harps of varying kinds, percussion instruments (doumbek), cymbals, tambourines, and wind instruments such as the Moroccan Oboe all play a part in religious celebrations. Arguably they are the original instruments of the Church. Some might have a spittle flecked nutty, but this is the modern guitars ancestry in the Church. For the lyrics, and style of the contemporary, that’s another story. 

talent 33 plus two cents.

Aside

I could add ( http://bit.ly/2zRFRq1 ) that the one who buried their talents was a Roman (gasp). When a war looms large, those in the country side often buried their valuables for fear of loosing them in battle.

Jesus did preach a new kingdom, and some loyal to the old kingdom might have seen the threat, they might have seen the disciples talents bearing fruit. Under the old kingdom, people were drained to near lifelessness. The disciples were the opposite, they sprung to life. Its just my two cents

talent 33

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No, I did not want to write on the parable of the talents Mt 25:14-30. It is cold, and dark, and will be for a long time. It is after All-Saints and All-Souls day. It’s after Halloween. It is the near end of the year, all are the stuff of November. The end is near.

In reading that parable my mind went to that last person who was given the least. He was the one that buried his talent, the money that was entrusted to him. In a November mindset, he buried it as if he placed it in a grave. He buried it as if it were dead and he was scolded.

The others , they took their money (their talents) and put it to use. Their money was lively, it was fruitful, and it multiplied. It was animated, it was alive.

In a November mindset, the coins become life and death: Jesus proclaims to be the God of the living. He seeks good-fruit. No, the talent buried did not sprout life. It remained unchanged. It did nothing. dead.

The lively money, and it owners that were rewarded, were praised because their riches increased. But what if those stewards took that talent, invested it and then lost. What would the master say then, what would he say to the investment that didn’t pan out? Would those with good intentions who stumbled face the same fate as that deadpan? For that I think there must be a parable of forgiveness.