Friday, 01 January

22:57

Epiphany [The Sacred Page]

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19:48

Happy New Year and My First Resolution of 2016! [LES FEMMES - THE TRUTH]

To make a pilgrimage to the Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception this week walk through the door of Mercy, say the twenty decades of the rosary there, pray the consecration prayer to Mary in the Blessed Sacrament chapel, and seek the intercession of all the saints and angels for a year of grace and mercy from the Lord. And, of course, I will be offering everything for the love of Our Lord, for all my family and friends, for the conversion of sinners, and in atonement for sins against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, please this year make my heart like unto Thine.

Would you like to join me? Take a virtual tour of the upper church here and the crypt church here.

17:41

Feast of the Circumcision [The Rad Trad]

Old man Joseph and the Virgin present Christ for the rite.

The Circumcision of Christ
by John Keble

The year begins with Thee,
And Thou beginn'st with woe,
To let the world of sinners see
That blood for sin must flow.


Thine infant cries, O Lord,
Thy tears upon the breast,
Are not enough--the legal sword
Must do its stern behest.


Like sacrificial wine
Poured on a victim's head
Are those few precious drops of Thine,
Now first to offering led.


They are the pledge and seal
Of Christ's unswerving faith
Given to His Sire, our souls to heal,
Although it cost His death.


They to His Church of old,
To each true Jewish heart,
In Gospel graces manifold
Communion blest impart.


Now of Thy love we deem
As of an ocean vast,
Mounting in tides against the stream
Of ages gone and past.


Both theirs and ours Thou art,
As we and they are Thine;
Kings, Prophets, Patriarchs--all have part
Along the sacred line.


By blood and water too
God's mark is set on Thee,
That in Thee every faithful view
Both covenants might see.


O bond of union, dear
And strong as is Thy grace!
Saints, parted by a thousand year,
May thus in heart embrace.


Is there a mourner true,
Who fallen on faithless days,
Sighs for the heart-consoling view
Of those Heaven deigned to praise?


In spirit may'st thou meet
With faithful Abraham here,
Whom soon in Eden thou shalt greet
A nursing Father dear.


Would'st thou a poet be?
And would thy dull heart fain
Borrow of Israel's minstrelsy
One high enraptured strain?


Come here thy soul to tune,
Here set thy feeble chant,
Here, if at all beneath the moon,
Is holy David's haunt.


Art thou a child of tears,
Cradled in care and woe?
And seems it hard, thy vernal years
Few vernal joys can show?


And fall the sounds of mirth
Sad on thy lonely heart,
From all the hopes and charms of earth
Untimely called to part?


Look here, and hold thy peace:
The Giver of all good
E'en from the womb takes no release
From suffering, tears, and blood.


If thou would'st reap in love,
First sow in holy fear:
So life a winter's morn may prove
To a bright endless year.

15:48

A coincidence for the beginning of the new year... [marcpuck]

I just last evening looked at a series of photographs, at the Washington Post, I believe (am not going to look it up; search for 'coyotes, dogs, hunting'), from a new book about using hounds to hunt coyotes in the West-- the photographer/essayist went out of his way, evidently, to avoid presenting himself as a missionary from the enlightened progressive world wherein animals live peaceably even in the face of human smugness &c. Coyotes truly are conscienceless scavengers, ha, so I don't personally see why they shouldn't be hunted themselves. But the coincidence, trivial enough, is from the Martyrology this morning, which commemorates the many martyrs who refused the edict of Diocletian to hand over the codices of the Sacred Scriptures and preferred... well, there is no point in my repeating the text:
Romæ commemorátio plurimórum sanctórum Mártyrum, qui, spreto Diocletiáni Imperatóris edícto quo tradi sacri Códices jubebántur, pótius córpora carnifícibus quam sancta dare cánibus maluérunt.
Hounds will hunt greater things than coyotes.

One of my projects for the new year is that I'm going to begin keeping track of which tyrant did in which martyrs-- not here, I mean, but in Evernote (two clicks and the text is added there i.e. I don't have to return to the M. after Prime is done or after this or that). Have been already keeping track of the Vandals for quite a while but since sometimes I forget or don't say Prime am going to continue until am sure I've gone through an entire year. 


15:41

Puer natus est nobis [LMS Chairman]

We have an addition to our family. Hector arrived on the evening of the last day of the year.


If you are in Oxford, the Christening will take place in SS Gregory & Augustine's, in the Woodstock Road, at 3pm on Saturday 9th January.

Support the work of the LMS by becoming an 'Anniversary Supporter'.

14:40

Books on deck for me in 2016 [Unequally Yoked]

According to my Goodreads account, I read 260 books this past year (that comprised a total of 81.203 pages).  And sixteen of those were books I specifically set out to read in last year’s Books on Deck post. Overall, I think it worked out great to make a list of books I meant to get around to, [Read More...]

14:08

A Dialogue on Star Wars [John G. Brungardt, Ph.L.]

“As the theologians say: quod non est assumptum non est sanatum.”

Sancrucensis

Baring (standing), Over-Bearing (right), Past-Bearing (left)

Over-BearingFew things shows how far the world has sunken since our time more clearly than an American college lecturer reflecting on his students difficulty in reading children’s books [he reads aloud from  John Senior’s The Restoration of Christian Culture]:

In my own direct experience teaching literature at universities, I have found a large plurality of students who find, say, Treasure Island what they call “hard reading,” which means too difficult to enjoy with anything approaching their delight in Star Wars or electronic games.

Has it indeed come to this? That the descendants of the peoples of Christendom— of the peoples who built the great cathedrals, who conquered and instructed worlds— that the descendants of such peoples should have fallen so low that they cannot even enjoy Mr. Stevenson’s simple adventure stories.  No one could accuse me of being overly optimistic about…

View original post 998 more words


11:55

Does it all get worse and worse? [Laodicea]

In his delightful book Enthusiasm, Ronald Knox remarks on the Jansenist belief that the Church is destined to decline continuously from her pristine excellence until the end of the world. He says that this opinion would be as hard to justify from history as it is from theology. Newman in Loss and Gain puts the same Jansenist view in the mouth (if I remember correctly) of Campbell, the Scotch Protestant, but without giving any indication of whether he himself endorses or opposes it.

Chesterton, I think in his book on Chaucer, recounts how he was once asked by a very intelligent agnostic whether he thought that the human race improved as time went on, or degenerated, or stayed about the same, and that the questioner seemed to think that he had covered all the possibilities. In reply he asked the other chap whether he thought that Ebeneezer Brown of 22, The Beeches, Tooting Bec, improved, degenerated or stayed about the same between the ages of 30 and 40 (I quote from memory, and invent the names.) Chesterton says that it then seemed to dawn on his interlocutor that the answer rather depended on Mr Brown and how he chose to behave. In other words, for Chesterton, because man has free will there is no necessity for the human race to go in any direction in particular. This is certainly an invigorating way to answer our question, but I’m not sure the conclusion follows. There is such a thing as having moral certainty about future events that will depend on free will; St Thomas says somewhere that in a town full of irascible people, you can be sure an argument will break out at some point, even though you can’t tell in advance when or between whom. In the same way, one could hold that the human race will go in a certain direction even though each man is free to go where he wants.

Maritain throughout his writing has a theory that both good and evil increase in the human race as time goes by, like the wheat and the cockle growing side-by-side. I suppose this means that the just will on average be more just, and the unjust on average more unjust from one century to the next. I don’t think he really tries to prove this, though he does make the point that if persecutions intensify, those who resist them will need to have a correspondingly greater holiness. On the other hand, even if his theory were true, it could still be the case that an increasingly large number of people became unjust in every age. Also, since the cockle on his account can be within the Church as well as outside, it wouldn’t help to answer the question about how the Church on earth was destined to fare.

Tolkien, in a private letter from 1956, wrote: “I am a Christian and indeed a Roman Catholic, so that I do not expect ‘history’ to be anything but a long defeat.” I like those quotation marks around ‘history’. Presumably they signify that the subject as usually studied is defective, as abstracting from the supernatural truths that alone allow us to understand it. But why ‘a long defeat’ rather than a series of victories and defeats? Presumably he was thinking of history as tending toward the reign of the antichrist, which he must have considered as the final period of history, ended only by the eucatastrophe of the second coming.

St Thomas, speaking about how the articles of faith have grown over the years from Abraham onwards, says this:

The final consummation of grace came about through Christ, and so His time is called ‘the fullness of time’. Consequently, those who were closer to Christ, whether before, like John the Baptist, or after, like the apostles, knew the mysteries of faith more fully. We see the same thing in regard to the condition of a man, who has {bodily} perfection in youth, and a man is the more perfect in proportion as he is close to youth, whether before or after (2a 2ae 1, 7 ad 4).

