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An interesting article published in the New York Times  By ROD DREHERAUG. 2, 2017 The link is here:

Trump Can’t Save American Christianity

“Today, we in the West owe an incalculable debt to the saint and his early medieval followers, whose visionary, disciplined faith bore spectacular fruit long after their deaths. This experience shows Christians that we have to think not in election cycles but in centuries.”

 

“In the early Middle Ages, the churches and the monasteries were those tiny arks carrying the faith and the faithful across a dark and stormy sea. They can be once again. And must.”

Two days and Candlemas

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I unknowingly start this a few days ago on the feast of Saint Brigid, one of the Patron Saints of Ireland. I am familiar with Brigid’s Crosses which are made by weaving grass into the pattern of the cross. Wanting to know a little of their history, I began digging. In that reading it was often written that the cross of grass likely predated Irelands Christianity, and its origins were in the Celtic pre-Christian gods. In tone the arguments read often presented evidence against the Brigid Cross being Christian. Not only did those articles go against the Cross, they went against the saint herself. They suggest the patron saint of Ireland is again the Christianization of an ancient Irish pagan goddess that goes by the same name. Christianity decreases and paganism is promoted, in their eyes. The Saint and feast, in pagan ritual, has its origins in a springtime festival. At least to some.

That was a couple days ago, today is the feast of the presentation of the LORD. It occurs forty days after the Nativity when Jesus is presented at the Temple in accordance with Jewish custom and law. It also is the purification of Mary, yet another tradition of Judaism. Finally, it is also known as Candlemas. Candlemas is the day when all candles to be used throughout the year are blessed. In earlier times the Church used many candles. Bees wax at one time was the valued product of the bee, its honey as a welcomed byproduct. Why Candlemas today, on this religious feast? It is because at the presentation Jesus is proclaimed as the light of the world. It is the day the proclamations of Anna and Simeon are made at the Temple. Christ, the light of the world. It is one of the great celebrations of the Church. Ironically if one were to read a new age online encyclopedia the day is almost always referenced to some other pagan seasonal feast. That feast can be Irish, or Roman, or Nordic, and almost always related to the changing of the seasons. It is not. Today is the feast of Presentation of our LORD Jesus the Christ and light of world. It also is the celebration of purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of God. It is a day with its origins in sacred scripture, and it is celebrated with Candlemas. It is a day a great light is proclaimed, the light of salvation. Why the ire? First the deliberate attempts to portray the day as a hostile takeover of an earthy and folksy wicianesque tradition. It is not. Second is the attempted replacement of a scared day rich in tradition with another (actual the same) pagan celebration, Groundhog Day.

Today is a good day to voice anger against the promotion of paganism. It is a good day to be reminded of words such as heresy, and blasphemy, and apostasy, and sacrilegious. In using that voice to proclaim the great light that is Jesus Christ gives reminder of the voice of the person. Along with light, voice enters into the liturgy. The Christian Voice. Words and sounds. The day after Candlemas comes the feast of Saint Blase , and it is the day of the blessing of throats with today’s candles. At the presentation Jesus is proclaimed light of the world, and to proclaim often means to use your blessed throat.. .

The prophet.

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This morning I read from the prophet Jeremiah, and in those readings the prophet warned the Israelites of the consequences of their actions. He warned them of the battles that loomed ahead as the result of their unfaithfulness to their God. That is what prophets do, they observe in the light of the Lord, report what they see, and give warning or advice as needed. They seem to be similar to the fortune tellers, with the exception that their message was from the Lord. Their testaments were taken quite seriously, and that does not imply that their advice was always taken. Often prophets were cursed for giving a message that a king did not want to hear. A false prophecy could spell death.

I don’t know whatever happened to the prophets of Israel. I suspect they dispersed when the Kingdom of Israel was overtaken (Jeremiah warned them!). They might not have been welcomed in Judea as that followed a different culture. The last prophet we Christians hear of is Saint John the Baptist. This puzzle has little to do with yesterday, it has more to do with today.

I wonder, what if a prophet were to speak today. What if the role of prophet had not disappeared? What would one of the Lords prophets tell us today? On one hand I can hear the prophets of a country. Those I can recognize under a different name. They are the political pundits, the news editorialist, and the commentators. Their advice fills the airwaves. Talking Heads in music-speak. There also are those in the official capacity, they are the ones that sit with the president around an oval table. The senior advisors, though in that case the president picks his prophets.

Those are the closest we have to a country-prophet. What about the kingdom within a kingdom, the Church? Do we have a prophet there? Does a Sunday homily count? Of course the Priests give fair warning of the culture of the day, but they are Priests not prophets. I will admit, I am taking a few liberties here, for the sake of argument. They proclaim the good news, not always give warning of the bad. From them descend, bishops, cardinals, and the pope. All proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. Their role isn’t primarily reporting the plight of their flock. An exception, the papal letters. Take note. There is a subtle difference. Theirs is to guide, they are not an impartial observer screaming in the light of God. Prophets scream and stomp their feet, they do little else. They interpret and inform, they do not administer. Minister.

