Category Archives: Roman Catholicism

Job, suffering, etc, etc

Ordinary Time 8 – Monday
Anglican calendar: Lesser Feast of John Wesley (d. 1791) & Charles Wesley (d. 1788), evangelists & hymn writers
Australian Roman Catholic calendar: The Solemnity of Our Lady, Help of Christians

Office of Readings (Vigils): General Roman Catholic calendar – OT8, Monday

Reading 1: Job 2:1-13

Reading 2: “The Moral Reflections on Job” by Pope St Gregory the Great

… In Job, then, the earthenware vessel felt his gaping sores externally; while this interior treasure remained unchanged. Outwardly he had gaping wounds but that did not stop the treasure of wisdom within him from welling up and uttering these holy and instructive words: If we have received good at the hand of the Lord, shall we not receive evil? By the good he means the good things given by God, both temporal and eternal; by evil he means the blows he is suffering from in the present. Of those evils the Lord says, through the prophet Isaiah,

I am the Lord, unrivalled,
I form the light and create the dark.
I make good fortune and create calamity,
it is I, the Lord, who do all this.

I form the light, and create the dark, because when the darkness of pain is created by blows from without, the light of the mind is kindled by instruction within.

I make good fortune and create calamity, because when we wrongly covet things which it was right for God to create, they are turned into scourges and we see them as evil. We have been alienated from God by sin, and it is fitting that we should be brought back to peace with him by the scourge. As every being, which was created good, turns to pain for us, the mind of the chastened man may, in its humbled state, be made new in peace with the Creator.

We should especially notice the skilful turn of reflection he uses when he gathers himself up to meet the persuading of his wife, when he says If we have received good at the hand of the Lord, shall we not receive evil? It is a great consolation to us if, when we suffer afflictions, we recall to remembrance our Maker’s gifts to us. Painful things will not depress us if we quickly remember also the gifts that we have been given. As Scripture says, In the day of prosperity do not forget affliction, and in the day of affliction, do not forget prosperity.

Whoever, in the moment of receiving God’s gifts but forgets to fear possible affliction, will be brought low by his presumption. Equally, whoever in the moment of suffering fails to take comfort from the gifts which it has been his lot to receive, is thrown down from the steadfastness of his mind and despairs.

The two must be united so that each may always have the other’s support, so that both remembrance of the gift may moderate the pain of the blow and fear of the blow may moderate exuberance at receiving the gift. Thus the holy man, to soothe the depression of his mind amidst his wounds, weighs the sweetness of the gifts against the pains of affliction, saying If we have received good at the hand of the Lord, shall we not receive evil?

I’m not even close to Job, but I hope to be even a hundredth of him.

St. Gregory’s writing is quite comforting to this soul of mine. Sancte Gregóri, orare pro me.

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A new journey

Easter 4 – Sunday
ANZAC Day

[ now playing? ] Rachael Yamagata – Elephants… Teeth Sinking Into Heart | Saint Etienne – London Conversations

það besta sem guð hefur skapað er nýr dagur
(you can Google translate the above yourselves)

Continue reading A new journey

British Methodism & the CofE

1st Sunday in Lent

[ now playing? ] m-flo loves 日之内エミ (Emi HINOUCHI) & Ryohei – “Summer Time Love” | m-flo loves Kahimi Karie (カヒミ・カリィ) – “COZMO-NAUGHTY” | m-flo loves MONDAY 満ちる (Monday Michiru) – “A.D.D.P.”

I’m getting used to this minimal blogging. It’s quite cathartic not posting too often. Just as I’m also getting used to the loneliness I experience even in the midst of a crowd. To the point where I even crave it. Sad innit? =P

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I was looking around at the news today on various sites. Including the Sydney Anglicans website which threw up a few good links.

Some interesting news (link here) in that it appears that conservative traditionalist Anglicans in Australia who are aligned with Forward in Faith (FiF) may now leave the Anglican Church in Australia and join (along with the Traditional Anglican Communion) under Rome’s Anglican Ordinariates that the Holy Father provided for in an Apostolic Constitution that was released last year. For me in Brisbane, that means that if the entire thing goes through, I do not believe that I will be able to partake of the Body and Blood of Christ during Mass at All Saints on Wickham Terrace anymore given that it is affiliated with FiF Australia (and also because of that little thing known as RC Canon Law). Sad, because it is one of the quaintest and most beautiful churches in Brisbane and it uses a beautiful liturgy as found in the English Missal. It should still be open for prayer during the day at least though, so I still have another hiding place at lunchtimes (alongside St. Stephen’s) when I can’t make it to Mass at St. John’s.

