Sts. Monica & Augustine

Pentecost 16/Trinity 15/Ordinary Time 21 – Wednesday
Feast day in memorial of St. Monica of Hippo, mother of St. Augustine of Hippo
Eve of the feast day in memorial of St. Augustine of Hippo, bishop, teacher and Doctor of the Church

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Pentecost 16/Trinity 15/Ordinary Time 21 – Tuesday

From one of the Theology on Tap sessions held earlier this year.

Sr Mary Rachel O.P. (Order of Preachers, i.e. Dominicans) in her talk on poverty that formed part of the series held on the night of 5 May 2008 with her other two Dominican sisters, Sr Mary Madeline O.P. & Sr Anna O.P.

She raised some interesting questions based on thoughts by Matthew Kelly, a Catholic speaker on the issue of brands:

Sr. Mary Rachel: … something that Matthew Kelly, he’s one of y’alls locals, he’s from Newcastle, but he goes around the world speaking and he said something very profound. He asked the question: “Do we own brand names or do brand names own us?” Then he asked the question: “When else have brands been used in history?” Does anybody know? When do you brand something? Any farmers around?

Audience: Cattle.

Sr. Mary Rachel: Good. Cattle. So a farmer will brand cattle.*indistinct* when, particularly in the United States, has branding been used?

Audience: Slavery.

Sr. Mary Rachel: Good job. Slavery – that a slave would be branded to show the ownership, so I think it’s just something to think about, your attitude towards, um, brand names, do particular clothes or do particular brands own us or do we own them?

On the issue of chastity, Sr. Anna O.P., she was hilarious but yet insightful and deep on this topic by using the example of “Brownie Man”. Mmmm… chocolate brownies… with hot chocolate fudge sauce. Versus “Chaste Man”. And one helluva desert proverb involving a camel and a tent. You might wonder how on earth that relates to chastity, but it does. Great stuff indeed.

Looking forward to the remainder of this week. Tomorrow we commemorate mothers who pray for the salvation of their children, who may even seem to be outside any hope of salvation in the life of St. Monica the mother of the great saint, bishop and doctor of theology in the Western Church whose life we celebrate on Thursday, St. Augustine of Hippo.

Dare I say that she could be the patron saint of all who pray for the salvation of friends and family who seem to not want to make any concrete steps to coming to know Christ or who seem to not even want to choose to know Christ. Or even any seemingly unanswered prayer by God. I mean, she did pray to God for her son to be converted for over 20 years and look at history for what happened next.

And I am looking forward to this Sunday very much. 9:30am Choral Eucharist at St. John’s Cathedral while most of CMCA-EMP will be up at the Alexandra Headlands Conference Centre at the Family Camp.

+ Pax,
bf 2134hrs

Spiritual apathy

Pentecost 15/Trinity 14/Ordinary Time 20 – Sunday

[ now playing? (a selection) ] Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – “American Girl” | The Hoosiers – “Goodbye Mr. A” | Citizen Cope – “Sideways” | Bryan Adams – “Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?” | Ash – “Girl From Mars” | Anthony Hamilton ft. Terri Robinson – “I Will Go” | Turin Brakes – “Pain Killer” | John Cale – “Hallelujah” | Ice Cube ft. Mack 10 & Ms. Toi – “You Can Do It (Put Your Back Into It)” | Dido – “Here With Me” | Amerie – “Think Of You”

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In the dead of the night

Pentecost 14/Trinity 13/Ordinary Time 19 – Wednesday

[ now playing? ] Frank Sinatra – In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning

It’s just ticked over into Wednesday. I’m up in the dead of the night. It’s quiet all around me apart from the keys on this laptop clicking away as I type up this post.

And it’s freakin’ freezing (well, by Brisbane standards at least). It’s probably sitting at about 3 degrees outside of the house currently. Maybe even colder if there’s a wind chill factor going on.

Lucky that I’m sleeping in tomorrow (after not being able to get to sleep tonight). The one saving grace about August: Royal Brisbane Show Day (i.e. the Ekka public holiday).

Went out to St. Stephen’s at lunch yesterday (it is technically) after sitting through a two (or so) hour phone hookup with colleagues from across the country in the morning and then having my performance review for the last working year. Suffice to say that I’m still shocked that I’ve managed to retain the same performance rating as last year and the year before. And thankful to be working in one helluva good team with a great bunch of folks around me.

But at St. Stephen’s today, I was again up the back of the cathedral in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and I spent a few moments there in some solitude and quiet while praying the Angelus and pondering what on earth I am to do for the rest of my life. And in the 10 mins or so there (which felt like a helluva lot longer), I had a certain sense of peace, real inner peace and satisfaction at the quiet voice that spoke and that I had to listen to with (as the Desert Fathers put it) the “ear of my heart”.

Made the rest of my day pass by incredibly quickly after that peace came. Unfortunately, I’m still up. The flesh is certainly not weak and neither is my spirit. Have to attempt to get to sleep before 1am.

What’s on the agenda for me later today? Housework, de-weeding the front lawn, some reading of some theology texts and finally, some more reading that’s related to work. All in all, it should be a productive and interesting public holiday tomorrow.

+ Pax et bonum,
bf 0025hrs

WYD08 Catechesis

Pentecost 14/Trinity 13/Ordinary Time 19 – Monday
Feast of St. Clare of Assisi – Religious & Virgin

Been finally getting around to taking a listen to some of the WYD08 Catechesis sessions that were taped by volunteers during the week long event on my train rides into and from work.

One of the catechesis sessions that has impressed itself upon me a lot over the last couple of days has been that of Christopher West and his catechesis session titled “God, Sex and the Meaning of Life” (available if you register on and then click into the “Library->Audio” section of the site). Adolfo (who works at St. Pauls Book Centre on Elizabeth St) tells me that he tried to get into one of Christopher’s catechesis sessions on the Thursday night and Friday night when he was down in Sydney for WYD08 and the auditorium was entirely packed.

And what on earth was Mr. West talkin’ ’bout? And I’m not talking about Kanye here. The late Servant of God, Pope John Paul II and his Theology of the Body (TOTB).

All 129 of JPII’s audiences can be found either here or here. I have further reading material now (=D, I’m very happy about reading this!). And so far what I’ve heard in Christopher West’s talks about the underlying theology that girds JPII’s TOTB, it’s a far cry from the rather puritanical views and approaches that I’ve read about (and tried to apply to my own frustrated life as a young single man) in the past.

And not only is TOTB something to be looked at within the context of marriage, but also from the perspective of single men and women who are either in religious life, celibate men in the priesthood or the rest of us singles who make up the laity. 

Have grabbed all 129 of the audiences off the EWTN site and will be looking forward to prayerfully ruminating over them for the next few months (amongst other reading material, no need to pay money to pick up the one-volume edition published by the UK Pauline Books and Media arm, L’Osservatore Romano’s English translation will do just nicely thanks!)

+ Pax et bonum,
bf 2355hrs