What would a prophet tell us today? For the fate of the country, the presidential candidates do enough talking. They proclaim and do little else. Therefore they serve as prophets at least until one of them gets elected, at that point they have a change in Job Title. Prophet to President. But what about the kingdom within a kingdom? What about Christians?

Where is our prophet, where is our screamer? Yes, I know Jesus ended the prophets of Israel, the alpha and omega. I am not arguing against His teachings. I am simply wondering, what would Jeremiah scream about today? In many ways I can hear him. I can hear him warning of becoming too mingle with the pagans, I can hear him warn of unfaithfulness, I can hear him scream “turn back to the Lord!” That probably is why the ancient prophet’s messages are so relevant. They had a message that is timeless, the pit our ancestors fell into is the same one we enthusiastically dive into today. Like them, we take bad advice. Like them, we turn to false gods. Like them, we dilute our beliefs. Like them, we become complacent. The pitfalls remain remarkably the same, it’s only the details that change. Perhaps that is why I hear those prophet’s screaming even though no one is making a sound. It is not the voices I hear, but instead what I hear that rumbles between them. The voices scream their progressive and secular and liberal agendas. The voice between them rumbles WARNING, and that rumble is getting louder. I know that ultimately the rumble of the LORD will prevail. I wonder what our fate will be when that sound finally breaks through, what will lie in its wake, what will be in our path when the prophets warning comes true?

I can hear all of our current commentators loudly and clearly, I can hear all of the experts chime in. I can hear them tell us what to do and what to believe and who to trust. Yet amongst all of their racket, I can still hear the loud screams of the likes of Jerimiah, the Old Testament prophets, shouting “don’t listen to them” and “take off the silk and wear the sackcloth”, “tear those garments, and splash that face with ash!” “Don’t believe that which they tell you, for trouble certainly looms ahead.” So different from the message screamed from the left, “Follow me!” and screamed from the right, “no, follow me!” I add the right winged conservative fanatics because many say if you can’t turn left, you must go right. No, the voice of the prophets still scream what the Baptist did, Repent and make way for the Lord. Not left nor right, but straight and narrow. Sorry Donald, and sorry Hillary; but this rant against both of you.

(Again I know Christ is priest, prophet, and king so don’t twist these words. This is neither thesis nor dissertation, its nothing academic. It’s a what-if from something I read, it is a rant focused on today.)

“hermit.Notes” on the news

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I typically don’t do commentaries on news items, this week was an exception. This week I highlighted three articles that focused on modern challenges of the Church regarding politics, Catholic institutions, and Catholic hierarchy. It is easy to read about the challenges of the past, it’s a bit different to look clearly at things today. It’s easy to read about the battles between Popes and Kings, what about Popes and Politicians? It’s easy to read about the divide between Catholicism and Protestantism, but what about Christianity versus Secularism? Then there is the battle of the Traditionalists versus the Vatican II enthusiast: Latin Rite versus Byzantine? The point is that all of these new dilemmas really are the old issues revisited. Challenges and controversies and scandals existed yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The Gospels and Testaments were written during the same challenges, controversies, and scandals. It is how fire tried gold is formed. The controversies are the storms on the Sea of Galilee, and they are the reason to keep eyes and ears on Jesus Christ. They are the battles the LORD preached through. They are the temptations He faced in the desert, and the ones we struggle through today. The conflicts of society are the reason He said we should not become salt that has lost its taste, a phrase that becomes pertinent when listening to Catholic politicians. It also is a phrase to remember when dealing with Catholic institutions, something they should be reminded of. The controversies also bring issue with an institution sailing through time and the individual that does the same. Historically it was the Protestants that jumped ship. The Catholics stayed aboard and patched the holes. That was their reformation, the works of the likes of Saint Francis and Saint Clare (her feast is today). That restoration continues today, it is a work in progress.

Irish seminary trustees to meet as criticism of gay culture mounts : News Headlines

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Interesting reading, click the link:

Source: Irish seminary trustees to meet as criticism of gay culture mounts : News Headlines


hermitNotes:My first Catholic dilemma was the Catholic politicians that go against the teachings of their faith. The second Catholic dilemma was Catholic organizations that are not always in agreement with the Church they claim to serve. Both of these are groups that are not part of Church hierarchy. The politician is a representative of a government, the charitable aid agency is an organization that straddles between Church, State, and Citizen due to the way it procures its funding. Todays dilemma is a Catholic seminary infiltrated by a distinctly non Catholic gay culture. The dilemma is that the seminary is the place for the training of Church leadership, yet much of what is alleged to go on at the institution goes against Church teaching. One has to wonder if the institution is inhabited by those of gay culture so that they might change the teachings of the Church. That change can be by first through a confrontation and intimidation of seminarians who do desire to follow the magisterium of the Church. Secondly, the counter cultural seminarians are given access to those that fill parish churches. Those parishioners become a captive audience for the preaching’s of a liberal and unorthodox teaching of Christianity. Why did I find these three articles interesting and related? It is because they are three examples of challenges the Church faces in maintaining a true and orthodox Catholic doctrine. They comprise the waves and swells of that stormy sea that the Church must navigate through to bring its members safely to the shore. Not an easy task, and there are no quick answers.