He is not speaking here about an increase in the articulation of the mysteries of faith, I think, since then it would not be true that knowledge declines after the apostles. After all, we have their writings, and we have the commentaries on them made by the Fathers and doctors which make explicit many things contained only implicitly in Scripture. He must therefore be speaking of the depth of understanding, or intensity of faith. But this comes about, as he explains elsewhere (2a 2ae 6, 1) through the grace given to intellect and will; by charity and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

But this apparently implies that sanctifying grace is poured out more abundantly insofar as people are closer in time to the Incarnation and Pentecost. If the mysteries of faith are more keenly understood the closer people are to the time of Christ, this must be because charity and the gifts of the Holy Spirit – which are proportioned to one’s degree of sanctifying grace – are given more abundantly, the closer one is to that time. This would be fitting, as emphasising the central place of the Incarnation within history. It would also fit in with some remarks of St Gregory the Great which I have quoted elsewhere in these chronicles:

By the awful course of the secret dispensation, before this Leviathan appears in that accursed man {antichrist} whom he assumes, signs of power are withdrawn from holy Church. For prophecy is hidden, the grace of healings is taken away, the power of longer abstinence is weakened, the words of doctrine are silent, the prodigies of miracles are removed

St Bede, like St Jerome, thought that the overthrow of antichrist would come before the end of the world. But he still thinks that there will be very little true faith left at the end of the world. Commenting on Luke 18:8 (“When the Son of man comes, will He find faith on earth?”), Bede writes:

When the almighty Creator shall appear in the form of the Son of man, so scarce will the elect be that not so much the cries of the faithful as the torpor of the others will hasten the world’s fall.

Were the Janensists, then, correct? Is the Church a kingdom gradually sliding into decay, which will be saved from extinction only by the coming of the Lord? Things are more complicated. For one thing, not only has the Church on earth expanded in numbers from about 120 on Pentecost Sunday to its present membership, but also there have been periods since Pentecost when the proportion of people on earth in a state of grace was surely increasing; for example, from AD 33 to AD 133. This is certainly a victory for the city of God over the city of man. The Church has also progressed in the ever more perfect elaboration of sacred doctrine and the possession of more splendid liturgical rites (whether these are used is another question). Also she has progressed in having an ever greater treasury of merit and satisfaction on which to draw, and more examples of holiness, through the lives of the saints who have passed to their reward. Moreover, as Vatican I taught, her continued existence is in itself a sign of her divine mission, and this sign in the nature of things becomes more striking with the passage of time. All these things are triumphs over the kingdom of darkness.

Nevertheless, it could still be true, as seems to be implied by the words of St Thomas, that the average level of grace of those in the Church is lower in every generation; it could also be true that the percentage of those in the Church living fervent lives is in continual decline. Yet even this could be a tendency rather than an iron law. St Thomas uses the analogy of the human body, which is more perfect the closer it is to youth. Yet while this is true others things being equal, it may be that a particular man exercises more or has a better diet, and so is stronger or has more stamina, at some time earlier or later than at his natural peak of health. So it could be that the exercise demanded by the stress of particular events, for example, universal persecution, will temporarily raise the average level of holiness in the mystical body; or it could be that the intake of many new members to whom God wishes to attach a special blessing (for example the Jews, for the sake of their fathers) will have the same effect. But all the same the underlying trend would be downwards. Yet any given Christian may still achieve heroic sanctity, if he wants. And the proportion of people on earth in a state of grace can increase even if the average level of their sanctity decreases; though other things being equal, for example if there are no new pagan lands to evangelise, this seems less likely than likely.

A happy and fervent new year to all the saints at Laodicea.


10:22

Blackbird [The Paraphasic]

(I'm on a spree writing about TNT's alien invasion family drama Falling Skies, and it's been great fun, so I don't want it to end.  This is my seventh post dealing with the show in some way. Here I'm continuing the line of thought begun in the post on "Social Alienation".)


After I finished Falling Skies a few days ago, I wanted something else to watch.  Not finding anything appealing on Amazon Prime, I started rooting around for other things the cast of Falling Skies have starred in.  And, by a long route, I ended up discovering the 2012 Canadian independent film Blackbird.

Blackbird is about a goth teenager in a small town, whose fantasies about revenge against his classmates are intercepted by the authorities and interpreted as a serious plot to commit a massacre.  The film tracks the origin of the evidence against the young man, the court process, his time in a juvenile detention center, and his struggle to readjust to life in society.  (It's a pretty good movie, by the way, and worth seeing.)

The film is cold and morose, with much of the content communicated through silence and tense gestures (a flinch while using a public restroom, hesitation over whether to pick up a ping pong ball, etc.).  One striking aspect of Blackbird is its treatment of the protagonist's goth identity.  The satanist logos, the spikes, and the black leather, come across as elements of a carefully constructed social performance.  We read scrawled on the protagonist's bedroom door an endearingly (or embarrassingly?) high-brow admonition to "ABANDON ALL HOPE, YE WHO ENTER HERE".

Being "goth", with all the implied paraphernalia, is an aesthetic expression of the protagonist's understanding of himself — he sees himself as an outsider, as someone who cannot participate in the life of the community, and so he cultivates an identity based on signals of his rejection by the community.  This explains why the goth performance doesn't persist after the protagonist has been released from jail, because his outsider status is already abundantly marked by the community, and no longer needs to be actively announced.

The actor who plays the troubled teen in Blackbird, Connor Jessup, also plays the middle Mason son, Ben, in Falling Skies.  Being a post-apocalyptic alien invasion family drama, Falling Skies lacks the cold social realism of Blackbird.  Falling Skies is, all things considered, a relatively up-beat post-apocalyptic family drama, which outsources most of its need for trial and tragedy to the six-legged invaders and the struggle to survive.  The Mason sons have more pressing problems (like extraterrestrial brain worms and six-legged monsters) than being bullied by the hockey team or having crushes on backstabbing young women with unpleasant fathers.

Nevertheless, Jessup's character in Falling Skies (Ben Mason) is just as much an outsider as his character in Blackbird.  Ben is absent from the show for the first half of the first season, having been kidnapped by aliens and harnessed with a large spinal parasite which doubles as a mind-control device.  When he is eventually recovered and the harness is removed, its roots in his nervous system remain, leaving him medically abnormal.  He has an accelerated ability to heal, apparently endless energy reserves, and greatly increased endurance.  He also has a (much exploited) telepathic connection with any aliens that get close enough.

Having been transformed into a Super Soldier by the aliens, Ben Mason would seem destined to become the human resistance's very own Captain America.  But the writers of Falling Skies were too interested in social dynamics to allow that to happen.  Instead of becoming the resident hero, Ben spends the entirety of the next two seasons as an object of fear and suspicion.  Perhaps he's a sleeper agent?  Maybe he's secretly leaking information to the aliens?  Is he still human, really?  Aren't the aliens still in his head?

What originally prompted this post, and the previous one, was my appreciation of the way the writers of Falling Skies have Ben Mason deal with this suspicion and alienation from the community he should, in theory, be welcomed into.  He doesn't reject the community, or hate them for their fears, but he remains intentionally aloof and works on its edges.  He vanishes periodically, to pursue his own projects, and returns.  He is never at odds with the 2nd Massachusetts or its broader goals, but as long as the leadership has no use for his talents, he makes use of them himself for the benefit of the group.

You see, people like Ben Mason are extremely rare in real life.  One of the points I wanted to make in my last post was that being excluded by society tends to destroy a person's sense of personal integrity or value, precisely because so much of our self-understanding is derived from the underlying sense we have of what is expected and reasonable for "people" in general.  When I am shown repeatedly to be an instance of what is not to be expected, what is unreasonable or undesirable, according to general social standards, my own self-evaluation according to those primitive norms becomes an exercise in despair.  Nothing I can do can save me from my failure not to be a freak, or from my inability not to fail.  The pain of such a state of mind is one of the reasons people will go to such lengths to find communities within which their behavior and patterns of thought are considered reasonable and acceptable.

(Exile and execution are remarkably similar, and there is a profound reason why the Egyptian monks chose the solitude of the desert as a fitting replacement for martyrdom.)

I'll probably continue this line of thought again, but that's enough for tonight.

10:09

Women persecuted by the law? Don't think so. [Oz Conservative]

The Daily Mail is running a story claiming that women were historically persecuted by the law here in Victoria. The evidence has been cherry picked. Two examples are given: an Italian migrant who killed a woman in 1937 but whose charge was reduced from murder to manslaughter, and a woman who was jailed for nine months for bigamy.

