Saturday, April 07, 2007
I'M DREAMING OF A WHITE EASTER...
It's been snowing here all day. The temperature is colder than Christmas. One of the Cleveland suburbs has run out of salt, has multiple accidents on the roads, and is asking everyone to stay off the streets unless there is an emergency. Four to eight inches are predicted overnight in the snowbelt.
And the daffodils are blooming under all this white stuff somewhere. We had an 80 degree day earlier this week. Ohio is never dull.
FROM THE MAILBOX
Spirit & Life
"The words I spoke to you are spirit and life." (Jn 6:63)
Human Life International e-Newsletter
Volume 01, Number 62 | Holy Thursday, April, 05 2007
"Thou Art a Priest Forever"
In a climate of secular hostility toward faith in general and the Catholic Church in particular, it is worth calling to mind the need we have for priests, a need that is built into the very fabric of who we are as Catholics. Holy Thursday is the day in which the Church celebrates, at the Mass of the Lord's Supper, the institution of the sacred priesthood. Today we thank God for the priesthood - and for the good priests who have served us so faithfully!
The institution of the priesthood is intrinsically tied to God's covenant of love for sinful man. This covenant was so perfectly ratified at the Last Supper and consummated by Christ's Blood on the Cross that it is called the "new and eternal covenant" of the Eucharist which will never pass away. So great is this expression of God's love that Padre Pio said, "It would be easier for the world to exist without the sun than without the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass." Another holy priest, St. John Vianney, said that if we really knew the value of the Mass we would die!
Christ Jesus offered the new covenant on Calvary as the High Priest of our faith, but He also gave men a share in the gift of His priesthood so that the covenant sacrifice could be renewed until the end of time. It is the ministerial priesthood that allows this perfect sacrifice to penetrate the lives of God's people even on a daily basis. When the priest holds the sacred Host high, he does so in the person of Christ (in persona Christi), not in his own person or name. The priest may be an imperfect man and a sinner, but, thankfully, it is not by his own authority that he serves people! It is Christ who offers the Sacrifice in him. It is Christ who prays for the world with him. It is Christ who ministers to others through him. The priest is spiritually Christ's younger brother, set apart and consecrated for this indispensable work of bringing the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity to the world as no one else can. Without the priest, the Sacrifice does not reach us.
I remember well the day that my favorite priest took me aside and asked me to consider a vocation to the priesthood. It was at my eighth grade graduation, I was fourteen, I was awed beyond belief, and I don't even remember the words he used to sow that seed within me. I only remember the effect of suddenly being brought face to face with a wonderful mystery, and from that moment on, my life has never been the same. It was as if he reached into the bonfire of his priestly heart and brought out an ember to plant in my very tiny heart, a spiritual dynamism of love that God would later consecrate for service to His people. I only pray that I will persevere in fidelity to that great gift which I am sure can literally transform the world when it is lived heroically.
The Letter to the Hebrews says of Christ, "Thou are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek," and the Church has always applied this to all priests. The Sacrament of Holy Orders is an eternal gift which ministers the everlasting Eucharistic love of Christ to the world - and apparently even to the members of the Church Triumphant in heaven too. What a marvelous gift!
On this holy day, let us pray not only for the priests that God has given to His Church, but for a renewal of the priesthood and an abundance of good, holy priestly vocations. May many young men hear that call to serve God's people through the Church and be willing to plunge their lives into that purifying fire that only the priest's anointed hands can bring to the world.
Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer
President, Human Life International
Friday, April 06, 2007
Our woman in the street reports from the Hotel Neulasta in the Marrow District that flaring tempers have resulted in actual physical assaults as a result of overbooking. It seems that rooms in the village are at a premium during the skirmishes, and Neulasta wanted to avoid any economic impact from cancellations, so they doublebooked every room.
One encounter in an elevator nearly resulted in fatalities as the car was actually tipped off-center while descending. Fortunately the mechanism has built-in recovery strategies that righted it.
There have been several fist-fights in hallways as weary travelers attempt to secure the dwindling rooms for themselves. Cots were brought in and placed at the extremities to provide some accommodation to overflow. The bar will remain open all night offering chemical inducements to calm, though it is not expected that guests will spend much time sleeping before dawn. At the moment no resolution is in sight.
BLAVATSKY AND THE KABBALAH
Anyone who proposes that Blavatsky did not subscribe to the Kabbalah has not read her work. The instances in ISIS UNVEILED and THE SECRET DOCTRINE where the Kabbalah is cited are too numerous to count. One example:
This, we believe, is the veritable theory of the modern evolutionists. "Of him who is formless, the non-existent (also the eternal, butnot First Cause), is born the heavenly man." But after he created the form of the heavenly man [here she includes Hebrew letters], he "used it as a vehicle wherein to descend," says the Kabala. Thus Adam Kadmon is the avatar of the concealed power. After that the heavenly Adam creates or engenders by the combined power of the Sephiroth, the earthly Adam. The work of creation is also begun by Sephira in the creation of the ten Sephiroth (who are the Pradjapatis of the Kabala, for they are likewise the Lords of all beings).
