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April 17th:Self Examination

Fr. Linsky talked about the responses of all the “characters” surrounding Jesus as “his hour” approached and the importance of reflecting on those responses especially during this week. Doing so can be helpful in improving our own responses to the Gospel.

There were Judas’s overt betrayal and acceptance of thirty pieces of silver for it, Peter’s triple denial around in the courtyard even as Jesus was being questioned by High Priest Caiaphas,  the  weeping women at the foot of the cross and at the tomb, the disciples in hiding, the men who gambled for his clothes, the soldiers who testified,“Truly, this was the Son of God!” and others as well.

The reading for today is from Matthew 26 about the Last Supper and identification of Judas as the betrayer. St. Luke adds some information about a surprising argument that broke out among the disciples when the question of betrayal came up. It is in Luke 22:21-30 and includes some suggestions about achieving “greatness.”

Given the beauty of the Stations of the Cross at this Basilica of St. Peter, it is also worthwhile to reflect on  the expressions depicted on the faces of those who played roles in the Passion and to consider what was on their minds and what their attitudes were at the time.

Given Ephesians 2:10, it is a good time to reflect on how we fall short of what has been prepared for us and how we can do more as we strive to be humble servants, last of all.

Here is interesting and well-documented information about history and observance of the Easter Triduum in various Christian traditions. If you see errors or inaccuracies, send me a note with some documentation, and I will try to correct Wikipedia.

Wisdom, Love, and Fear of the Lord

I am inspired today (3/21/19) by a fourth century St. Hilary of Poitiers essay on the meaning of “the fear of the Lord,” a subject we have discussed in the MPG. The essay is included in the Office of Readings and in the Morning Prayer (Enlarged Form) in the Universalis APP, an iPad screen shot of the page below.

The phrase “fear of the lord” appears 49 times in Sacred Scripture (NAB) distributed as follows:

And here, for meditation and consideration, are all 49 (although I dislike pulling verses out of context.) With that in mind, since 10 of the instances are in Sirach 1, it is probably worth beginning by reading that entire beautiful and inspiring chapter. “Wisdom,” mentioned several times, also has been a recent topic of MPG discussion.

NAB Sirach 1:1-29 – All wisdom comes from the LORD and with him it remains forever.
2 The sand of the seashore, the drops of rain, the days of eternity: who can number these?
3 Heaven’s height, earth’s breadth, the depths of the abyss: who can explore these?
4 Before all things else wisdom was created; and prudent understanding, from eternity.
5 To whom has wisdom’s root been revealed? Who knows her subtleties?
6 There is but one, wise and truly awe-inspiring, seated upon his throne:
7 It is the LORD; he created her, has seen her and taken note of her.
8 He has poured her forth upon all his works, upon every living thing according to his bounty; he has lavished her upon his friends.
9 Fear of the LORD is glory and splendor, gladness and a festive crown.
10 Fear of the LORD warms the heart, giving gladness and joy and length of days.
11 He who fears the LORD will have a happy end; even on the day of his death he will be blessed.
12 The beginning of wisdom is fear of the LORD, which is formed with the faithful in the womb.
13 With devoted men was she created from of old, and with their children her beneficence abides.
14 Fullness of wisdom is fear of the LORD; she inebriates men with her fruits.
15 Her entire house she fills with choice foods, her granaries with her harvest.
16 Wisdom’s garland is fear of the LORD, with blossoms of peace and perfect health.
17 Knowledge and full understanding she showers down; she heightens the glory of those who possess her.
18 The root of wisdom is fear of the LORD; her branches are length of days.
19 One cannot justify unjust anger; anger plunges a man to his downfall.
20 A patient man need stand firm but for a time, and then contentment comes back to him.
21 For a while he holds back his words, then the lips of many herald his wisdom.
22 Among wisdom’s treasures is the paragon of prudence; but fear of the LORD is an abomination to the sinner.
23 If you desire wisdom, keep the commandments, and the LORD will bestow her upon you;
24 For fear of the LORD is wisdom and culture; loyal humility is his delight.
25 Be not faithless to the fear of the LORD, nor approach it with duplicity of heart.
26 Play not the hypocrite before men; over your lips keep watch.
27 Exalt not yourself lest you fall and bring upon you dishonor;
28 For then the LORD will reveal your secrets and publicly cast you down,
29 Because you approached the fear of the LORD with your heart full of guile.

