Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Prayer request

Please pray for two of our sisters who were in a serious car accident yesterday in Arizona. Both are in the hospital recovering from their injuries but one is still in critical condition. Their car was hit by a truck.
On Sunday I had a very strong, unsettling feeling that disturbed me. I had a strong feeling that someone in the community was going to have a car accident. It wasn't just a passing thought but a very real, intense feeling. So all I could do was pray and I did in fact pray that Jesus would watch over and protect all of the sisters who were driving. Who knows--maybe God was inspiring me to pray because of this, and maybe in response to the prayer they managed to survive.
Things like this are amazing to me, how God can inspire us in these ways. I can't really explain it but it did in fact happen.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Happy feast of St. Thomas Aquinas

This year it is superceded by the Sunday celebration, but today is the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas.

St. Thomas was only about 49 when he died. In his short lifetime he produced an incredible amount of writings. We mostly think of the longer Summa, but he wrote many other things besides that, including commentaries on Scripture.

I have a special love for St. Thomas. Perhaps the best thing we could say about him is what, according to the story, Jesus said to him once in an apparition: "You have written well of me, Thomas!"

Monday, January 22, 2007

A culture of life is possible

This article is a hopeful view of the pro-life struggle. The anniversary of Roe vs. Wade is a grim reminder of all the young lives lost to abortion--between 40 and 50 million of them. It can seem hopeless at times that this will ever change.
But it will. It may take time, but already there is evidence that the American people do not want to continue the killing of unborn babies indiscriminately.
A hundred years ago, who would have ever thought that the struggle for civil rights for blacks would be won? But it was. As the article points out, the civil rights movement shows us that such social reforms take time to come about.
Let's pray it will be soon.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The reform of the Church: advice from a saint

I recently was reading a life of St Catherine of Siena, who lived during the 14th century. It was a most difficult time for the Church, which was enduring schism and many evils from within.

Catherine's first petition was for the reform of the Church. In one of her deep moments of prayer, God answered her by saying, "Her beauty will not be restored with the dagger, or by cruelty, or by war, but with peace and by continual prayers, sweat, and tears, offered with fervent desire by my servants."

Our chapter meeting

Last week I was at our provincial chapter, which is a special meeting held every 6 years. In it we prayed about, reflected on and discussed important issues about how we are living our consecrated life.
Sr Anne Joan over at nunblog put up some photos and other information about it.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Mary's virginity

A man named Bob left this comment on my previous post:

"The virginity of mary is based upon the Septuagint's translation of Isaiah. However, the catholic church doesn't use the Septuagint as its main bible. strange, isn't it? In the Hebrew version of Isaiah the word translates as "young woman," not virgin.'"


Thank you, Bob, for bringing up this interesting point of discussion. For a full discussion of the biblical issues, here is a link to an excellent article by Mark Shea on this topic.

In the Church's history, many writers did in fact point to this text of Is 7:14 in discussing Mary's virginity (in this context it is her virginity before the birth of Christ.) But Catholic teaching on her virginity is primarily based on the texts of the Gospel, in particular Matthew and Luke. For example, in the annunciation Luke writes that the angel Gabriel said to Mary, "The child who will be born of you will be holy, the Son of God." It's very clear from that text that the child is to be miraculously conceived "of the Holy Spirit."

I might add too that not only Catholics but the many Protestants, especially evangelicals, strongly uphold the virginity of Mary before Christ's birth based on the Bible. They would part company with us concerning her virginity later on, because they believe she had other children. So the text from Isaiah can be understood in light of Mary's virginity but it is not the only reason that Catholics and other Christians believe that Mary was a virgin in giving birth to Christ.

New focus on Mary

I've been thinking that I would like to focus this blog more on Mary. Rather than just have an in-general Catholic blog, of which there are many, I would like to focus it more on Mary. The reason for this is that I have some background in this area and so it would make more sense for me to write about it.

I would also like to invite questions, comments and discussions about Mary.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Mary, the Mother of God

Today's feast celebrates Mary as the Mother of God.
This title is Mary's primary one, the reason for her other gifts of grace.

The Council of Ephesus in 431 gave her this title, in response to the heresy of Nestorius. His error was really about Christ. Nestorius said that Jesus Christ was two persons, a divine person and a human person. But the problem with this is that it divides Jesus.
Instead, the Church teaches the unity of his person: Jesus Christ is one divine person with two natures, divine and human. He is fully human and fully divine, but both divine and human natures fully belong to the Son, the second Person of the Trinity, who became Incarnate.
Because of this, we can truly say that Mary is the Mother of God.

The people of Ephesus probably didn't follow all the theological subtleties of the debate. But they knew that they had always called Mary the Mother of God. So they recognized the error in Nestorius' teaching, even though they didn't have academic training.

That holds a lesson for us today. There is that "sense of the faith" that the members of the Church have. The laity have often held on to the true faith even when erroneous teachings were getting popular.