The Sohar asserts the same. According to the kabalistic doctrine there were old worlds (see Idra Suta: Sohar, iii, p. 292 b). Everything will return some day to that from which it first proceeded. "All things of which this world consists, spirit as well as body, will return to their principal and the roots from which they proceeded" (Sohar, ii, 218 b). The kabalists also maintain the indestructibility of matter, albeit their doctrine is shrouded still more carefully than that of the Hindus. The creation is eternal, and the universe is the "garment," or "the veil of God" -- Shekinah; and the latter is immortal and eternal as Him within whom it has ever existed. Every world is made after the pattern of its predecessor, and each more gross and material than the preceding one. In the Kabala all were called sparks. Finally, our present grossly materialistic world was formed. ISIS UNVEILED, p. 271.
Now there are three kinds of light in Occultism, as in the Kabala. (1) The Abstract and Absolute Light, which is Darkness; (2) The Light of the Manifested-Unmanifested, called by some the Logos; and (3) The latter light reflected by the Dhyan Chohans, the minorlogoi (the Elohim, collectively), who, in their turn, shed it on the objective Universe. But in the Kabala--re-edited and carefully adjusted to fit the Christian tenets by the Kabalists of the XIII. century--the three lights are described as:--(1) The clear and penetrating, that of Jehovah; (2) reflected light; and (3) light in the abstract. "This light abstractly taken (in a metaphysical or symbolical sense) is Alhim (Elohim God), while the clear penetrating light is Jehovah. THE SECRET DOCTRINE, pp 37-38
More to the point, however, is that Blavatsky studied the writings of Eliphas Levi who preceded her and who was the Father of the Paris occult revival. In his book THE HISTORY OF MAGIC, translated by Waite, Levi mentions the Kabbalah in 44 different locations according to the index, and the Zohar in 32 places. The Talmud appears in 4 places.
One example from Levi:
The religion of the Kabalists is at once hypothesis and certitude, for it proceeds from known to unknown by the help of analogy. They recognise religion as a need of humanity, as an evident and necessary fact, and it is this alone which for them is divine, permanent and universal revelation. They dispute about nothing which is, but they provide the reason for everything. So also their doctrine, by distinguishing clearly the line of demarcation which must exist for ever between science and faith, provides a basis for faith in the highest reason, guaranteeing its incontestable and permanent duration. After this come the popular forms of doctrine, which alone can vary and alone destroy one another; the Kabalist is not only undisturbed by trivialities of this kind, but can provide on the spot a reason for the most astonishing formulae.THE HISTORY OF MAGIC, pp 44-45
Without the Kabbalah there would be no occultism and no New Age movement.
IS RECONCILIATION A POSSIBILITY ?
Much has been made since Vatican II of the effort to reconcile the Roman Catholic faith with the Jewish and Islamic faiths. And well it might be given that we all share some significant beliefs.
That effort has caused its own problems within Roman Catholicism. I'm thinking here specifically of "Reflections on Covenant and Mission" and the retort to the contentions of that document contained in "Dominus Iesus". How can we be what we claim--a faith based in Tradition--while at the same time reversing the 2000 year teaching of Roman Catholicism? That is a task that no leadership has been able to accomplish so far, and the attempts are causing serious divisions within the Church.
The task would be more easily accomplished if we were clear about what we are trying to reconcile. In looking at Judaism, I am coming to the conclusion that we are not clear at all.
From the Catholic perspective, Judaism is Biblical, is based on what we find in our own Old Testament, is in unity with Catholicism up to the birth of Christ after which it diverges. What I seem to be finding within Judaism, however, is that this is not the case. Our cosmology diverges significantly within some segments of Judaism, though apparently not within all segments; and defining which segments are in unity with Catholic cosmology and which segments have a significantly different cosmology is complicated by the desire to hide or gloss over that fact contained within some sectors of the Jewish community.
Perhaps I am wrong, but that is the conclusion I have come to as of today. Where do we go from here?
An interesting article appeared in The Jewish Press a couple of days ago. The article poses the question "Liberal or Biblical Christians?" and proceeds to ask whether Judaism has been well-served by its alignment with liberal Christianity, while suggesting that an alignment with Biblical Christianity would better serve the Jewish community. Well, yes and no. The answer would depend upon which portion of the Jewish community is answering the question.
Certainly liberal, or esoteric, or Kabbalistic Judaism is much better served by liberal Christianity. Theosophy, which is the heart of liberal Christianity (the Liberal Catholic Church) is a restatement of the doctrines of the Kabbalah. I could even go so far as to say that it is Kabbalistic Judaism, though I am sure that will offend some here who strongly disagree. I am also persuaded that Kabblistic Judaism is at the center of New Age. So it is highly unlikely that Roman Catholics can find common ground with Kabbalistic Judaism and still remain faithful to Roman Catholicism as we know it.
At the same time it is not difficult to understand, while thinking from this perspective, the evidence of New Age that is found all over Roman Catholicism. While popes have promoted interreligious dialogue with Judaism, seeing our common Old Testament, other Roman Catholic dialoguers have found the Kabbalah and embraced it, believing they were doing what the popes have requested, and becoming New Agers in the process.
Can this be sorted out into something with which we can proceed? Today I have some serious doubts that it can. In fact today my view of American Catholicism is that it is little more than a burned out shell, set on fire by the priestly sexual abuse scandal, laid on the tinder of 40 years of heretical teachings within.