And here are all forty nine verses (NAB) containing the phrase “fear of the Lord.” I’m sure it is worth looking up the context for all 49, but I haven’t done it yet.

NAB Deuteronomy 6:24 Therefore, the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes in fear of the LORD, our God, that we may always have as prosperous and happy a life as we have today;

NAB 2 Chronicles 14:13 Then the Judahites conquered all the cities around Gerar, for the fear of the LORD was upon them; they despoiled all the cities, for there was much booty in them.
NAB 2 Chronicles 17:10 Now the fear of the LORD was upon all the kingdoms of the countries surrounding Judah, so that they did not war against Jehoshaphat.
NAB 2 Chronicles 19:7 And now, let the fear of the LORD be upon you. Act carefully, for with the LORD, our God there is no injustice, no partiality, no bribe-taking.”
9 He gave them this command: “You shall act faithfully and wholeheartedly in the fear of the LORD.

NAB Job 28:28 And to man he said: Behold, the fear of the LORD is wisdom; and avoiding evil is understanding.

NAB Psalm 19:10 The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The statutes of the LORD are true, all of them just;
NAB Psalm 34:12 Come, children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
NAB Psalm 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; prudent are all who live by it. Your praise endures forever.

NAB Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; wisdom and instruction fools despise.
29 Because they hated knowledge, and chose not the fear of the LORD;
NAB Proverbs 2:5 Then will you understand the fear of the LORD; the knowledge of God you will find;
NAB Proverbs 8:13 (The fear of the LORD is to hate evil;) Pride, arrogance, the evil way, and the perverse mouth I hate.
NAB Proverbs 9:10 The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the LORD, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
NAB Proverbs 10:27 The fear of the LORD prolongs life, but the years of the wicked are brief.
NAB Proverbs 14:26 In the fear of the LORD is a strong defense; even for one’s children he will be a refuge.
27 The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that a man may avoid the snares of death.
NAB Proverbs 15:16 Better a little with fear of the LORD than a great fortune with anxiety.
33 The fear of the LORD is training for wisdom, and humility goes before honors.
NAB Proverbs 16:6 By kindness and piety guilt is expiated, and by the fear of the LORD man avoids evil.
NAB Proverbs 19:23 The fear of the LORD is an aid to life; one eats and sleeps without being visited by misfortune.
NAB Proverbs 22:4 The reward of humility and fear of the LORD is riches, honor and life.
NAB Proverbs 23:17 Let not your heart emulate sinners, but be zealous for the fear of the LORD always;

NAB Sirach 1:9 Fear of the LORD is glory and splendor, gladness and a festive crown.
10 Fear of the LORD warms the heart, giving gladness and joy and length of days.
12 The beginning of wisdom is fear of the LORD, which is formed with the faithful in the womb.
14 Fullness of wisdom is fear of the LORD; she inebriates men with her fruits.
16 Wisdom’s garland is fear of the LORD, with blossoms of peace and perfect health.
18 The root of wisdom is fear of the LORD; her branches are length of days.
22 Among wisdom’s treasures is the paragon of prudence; but fear of the LORD is an abomination to the sinner.
24 For fear of the LORD is wisdom and culture; loyal humility is his delight.
25 Be not faithless to the fear of the LORD, nor approach it with duplicity of heart.
29 Because you approached the fear of the LORD with your heart full of guile.
NAB Sirach 10:21 Be it tenant or wayfarer, alien or pauper, his glory is the fear of the LORD.
NAB Sirach 16:2 Many though they be, exult not in them if they have not the fear of the LORD.
NAB Sirach 19:17 All wisdom is fear of the LORD; perfect wisdom is the fulfillment of the law.
NAB Sirach 21:11 He who keeps the law controls his impulses; he who is perfect in fear of the LORD has wisdom.
NAB Sirach 23:27 Thus all who dwell on the earth shall know, and all who inhabit the world shall understand, That nothing is better than the fear of the LORD, nothing more salutary than to obey his commandments.
NAB Sirach 25:6 The crown of old men is wide experience; their glory, the fear of the LORD.
11 Fear of the LORD surpasses all else. its possessor is beyond compare.
NAB Sirach 27:3 Unless you earnestly hold fast to the fear of the LORD, suddenly your house will be thrown down.
NAB Sirach 40:26 Wealth and vigor build up confidence, but better than either, fear of God. Fear of the LORD leaves nothing wanting; he who has it need seek no other support:
NAB Sirach 50:29 If he puts them into practice, he can cope with anything, for the fear of the LORD is his lamp.