But even more interesting news is the remarks made by the Rev’d. David Gamble, Conference President of the Methodist Church of Great Britain to the Church of England’s 2010 General Synod.

Here are some links if you want to read it for yourself:

Given the Methodist-Anglican agreement signed in 2003, it does look possible (at a stretch) that in the near future the Methodist Church in Great Britain will rejoin the mother church from which she came out of. And for that matter, the wishes of the founders of Methodism, Rev’d. Charles Wesley and Rev’d. John Wesley will be granted just over 200 years after their deaths.

I don’t expect this motion (if you could call it that) to pass easily at both future UK General Conferences and the CofE’s future Synods though. Methodists in the UK have a slight problem with episcopacy (i.e. the office of bishops, unlike their American counterparts) and very traditionalist Anglo-Catholics have a problem with women in Holy Orders and more to the point, whether Methodist orders are valid.

And as an Anglo-Catholic myself, I’d say that I’m on the borderline between traditionalist Anglo-Catholicism and the broad-Church variety of Anglo-Catholicism (that does accept women priests but maybe/maybe not women bishops) so this potential merger between UK Methodists and the CofE isn’t too troubling to me. Given that ecumenism is a bugbear of mine, I’m quite happy to hear these remarks made in Christian charity for the sake of the Gospel. Though the remarks about Westminster Central Hall (worth £94 million) may be true, I sure hope that it isn’t the (real) reason why the CofE would like this to go ahead.

I’m looking forward to reading/hearing/seeing what Abp. Rowan Williams has to say at the 2010 Methodist General Conference in a few months time (June 2010 if I read correctly).

Today is a good day for people like myself who have both Anglican and Methodist heritage in their Christian life.

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Lent 2010

Ash Wednesday – Beginning of Lent
2 days after Orthodox Shrove Monday, the beginning of Great Lent

[ now playing? ] Sondre Lerche – “I Cannot Let You Go”

This has been the first time in 5 years that I haven’t been in the CBD to receive the ashes signed on my forehead either at St. John’s or at St. Stephen’s given that I am working in Mt Gravatt until after Easter.

Continue reading Lent 2010

Two weeks gone

Ordinary Time 1/Epiphany 1 – Thursday
Feria

[ now playing? ]
The Quiet Nights Orchestra - Chapter One
The Quiet Nights Orchestra – Chapter One (click here to purchase and download)

That’s almost two weeks now where I haven’t had any sort of violent mood swings from down to up and back again. It still feels quite odd but I am slowly getting used to the happiness at the end of each day.

Maybe those last four months of 2009 were a form of purgation. Not quite fully purged yet, but the process has been interrupted for a period of illumination (to use some terms of what those who have gone before in the faith have termed, “the stages of spiritual growth”). There is still a lot further to go.

On a bright side, maybe the period of darkness was also a form of preparation for the stresses of my new work position which I began this week. If a standard working week is 36 hours and 45 minutes of work, in the four days of this week that have gone by so far, I’ve already hit the 34 hour mark already with one more working day to go. Looks like I’ll be having to get used to 40+ hour working weeks from now on in.

Reading some inspirational books now which are helping me to unwind and ponder over life introspectively.

Ralph Martin, The Fulfillment of all Desire: A Guidebook for the Journey to God Based on the Wisdom of the Saints (2006: Steubenville, Emmaus Road Publishing)

Margherita from Christian Supplies mentioned to me a bit of background about Mr. Martin and he certainly has had an interesting life. A guide to holiness that utilises the insights of Holy Scripture as well as seven of the “Doctors of the Church”, as classified by the Roman Catholic Church. I already have a love of the writings of St. John of the Cross and given that he makes an appearance in Ralph Martin’s books as one of the seven doctors, my interest in this was piqued. Holiness and sanctity are not the preserve of people such as Billy Graham, St. John of the Cross, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta or even Australia’s first saint (expected to be canonized in 2010), Mother Mary of the Cross (a.k.a. Mary Mackillop). After all, as St. John of the Cross writes “In the first place it should be known that if anyone is seeking God, the beloved is seeking that person much more.”