There are a few Roman Catholic lights in the priesthood who stand out, but these few are faced with the task of balancing the heavy weight of heresy and its promoters on the opposite side of the scale. I am not hopeful that Roman Catholicism in America can recover within my lifetime. While there is no doubt that the Church will exist until Christ returns, there is also ample evidence down through history of nations that have abandoned it and have fought against it. I believe that is where America stands in 2007--a nation opposed to the Roman Catholic Church, with the fiercest opposition coming from within the Church itself.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
I am back among the living once again, for a week anyway, though still lacking in normal energy.
Taking chemo is like taking poison. At least that seems to be the way my body reacts to it. It completely wiped me out from Sunday to late Tuesday. So much so that some of the time I would lay in one position for an hour without moving because it just seemed moving was no longer an option. I even caught myself not breathing at times because breathing required too much effort. I barely made it through the Passion standing.
Coming back is like returning from the dead.
I guess it doesn't affect everyone this way. I keep reading about people who never miss a day of work while taking chemo. They must be made of sterner stuff than I.
It not only messes with the body, but also with the mind. There were hours of very fuzzy thinking late last week, and they repeated one day this week. Doing anything mental, like balancing a checkbook, during that period, would have been foolish in the extreme. I barely knew what I was saying, and stopped sometimes in mid-sentence unknowing what was to come next. My sense of balance was disrupted. I kept falling into the wall. My reaction time was badly diminished. It would have been suicidal to drive a car.
Nothing tasted normal. At one point I could clearly see that I was eating strawberries, but all I could taste was fish. I stopped eating because I couldn't reconcile what I was seeing with what I was chewing, and I wasn't hungry anyway. Food is supposed to taste like metal, but that hasn't happened yet.
I wasn't able to sleep for an entire night, only a couple of hours at a time. Then I would have to get up and sit in a chair and wait for the insomnia to pass. This was more or less a round-the-clock situation.
For one thing I am grateful. The nausea drugs keep it under control so far for me. I can only hope that this will continue. If this stuff doesn't cure me, it's going to kill me. Cells couldn't survive this onslaught for long!
It's funny how attitude changes when life is reduced to survival. I have never been more grateful than I was this week for my husband who cleaned up the house, washed the dishes, gave me something to eat, answered the phone, since I could not have done these things. Each of these things he did for me was a beautifully wrapped gift.
Cancer forces the mind to concentrate on the moment. If tomorrow is a question, right now can stretch to eternity. I keep concluding that little of what we spend our thoughts on really matters. One thing does matter. One thing only opposes death when it is staring at you in the mirror. Love. Love says to death "You have contested and you have lost." Love can make even cancer hopeful...maybe even joyful, because it brings love into sharper focus. I think B-16 would agree with that.
Now you probably think my body has returned but my mind is surely still in la-la land!
A COMMENTER AMONG US
We have a particularly interesting commenter among us--Shir Ha-Magreyfah. I've been exchanging email with him and have his permission to blog some of it, since I would like you to know him better.
My blog-name means "The Sound (or Song) of the Organ", since this is what I do. I am the Associate Organist/Director of Music at a wonderful parish, located at the farthest Southern end of the Chicago Archdiocese; a parish in which I am starting my eleventh year of service, and whose people I love. The Pastor is one of my closest and dearest friends, a situation that began before I became employed at the parish, and has grown/flowered over the years.
I am not Catholic according to the Church's understanding, although I identify the Real Presence as a Catholic does, but use different language to express it. My prayer as an adolescent, to become a sacred bridge between Judaism and liturgical Christianity has been answered richly through this parish and others I have served during the past 20 years (as well as having sung in the pro-Cathedral of my home town while still a boy soprano -- at age 56, I no longer can reach those notes!)
As this post represents my first visit to the blogspot, I was unaware until now of your battle with breast cancer. Please know that I hold you firmly in my prayers for healing from this horrible disease, and pray that you be restored to complete health. Unless you write and tell me otherwise, I'd like to inscribe you in the parish's Book of Prayer, so that you become one of the intentions of the daily masses and communion services, as well as all dominical and ferial masses. I'll be watching your blog for news of your progress, and will join your rejoicing when this healing comes about.
We can agree to disagree, yet remain cordial and appreciative of each other and each other's quest for truth -- a rare perspective in today's dichotomous and divisive world. Yes, I am well aware of the skirmishes and sometimes, all-out wars among followers of this or that Bishop. As it distresses you, so it distresses me. It would seem that we could focus our "lenses" upon issues without condemning and wounding everyone who differs with us. How much more fruitful discussion would be than warfare, whether with words or weapons!
In responding to that email I mentioned the confusion that can develop out of looking at other religions. He responded:
Confusing --- or edifying. For me, it's worth the confusion for the edification that comes of it. In truth, anything a Catholic or other Liturgical Christian investigates in Judaism only can help strengthen his/her faith as a Christian. I include in that even some of the negative comments with respect to Jesus --- it shows us that, rather than allowing contemplation and quiet prayer to reveal an answer, a seemingly obvious one (and a judgment at that; S. I. Hayakawa, the semanticist, taught that "judgments stop thought") was chosen instead.
The Hellenic influence on Judaism was, in large part, to blame for what became a strict and inflexible legalistic approach -- God, who heretofore had been near and close to the Jewish people, had begun to appear more like a Zeus on some distant mountain who was to be appeased in order to avoid (an oh-so-anthropomorphic!) anger, hence the rigid adherence to commentary as though it were canon (there are no canons in Judaism to my knowledge, as there is no dogma as such). How tragic that the Judeo-Christian family was sundered and grew ever more distant from each other because of suspicion, misinformation, and in some cases, outright malicious rumor!