NAB Isaiah 11:2 The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, A spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,
3 and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD. Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide,
NAB Isaiah 33:6 That which makes her seasons lasting, the riches that save her, are wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is her treasure.

NAB Jonah 1:16 Struck with great fear of the LORD, the men offered sacrifice and made vows to him.

NAB Acts 9:31 The church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria was at peace. It was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord, and with the consolation of the holy Spirit it grew in numbers.

NAB 2 Corinthians 5:11 Therefore, since we know the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others; but we are clearly apparent to God, and I hope we are also apparent to your consciousness.

Oops, Wrong Link. Here is the correct link to “A Tiptoe Through Tulip.”

Occasionally the issue of different theologies among Christian churches comes up in our Wednesday morning discussions. It seems to me that it is possible to clearly understand and be able to defend Catholic theology only if the other major positions and some of the history are also understood. I ran across a 1993 EWTN This Rock Magazine James Akin article which gives the best short explanations I have read of the differences, clearly explaining Catholic beliefs in each case, and with lots of citations and scripture references. So, if it is the kind of thing that interests you, here is the link to A Tiptoe Through Tulip. It’s pretty short (if you don’t read the footnotes).

If it doesn’t interest you, ponder this:

Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, 16 but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil. 1 Peter 3:15b-17 (NABRE)

And, to quote Akin from the linked article:

It is important for Catholics to know about these subjects: First, Catholics are often attacked by Calvinists who misunderstand the Catholic position on these issues. Second, Catholics often misunderstand the teaching of their own Church on predestination. Third, in recent years there has been a large number of Calvinists who have become Catholics [8]. By understanding Calvinism better, Catholics can help more Calvinists make the jump.

Theological Tipping Points

Occasionally the issue of different theologies among Christian churches comes up in our Wednesday morning discussions. It seems to me that it is possible to clearly understand and be able to defend Catholic theology only if the other major positions and some of the history are also understood. I ran across a 1993 EWTN This Rock Magazine James Akin article which gives the best short explanations I have read of the differences, clearly explaining Catholic beliefs in each case, and with lots of citations and scripture references. So, if it is the kind of thing that interests you, here is the link to A Tiptoe Through Tulip. It’s pretty short (if you don’t read the footnotes).

If it doesn’t interest you, ponder this:

Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, 16 but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil. 1 Peter 3:15b-17 (NABRE)

And, to quote Akin from the linked article:

It is important for Catholics to know about these subjects: First, Catholics are often attacked by Calvinists who misunderstand the Catholic position on these issues. Second, Catholics often misunderstand the teaching of their own Church on predestination. Third, in recent years there has been a large number of Calvinists who have become Catholics [8]. By understanding Calvinism better, Catholics can help more Calvinists make the jump.

January 9th – Courage and Fear (and Church Trends)

Brainy (Secular) Quotes on Fear and Courage

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. Nelson Mandela
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/courage

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear. Mark Twain
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/courage

Courage in the Catechism

I found four instances of use of “courage” in the Catechism:

  1. Paragraph 1299 –  In the Roman Rite the bishop extends his hands over the whole group of the confirmands. Since the time of the apostles this gesture has signified the gift of the Spirit. the bishop invokes the outpouring of the Spirit in these words:

All-powerful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by water and the Holy Spirit
you freed your sons and daughters from sin
and gave them new life.
Send your Holy Spirit upon them
to be their helper and guide.
Give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of right judgment and courage,
the spirit of knowledge and reverence.
Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe in your presence.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

2. Paragraph 1532 –  The special grace of the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick has as its effects:
– the uniting of the sick person to the passion of Christ, for his own good and that of the whole Church;
– the strengthening, peace, and courage to endure in a Christian manner the sufferings of illness or old age;
– the forgiveness of sins, if the sick person was not able to obtain it through the sacrament of Penance;
– the restoration of health, if it is conducive to the salvation of his soul;
– the preparation for passing over to eternal life.