The statistical evidence paints a different picture, namely that it is women who have been more leniently treated than men when it comes to sentencing:

...the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that 63.3% of men who were sentenced in higher courts received a penalty of imprisonment, compared to just 46.7% of women.

Women were also seen to receive more lenient prison sentences, with an average term of imprisonment of 42.4 months, compared to 60.3 months for men.

This apparent gender bias extended beyond penalties of imprisonment – one study found that male drink drivers generally received fines which were 9.7% higher than those received by women for the same offence, and received disqualification periods which were 22.2% longer.

In 2010, a study attempted to consolidate data obtained from courts to determine whether:

1.Women were less likely than men to be sent to prison for similar offences, 2.Those sent to prison received lighter sentences, and 3.Magistrates and judges treated offending behaviours and histories differently based on a person’s sex.

The study found that gender had a direct impact on a judicial officer’s decision to send a person to prison – and that men were 1.73 times more likely to be sent to prison compared to women.

It further found that men received slightly harsher prison sentences, which were on average 1.16 months longer than those received by women.

The researchers then considered the impact of factors such as a person’s prior criminal history, their decision to plead guilty, and the number of charges they were facing.

Again, they found that male and female offenders were treated very differently – a male’s criminal history was given more weight compared to that of females – and generally meant that they received a harsher sentence

There has been resistance to the idea that men and women should receive similar sentences. In the UK, for instance, judges were advised back in 2010 to be more lenient in their sentencing with women than with men.

08:51

1° gennaio 2007: omelia di Benedetto XVI nella Solennità di Maria SS.ma Madre di Dio (YouTube) [Il Blog di Raffaella. Riflessioni e commenti fra gli Amici di Benedetto XVI]

LINK DIRETTO SU YOUTUBE Cari Amici, anche nel 2016 la nostra Gemma ci regala delle pietre miliari da custodire gelosamente. Il 1° gennaio 2007, Solennità di Maria SS.ma Madre di Dio e XL Giornata mondiale della Pace, Benedetto XVI tenne una bellissima omelia il cui testo è consultabile qui. In particolare: "L’odierna liturgia contempla, come in un mosaico, diversi fatti e realtà messianiche,

08:47

BUON 2016 A TUTTI [Il Blog di Raffaella. Riflessioni e commenti fra gli Amici di Benedetto XVI]

Carissimi Amici, con tutto il cuore auguro a tutti ed a ciascuno un sereno e felice Anno Nuovo. Un abbraccio speciale :-) Raffaella

08:35

Incredible [The Paraphasic]

I have not seen this movie, and based on the plot summary I read I'm not sure I will (werewolf romance / single parent drama?), but this scene is unbelievable.  Watch it a few times, and enjoy.




Note: The music is by Takagi Masakatsu, who also did the (excellent) soundtrack for the documentary Kingdom of Dreams and Madness.

07:01

Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God [Καθολικός διάκονος]

A month or so ago I ordered a used copy of David Wilbourne's little book A Virgin's Diary. In the book, Wilbourne, who serves as a bishop for the Anglican Church in Wales, creates an imaginary diary for the Blessed Virgin Mary during her pregnancy with our Lord. As one might suspect the entries run the gamut from mundane, to funny, to whimsical, to quite insightful. It certainly is not a book everyone would like, but I am enjoying it immensely.

Appropriate to today's solemnity is something from an entry in which Mary, or Miriam as she is called in the diary, accompanies Zechariah to Jerusalem for his first service in the Temple since the birth of his son, John (the Baptist). In the early morning of the second day the young, pregnant virgin goes for a walk that takes her down through the Kidron valley and up the Mount of Olives. Once on the mount she is amazed by the glory of what she sees as she looks over the holy city. But her amazement "is quickly replaced by another feeling." As the change occurs she begins to shiver "with sheer terror, dread at what lies ahead." She begins to doubt her fiat: "What on earth am I doing, going along with all this? How can I, or my yet-to-be-born son, ever hope to make even the slightest impact . . .?" In Wilbourne's telling she is referring specifically to making an impact on the Jewish religious system rooted in Temple worship, which worship she participated in the previous day. In her despondency, she tells God "let's forget all about it."

In his imaginary account, Wilbourne writes that God "is surprisingly upbeat" in response to Miriam's near despair. "This is a fresh start," He tells the young woman. "Through you and our baby, I want people to know that I'm into everything, all the squalor, all the heartbreaks, all the pain, all the pregnancy sickness, that nothing in all creation is beyond my reach." God ends this disquisition by telling the despondent young woman, "That's incarnation girl! I want to abolish the sacred by shouting out that everything is sacred!"

I am tempted to end my post here, but I like where Wilbourne takes the dialogue. In reply, the young Miriam says, "A laudable ambition . . . As a sermon, that deserves a straight alpha. But doesn't it seem a funny way to go about it, kicking off the [God's]-Into-Everything-Show with a virgin birth. It does give the teeniest weeniest impression that you ain't into sex." God replies: "Oh no, I passionately believe that with delight and tenderness couples may know each other through love . . . But we had to go for a virginal conception so I could put my signature to the venture from the start. No more or no less than that. Don't worry Miriam, I won't let you down. We'll win through. Remember that I am with you."



Reflecting on her encounter, Miriam notes that remembering God is with her, far from being a comfort at this point, causes her to "shake more with terror." As she makes her way back into the city she is overcome with weariness. She sits down and begins to weep. As she sits weeping a donkey nuzzles her and stays by her side. Miriam climbs onto the donkey's "cross-marked back" and rides back into Jerusalem.

As my friend, Fr Peter Nguyen, SJ, noted in a brief exchange we had concerning Reformed theology- theology without a Marian dimension leaves one cold. Specifically he wrote, "To tell/theologize the story of Christ is to also tell/theologize about his mother."

In light of Wilbourne's welcome reflection on Christ's mother, here's something most relevant by Edward Schillebeeckx, OP, from his classic book on sacramental theology, Christ the Sacrament of the Encounter with God: "The incarnation is not merely a Christmas event. To be man is a process of becoming man; Jesus' manhood grew throughout his earthly life [here I would invoke Luke 2:52], finding its completion in the supreme moment of the incarnation, his death, resurrection and exaltation. Only then is the incarnation fulfilled to the very end."

Remember, O Most Blessed Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.

Happy New Year!

02:42

Caution, Not for Children: Make Reparation on First Saturday for this Evil Act [LES FEMMES - THE TRUTH]



It is disturbing that satanists are now performing their rites in public. They used to hide and do their dirty deeds in secret. But satan is so bold these days he happily exposes himself. I hope everyone reading this will make the First Saturday of reparation on January 2nd.
Say the rosary and spend 15 minutes meditating on one of the mysteries. Sr. Lucia said she would choose a set of mysteries to meditate on during one set of the First Saturdays. I am doing the Joyful Mysteries. This is the second Saturday for me so I will meditate on the Visitation, putting myself into the scene on the journey to the hill country and then going with Mary into Elizabeth's house and listening to their greeting. Scripture meditation is an ancient way of prayer. St. Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises are based to a large degree on meditating about the mysteries of the rosary and the life of Christ. Just think how pleasing it is to the Lord when you spend time with Him and His Mother Mary.

In addition to praying the rosary in atonement for sins against Mary, it is necessary to receive Communion and to go to Confession within about a week.

Oklahoma City needs prayer and reparation since this is the third public satanic attack within the past year or so: the black mass, the erection of the statue of baphomet, and now the desecration of Mary's statue.

 The devil is real and he gains power when children of God made in His image and likeness commit atrocities for him. Pray for those who have sold their souls to the devil. He is a monstrous slave-master. Read Dr. Faustus.

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil....


02:09

In thanksgiving... . Beginning the New Year with gratitude. [Catholic Sacristan]

Catholic Sacristan | Lizard Lake, BC. December 29, 2015

Gratitude is the appropriate acknowledgement of mercy received.

This past year has been a year of transitions:
  • the joy of mentoring others and celebrating their accomplishments
  • the peaceful death of a sibling after a life of hard living
  • the peaceful death of a beloved niece after a decades struggle with MS and then brain cancer
  • reconnecting with an estranged sister after ten plus years
  • handing over a liturgical lay-ministry and moving on after seven years of service
  • clearing away many old things, stuff and clutter that has been sitting around for years
  • making gradual changes in attitude and career as I move farther into this sixth decade
This year has been an extraordinary season of grace and healing. God has blessed me with many insights and opportunities to test those insights. Some tests I have failed because of entrenched habits of mind that have inhibited an ability to shake off useless emotional baggage, and others I have successfully navigated and greater freedom has been achieved. I am particularly grateful for personal support received from a couple of you whose wisdom and prayers of intercession (answered by God through amazing circumstances!) made all the difference during some particularly trying moments. For all blessings and graces received, thanks be to God.