Carrie, think of this. If the Catholic Church were not to endure, would God have allowed it in the first place? After all, the Catholic Church gave the non-Jewish world the same hope of salvation and resurrection taught in traditional Judaism. Although unfortunate and dreadful hostilities have arisen over these 2000+ years, we are slowly coming together. In my case, in my mind's "eye", I faintly "see" the ancient Temple as the Eucharist takes place. If my opinion as (hopefully) a "sacred bridge" between Judaism and Catholicism means anything, by virtue of this same Eucharist, you are also the Chosen People. Take heart -- the fact that there is controversy in the open is better than its being held secret, then resulting in schism, scandal or worse!
It is troubling when turmoil and discord seem to reign, and for you to express it as burdensome is no more than offering your burden for someone else to lighten and share. Of course, had Vatican II been PROPERLY implemented, Latin and vernacular languages would have been side-by-side, rather than the (SHAMEFUL) burning of Libers and Graduals I witnessed during my early college years. How can one burn books in which the name of God is written?
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
IDOLATRY UNDER THE NOAHIDE LAWS
I. No idolatry at JAHG-USA
1. "Against entertaining the thought that there exists a deity except Hashem." (Negative 1)
2. "Against making any graven image [& against having anyone else make one for us]." (Negative 2)
3. "Against making idols for use by others." (Negative 3)
4. "Against making any forbidden statues [even when they are for ornamental purposes]." (Negative 4)
5. "Against bowing to any idol [& not to sacrifice nor to pour libation nor to burn incense before any idol, even where it is not the customary manner of worship to the particular idol]." (Negative 5)
6. "Against worshipping idols in any of their customary manners of worship." (Negative 6)
7. "Against causing our children to pass [through the fire] in the worship of Molech." (Negative 7)
8. "Against practicing Ov." (Negative 8)
9. "Against practicing Yiddoni." (Negative 9)
10. "Against turning to idolatry [in word, in thought, in deed, or by any observance that may draw us to its worship]." (Negative 10)
Idolatry at Noahide Nations.com
Idolatry encompasses what Catholics do in their churches before statues and icons.
According to the Rambam's Hilchos Melachim
Avodah Zarah - Idolatry - עבודה זרה
A gentile who worships false gods is liable to the death penalty, provided he worships them in the regular form in which that particular deity is usually worshiped. A gentile is executed for every type of foreign worship which a Jewish court would consider worthy of capital punishment. However, a gentile is not executed for a type of foreign worship which a Jewish court would not deem worthy of capital punishment. Nevertheless, even though a gentile will not be executed for these forms of worship, he is forbidden to engage in all of them. They are not allow them to erect a monument, or to plant an asherah, or to make images and the like, even though they are only for the sake of beauty.
R. Moses Maimonides (Rambam) tought in "Idolotry and the Laws of the Nations" that any belief in the Christian Messiah is idolatry and idolatry under the Noachide Laws is a capital offense.
How can we call this a conspiracy? Because 10 times in the last 20 years Chassidic Jews, followers of the false messiah R. Menachem Schneerson have introduced into public law in the United States of America the declaration that:
"Whereas ethical teachings and values have formed the cornerstone of society since the dawn of civilization and found expression in the Seven Noahide Laws;
Whereas sharing and education represent two pillars of these Laws and of ethical conduct; "
This nation was founded on the principles of the Judeo-Christian bible... a work which does not in any way shape or form any such "Seven Laws of Noah"
To introduce these laws as Public Law under the guise of recognizing the Lubevitch false messiah as a world educator renowed for teaching morality when in fact the laws he teaches demand the decapitation of both Gentile and Jewish believers in Messiah should be an affront to all free peoples of this world!
You can read the entire Public Law 103-14 here
Here is a Real Audio live debate on the Noahide Laws between Rav Yossef and Rabbi Dak
What can you do?
As a believer in Y'shua/Jesus
1. Speak boldly against this cultic device - tell the world about the lies of the ultra-orthodox antimissionaries and their device to rid the world of believers
As well, it is important to remember that the chief objection of many Jews to the Cross and Jesus have to do with the too-long promulgated understanding that Christians worship three distinct Gods!
With those words Shir Ha-Magreyfah has pinpointed in a comments box the precise difficulty under which we are laboring. Can Jews accept that Christians--Catholics--are not idolators? If it is not possible to accept that, we cannot move forward. The Noahide Laws can make no sense--can be no guide to a Christian if Christians are placed beyond the pale into the land of idolators. It is not conducive to dialogue to threaten to cut off your dialogue partner's head.
I understand the segment of the Jewish community that wishes to defend to the death the unity of God. I also wish to defend it. How, though, can I sympathize with them and find common ground when it is my own head on the chopping block? What options are open within Judaism for those with a belief in Trinity? What options are open within Judaism for a belief in Christ as Son of God?
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
THE CROSS OF CHRIST
In the midst of two thieves, Thy Cross was found to be a balance of justice; for the one was borne down to hades by the weight of his blasphemy; the other was raised up from his sins to the knowledge of theology. O Christ our God, glory be to Thee. (Hymn on the Glory of Ninth Hour for Great Lent)
That is the opening quotation from the "Sermon on the Sunday of Orthodoxy" of St. John Maximovich from the book MAN OF GOD. The sermon discusses the nature of the cross and the divisions that it necessarily creates in humankind.