3. Paragraph 1520 – A particular gift of the Holy Spirit. the first grace of this sacrament is one of strengthening, peace and courage to overcome the difficulties that go with the condition of serious illness or the frailty of old age. This grace is a gift of the Holy Spirit, who renews trust and faith in God and strengthens against the temptations of the evil one, the temptation to discouragement and anguish in the face of death.134 This assistance from the Lord by the power of his Spirit is meant to lead the sick person to healing of the soul, but also of the body if such is God’s will.135 Furthermore, “if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”

4. Paragraph 1805 –  Four virtues play a pivotal role and accordingly are called “cardinal”; all the others are grouped around them. They are: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. “If anyone loves righteousness, [Wisdom’s] labors are virtues; for she teaches temperance and prudence, justice, and courage.” These virtues are praised under other names in many passages of Scripture.

“Courage,” “Courageous,” and “Courageously” in the New Testament

An explanation of the Greek NT word translated as “courage” or “courageous” or “courageously” can be found HERE.  And here is a snip from the reference material in BibleWorks.

Depending on the English version of the NT, it may also be translated as “heart,” “cheer,” “boldness,” “daring,” or “confidence.” I found the words used 26 times in the New Testament, most often the imperative as an expression of encouragement. In the 21st century, it seems we most often think of it as a synonym of bravery, a somewhat different or at least narrower slant. Here are the examples I found.

NAB Matthew 9:2 And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.”
NAB Matthew 9:22 Jesus turned around and saw her, and said, “Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you.” And from that hour the woman was cured.
NAB Matthew 14:27 At once (Jesus) spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
NAB Mark 6:50 They had all seen him and were terrified. But at once he spoke with them, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!”
NAB Mark 10:49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, he is calling you.”
NAB Mark 15:43 Joseph of Arimathea, a distinguished member of the council, who was himself awaiting the kingdom of God, came and courageously went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
NAB John 16:33 I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.”
NIV Acts 4:13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
NAB Acts 23:11 The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage. For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness in Rome.”
DRA Acts 24:10 Then Paul answered (the governor making a sign to him to speak): Knowing that for many years thou hast been judge over this nation, I will with good courage answer for myself.
NAB Acts 27:22 I urge you now to keep up your courage; not one of you will be lost, only the ship.
NAB Acts 27:25 Therefore, keep up your courage, men; I trust in God that it will turn out as I have been told.
NAB Acts 28:15 The brothers from there heard about us and came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. On seeing them, Paul gave thanks to God and took courage.
NAB Romans 5:7 Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die.
NAB 1 Corinthians 16:13 Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong.
NAB 2 Corinthians 5:6 So we are always courageous, although we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord,
NAB 2 Corinthians 5:8 Yet we are courageous, and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord.
ASV 2 Corinthians 7:16 I rejoice that in everything I am of good courage concerning you.
ASV 2 Corinthians 10:1 Now I Paul myself entreat you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I who in your presence am lowly among you, but being absent am of good courage toward you:
ASV 2 Corinthians 10:2 yea, I beseech you, that I may not when present show courage with the confidence wherewith I count to be bold against some, who count of us as if we walked according to the flesh.
NAB Ephesians 6:20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, so that I may have the courage to speak as I must.
NIV Philippians 1:14 Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.
ESV Philippians 1:20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.
NRS 1 Thessalonians 2:2 but though we had already suffered and been shamefully mistreated at Philippi, as you know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition.
NIV Hebrews 3:6 But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.
ASV Hebrews 13:6 So that with good courage we say, The Lord is my helper; I will not fear: What shall man do unto me?

On Another Subject – Permanent Deacons

Given the happy announcement about the upcoming ordination of Brian, I mentioned (during a brief absence of Fr. Linsky) a tabulation of Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate data on trends in numbers of priests, parishes, deacons, etc. Here is a link to the article and data. Below is a graph of some of the data over a 45 year period.

 

 

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

I was fascinated by the writings of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in today’s readings (“With all Your Mind” for example) so did a little research on her. She is the first native born American to be canonized, and the details of her life and ministry, entangled with early American history, are well documented and very interesting.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Ann_Seton