I would be remiss if, in this forum, I failed to acknowledge regular visitors to the Oasis. I mention only your community of origin, but I suspect that those frequent drinkers from the Oasis know exactly to whom I am referring.

Here, then, is a sampling of the cities and towns from which you hail. Please forgive any obvious or serious omissions. You are welcome to leave a reminder in the combox.
  1. Redmond, Washington, USA
  2. Simi Valley, California, USA
  3. Mountain View, California, USA
  4. San Francisco, California, USA
  5. Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
  6. Winnipeg, Canada
  7. Victoria, Saanichton, Saanich, Esquimalt, Sidney, Brentwood Bay, Ladysmith, Courtenay, Shawnigan Lake, Cobble Hill, Comox and Nanaimo, BC, Canada
  8. Calgary, Edmonton, AB, Canada
  9. quite a few towns and cities in Oregon
  10. Toronto, Ontario, Canada (several of you!)
  11. Nepean, Ontario, Canada
  12. Beijing, PRC.
  13. Canterbury, Kent, England
  14. Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada
  15. Dubai, U.A.E.
  16. India, several cities
  17. Manila and Quezon City, Philippines
  18. Mostar, Federation of Boznia-Herzogovina
  19. Jakarta, Indonesia
  20. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
  21. Gdansk, Poland
  22. Warsaw, Poland
  23. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
  24. Vatican City
Thank you, one and all, for tuning in and dropping by.

And, a special note of thanks to the members of this site, and those fellow bloggers who list this simple blog at their online homes! You are all in my prayers.

May the coming year be one of health, happiness and a deeper communion with Jesus Christ and His Church.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.

01:00

NEUE DOMAIN - NEW LINK - BRUNONIS.NET [BRUNONIS]

Liebe Leser,

BRUNONIS ist zu Wordpress umgezogen und wurde auf eine eigene Domain umgestellt.
Ab sofort ist BRUNONIS also unter der folgenden Internetadresse zu erreichen.


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Dear reader,

BRUNONIS finally has its own domain, and was moved to Wordpress.
From now on, you can reach BRUNONIS through this link:

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00:36

Did Matthew Abbreviate Mark? [Jimmy Akin]

Saint-Matthew_This post presents the results of a test I recently did in my ongoing look at the Synoptic Problem.

In what follows, I will be testing the claim that if Matthew used Mark, he abbreviated the material he found in Mark. Note the “if,” because it’s important. I am not here arguing that he did use Mark. That’s a topic to be discussed elsewhere.

Here goes . . .

 

The Issue at Hand

An important perception among biblical scholars is that, if Matthew drew material from the Gospel of Mark, he seems to have abbreviated this material.

The presumable reason for this would be to allow Matthew to have space to fit in all the other material he wanted to add to Mark and still keep his own Gospel the size of a single volume (either a single scroll or a single codex).

In The Four Gospels, B. H. Streeter gives several examples of how Matthew (apparently) shortened different sections or pericopes (per-IH-ko-PEES) of Mark. He notes how Matthew’s versions have fewer words in Greek than the corresponding pericopes in Mark.

However, in his book The Tendencies of the Synoptic Tradition, E. P. Sanders claimed that Matthew does not consistently shorten material from Mark. If you look at all the pericopes Matthew and Mark have in common, they’re fairly even in terms of overall word count. Matthew’s total word count for these pericopes is slightly shorter than Mark’s, but not by much, and most of the difference is grouped in just a handful of pericopes (see The Tendencies of the Synoptic Tradition, 82-87).

This, however, doesn’t strike me as the optimal test: Doing a straight pericope-to-pericope test could be misleading, since Matthew adds material from his own sources to pericopes.

For example, in the account of the Testing in the Wilderness, Mark has only a brief note that the event took place, but he doesn’t describe it in detail. Matthew does; he has the three “temptations” that the devil presents Christ with.

A better test, it occurred to me, would be to eliminate Matthew’s additions (like the three temptations) and see if we find that he shortened what remains.

Unfortunately, Sanders didn’t do this kind of test. Also unfortunately, I don’t know anybody else who has done this kind of test, either.

 

Why This Is Important

In Synoptic Problem studies, a good deal hinges on whether Matthew would have abbreviated the material he took from Mark, because that gives us a clue to the order of the two Gospels.

It’s much more likely, given the way ancient authors worked, that Matthew would have consistently tightened up Mark’s text than for Mark to consistently expand Matthew’s text in a sentence-by-sentence manner.

Therefore, if Matthew’s material looks like a tightened up version of Mark’s, Mark probably wrote first.

In view of the importance of the question at hand, I wanted to find the answer.

Fortunately, I realized that I had the tools available to do the test myself.

 

The Tools

Some time ago I began developing a synopsis of the four Gospels that presents both the English and the Greek text of each one in parallel columns.

(It’s not yet published, since I’m still adding new features to it, but I hope to publish it in the future.)

To develop this synopsis, I loaded the Greek and English text into a spreadsheet (Microsoft Excel) and matched the text up verse-by-verse. (Of course, the verse divisions, like the pericope divisions scholars use, are not in the original text, but they are useful.)

The advantage of having the material in a spreadsheet is that I’m able to sort and manipulate the synopsis in various ways that can’t be done with a synopsis printed on paper.

These sorting capabilities, I realized, would let me do the kind of test I wanted to do on Matthew and Mark. Using Excel, it shouldn’t be difficult to isolate the material needed from the two Gospels and then do a word count on the Greek text.

Excel doesn’t have a good word count tool (that I know of), but Microsoft Word does. (N.B. Although Greek has diacritical marks which could, in some character encodings, cause Word to think there were more words than there are, this would have applied to both texts equally and the overall result would remain valid. However, I verified that I was not using one of those character encodings so the word count should be accurate.)

Therefore, all I had to do was isolate the relevant material, paste the Greek text into Word, and see what the resulting word count was.

So I did the test.

 

Pass 1 of the Test

To isolate the relevant material, I took the following steps:

  1. I made a copy of the spreadsheet so I could manipulate it without harming the original.
  2. I struck all material related to Luke and John.
  3. I struck the longer ending of Mark (since it likely was not original and not what Matthew had in front of him).
  4. I struck all the pericopes in Mark that have no parallel in Matthew (allowing a pericope-to-pericope comparison)
  5. I struck all of the verses that Matthew contained which have no parallels in Mark. This represents the additions that Matthew would have made to Mark (thus allowing a more refined pericope-to-pericope test than the one Sanders did).
  6. I then pasted the resulting Greek text from both Gospels into Word.

Results:

  • Matthew: 8,114 words
  • Mark: 10,542 words

If Matthew used Mark, it would seem that he abbreviated the pericopes he used by 2,428 words or 23%, dropping almost one in four words.

 

Pass 2 of the Test

Although the above results should be the best way to look at the problem, a potential objection occurred to me: The above selection of material includes verses in Mark that Matthew would have omitted entirely.

It seems to me that these verses should be counted in the test (as in Pass 1). There is nothing to say that, in selecting material from Mark, Matthew couldn’t delete entire verses within a pericope. Indeed, the evidence indicates that he would have.

However, just to go the extra mile (to bend a phrase from Matthew 5:41), I decided to do a second pass of the test, eliminating the verses in Mark that had no parallel in Matthew (even though the pericopes that contained them did have a parallel in Matthew).

My prediction, if Matthew was shortening Mark, was that the Matthew material would still contain fewer words (since Matthew was tightening things up within verses as well as by deleting verses) though the result would be less pronounced.

Results:

  • Matthew: 8,114 words
  • Mark: 8,569 words

Thus if we compare just the verses that have direct parallels in both Gospels, it would seem that Matthew abbreviated these verses by 455 words or 5%, dropping about one word in twenty as he tightened up the text (aside from the whole verses he dropped).

 

Summary Thus Far

On both versions of the test, the data supports the conclusion that if Matthew used Mark, he abbreviated the material he took from it.

This is particularly clear on the better version of the test (Pass 1), but also true on the “go the extra mile” version of the test (Pass 2).

The difference in the results of the two passes indicates that Matthew would have done much of his abbreviation by dropping the contents of entire verses, while also tightening up the contents of the verses he retained.

The versions of the test that I did are a pair of rough-and-ready assessments that depended significantly on computers. A more refined, human-based, and scholarly version of this test could be performed in the future, but the results are likely to be the same in substance.

 

Verses Matthew Would Have Added to Mark’s Pericopes

Let’s complete our look at the issue by examining the verses that Matthew would have added to the pericopes he shares with Mark.