Here are two paths placed before man. Before us lies the Life-creating Cross of the Lord. The Lord said,If any man will come after Me,let him...take up his cross and follow Me. Follow where? At first through sufferings, just as Christ also suffered; then he will also enter with Christ into the Eternal Kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ sits on His throne. There is no other path except to follow the Lord. The thief who hung on the right recognized Him to be God and, in his soul, followed after Him. He could not, of course, become miraculously transformed, and this was not necessary; he followed Christ in his soul, recognizing Him to be God Who had humbled Himself for the sake of saving mankind. The thief humbled himself likewise, acknowledged his transgressions, and went with Christ into Paradise.
Before us lie the paths of the two thieves. Which path shall we take? Mankind has always taken one or the other path. The Cross of the Lord was to the Jews a stumblingblock; to the Greeks--that is, to the pagans--it was foolishness: how could anyone bow down before an instrument of humiliation, an instrument of torture? They did not understand that by means of this instrument the Lord saved all of mankind from the dominion of the devil, from the dominion of sin, from eternal perdition. For the Jews also, the Cross of the Lord was an offense; they wanted to see their messiah as a king of glory, as the earthly king who would exalt the Jewish race. The Cross on which Christ was crucified was for them a stumblingblock; Christ's crucifixion was perceived as an offense, as something senseless, and yet as the holy Apostle Paul tells us, this stumblingblock unto the Jews, this foolishness unto the Greeks is for us Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God (I Cor. 1:24). What for some spelled perdition, for others became a source of salvation.
The Cross of the Lord separates men into two parts. We see that some believed in Christ, while others stumbled at that stumblingstone (Rom. 9:23) and persecuted Christ's Church, the Body of Christ, whose Head is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. The Church of Christ is the Body of Christ; He Himself is its Head, and with His Divine Body and Blood He nourishes the faithful, He nourishes the children of His Church, making us one with Himself. And we should be one with Christ, bodily and spiritually. We unite ourselves with Christ in body through Divine Communion; spiritually we must also join with Him and eagerly follow His commandments.
We all sin, but some sin and repent, while others mock the laws which they violate. So it was in ancient times, when Arius and other heretics repudiated the dogmas of the Holy Church. And then the faithful often suffered. They suffered when there were impious rulers who sent them into banishment. Saint Anathasius the Great spent twenty of his forty-seven years as a hierarch in exile. (pp. 155-156)
More than anything else the Cross is the message of Holy Week...a challenge, a test, a symbol of division, an occasion of choice. Each of us must decide to embrace it or reject it. For each of us there will be a price. Will we seek the good will of our fellow men or the love of God? They are frequently incompatible.
The Jewish Encyclopedia entry for "Cross" makes this division abundantly clear. For the Jews, the cross was anathema.
The Jewish aversion to using any sign resembling a cross was so strong that in books on arithmetic or algebra written by Jews the plus sign was represented by an inverted "ḳameẓ"...
A specific Christian symbol: termed by Jews ("warp and woof"); also ("idol"). Concerning this the law is: "As far as it is made an object of worship by Christians, it is to be treated as an idol and prohibited for use; if, however, it is worn as an ornament without any religious object, its use is permitted to the Jews" (Isserles, Shulḥan 'Aruk, Yore De'ah, 141, 1: R. Mordecai to 'Ab. Zarah iii. in the name of R. Eleazar b. Jacob of Worms). However, being a Christian symbol, it has always been scrupulously avoided by Jews. Pious Jews would not even wear badges or decorations with the cross attached to them...
In a forum such as this, in Holy Week, one must decide where loyalty lies. Does it lie with other posters who would not agree with the tenets of the Catholic faith? Does one decide to gloss over the divisions in the interests of being friendly so that Christ is ultimately denied as some sort of embarrassment? Or does one proclaim the faith by which one lives without apology--the faith that animates the daily grind and uplifts in love--the faith that defines us? This week, of all weeks--this particular day of all days--I feel compelled to restate my belief in Christ and His Cross and let the anger of others fall where it may.
Monday, April 02, 2007
SANHEDRIN ATTEMPTING TO REVIVE PASSOVER SACRIFICE
according to an article at Beliefnet:
The Passover sacrifice is the latest of more than 40 legal decisions issued by the modern Sanhedrin. Seventy-one Orthodox men revived the court more than two years ago in the city of Tiberius, the same geographical spot they believe marked the final days of the Sanhedrin a few hundred years after the time of Jesus.
In antiquity, the Sanhedrin determined Jewish practice. It now rules on political and religious issues and ultimately sees itself as an alternative to the secular Supreme Court of Israel. It hopes to impose Jewish law on the Jewish people and the seven "Noahide" laws -- prohibitions on theft, murder, blasphemy and others, based on Jewish teaching -- on Gentile nations.
"We want all the world," Stein said, "to walk with God."
Descriptions of the Sanhedrin can be found in Jewish legal writings and the New Testament. The Gospels say Jesus was brought before the Sanhedrin so its members could assess his messianic claims. This current Sanhedrin also sees as one of its goals to evaluate any potential messianic contender. "There is no redemption without the Sanhedrin," said Stein. "We are building the opportunity for a king (messiah)."
Not all Jews are in favor of this, however:
Some leaders in the Jewish community question not only the renewal of sacrifice without a Temple, but the validity of the Sanhedrin itself.