I’m looking forward to slowly chewing my way through this book at least once every year. It should be a good book (alongside the Good Book) for lectio divina.

Karl Rahner (ed.), Encyclopedia of Theology: A Concise Sacramentum Mundi (1975: London, Burns & Oates; New York, Continuum; Mumbai, St. Pauls)

I’ve seen this one on the shelves at St. Paul’s Book Centre for the last year and a half amidst a number of theological dictionaries and encyclopedias. So when I mentioned to Father Bruno earlier this week that I was looking for a good basic reference tool on Roman Catholic theology and viewpoints on non-Roman Catholic theological viewpoints that was not simply a rehash of the current Catechism of the Catholic Church or something that wasn’t really meaty enough, he pointed me straight away to this one. Lucky too. I might have one of the last few new copies that was easily available for purchase as this is now out of print. I have the St. Pauls published edition and it’s a reprint from 2004 by the Society of St Paul in India.

Karl Rahner S.J. is the editor of this and while I am familiar with this Jesuit’s work, it will be interesting to sit back in a chair, espresso beside me (or a nightcap) and read through some of the varied articles that comprise this abridgment of the six volume reference work from the 1960s known as Sacramentum Mundi. It’s quite even handed in tone and very open in an ecumenical spirit towards non-Roman Catholic Christian viewpoints (then again, this particular book was completed just after Vatican Council II had finished up). As Father Bruno said to me, if a work is first class, it will remain first class even if years has passed. Looking at the year this was published and reading through a selection of the articles in it, it certain is first class in content and it is eminently readable by most laypersons. Though those who already have a pre-existing condition… I mean love, of theology will get more out of this rather magisterial work than the layperson who only has a passing interest in theology.

Matthew B. Crawford, Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work (2009: New York, The Penguin Press)

The last four months, apart from the spiritual darkness, also coincided with me questioning whether or not I am cut out for office work as a career. Matthew Crawford felt the same way himself years ago while working in a Washington D.C. “think tank” before finally leaving the white-collar world of D.C. for the blue-collar world of the trades. What I have read so far truly is as the subtitle of the book says: it really is an inquiry into the value of manual work. I find myself somewhat satisfied (amidst the tiredness and some cussing post-work) after a good morning, afternoon or day outside in the yard doing manual labor. And far from it being considered “mundane”, there is a certain skill involved in working out how one is going to construct a shed or in doing some landscaping.

For some of us, working in an office cubicle is our thing; for others, it may be the closest thing to hell on earth. While Crawford left the office environment, this chronicle and his own thinking on the philosophy that undergirds modern office work should provide any office worker with some thought provoking material on how this applies to them and whether there is another option to one’s working life than what they are doing now. I’m about a sixth of my way through this one and it’s been enjoyable reading so far.

Now look at the time, it’s almost 2230hrs. Given I got home at about 2000hrs tonight, I think it’s time for some sleep. I have another long day ahead of me tomorrow.

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Epiphany/Theophany 2010

Feast of the Epiphany – The Western Church
Principal Feast (Anglican), Beginning of the Octave of the Epiphany (Roman Catholic)
Feast of the Theophany – The Eastern Church

Collect for The Epiphany, 6 January
from Common Worship (Church of England)

O God,
who by the leading of a star
manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth:
mercifully grant that we,
who know you now by faith,
may at last behold your glory face to face;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Collect for The Epiphany, 6 January
from The Divine Office (Roman Catholic)

O God, today you revealed your only-begotten Son to the gentiles by means of a guiding star.
Grant that we who already know you by faith
may be led ever forward until we see you as you are, in heaven.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.
Amen.

Troparion of the Theophany
Tone 1

When Thou wast baptized in the Jordan, O Lord,
the worship of the Trinity made its appearance.
For the voice of the Father bore witness to Thee
when He called Thee His beloved Son.
And the Spirit in the form of a dove
confirmed the truth of the word.
O Christ our God, Who hast appeared and hast enlightened the world,
glory to Thee!

Kontakion of the Theophany
Tone 4

Thou hast appeared today to the world,
and Thy light, O Lord, has been signed upon us
who with full knowledge sing to Thee.
Thou hast come, Thou hast appeared,
O Unapproachable Light.

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