If the hypothesis is correct that Matthew abbreviated what he took from Mark to help make room for the additional information he wanted to add to his Gospel, we should find that most of the verses he added within these pericopes should be independently-sourced, value-added verses, providing new information rather than just restating what should be obvious or paraphrasing Mark in a somewhat wordier way.

By my count, there are 149 such verses. They are listed below, and you can see what they say by hovering your mouse over the individual verse citations.

 

Prophetic Fulfillments

Matthew is very interested in showing that Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecy.

As a result, it is not surprising that he would have added notes regarding how Jesus did so to pericopes he found in Mark. By my count, there would be 16 verses of this material:

  1. Matt. 4:14
  2. Matt. 4:15
  3. Matt. 4:16
  4. Matt. 8:17
  5. Matt. 12:17
  6. Matt. 12:18
  7. Matt. 12:19
  8. Matt. 12:20
  9. Matt. 12:21
  10. Matt. 13:14
  11. Matt. 13:15
  12. Matt. 13:35
  13. Matt. 21:4
  14. Matt. 21:5
  15. Matt. 27:9
  16. Matt. 27:10

For Matthew, these prophetic fulfillment notices counted as value-added content for the audience he was trying to reach, which particularly included Jewish Christians who would be specially interested in how Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecy.

 

Double Tradition (“Q”) Material

Additional value-added material is found in what is known as the “double tradition.”

This material also was seen as valuable by the Evangelist Luke, who also included it in his Gospel (hence “double tradition,” because it is found in two Gospels).

One question is where this material came from. Did Luke get it from Matthew? Did Matthew get it from Luke? Or did they both get it from a now lost source? Many modern scholars think the latter, and they have dubbed the proposed, lost source “Q.”

There are about 235 verses of the double tradition material in Matthew and Luke, but only some of them occur in the pericopes that Matthew would have taken from Mark.

To establish which ones, I compared these pericopes with the verses attributed to the double tradition in the International Q Project’s work, The Critical Edition of Q (Robinson, Hoffmann, Kloppenborg, ed.s). This may be deemed a neutral source in that it was not formulated with respect to the hypothesis we are presently testing.

By this reckoning, Matthew would have added about 42 verses of double tradition material to the pericopes he used from Mark:

  1. Matt. 3:7
  2. Matt. 3:8
  3. Matt. 3:9
  4. Matt. 3:10
  5. Matt. 3:12
  6. Matt. 4:3
  7. Matt. 4:4
  8. Matt. 4:5
  9. Matt. 4:6
  10. Matt. 4:7
  11. Matt. 4:8
  12. Matt. 4:9
  13. Matt. 4:10
  14. Matt. 4:13
  15. Matt. 5:13
  16. Matt. 10:6
  17. Matt. 10:7
  18. Matt. 10:8
  19. Matt. 10:15
  20. Matt. 10:16
  21. Matt. 10:19
  22. Matt. 10:24
  23. Matt. 10:25
  24. Matt. 12:27
  25. Matt. 12:28
  26. Matt. 12:30
  27. Matt. 12:32
  28. Matt. 13:16
  29. Matt. 13:17
  30. Matt. 15:14
  31. Matt. 16:3*
  32. Matt. 18:6
  33. Matt. 18:7
  34. Matt. 21:32*
  35. Matt. 24:26
  36. Matt. 24:27
  37. Matt. 24:28
  38. Matt. 24:37
  39. Matt. 24:38
  40. Matt. 24:39
  41. Matt. 24:40
  42. Matt. 24:41

(* The International Q Project lists these two verses as possibly but not definitely being part of Q in their estimation.)

Between this material and the prophetic fulfillments, so far 58 of the 149 verses that Matthew added to Markan pericopes would be independently-sourced and value-added.

 

Other New Traditions

Of course, the Old Testament and the double tradition were not Matthew’s only sources besides his proposed use of Mark. In addition to the above, there are at least 47 verses in which Matthew seems to have drawn on additional material from his own sources (eyewitness memory or otherwise):

  1. Matt. 5:14
  2. Matt. 5:16
  3. Matt. 10:12
  4. Matt. 10:13
  5. Matt. 10:17
  6. Matt. 10:18
  7. Matt. 10:20
  8. Matt. 10:21
  9. Matt. 10:22
  10. Matt. 10:23
  11. Matt. 12:7
  12. Matt. 12:11
  13. Matt. 12:12
  14. Matt. 12:22
  15. Matt. 13:12
  16. Matt. 14:28
  17. Matt. 14:29
  18. Matt. 14:30
  19. Matt. 14:31
  20. Matt. 15:12
  21. Matt. 15:13
  22. Matt. 16:2 (* This verse is plausibly grouped with a possible double tradition or “Q” saying in Matt. 16:3; otherwise the two verses would both belong to this list.)
  23. Matt. 16:17
  24. Matt. 16:18
  25. Matt. 16:19
  26. Matt. 18:10
  27. Matt. 19:10
  28. Matt. 19:11
  29. Matt. 19:12
  30. Matt. 21:28
  31. Matt. 21:29
  32. Matt. 21:30
  33. Matt. 21:31
  34. Matt. 24:10
  35. Matt. 24:11
  36. Matt. 24:12
  37. Matt. 26:52
  38. Matt. 27:3
  39. Matt. 27:4
  40. Matt. 27:5
  41. Matt. 27:6
  42. Matt. 27:7
  43. Matt. 27:8
  44. Matt. 27:19
  45. Matt. 27:52
  46. Matt. 27:53
  47. Matt. 28:4

Adding these verses to the preceding, 105 of the 149 verses that Matthew added to Markan pericopes would seem to be independently-sourced, value-added material for him.

 

Possible Extrapolations

We now come to the most problematic of our categories, which consists of material that Matthew may have been able to extrapolate from what he had before him in Mark but that also could have derived from his own sources (including eyewitness memory or other testimony).

Much of this material deals with reactions, such as how different persons or groups reacted to what Jesus said and did.

If Matthew derived it from his own sources, then it would properly be grouped with the material in the other categories we have examined—particularly, the previous category, as independent material that Matthew saw as adding value to his narrative.

If he extrapolated the material from what he found in Mark, this also added value, but in a different way—for example, helping bring out the deeper significance of what happened in particular incidents in Jesus’ ministry.

It would not, however, represent the addition of new material to Markan pericopes in the way the previous three categories would have.

By my count, there are up to 37 verses that could belong to this category.

How many you think should belong to it will depend on how much freedom you think Matthew allowed himself to extrapolate from his sources.

My own feeling is that some of this material was likely derived from independent sources (meaning that, in the ideal, it should be reclassified into one of the above categories, particularly the previous one) but that some of it would have been extrapolated from Mark.

However, for purposes of testing our hypothesis that Matthew abbreviated Mark to include value-added material, I have been as generous as possible with the extrapolation hypothesis, thus erring on the side of Matthew extrapolating from Mark.

Here are the 37 verses:

  1. Matt. 3:2
  2. Matt. 3:14
  3. Matt. 3:15
  4. Matt. 9:26
  5. Matt. 12:5
  6. Matt. 12:6
  7. Matt. 12:23
  8. Matt. 15:23
  9. Matt. 15:24
  10. Matt. 15:25
  11. Matt. 15:31
  12. Matt. 16:12
  13. Matt. 16:27
  14. Matt. 17:6
  15. Matt. 17:7
  16. Matt. 17:13
  17. Matt. 18:3
  18. Matt. 18:4
  19. Matt. 21:10
  20. Matt. 21:11
  21. Matt. 21:20
  22. Matt. 21:43
  23. Matt. 21:46
  24. Matt. 22:33
  25. Matt. 22:38
  26. Matt. 22:40
  27. Matt. 22:46
  28. Matt. 26:25
  29. Matt. 26:44
  30. Matt. 26:50
  31. Matt. 26:53
  32. Matt. 27:21
  33. Matt. 27:25
  34. Matt. 27:26
  35. Matt. 27:43
  36. Matt. 28:2
  37. Matt. 28:3

Because of the ambiguous nature of this material, we cannot establish a definite number of verses that would have independently-sourced, value-added material.

If none of these verses were counted that way, we would still have 105 of 149 verses being independently-sourced, value-added material.

If all of them were counted that way then we would have 141 of 149 verses counted that way.

The truth is likely between these two figures.

 

Bridging Material

Our final category is what I am calling bridging material. These are verses that are likely extrapolated by Matthew to bridge one section of his narrative with another, based on what he had in front of him in Mark.

For example, Matthew 26:1 reads, “When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples. . . .” This bridges the end of the sayings discourse in Matthew 23-25 with the material that follows it in chapter 26. It is thus something Matthew likely derived neither from Mark (because it isn’t there) nor from other, independent sources but was extrapolated for literary purposes to bridge one section of his narrative with another.