"They are a self-selected group," said Michael J. Broyde, an Orthodox rabbi who sits on the Rabbinical Court of America. "And they have no more and no less authority than any other self-selected group of rabbis."
While many Jews are either ambivalent or hostile toward the Sanhedrin and other Temple-related groups, some evangelicals support these projects. They get excited when they perceive the Jewish people fulfilling what they view as part of future prophecy, said Randall Price, an evangelical professor and author of four books about the Temple. "Then they think we're getting closer to that being a reality," he said.
TAIZE GATHERING OF YOUTH PLANNED FOR MONTREAL THIS MONTH
A number of Canadians who have been to Taizé or taken part in a Taizé weekend in Canada have been asking: "Would it be possible to organize a weekend in Canada that would bring together young adults from various parts of the country and the U.S.?"
It's a great joy to announce that such a weekend is being planned for next year. It will take place in Montréal from 27 to 29 April 2007. Cardinal Turcotte, Archbishop of Montréal, the Rt Reverend Barry Clarke, the Anglican bishop of Montreal, and the "Synod Montréal and Ottawa Conference" of the United Church of Canada have already expressed their joy of welcoming such an event. Cardinal Turcotte told a Taizé brother the wonderful memories he had of Brother Roger's visit to Montréal in 1980. Brother Alois, who is Brother Roger's successor as prior of the Community, will be in Montréal for the meeting.
Read the rest...
CARDINAL EGAN TURNS 75
In keeping with the tradition of the Catholic Church, Edward Cardinal Egan turns 75 today and has officially offered his letter of resignation to the pope.
Cardinal Egan is not actually expected to be leaving as head of the New York Archdiocese anytime soon. He is required to submit the letter within a day or two of his turning 75, but Pope Benedict is not required to accept it.
Some Catholics upset about the archdiocese's reorganization plan are hoping the pope will accept Egan's resignation, but others believe he should stay on as the head of the New York archdiocese.
DID THE JEWS SEE JESUS AS A MAGICIAN ?
According to the Come and Hear website, they did:
Jesus Was a Magician
According to The Jewish Encyclopedia, Jesus was often accused by the Talmudists of performing magic.It is the tendency of all these sources to belittle the person of Jesus by ascribing to him illegitimate birth, magic, and a shameful death …
Magic may have been ascribed him over against the miracles recorded in the Gospels …
The sojourn of Jesus in Egypt is an essential part of the story of his youth. According to the Gospels he was in that country in his early infancy, but Celsus says that he was in service there and learned magic …
According to Celsus (in Origen, “Contra Celsum,” i. 28) and to the Talmud (Shab. 104b), Jesus learned magic in Egypt and performed his miracles by means of it; the latter work, in addition, states that he cut the magic formulas into his skin. It does not mention, however, the nature of his magic performances (Tosef., Shab. xi. 4; Yer. Shab. 18d); but as it states that the disciples of Jesus healed the sick “in the name of Jesus Pandera” (Yer. Shab. 14d; Ab. Zarah 27b; Eccl. R. i. 8) it may be assumed that its author held the miracles of Jesus also to have been miraculous cures. Different in nature is the witchcraft attributed to Jesus in the “Toledot.” When Jesus was expelled from the circle of scholars, he is said to have returned secretly from Galilee to Jerusalem, where he inserted a parchment containing the “declared name of God” (“Shem ha-Meforash”), which was guarded in the Temple, into his skin, carried it away, and then, taking it out of his skin, he performed his miracles by its means. This magic formula then had to be recovered from him, and Judah the Gardener (a personage of the “Toledot” corresponding to Judas Iscariot) offered to do it; he and Jesus then engaged in an aerial battle (borrowed from the legend of SIMON MAGUS), in which Judah remained victor and Jesus fled.
The accusation of magic is frequently brought against Jesus. Jerome mentions it, quoting the Jews: “Magum vocant et Judaei Dominum meum” (“Ep. 1v., ad Ascellam,” i. 196, ed. Vallarsi); Marcus, of the sect of the Valentinians, was, according to Jerome, a native of Egypt, and was accused of being, like Jesus, a magician (Hilgenfeld, “Ketzergesch.” p. 870, Leipsic, 1884). The accusation of magic is frequently brought against Jesus … As Balaam the magician and, according to the derivation of his name, "destroyer of the people", was from both of these points of view a good prototype of Jesus, the latter was also called "Balaam" …
Jesus performed all his miracles by means of magic …
— The Jewish Encyclopedia (26)
So Elizabeth Dilling is on firm ground believing that the passage stating that Balaam "performed magic by means of his membrum" refers to Jesus of Nazareth.
Healing Hurt Feelings
Too many have glossed over the problems between Jews and Christians, but America is fortunate to have a rabbi who is willing to broach the subject. That rabbi is Schmuley Boteach, a popularizer of Judaism and the author of more than a dozen books, including Judaism for Everyone.
In a section of that book, entitled "Jewish Contempt for Other Nations," Rabbi Boteach first mentions the abuse that Jews have suffered at the hands of Christians. He continues:Second, the Jews felt that, in Christianity, their core teachings had been perverted and abused. They read some of the New Testament's insidious attacks against them and wondered how a book claiming divine authorship can be so blatantly anti-Semitic. Although Christianity stemmed from Jewish origin, it took the concept of the Jewish God and associated it with a man; took the concept of sacrifice and associated it with a human sacrifice. Christianity took their cherished Torah and said that it had been superseded by a new testament. And finally, it took the concept of the chosen nation itself, claimed that the Jews had been abandoned by God, and called themselves the new Israel. Jews reacted in outrage. The Jews withdrew from mainstream Christian society. Christians' burning Jews at the stake as heretics would do little to make them draw closer.
— Rabbi Boteach (15)
Two pages later, Rabbi Boteach writes of the healing process:Although Christianity was the enemy of Jews and Judaism for nearly two millennia, times have changed. The Vatican, under the current pope, a true friend of the Jewish people, has granted diplomatic recognition to the State of Israel, and Christian fundamentalists in the United States are among the State of Israel's most trusted backers.
— Rabbi Boteach (16)
Notice that when Rabbi Boteach refers to "the New Testament's insidious attacks," he does not mention the name of the person who launched the insidious attacks. That person who launched the attack against the Pharisaic Jews (Rabbi Boteach's religious ancestors) was of course, Jesus of Nazareth.
The Jewish Encyclopedia entry for Magic provides this quote:
This ingrained belief in magic infected even the scholars; for although they did not practise witchcraft for gain or for unlawful ends, they occasionally counteracted black magic by white. They were even able to create a calf when they needed food (ib. pp. 26 et seq.). Healing by means of white magic is not condemned except when the means employed are pagan or idolatrous. Many scholars consumed men with a glance, or reduced them to a heap of bones, but since this magic was regarded as a punishment for sins which had been committed, the passages of the Talmud which mention it take no exception to it (Blau, l.c. pp. 49-61). Exorcism also flourished, although not as widely as in Judæo-Christian circles (Acts viii. 9, xiii. 6-9). Jesus was regarded in the Talmud and by the ancient world generally as a magician (Sanh. 106b; Soṭah 47b; see Jesus in Jewish Legend). The Greco-Roman world regarded the Jews as a race of magicians (Juvenal, vi. 542-547; Suidas, s.v. 'Eζεκίασ, et passim).(emphasis mine)
There is another passage in this same entry that would seem to locate the Kabbalah within the Hasidic Jewish Community at the time of the publication of the Encyclopedia:
In view of the authority which the Talmud possessed for posterity the magic in it could not but influence later generations. There is no doubt that the majority of the theurgic and magic elements in the post-Talmudic literature which Jellinek collected in his "Bet ha-Midrash," date from Talmudic, and in part even from pre-Talmudic, times (see Gnosticism). This may be assumed also for the magical portions of the geonic literature in general, especially as the Geonim lived and worked in Babylonia. This ancient magic, blended with Hellenistic and medieval European elements, was incorporated in the "practical Cabala." At the close of the Middle Ages the Cabala influenced the Jewish and the Christian world alike. The "Nishmat Ḥayyim" of Manasseh ben Israel, chief rabbi in Amsterdam in the seventeenth century, is filled with superstition and magic, and many Christian scholars were deluded. The evil deeply and widely infected the people, and is still active, especially among the Ḥasidim. See Abracadabra; Abraxas; Asmodeus; Astrology; Asusa; Augury; Balaam; Bibliomancy; Blessing and Cursing; Cursing; Death; Folk-Medicine; Hermes, Books of; Liver; Necromancy; etc.
This, then, would be the sort of material taken up by Eliphas Levi and the Paris occultists, and subsequently by Aleister Crowley. It would be the sort of material being used today within occult organizations, presumably such as the O.T.O. It would apparently also be the sort of material taken up by Opus Angelorum that Cardinal Ratzinger fought so hard to get them to eradicate.
Sunday, April 01, 2007
The campaign is in full swing again. For several years now I have not contributed to it because I discovered that in my diocese use has been made of the money which was not in conjunction with the teachings of the Roman Catholic faith.
Yet we are told to give to the poor, and not doing so bothers my conscience. I've used various charities to try to overcome this difficulty, but it has always been a stop-gap measure. I have also set aside the funds and even considered burning the money as an offering to God. None of these solutions have been satisfactory, but I may have hit on a better solution.
Bishop Bruskewitz is faithful to the teachings of the Church. I believe he tends to run his diocese in accordance with those teachings. To the best of my knowledge he is trustworthy. So I looked up Catholic Charities in the Lincoln diocese to see what would turn up. Out there it's called "Catholic Social Services" and the Executive Director is Rev. Christopher Kubat.
Here is the website.
I was not able to find anything connected with them that is contrary to the faith, but admittedly I didn't spend a lot of time on it. I'm relying on the faithfulness of Bishop Bruskewitz.
I am seriously considering contributing to this organization this year, and earmarking the contribution for the St. Francis Food Pantry which is explained under the link for Emergency Services.
If anyone knows of irregularities in this charitable organization which remove it from authentic Roman Catholic belief, would you please post your concerns in the comments box. I'll wait a few days before making the donation to be sure this is an acceptable way to handle it.
comes from St. John Maximovich, and can be found on pp 139-142 of MAN OF GOD: SAINT JOHN OF SHANGHAI & SAN FRANCISCO. I found it very refreshing to read this teaching on the Trinity. It's nothing new, of course, but it's something I haven't heard for so long.
God is a holy Trinity. A Trinity consubstantial and indivisible. Consubstantial, that is, one essence, one nature. A Trinity indivisible: the Son has never been divided from the Father, nor the Holy Spirit from the Father or the Son, and never will be divided.