By my reckoning, there are 7 such verses in the pericopes that Matthew would have taken from Mark:

  1. Matt. 8:1
  2. Matt. 13:18
  3. Matt. 14:18
  4. Matt. 15:29
  5. Matt. 22:34
  6. Matt. 26:1
  7. Matt. 27:36

With a high degree of probability, these represent verses that Matthew did not derive from independent sources but used to bridge material he found in Mark with other sections of his narrative.

They do not, however, affect the totals arrived at above: It would still appear that between 105 and 141 of the 149 verses that Matthew added to the Markan pericopes he used came from independent, value-adding sources.

 

Conclusion

While scholars might argue with the specific numbers offered above, it remains true that Matthew would have added between approximately 105 and 141 independently-sourced, value-added verses among the approximately 149 verses he would have added to the Markan pericopes he used.

In view of this, Matthew would not have extrapolated enough material from what he found in Mark to overturn the conclusion arrived in the first part of our test: It still appears that Matthew significantly shortened the material he found in Mark to include independently-sourced, value-added material.

Future research may change the numbers involved somewhat, but it is unlikely to change the fundamental conclusion.

00:22

Razón del número [CRISTIANDAD]

Cristiandad se siente gozosamente llamada a hacerse eco de la convocatoria del Papa en este año de la misericordia; por ello, como ya anunciamos en números anteriores, dedicaremos todo el este año a reflexionar en torno a este gran misterio de la misericordia de Dios que quiso abajarse hacia la miseria humana para que de este modo el hombre pudiera participar de la vida del mismo Dios. Esta permanente manifestación de la bondad divina a lo largo de toda la historia humana se hace de alguna manera más urgente, necesaria y al mismo tiempo más patente cuanto más profunda es la miseria que envuelve la vida de los hombres. El panorama que nos ofrece el mundo actual es sin duda de una miseria humana sin precedentes. Cuanto más se aparta el hombre de Dios más presente se nos muestra esta miseria, porque la mayor miseria consiste justamente en el olvido de Dios. Pero como nos recuerda san Pablo: «Donde abundó el pecado sobreabundó la gracia» (Rm 5, 20) Con la misma idea del triunfo del amor de Dios afirmaba san Juan Pablo II: «Este amor es más fuerte que todo el mal en que el hombre, la humanidad, el mundo están metidos. Creer en este amor significa creer en la misericordia, pues es ésta la dimensión indispensable del amor de su Corazón».
Desde esta perspectiva hay que ver cómo ante tanta necesidad el Espíritu Santo ha suscitado en la Iglesia, justamente en estos últimos tiempos, numerosos y santos apóstoles que dan testimonio con sus vidas y con sus escritos del amor misericordioso de Dios para todos y cada uno de los hombres. En este número hemos querido recordar cómo con la devoción al Corazón de Jesús revelada a Santa Margarita María de Alacoque se renueva de un modo único y providencial el permanente anuncio de la misericordia del Señor. Esta devoción al amor misericordioso del Corazón de Jesús será en estos últimos años más profundamente conocida a través de los escritos de Santa Teresita y la revelaciones a Santa Faustina Kowalska.
A la luz de este nuevo Año de la Misericordia nos parece oportuno recordar las palabras del padre Orlandis de su escrito carismático: «Pensamientos y ocurrencias».
«A estas almas pobres y débiles, miopes y enfermizas quiere que llegue también su llamamiento misericordioso el bondadoso Corazón de Jesús, que invita a su banquete a los ciegos, cojos, etc., y les sana como médico divino. Como mensajera de sus misericordias inefables con estas almas débiles y pequeñas envía el misericordioso Jesús a santa Teresita, para que reciban aliento, luz y confianza los pobres enfermos de espíritu tal vez menospreciados o desahuciados de sus maestros y médicos».
Con el fin de dar a conocer, rezar e invitar a la reflexión sobre el mensaje del amor misericordioso se celebrará en Barcelona el próximo mes de abril un congreso internacional del cual se puede encontrar información en las páginas de este número. Animamos a nuestros lectores a que participen con la seguridad que será una ayuda eficaz para vivir con mayor intensidad este año jubilar de la Misericordia.

00:21

JUBILEO EXTRAORDINARIO DE LA MISERICORDIA. SANTA MISA Y APERTURA DE LA PUERTA SANTA. HOMILÍA DEL SANTO PADRE FRANCISCO. [CRISTIANDAD]

En breve tendré la alegría de abrir la Puerta Santa de la Misericordia. Como hice en Bangui, cumplimos este gesto, a la vez sencillo y fuertemente simbólico, a la luz de la Palabra de Dios que hemos escuchado, y que pone en primer plano el primado de la gracia. En efecto, en estas lecturas se repite con frecuencia una expresión que evoca la que el ángel Gabriel dirigió a una joven muchacha, asombrada y turbada, indicando el misterio que la envolvería: «Alégrate, llena de gracia» (Lc 1,28).
La Virgen María está llamada en primer lugar a regocijarse por todo lo que el Señor hizo en ella. La gracia de Dios la envolvió, haciéndola digna de convertirse en la madre de Cristo. Cuando Gabriel entra en su casa, también el misterio más profundo, que va más allá de la capacidad de la razón, se convierte para ella en un motivo de alegría, motivo de fe, motivo de abandono a la palabra que se revela. La plenitud de la gracia transforma el corazón, y lo hace capaz de realizar ese acto tan grande que cambiará la historia de la humanidad.
La fiesta de la Inmaculada Concepción expresa la grandeza del amor de Dios. Él no sólo perdona el pecado, sino que en María llega a prevenir la culpa original que todo hombre lleva en sí cuando viene a este mundo. Es el amor de Dios el que previene, anticipa y salva. El comienzo de la historia del pecado en el jardín del Edén desemboca en el proyecto de un amor que salva. Las palabras del Génesis nos remiten a la experiencia cotidiana de nuestra existencia personal. Siempre existe la tentación de la desobediencia, que se manifiesta en el deseo de organizar nuestra vida al margen de la voluntad de Dios. Esta es la enemistad que insidia continuamente la vida de los hombres para oponerlos al designio de Dios. Y, sin embargo, también la historia del pecado se comprende sólo a la luz del amor que perdona. El pecado sólo se entiende con esta luz. Si todo quedase relegado al pecado, seríamos los más desesperados de entre las criaturas, mientras que la promesa de la victoria del amor de Cristo encierra todo en la misericordia del Padre. La palabra de Dios que hemos escuchado no deja lugar a dudas a este propósito. La Virgen Inmaculada es para nosotros testigo privilegiado de esta promesa y de su cumplimiento. Este Año extraordinario es también un don de gracia. Entrar por la puerta significa descubrir la profundidad de la misericordia del Padre que acoge a todos y sale personalmente al encuentro de cada uno. Es Él el que nos busca. Es Él el que sale a nuestro encuentro. Será un año para crecer en la convicción de la misericordia. Cuánto se ofende a Dios y a su gracia cuando se afirma sobre todo que los pecados son castigados por su juicio, en vez de destacar que son perdonados por su misericordia (cf. san Agustín, De praedestinatione sanctorum 12, 24). Sí, así es precisamente. Debemos anteponer la misericordia al juicio y, en cualquier caso, el juicio de Dios tendrá lugar siempre a la luz de su misericordia. Que el atravesar la Puerta Santa, por lo tanto, haga que nos sintamos partícipes de este misterio de amor. Abandonemos toda forma de miedo y temor, porque no es propio de quien es amado; vivamos, más bien, la alegría del encuentro con la gracia que lo transforma todo.
Hoy, aquí en Roma y en todas las diócesis del mundo, cruzando la Puerta Santa, queremos recordar también otra puerta que los padres del Concilio Vaticano II, hace cincuenta años, abrieron hacia el mundo. Esta fecha no puede ser recordada sólo por la riqueza de los documentos producidos, que hasta el día de hoy permiten verificar el gran progreso realizado en la fe. En primer lugar, sin embargo, el Concilio fue un encuentro. Un verdadero encuentro entre la Iglesia y los hombres de nuestro tiempo. Un encuentro marcado por el poder del Espíritu que empujaba a la Iglesia a salir de las aguas poco profundas que durante muchos años la habían recluido en sí misma, para reemprender con entusiasmo el camino misionero. Era un volver a tomar el camino para ir al encuentro de cada hombre allí donde vive: en su ciudad, en su casa, en el trabajo…; dondequiera que haya una persona, allí está llamada la Iglesia a ir para llevar la alegría del Evangelio y llevar la misericordia y el perdón de Dios. Un impulso misionero, por lo tanto, que después de estas décadas seguimos retomando con la misma fuerza y el mismo entusiasmo. El Jubileo nos estimula a esta apertura y nos obliga a no descuidar el espíritu surgido en el Vaticano II, el del Samaritano, como recordó el beato Pablo VI en la conclusión del Concilio. Que al cruzar hoy la Puerta Santa nos comprometamos a hacer nuestra la misericordia del Buen Samaritano.