The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not three gods, but one God, since They have one nature. But not only because of this. People also have one nature, one essence. But with people one cannot say that two or three persons are one person, no matter how close and amicable they may be. People not only have separate bodies, but each one also has his own will, his own tastes, his own moods. No matter how similar people may be in body and character, it still never happens that everything is in common or that everything is the same.
With the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity everything is in common. The boundless love of the Father for the Son, of the Son for the Father, and the same love between them and the Holy Spirit make Their will and all of Their actions to be common. They have one will, and everything is performed by Them together. Whatever pleases the Father also pleases the Son and the Holy Spirit. Whatever displeases the Holy Spirit also displeases the Father. Whatever the Son loves, the Father and the Holy Spirit love also.
Everything is accomplished jointly by the Holy Trinity. At the creation of the world it says in the Bible: And God said, let there be light: and there was light (Gen. 1:3). What does "said" mean? It means that God the Father created by His Word, by that Word of which the Gospel says, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1) and which is the Only-begotten Son of God.
God the Father created everything by His Word; in other words, He accomplished everything through His Son. The Father does not create anything without the Son, just as the Son does not create anything without the Father, and the Holy Spirit does not create anything without the Father, and the Holy Spirit always assists the Father and the Son. It is said in the Bible about the creation of the world: And the Spirit of God moved over the waters (Gen. 1:2). It "moved" over creation, but did not merely move over it--the word in the Hebrew original, which lacks an exact equivalent in Slavonic, signified "to cover," "to warm," just as a brood-hen sitting on her eggs gives life to them by her warmth, and from them come forth living creatures.
By the Word of the Lord were the heavens established, and all the might of them by the Spirit of His mouth (Ps. 32:6). All that exists was created by God the Father through the Son and was brought to life by the Holy Spirit. Or in other words, everything the Father wanted or wants, immediately was or is fulfilled by the Son and is animated by the Holy Spirit. Thus was the world created, thus was all accomplished by the providence of God concerning the world and mankind.
In order to save man, who through sin had fallen away from God and become mortal, the Son of God, in accordance with the pre-eternal counsel of the Holy Trinity, obeying the will of the Father, came down to earth, was born of the Ever-Virgin Mary through the action of the Holy Spirit, proclaimed to the people the True God the Father and His Divine will, and taught the true worship of God; having suffered for our sins, He descended in soul into hades, and, having freed the souls of the dead, He rose from the dead.
Even before His sufferings, Christ promised His Apostles, chosen by Him from among His disciples, to give them the power to loose and to bind--to remit people's sins or to leave them in their sins. After His Resurrection the Lord bestowed his gift of grace not on any of the Apostles separately, but on all of them together: He established His Church, the repository of that grace, and united in her all those who believe in Him and love Him.
Having promised His Apostles to invest them with power from on high, having sent them the Holy Spirit, and having accomplished all for which He came to earth, the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to heaven, receiving in His humanity that glory and honor which He had as the Son of God since before the creation of the world.
In descending upon the disciples of Christ, according to the promise, the Holy Spirit confirmed them in the faith of Christ and through His grace poured out upon them the gifts of God. He strengthened them for the preaching and fulfilling in life of Christ's teachings, for the building up of the Church established by Christ and put into action by the Holy Spirit.
The Church, standing on her foundation on earth and headed by the Son of God seated at the right hand of the Father, is mysteriously guided by the Holy Spirit. She inwardly links together all of her children and unites them with God. Through the Church, God's gifts of grace are poured out on those striving to follow the way of Christ; they sanctify and fortify all good in them, cleanse them from sin and every defilement, making them able to become receptacles of the radiance of the glory and power of God.
Through the Church man is made a partaker of the Divine nature, and he enters into the closest relationship with the Holy Trinity.
Not only the soul, but also man's body is sanctified and communes with God by partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, through which he is united with the entire Holy Trinity. Through Divine grace, with the participation of his own will and effort, man becomes a new creature, a participant in the eternal Kingdom of God.
Nature, too, is being prepared for the coming Kingdom of God, for the coming purification by fire of the consequences of man's sin and the curse that lies on her. She receives the first fruits of sanctification through the descent of the Holy Spirit on her at Theophany in the blessing of the waters and in many other Church rites, so that she may later become a new earth and a new heaven.
This will be accomplished at the time appointed by God the Father, and the Son of God will come in glory to pronounce judgment on the world.
Then those who have loved God and have been united with Him will shine with the rays of Divine light and will eternally delight in the uncreated light of the Triune Godhead of the Consubstantial, Life-creating, and Indivisible Trinity.
To God, our Creator and Saviour, be glory, honor, and worship unto everlasting ages:
"Come, O ye people, let us worship the Godhead in Three Hypostases: The Son in the Father, with the Holy Spirit; for the Father timelessly begat the Son Who is Co-ever-existing and Co-enthroned, and the Holy Spirit was in the Father, glorified together with the Son; One Might, One Essence, One Godhead. In worshipping Whom let us all say: O Holy God, Who madest all things by the Son, through the cooperation of the Holy Spirit; Holy Mighty, through Whom we have known the Father, and through Whom the Holy Spirit came into the world; Holy Immortal, the Comforting Spirit, Who proceedest from the Father, and restest in the Son: O Holy Trinity, glory be to Thee" (Dogmaticon of Great Vespers of Pentecost)