00:20

Santa Gertrudis, al servicio de la misericordia de Dios [CRISTIANDAD]

Lo sentimos, este contenido no está disponible en la versión online.

Puede leerlo en la versión impresa solicitando la suscripción a la revista.

Disculpe las molestias,

La redacción

00:19

La misericordia del Corazón de Jesús en santa Margarita Mª de Alacoque [CRISTIANDAD]

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Puede leerlo en la versión impresa solicitando la suscripción a la revista.

Disculpe las molestias,

La redacción

00:17

El amor misericordioso en la enseñanza de santa Teresa del Niño Jesús [CRISTIANDAD]

Lo sentimos, este contenido no está disponible en la versión online.

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Disculpe las molestias,

La redacción

00:16

Santa Faustina Kowalska: la divina misericordia del Corazón de Cristo [CRISTIANDAD]

Lo sentimos, este contenido no está disponible en la versión online.

Puede leerlo en la versión impresa solicitando la suscripción a la revista.

Disculpe las molestias,

La redacción

00:15

Teresa Desandais, «Petite main» del Amor Misericordioso [CRISTIANDAD]

Lo sentimos, este contenido no está disponible en la versión online.

Puede leerlo en la versión impresa solicitando la suscripción a la revista.

Disculpe las molestias,

La redacción

00:13

La teología de la historia según Francisco Canals [CRISTIANDAD]

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La redacción

00:07

Santuario de la Virgen de la divina Misericordia de Reus [CRISTIANDAD]

La industrial ciudad de Reus, capital de la comanca del Baix Camp, tiene como celestial patrona a la Virgen de la Misericordia, venerada en un magnífico santuario, edificado al sur de la ciudad, antes a las afueras, ahora inmerso entre las casas de la extendida ciudad.
Presidiendo el santuario está la nueva imagen reconstruida de la Virgen de la Divina Misericordia, de alabastro policromado, representando a María de pie, sosteniendo en su brazo izquierdo al Niño Jesús, que lleva un pajarillo en sus manos. La antigua imagen, de alabastro policromado también, era de estilo gótico y fue quemada tras ser rociada de gasolina, en la persecución religiosa de 1936, reponiéndose en 1941 con la nueva copia, de iguales dimensiones.
El origen de la devoción a la santísima Virgen, en su advocación de la Divina Misericordia, se remonta a finales del siglo xvi, concretamente el 25 de septiembre de 1592, cuando una peste terrible acechaba la ciudad, causando gran mortandad entre sus habitantes. La angustia acechaba a todas las familias, que vivían momentos de penurias y dolor. El día señalado, una pastorcilla, de nombre Isabel Besora, muy devota de Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, venerada en la capilla de Belén de la calle Monterols de la misma ciudad, guiaba su rebaño por el «Camí de la Creu dels Corbs», con la preocupación compartida con sus vecinos. Sea como fuere, los pastores han sido siempre predilectos del Señor, desde Abel, pasando por Jacob, José, Moisés y David, además de aquellos a los que un coro de ángeles que anuncia la venida del Salvador, narrado en el evangelio de san Lucas. No iba ser menos Nuestra Señora, que ha dado muestras a lo largo de la historia de tener predilección también por los sencillos de corazón que apacientan el rebaño.
Al llegar a la «Horta del Cotxí», Isabel se postró en tierra, apenada como estaba, mientras rezaba con devoción a su Madre celestial, para que tuviera misericordia de su pueblo. Fruto de la ferviente plegaria, se apareció la Santísima Virgen, dando el mensaje a la humilde niña, que si el pueblo volvía a las devociones marianas olvidadas, saliendo en procesión penitencial y encendiendo un cirio cuya altura superaba la muralla de la ciudad, poniendo simbólicamente la luz de Cristo por encima de las luces cosmopolitas, prometía su misericordia y protección. Dice san Agustín que «la misericordia es la compasión que experimenta nuestro corazón por las miserias ajenas, y que nos compele a socorrerlas si podemos», y así obró la Virgen ante la miseria que la niña le presentó en su oración. Llámase misericordia porque uno tiene el corazón afligido (cor miserum) por la miseria de otro, por lo que, cuanto mayor es la miseria, dice santo Tomás, mayor ha de ser la misericordia y puesto que la peste era una de las pandemias más terribles que azotaron a toda Europa durante aquellos años.
Recibido el encargo, se encaminó la bendita niña ante las autoridades locales para comunicar el encargo de tan celestial remitente. El tribunal jurídico de Reus, encargado de dar o no credibilidad a la misiva, se decantó por la segunda opción, dada la condición social de la joven, sin que hubiera mayor trascendencia del hecho.
Desalentada por la negativa de las autoridades, volvió al lugar en donde la Virgen había hecho acto de presencia, explicándole la situación y su tristeza ante la falta de fe de los que la habían escuchado. Compasiva, la Madre celestial, delineó en su cara una perfecta rosa como señal de autenticidad del mensaje para que así fuera reconocido por los jueces de la ciudad.
En cuanto el jurado que había negado la veracidad de sus palabras creyó en lo que la niña portaba, se borró la señal de su cara. Con la misma rapidez, se organizó la procesión y el encendido del cirio, y la peste desapareció por completo, volviendo la alegría a la ciudad y la estima y devoción perdidas, a María. La evidencia de la intervención divina por la misericordia de la Santísima Virgen, a la que la niña Isabel veneraba en la capillita de Belén, bajo la advocación de Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, hizo que ésta fuera aclamada como Virgen de la Misericordia, construyendo en su honor, el santuario en donde hoy se sigue venerándola.
En el número nueve del «Llibre de Consells» de la ciudad de Reus, conservado en los archivos históricos del municipio, se explica que el Consejo del Pueblo se reunió el 13 de diciembre de 1592, dos meses después del prodigio realizado en favor del pueblo, para determinar la edificación de lo que fue la primera ermita en honor de la Virgen, en el lugar en donde se le había aparecido a la pastora. Con la colaboración de mano de obra voluntaria del mismo centro urbano, en 1603 trasladaban y entronizaban la figura para el culto, que fue recibida con gran fervor.
Pocos años más tarde, en 1652, los reusenses se vieron libres de otra peste gracias a la intercesión de la Virgen de la Misericordia. El Consejo de la ciudad, en agradecimiento, hizo un generoso donativo de dos mil libras para la ampliación del pequeño santuario, dado que la devoción estaba arraigada en el corazón de los vecinos, dotando al monumento de un camerino para la veneración de la Santísima Virgen, que se empezaría en 1671 aunque no concluiría hasta el 1771.
El nuevo santuario era de crucero de base, en una sola nave de dimensiones 33 x 8 metros de superficie, en la que el altar mayor era obra del escultor Llàtzer Traulles, mientras que el camerino, construido con materiales nobles como el mármol, albergaba pinturas de Joan Albarca y figuras representativas de la maternidad y la feminidad en los textos veterotestamentarios, como Rebeca, Judith, Ester y Abigail, esculpidas por los hermanos Bonifàs, autores también de las figuras de san Vicente y san Próspero, que custodian la entrada de la estancia. En los techos pueden apreciarse pinturas al fresco de Joaquim Juncosa, monje de Scala Dei, de su sobrino Josep Franquet y de su primo Joan Juncosa, devotos marianos, mientras que el cimborrio fue decorado por Mn. Jaume Pons, de la población cercana Valls. El retablo del altar mayor es posterior a la guerra del 36, puesto que el antiguo fue destruido al igual que otros altares laterales, siendo el actual una copia del anterior, de estilo barroco, de madera dorada y policromada.
El culto, durante los siguientes dos siglos, fue muy activo y dinámico, concentrándose miles de peregrinos de toda Europa que venían a implorar misericordia de la patrona reusense por la peste sufrida en sus países de origen. Prueba de todo ello es que fueron construyéndose altares laterales, de los cuales en la actualidad se conserva el de Santa Marina, San Bernardo Calvó y el de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, aunque hay constancia de la existencia de uno dedicado a San Pablo, construido en el año 1883, a expensas de María Alemany, y otro, obra del escultor Josep Nogués, vecino de la ciudad de Constantí, dedicado al Ecce Homo, del año 1791. Da testimonio también de ese fluido culto, la Casa del ermitaño, cuyo objeto era el de albergar al peregrino que acudía al santuario a visitar a la Virgen, siendo éste un lugar de reposo en un entorno ajardinado para el recogimiento y la oración.
En el año 1904 tuvo lugar la solemne coronación de la Virgen de la Misericordia y el Niño Jesús, por el arzobispo de Tarragona, Dn. Tomás Costa y Fornaguera, siendo sendas coronas, un regalo del rey Alfonso XIII, llevadas de la mano del marqués de Grigny, Ramón de Morenes, por entonces diputado en las Cortes, por la circunscripción de Reus. Dicho acontecimiento se celebra de forma especialísima cada veinticinco años.
Ese bendito 25 de septiembre, marcó el calendario de la ciudad, siendo que en esa misma fecha quedaría fijada la segunda fiesta mayor de Reus, conmemorando aquella celestial aparición que tanto favor y gracias dio a la ciudad por la misericordia de la bendita Virgen.

00:07

Antiguo Testamento (1): La creación del hombre y el primer pecado [CRISTIANDAD]

En seis días, Dios creó todas las cosas para el hombre: la noche y el día; el cielo y los mares; el sol, la luna y las estrellas, las plantas, los pájaros, los peces y las bestias del campo. El mismo sexto día, para coronar su obra, creó al hombre, que debía ser el dominador de todo lo creado.
Dios ornamentó el mundo para deleite del hombre y se lo dio a Adán para que lo cultivase y lo guardase. Era el primer gran gesto de amor infinito de Dios. Sin ningún mérito por su parte, el hombre se encuentra como dominador y señor de toda la creación. Pero Dios mismo contempló esta situación y por primera vez declaró que había algo que no era bueno: «No es bueno que el hombre esté solo». Dios quiso inmediatamente poner remedio a esta situación y trajo ante él a todos los animales para que les pusiese nombre y ejerciese autoridad sobre ellos. Adán podía someter a los animales, cultivar una tierra fértil y grata, sin sufrimiento, pero todavía estaba solo. Tenía un buen trabajo, un hogar bonito, animales domésticos y actividades para mantenerle ocupado, pero estaba incompleto. Incluso como imagen de Dios sólo estuvo completo cuando la mujer, Eva, se unió a su vida: el hombre y su mujer se hicieron «una sola carne». Adán tenía a su lado a Eva en un mundo perfecto. Existía el verdadero amor humano. La buena compañía de Adán no se limitaría a la pareja perfecta, sino que Dios les bendijo diciéndoles: «Creced y multiplicaos, y poblad la tierra». Es decir que la bondad de Dios, después de acabar la creación hecha para el hombre, buscó todavía más felicidad para él y mejoró lo creado dándole una compañera y de esta forma la humanidad se hacía más a la imagen de Dios. Había nacido la familia. Dios, que no es un Dios que está solo, sino una Trinidad, quiso que el hombre fuera una imagen de Él mismo y lo hizo familia. Sólo entonces el Edén fue realmente un paraíso. Dios, sólo por bondad, nos regaló un mundo en el que todo era bienestar y felicidad, donde hacernos santos era muy fácil.
Adán y Eva lo tenían todo en la vida y Dios les había dado el dominio sobre todo lo creado. Sus dones naturales eran tan increíbles que el mismo Dios los había declarado muy buenos y vivían en un mundo hecho a medida de su disfrute, sin pecado, sin sufrimiento ni enfermedad. Y, a pesar de que los cuerpos materiales son, por naturaleza objeto de decadencia y muerte, Dios había hecho a nuestros primeros padres inmortales.
Todo esto no es nada comparado con el máximo don de Dios. Dios alentó al hombre con su propio Espíritu. Es decir que desde el primer momento de su vida estaban agraciados sobrenaturalmente con la filiación divina.
Dios creó al hombre el sexto día y el séptimo día descansó. El séptimo día significaba la conclusión del vínculo de alianza familiar entre Dios y el hombre. Con el séptimo día, Dios estaba haciendo una alianza con la humanidad. Dios introdujo a Adán y Eva en su familia y les hizo hijos suyos.
Dios estableció una alianza con una condición a cumplir y esta condición era no comer del árbol de la ciencia del bien y del mal. Si Adán y Eva guardaban la alianza vivirían su maravillosa vida para siempre, pero si no lo hacían, tendrían la más extrema de las muertes: la muerte física y, sobre todo, la muerte espiritual, el pecado original. Adán y Eva, hechos preternaturalmente inmortales, pero mortales por naturaleza, tenían un sano e instintivo aborrecimiento a la muerte física y espiritual, sino no tendría sentido el castigo con que Dios les amenazaba, «morirás». A pesar de ello y del amor que Dios había puesto al hacerles amos de todas las cosas creadas, Adán prefirió la muerte para sí y para su esposa.
El fracaso de Adán le apartó de la confianza en su Padre Dios y se volvió sobre él mismo en forma de orgullo. No estuvo dispuesto a dar su vida, por amor de Dios, ni salvar la de su amada. Al aceptar la tentación del diablo y comer del apetitoso bien prohibido, rechazaban la vida sobrenatural y la inmortalidad física. Se había roto la alianza que Dios Padre había hecho con la humanidad en Adán y Eva. Dios castigó a Adán y Eva echándoles del Paraíso y transformando su vida santa y deliciosa en vida ruda y con dolor.
Pero aquí se manifestó la infinitiva misericordia de Dios. Aunque el castigo no pudo evitarlo por causa de tan terrible pecado humano, Dios no quiso dejar al hombre abandonado a sus solas fuerzas sino que prometió que el linaje de le Mujer aplastaría la cabeza de la serpiente y repararía este monstruoso error con un sacrificio reparador perfecto.

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03040506070809
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31010203040506
July 2015
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
29300102030405
06070809101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930310102
June 2015
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
01020304050607
08091011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
29300102030405
May 2015
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
27282930010203
04050607080910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
April 2015
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
30310102030405
06070809101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930010203
March 2015
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
23242526272801
02030405060708
09101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30310102030405
February 2015
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
26272829303101
02030405060708
09101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272801
January 2015
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
29303101020304
05060708091011
12131415161718
19202122232425
26272829303101
December 2014
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
01020304050607
08091011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
29303101020304
November 2014
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
27282930310102
03040506070809
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
October 2014
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
29300102030405
06070809101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930310102
September 2014
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
01020304050607
08091011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
29300102030405
August 2014
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
28293031010203
04050607080910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
July 2014
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
30010203040506
07080910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031010203
June 2014
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
26272829303101
02030405060708
09101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30010203040506
May 2014
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
28293001020304
05060708091011
12131415161718
19202122232425
26272829303101
April 2014
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
31010203040506
07080910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293001020304
March 2014
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
24252627280102
03040506070809
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31010203040506
February 2014
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
27282930310102
03040506070809
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627280102
January 2014
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
30310102030405
06070809101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930310102
December 2013
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
25262728293001
02030405060708
09101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30310102030405
November 2013
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
28293031010203
04050607080910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293001
October 2013
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
30010203040506
07080910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031010203
August 2013
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
29303101020304
05060708091011
12131415161718
19202122232425
26272829303101
July 2013
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
01020304050607
08091011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
29303101020304
June 2013
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
27282930310102
03040506070809
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
May 2013
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
29300102030405
06070809101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930310102
April 2013
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
01020304050607
08091011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
29300102030405
March 2013
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
25262728010203
04050607080910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
February 2013
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
28293031010203
04050607080910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728010203
January 2013
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
31010203040506
07080910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031010203
December 2012
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
26272829300102
03040506070809
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31010203040506
November 2012
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
29303101020304
05060708091011
12131415161718
19202122232425
26272829300102
October 2012
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
01020304050607
08091011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
29303101020304
September 2012
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
27282930310102
03040506070809
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
June 2012
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
28293031010203
04050607080910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293001
May 2012
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
30010203040506
07080910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031010203
March 2012
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
27282901020304
05060708091011
12131415161718
19202122232425
26272829303101
February 2012
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
30310102030405
06070809101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282901020304
December 2011
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
28293001020304
05060708091011
12131415161718
19202122232425
26272829303101
November 2011
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
31010203040506
07080910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293001020304
July 2011
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
27282930010203
04050607080910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
April 2011
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
28293031010203
04050607080910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293001
March 2011
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
28010203040506
07080910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031010203
November 2010
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
01020304050607
08091011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
29300102030405
August 2010
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
26272829303101
02030405060708
09101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30310102030405
June 2010
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
31010203040506
07080910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293001020304
January 2010
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
28293031010203
04050607080910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
December 2009
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
30010203040506
07080910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031010203
November 2009
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
26272829303101
02030405060708
09101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30010203040506